Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Friday, June 29, 2001

PC News

Aces High DX Beta 3 Released
A new version of the beta is available for downloads. Please see the previous news posts on the DX8 beta if you are trying it for the first time. The download is now about 800KB and is located here.

The changes in this version are:

  • Roger Wilco no longer starts automatically. In order to have AH use RW, you need to start RW before launching AH.
  • Stability problems with alt-tab should be fixed.
  • Four new files were shipped in this version. They are landdet.bmp, landdet.bma, watdet.bmp, and watdet.bma. They reside in the Aces High directory. These are detail textures that overlay the existing terrain textures for increased detail. This is just for test purposes right now, so we're only concerned with stability and performance, not aesthetics. This is just a real basic implementation right now that will change later.
If you have a problem running the beta or you see large performance hit, please rename or move the four texture files from your Aces High directory and see if the problem still exists without the textures.

IL-2 Development Update
The lastest IL-2 Sturmovik update is dedicated to online play. Screens include, custom paint schemes, MC.202 and Me-323 in flight. Click here to check out the new screenshots.

New Reader Service At COMBATSIM
We are pleased to introduce a new reader service in our forums called "Ask Bismarck About Games." If you've ever had a question you wanted to ask a game developer directly, but were afraid to ask, Jim "Bismarck" Cobb may be just the guy you are looking for.

In his 33 years of serious study of games and gaming, Jim (Bismarck) Cobb has gained more than a few contacts and insights. If you have a burning question about a computer game not answered here on COMBATSIM.COM, let Jim's fingers do the walking for you and ask him your question. If anyone can get the answer for you, it'll be Jim. Click here to join in the discussion.

New Update And Movie For Codename Eagle
Leading game developer Digital Illusions (DICE) today made available the latest update for multiplayer game Codename Eagle. To celebrate the occasion, a video made by hardcore game fans, has been released. Both the update and the movie can be downloaded from the official site: click here.

The new update, version 1.41, has incorporated both new and requested features such as:

  • 30 players in multiplayer! This should allow for some truly crowded battlefields (this feature is only accessible through the dedicated server).
  • Battle chopper. A brand new vehicle! This beauty takes a belly gunner and a driver who can fire death-dealing rockets. A must see.
  • Two people on the motorbike! This feature adds a whole new dimension to the game. A driver and a blazing guns passenger.
  • Maps. The existing maps have been modified to make good use of the above features. We also added one new huge CTF level, "Fortress".
  • Team change command. "Team change" console command allows you to change team up to three times per game. This is great for organizing clan games. Suicide command. "Suicide" console command allows you to prompt a respawn at the cost of a four-death penalty. Great for when you're stuck swimming far out at sea.
Shidan Dadfar and Arash Monjazeb have produced the Codename Eagle movie that was simultaneously released. The movie is an amazing journey through the exciting world of freeform deathmatch as introduced by Codename Eagle. Lots of vehicular and infantry action, not to forget some amazing stunts.

OnlinePilot VFR Announced
Abacus Publishing has announced a new online pilot training program. In Onlinepilot VFR, you'll find yourself in an interactive, voice-accompanied environment in which to practice basic and advanced flight procedures and maneuvers. In each lesson, Onlinepilot VFR grades your performance based on your ability to follow the instructor's verbal commands.He can sense your performance and he'll let you know when you fail to follow his directions. The lessons are rigorous and are intended to impart methodical and structured flight instuction. If you pass the challenging practical flight test, you'll be awarded a AeCF Virtual Pilot's Certificate. Private Pilot Training is scheduled for release July 16th. Click here for more information.

Military News

U.S. AWACS Fleet with New Radar Upgrade
The U.S. Air Force has declared initial operational capability (IOC) for seven of its Boeing-built E-3 AWACS aircraft, upgraded with a powerful new radar capability. IOC means the Air Force can commit the aircraft to operational missions to take full advantage of the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) kits.

RSIP improves the E-3's radar by increasing the sensitivity of the pulse Doppler radar, allowing the aircraft to detect and track smaller targets. It also improves the radar's existing computer with a new high-reliability multi-processor and rewrites the software to make it easier to maintain and enhance in the future.

The RSIP kit, built by Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector, consists of a new radar computer, a radar control maintenance panel, electrical and mechanical software and hardware.

Seven AWACS aircraft have been upgraded so far, with the remaining fleet of 33 aircraft, expected to be completed by 2005. The RSIP contract is worth $217 million, of which $107 million has been awarded to date.

RSIP-equipped NATO AWACS aircraft participated in the Allied air campaign over Kosovo with outstanding results. The radar surveillance coverage area was substantially increased, more aircraft were spotted and tracked and the radar's reliability improved significantly.

Aerojet Awarded TOW 2A Warhead Contract
Aerojet has received a $5.9 million contract from Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) to produce 2,251 additional warhead sections for the Army's Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) 2A missile. Aerojet is nearing delivery of the last of 1,113 TOW 2A warhead sections ordered by Raytheon in January 2000.

"We are pleased to continue our highly successful production of TOW 2A warhead sections and further establish Aerojet as a reliable supplier of quality products to the armaments market," said Lynn Treadway, Aerojet TOW program manager.

Aerojet builds the missile's main and precursor charges and assembles them into warhead sections at its Socorro, N.M., facility. The TOW 2A missile is fired by a TOW launcher directly at armored vehicles such as tanks.

Aerojet also produces the warhead sections for the TOW 2B. Unlike the direct-attack 2A, the 2B flies overhead and destroys the target by firing two Aerojet-built explosively formed penetrator warheads downward.

In the past decade, Aerojet has delivered more than 16,000 TOW 2A and 41,000 TOW 2B warhead sections to Raytheon.

Aerojet recently began developing the explosively formed penetrator warheads for Raytheon's new Army TOW Fire & Forget missile, which also attacks armored targets from above but is guided by an infrared seeker instead of a wire. Aerojet is adapting the 2B warheads and developing a propulsion module for the Fire & Forget at a new facility in Socorro.

USS Nimitz Back At Sea
Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) has handed back to the US Navy the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) after a successful three-year refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH). Nimitz left the company on June 25 and spent three days on sea trials before returning to Norfolk, Va. In September, Nimitz will depart for its homeport in San Diego, Calif. This was the ship's one and only refuelling in a 50-year life-span.

Work included the refuelling of both of the ship's reactors and significant modernisation work. This included a major upgrade of the island house that involved the shipyard removing the top two levels of the island house and replacing them. This action was driven by the installation of a new antenna mast that runs down along the island and provides for better radar capabilities. NNS also integrated a new radar tower aboard Nimitz.

Maintenance and repair work was carried out below the ship's waterline and included the application of new paint. In addition, nearly 3,000 valves were replaced and another 600 were overhauled in various ship systems.

Nimitz, the lead ship of the class, is also the first of its class to undergo this major life-cycle milestone.

"This is a very significant accomplishment for Newport News Shipbuilding," said NNS Vice President for Aircraft Carrier Overhaul and Nuclear Services Roger Eshelman. "As with any complex construction and repair effort, there were challenges, but many individuals from across the company and within the Navy pulled together as a team and contributed significantly to making this first-of-a-class RCOH a success."

The ship's keel was laid on June 22, 1968 and commissioned in 1975.

The second ship of the Nimitz class, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), arrived at Newport News Shipbuilding in late May and is currently in the preliminary stages of its once-in-a-lifetime RCOH.

US AH-64s Grounded Again
The US Army has had to ground all its 728 Apache helicopters to investigate their tail rotors, after an Israeli AH-64A tail rotor head came free during a flight earlier in the month. The Army said the check was a precautionary measure and would take about 30 minutes per aircraft. If it proved necessary to replace the tail rotor the cost could be as much as $40,000 per aircraft.

The AH-64 has had a number of standowns, the most recent only six months ago when a tail rotor swash plate was found to be defective on some aircraft. The US Army was unable to estimate how quickly the inspections would be completed, but until they had been carried out, flying would only be permitted in the most limited of cases.

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