Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday July 10, 2001

PC News

Global Operations Update
Crave Entertainment has announced that the "Global Operations" site has been redesigned and updated with some new screenshots of the Sri Lanka level from the game. "Global Operations" is a squad-based shooter that features modular weapons and character specialties. Players can become a commando, sniper, demolition expert, medic, or a number of other classes depending on the needs of the team. The game's advanced projectile engine takes into account different types of surfaces when calculating the speed of bullets whenever they pass through objects. Release Date: November 2001 Click here to check it out.

NVIDIA GeForce3 Captures Best PC Hardware Award
NVIDIA Corporation today announced that its GeForce3 Graphics Processing Unit captured the award for best PC Hardware from the E3 Game Critics. Selected by a prestigious group of more than 35 editors from North America's largest print and online publications, the recognition of the NVIDIA Geforce3 is a testament to the strength of the GeForce brand and the level of innovation inherent to NVIDIA technology. As the core technology foundation for Microsoft(R)'s highly-anticipated Xbox(TM), GeForce3 will also bring NVIDIA's world renowned 3D expertise to console gamers for the first time.

"We're thrilled to claim this award which is strong recognition of the talent and passion that went into the design of GeForce3," said Dan Vivoli, senior vice president of marketing at NVIDIA. "By combining programmability, performance, and outstanding visuals, GeForce3 ensures end-users of unprecedented graphics experiences, regardless of their choice of gaming platform."

Military News

Inflatable Wing Experiment Takes Flight
A demonstrator for a deployable, inflatable wing technology experiment has flown at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Centre in Edwards, California. Recalling Hugh Dryden's vision for the purpose of flight research, Jeff Bauer, manager of Dryden's inflatable aircraft project, noted "With these tests we have put some reality behind the many imagined applications for inflatable winged aircraft."

There were three successful flights of the I2000 inflatable wing aircraft. During the flights, the team air-launched the radio-controlled (R/C) I2000 from an R/C utility aeroplane at an altitude of 800-1000 feet. As the I2000 separated from the carrier aircraft, its inflatable wings "popped-out," deploying rapidly from pressure provided by an onboard nitrogen bottle. The aircraft remained stable as it transitioned from wingless to winged flight. The unpowered I2000 glided down to a smooth landing under complete control.

As a result, flight data now verifies and validates computer models of inflatable wings for the future. The I2000 was equipped with a miniature flight data recorder designed by engineer Jim Murray. That data, in addition to video and the photographic record, provide valuable insights into the aircraft's flight dynamics.

"We are particularly interested in the dynamics of the vehicle during the rapid wing deployment, the transition from wingless flight to winged flight." says project engineer Joe Pahle.

Flight of the I2000 followed a conservative "build-up" approach common in developmental testing. The Dryden team began flying the I2000 with rigid wings having the same physical dimensions as the inflatable wings. Following successful flights with the conventional rigid wings, the actual inflatable wings were flown pre-inflated on the I2000.

"We flew the I2000 build-up style in the powered mode with the wings pre-inflated. The drop and wing deployment was so smooth that the rest of the flight and landing was uneventful," said Tony Frackowiak, of Dryden's model shop, who built all the glider models and R/C aircraft used in the project and served as the I2000 pilot.

Wing deployment time is typically on the order of a third of a second, almost faster than the human eye can see. The specially designed wings use compressed nitrogen gas for the near-instantaneous inflation. A pressure regulator mounted on the nitrogen pressure vessel keeps the internal pressure of the wings at a constant 200-250 pounds per square inch (psi), reducing the possibility of wing-sagging due to low internal pressure or high external pressure. The nitrogen tank was pressurised to 500 psi in order to allow excess gas to make up any pressure losses in the wings due to leakage.

Having completed the I2000 flights, the next goal of the project is to fly a four-foot long X-24A model with the inflatable wings by the end of summer in hopes of proving the concept of using deployable inflatable wings with lifting body vehicle configurations. The X-24A model effort is a complementary but separate effort in demonstrating the utility of inflatable wings.

The X-24A shape, which was chosen because of its aerodynamic database, represents lifting body vehicles in general, and, in particular, has upper body flaps for additional roll control. The inflatable wings do not have flight controls, so the body flaps are critical for flight control. The I2000's tail surfaces filled the gap on that standard configuration aeroplane. The buildup to the inflatable wing X-24A flights will include flying the model with rigid wings first, the same procedure used for the I2000.Potential advantages of utilising inflatable wings on future lifting body vehicles include providing greater range, manoeuvrability, and lower landing speeds than totally wingless vehicles.

Possible future applications of inflatable wings include earth science aircraft, any limited-volume aircraft, and planetary research aircraft. A high altitude, long endurance platform could conceivably carry multiple small deployable inflatable wing aircraft to release as "probes" to more closely investigate areas of interest located by the platform's sensors.

Officials Identify F-16 Pilot Killed In Crash
Capt. Mitchell Bulmann, an Air Force pilot stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., was killed July 6 when his F-16CJ fighter crashed about 40 miles east of Charleston S.C. Bulmann, from the 77th Fighter Squadron here, was participating in an air-to-air training mission when his plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. A board of officers will investigate the accident.

PAC-3 Achieves Major Flight Test Milestones
Lockheed Martin's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile program achieved major system success today at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. by meeting two key flight test milestones. The first objective was to track and radar lock tactical ballistic missile (TBM) and aircraft targets in the presence of radar jamming. The success of today's mission proved the PAC-3 Missile's ability to engage targets in an electronic countermeasure environment, a requirement of the PAC-3 Missile test program.

A second developmental test milestone was achieved when the PAC-3 Missile intercepted and destroyed an aircraft target, a remotely piloted F-4 with an on-board radar-jamming device. With the intercept of the aircraft target, the PAC-3 Missile has now demonstrated its ability to defeat the entire spectrum of threats to the Patriot Air Defense System: tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft targets. Being able to defeat these three types of threat targets is another operational requirement of the PAC-3 Missile.

The mission at White Sands involved two PAC-3 Missiles and two targets. The first PAC-3 Missile successfully intercepted and totally destroyed the F-4 target aircraft. The second PAC-3 Missile radar-locked the Hera TBM, a target the PAC-3 Missile has intercepted and destroyed multiple times in past missions, but did not achieve intercept. Analysis will be conducted over the next few days so corrective action can be taken.

"Today's test was a success from our perspective," said James (Jim) F. Berry, president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This is an incredible machine that has now proven conclusively that it is fully capable to handle the entire threat to the Patriot Air Defense System, even in electronic countermeasure environments."

Operationally, the tactical doctrine for the PAC-3 Missile will be to fire two missiles at incoming TBM targets, as was the case on March 31, 2001. In that "tactical ripple mode" test, two PAC-3 Missiles were fired at the same Hera target, with the first missile intercepting the TBM and destroying it. The second missile then performed the planned tactical self-destruct maneuver. PAC-3 is one of the world's most sophisticated technologies. The PAC-3 Missile boasts 11 successes out of 12 flights over the past three years, with eight intercepts in nine attempts, an overall 92 percent success rate for the flight test program.

The PAC-3 Missile is a high velocity, hit-to-kill missile and is the next generation Patriot missile being developed to provide increased capability against advanced theater ballistic missile, cruise missile and hostile aircraft. The PAC-3 Missile kills incoming targets by direct, body-to-body impact. The PAC-3 Missiles, when deployed in a Patriot battery, will significantly increase the Patriot system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3 Missiles load-out on a Patriot launcher, compared with four of the old Patriot missiles.

Finmeccanica, Boeing Team For 767 Tanker Programme
Alenia Aerospazio and Aeronavali, both Finmeccanica companies, have signed a memorandum of agreement with Boeing to become partners in the development, production and support of a tanker/transport version of the Boeing 767 commercial aircraft.

767 Tanker - Artists Impression

The Alenia and Aeronavali MOU with Boeing has been triggered by a requirement from the Italian defence administration for new tanker/transport aircraft. The Boeing 767 was recently selected as the tanker system of choice for that requirement. Italian government officials and Boeing are negotiating terms of a contract to build four tankers worth about $700 million, with an option for two more.

The Italian decision is a boost to Boeing's hopes for the large 500 plus aerial tanker market. Most of the tankers belong to the US Armed Forces, but they are based on ageing 707 airframes and are due for replacement. Elsewhere, spurred on by the likely expeditionary nature of future air campaigns, analysts predict an overseas market of up to 90 tankers, beginning with the Italian requirement.

Boeing has teamed with BAE SYSTEMS to offer the 767 for the UK's aerial refuelling requirement.

Alenia Aerospazio and Aeronavali, with a programme share of up to 20 percent, will take part in all programme phases, including design, development, production and logistics support. Additionally, they will support the marketing effort in selected areas of expertise.

Alenia Aerospazio will contribute design and technologies for the development activities.

Aeronavali will be the leader in Italy for the complete modification of the Italian air force aircraft. It will also be responsible for modification kits for additional aircraft sold in the international market. In coordination with Aeronavali, Italian airline Alitalia will perform the basic aircraft logistic support. This will capitalise on Alitalia's experience as a major operator of the 767 aircraft.

Additionally, Alenia Difesa, Elettronica and G.S.E., as well as a large number of small and medium Italian enterprises, will be involved in the project. The Italian participation can reach a value of Lira 2,500 billion (Euro 1.3 billion, or USD 1.2 billion).

Lockheed Martin To Upgrade AN/FPS-117 Radar
Lockheed Martin has won a $47 million contract from the US Air Force to upgrade the Lockheed Martin AN/FPS-117 radars that support the Atmospheric Early Warning System. These long-range surveillance radar systems are located at 33 sites stretching across the extreme perimeters of Canada and Alaska as well as Iceland, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. An engineering facility at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, supports the radar sites.


Beacon Antenna

The US Air Force's Atmospheric Early Warning System uses the AN/FPS-117 radar systems to provide military aircraft identification and commercial air traffic surveillance for up to 250 nautical miles. Under the new contract, Lockheed Martin will provide Radar Interrogator Set (RIS) systems, better known as beacon sub-systems, to upgrade the capabilities of the radars. The beacon sub-system communicates with the transponders on aircraft to provide detailed information on the plane, which is used for air traffic control and military reporting.

The Radar Interrogator Set (RIS) upgrade will modernise the AN/FPS-117 Radar beacon subsystem by replacing thirty-year old analogue equipment with modern commercial items/non-developmental items (CI/NDI). The current antenna will be replaced with a modified CI/NDI large vertical aperture antenna capable of significantly greater resolution and range. The RIS upgrade will bring the beacon sub-system up to the level of Remote Control, Monitor and Fault Isolation, and Reliability, Maintainability and Supportability (RMS) that currently exists for the primary radar system.

"These upgrades to the Atmospheric Early Warning System will help the US Air Force increase the performance capability of its current systems, while also reducing maintenance requirements when compared to the current beacon subsystems." said Ed Lane, director of radar product support for Lockheed Martin. "The overall system performance will improve and the life-cycle cost significantly reduced to better support the US Air Force and FAA mission."

Because of a built-in capability to control operations and perform diagnostics from a remote location, most of the AN/FPS-117 radars at these sites operate completely unattended. The upgrade also will deliver that capability for the beacon sub-systems, so they can be diagnosed and controlled remotely from regional air traffic centres in the US, Canada and Iceland.

"We currently do not have the capability to control the beacon remotely," said Mark Sage, programme manager, US Air Force. "These upgrades will allow us to monitor and change the parameters of the radar systems using software from a remote location. It also will reduce costs associated with travel and maintenance."

The first of the radar system installations will take place near Fairbanks, Alaska next summer.

Japan's Supersonic Aircraft Testing At Woomera
The flight trials of Japan's experimental supersonic aircraft project to be conducted at Woomera in South Australia moved closer to reality with a ground breaking ceremony marking the start of construction of a new launch pad and upgraded launch facilities.

This latest phase of the Japanese National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) project will be followed next year by flight trials of a scaled supersonic experimental aircraft at Woomera. ADI Limited is project manager responsible for the design and construction of the upgraded launch facilities at Woomera and is also providing logistic support services for the project.

Construction of the new facilities is scheduled to take seven months leading to four supersonic flights powered by rocket boosters. The unmanned aircraft, controlled by an onboard computer which records all in-flight data, will reach an altitude of 19 km. The project's aim is to provide supersonic research and development for the next generation of supersonic passenger aircraft.

The experimental aircraft is 11.5m long, 4.7m wide and has a 10sqm wing area. This represents an approximate11% scale model of the 300 passenger next generation supersonic aircraft. Leading Japanese aircraft companies Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Fuji and Nissan make up the team established by NAL to undertake the Woomera project.

UAV ALTUS Testing In San Diego
ALTUS, a single-turbo charged, high altitude remotely operated aircraft, manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., has been conducting signal intelligence and surveillance missions at Camp Pendleton in support of the US Navy and Marine Corps.

Using various sensors including a new payload comprised of several elements including an ESM component and digital data link, the objectives of the mission were for ALTUS to fly at 15,000 feet and identify signals on the ground such as threat emitters. The information was then passed through a ground control unit, analysed and passed back to ALTUS for optical confirmation of the coordinates.

ALTUS and sister aircraft such as the US Air Force RQ-1 Predator and IGNAT systems have flown in the local area supporting a carrier battle group operating off the southern California coast, Marine amphibious landings at Camp Pendleton and local submarine operations.

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