Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Friday, June 15, 2001

PC News

WWII Online Patch v0111
The second patch for the not-ready-for-primetime WWII Online: Blitzkrieg was released today. Our own COMBATSIM.COM Publisher, Douglas Helmer, has tried the auto-install patch and has good things to say about it, "Framerates are definitely up!" The patch automatically installs when you select a game server so there's no files to find, download, unzip, and install. At the end of the install procedure, the Settings interface will be displayed. This interface was the source of many people's framerate woes because it wasn't saving any of the user's changes upon exiting.

This has been fixed and three new quick setting option buttons have been added so you don't have to fiddle with each setting. The quickset buttons allow you to set your preference for graphical vs. framerate performance. Very handy! If you have WWII Online, Click here to go to the Playnet site now.

IL-2 Development Update
Oleg Maddox has posted this weeks IL-2 Sturmovik development update. Included are screenshots of a Flying boat MBR-2 landing, visual effect of waves at landing/take off has been improved (screenshot below), German torpedo boat launches torpedoes and more.

Click here to check it out the rest of these awesome screenshots.

MechWarrior 4: Black Knight Announced
Microsoft has announced MechWarrior 4: Black Knight, the expansion pack to the award-winning MechWarrior 4: Vengeance that takes players back into action on Kentares IV with new Mechs and vehicles, more ways to modify Mechs, several new multiplayer modes, and a new single-player campaign where people can play a Black Legion mercenary fighting for House Steiner.

A collaborative effort combining the resources of Cyberlore, creators of Majesty and Warcraft II, and the guidance of FASA Interactive, MechWarrior 4: Black Knight introduces a new Black Market mode which will give players more options when upgrading their Mechs. MechWarriors are no longer limited to salvaged equipment from previous battles, and can now trade to get the parts they need. New multiplayer modes include Absolute Attrition, Strongholds, Siege Assault, Giant Killers and Clan vs. Inner Sphere.

MechWarrior 4: Black Knight will be available in retail locations throughout North America this Fall.

IW 2: Edge of Chaos Screens
Infogrames has released a new series of screensavers, wallpapers and screenshots from the upcoming space combat simulation Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos.

Independence War 2 is set many years after the previous game. Players will assume the role of Cal Johnson, an ex-convict on a quest to avenge his father's death while trying to make a living in the far reaches of outer space. Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos is expected to ship late August '01. Click here
and check it out.

Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault Screens
Electronic Arts has released a new group of screenshots from its upcoming World War II action game, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The new screens show off more of the Omaha Beach mission that will be featured in the game.

In the game, players will assume the role of an Allied soldier, and they will take on a number of difficult assignments behind enemy lines in a variety of locations, including France, North Africa, and Norway. The first-person shooter is powered by the Quake III engine, and it will feature a complete single-player campaign along with deathmatch and capture-the-flag multiplayer modes.

SWAT 3 Goes Wild
Sierra On-Line has introduced the use of WildTangent's Web Driver technology to their SWAT 3 Website. Visitors to this site can interact with a 3D model of a SWAT officer directly from within their web browser. Using simple keyboard and mouse commands, visitors can move the officer around the screen, firing and reloading both his rifle and pistol. As in the game, the model moves according to motion-captured movements recorded from actual LAPD SWAT officers.

The integration of content from SWAT 3 into this website is made possible by the WildTangent Web Driver. The WildTangent Web Driver is a plug-in that allows 3D graphics, sound, and animation to be streamed into the browser. Sierra is proud to be one of the first to support this revolutionary new technology.Click here for the SWAT 3 website. To experience the interactive SWAT model, download the WildTangent Web Driver from WildTangent.com

New Combat Command 2 Mods
Shrapnel Games has posted a new scenario for Combat Command 2: Danger Forward and a new graphics mod from the developer on their Scenario/Mod forum. Click here for more information.

Military News

New ASROC Missile To Fit MK41 VLS
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems (NE&SS) - Marine Systems has signed a direct commercial sale contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) for technical assistance in integrating Japan's New anti-submarine rocket (ASROC) missile into the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS).

The New ASROC is being developed by MHI under a contract with Japan's Technical Research and Development Institute of the Japan Defence Agency. The new contract covers the first two phases of a multi-phase contract, which will be completed over a four-year period.

ASROC is a vertically launched anti-submarine rocket that, once over the target, converts into a target-seeking torpedo. Under terms of the contract, NE&SS - Marine Systems will provide design expertise to MHI's New ASROC design team to ensure smooth integration with the MK 41 VLS. The test phase of this programme will be conducted in Japan. After programme completion, the New ASROC missile may be installed in Japan's destroyers, which are fitted with the MK 41 VLS.

"This contract marks the first time that Lockheed Martin has performed a 100% foreign (non-US Navy) missile integration into the MK 41 VLS, as well as the first totally direct commercial sale contract for a missile integration effort." Said Dale Bennett, Vice President and General Manager of NE&SS - Marine Systems.

Designed and developed by Lockheed Martin, the MK 41 VLS is a below-deck launching system capable of firing many different missile types. NE&SS - Marine Systems has been supplying the MK 41 VLS for both the Japanese MURASAME and KONGO-class ships since 1989. Under a 1998 contract, NE&SS - Marine Systems licensed MHI to assemble, test, and sell the MK 41 launchers to the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force.

Future Of DD-21 Programme Threatened
The development of the new US Navy destroyer the DD-21 appears to be under threat following a report for Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The findings of the study to explore ways of transforming the US Services into a more efficient fighting force were revealed at a Pentagon briefing this week.

The study did find that while expensive, high-profile, military programmes currently at various stages of research, development or production such as the F-22 Raptor, and the Joint Strike Fighter would enhance the 'tranformation' effort, the DD-21 would not.

Panel Chairman James McCarthy, a retired US Air Force general, said: "We didn't see a substantial difference in operational capability in the DD-21 compared to other [current] systems." He was referring to the DDG-51 Aegis class.

Beginning with the first ship award in 2004, the Navy plans to acquire 32 DD 21s at a rate of three ships per year, each with an expected service life of 35 years. The lead ship is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2008, with subsequent production timed to coincide with the conclusion of production of the DDG-51 class.

The threat to the $30 billion programme will be of major concern to the companies competing for what is a major defence contract. The teams vying to design the destroyer are led by General Dynamics Corp.'s Bath Iron Works with Lockheed Martin Corp. on the one hand, and Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Ingalls Shipyard with Raytheon Co. on the other.

McCarthy, said that the proposed service entry date for the US Navy version of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, currently 2008, be brought forward two or three years. The panel also advised increasing the weapon carrying capabilities of the fleet of 21 B-2 aircraft. Furthermore, the Lockheed F-22 programme was another hugely expensive military project identified by this modernisation group as "transformational".

Although, Defence Secretary Rumsfeld is not duty bound to follow the recommendations of either this or the 20 subsequent defence reports that have been commissioned to finalise defensive policy, the emphasis here was on realignment of current resources as opposed to rebuilding at great expense. With President Bush's pet missile defence project waiting in the wings, this report could pave the way for the DD-21 to sink without trace.

Meanwhile the Pentagon goes on handing out money to the DD-21 teams. It has just announced a contract award of $124 million to be split between the two design teams for continuing Phase II work.

U.S. Navy Awards Contract To DD 21 Gold Team
The U.S. Navy announced yesterday a $124 million contract modification for continuation of design and test planning of its 21st century DD 21 destroyer program. The contract was awarded to the DD 21 Alliance which includes Ingalls Shipbuilding here and Bath Iron Works of Bath, Me.

Ingalls Shipbuilding, a Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) company, is leading the DD 21 Gold Team, which includes the Raytheon Company and The Boeing Company, and will receive $52 million for the continuation of its work associated with Phase II of this program.

Work involved by the Gold Team during the continuation of Phase II includes the development and maturity of critical technologies such as the vessel's integrated power system, the advanced gun and dual-band radar suite.

"This continued funding reflects the Navy's commitment to building and maintaining its surface combatant fleet, and to the 'leap ahead' technologies exhibited in the DD 21 design," said Jerry St. Pe, chief operating officer, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.

New Research Renders Stealth Aircraft Useless
Roke Manor Research, a UK research and development company, has discovered that by using one of its sensor technologies in conjunction with mobile phone base-station networks, stealthy aircraft will be rendered useless. Engineers have found out that by combining their sophisticated sensing technology, which receives signals, with the base-stations that are already being used to send out signals for mobile communications, the position of aircraft can be detected and accurately plotted.

"We would be utilising technology that we already have available. The mobile telephone base-stations would not have to be altered at all," said Peter Lloyd, from Roke Manor Research. "If aircraft are flying over the area, signals that the base-stations are sending into the air will be scattered on contact with the craft; the sensing equipment would then receive this information, thereby detecting the presence of the aircraft. The system would work as a bi-static radar. Using the base-station and sensing equipment together, we would be able to accurately plot the position of all aircraft in the area, even if it has been designed to be stealthy. "

This latest technology break through from Roke Manor Research could prove to have considerable effect on the use of stealth aircraft in military situations as many countries are spending large amounts of their defence budgets designing stealthy aircraft.

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