Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday July 31, 2001

PC News

New Silent Hunter II Screens
Ubi Soft has sent us 11 new Silent Hunter 2 screens. Set in the dangerous waters of WWII's Atlantic, Silent Hunter II plunges players into riveting historic campaigns. Silent Hunter II ships simultaneously with SSI's Destroyer Command and are the first 2 separate games to play against each other via the internet. Silent Hunter II owners can go on line with friends who are piloting the naval destroyers of Destroyer Command and attempt to crush them with the power of their submarine. Release Date: Q3, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

New Destroyer Command Screens
Ubi Soft has sent us 32 new Silent Hunter 2 screens. Based on actual historical missions from WWII, stalk U-boats, swat Kamikaze planes, escort convoys, blast enemy ships, or pound the beaches in support of infantry landings. Destroyer Command along with SSI's Silent Hunter II ship simultaneously and are the first 2 separate games to play against each other via the internet. Destroyer Command owners can go on line with friends who are piloting the cunning U-boats of Silent Hunter II and attempt to crush them with the power of their destroyer ship. Release Date: Q3, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

New Ghost Recon Screens
Ghost Recon marks Red Storm's return to the 'Squad based tactical shooter' genre for the first time since 1999's Tom Clancy's Rogue Spear. Player's conduct extensive missions on foot, but you'll occasionally have assistance from troops in tanks, helicopters and close air support. Release Date: Q4, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Divided Ground Has Shipped
TalonSoft has announced that Divided Ground: Middle East Conflict 1948-1973 began shipping to retailers nationwide today, July 31st 2001. Divided Ground: Middle East Conflict 1948-1973 continues the strong tradition of TalonSoft's Campaign Series by engulfing you in one of the most intense conflicts the world has ever known. This epic turn based strategy allows players to relive the historical battles of The Six Day War, The Independence War, The War of the Waters and The Yom Kippur War.

Remote Assault Now Shipping
Shrapnel Games announced today that the 3D real time wargame, Remote Assault, will begin shipping July 31. Remote Assault is a real time 3D wargame set in the near future that offers many new features never combined in one single wargame. Click here for the demo.

Some of these features include:

  • Fully 3D environment that allows for full fog of war with true line of sight.
  • Customizable AI that allows you to define how aggressive or passive your units will be upon contact with the enemy.
  • Ability to group units in command structures from as small as squads to as large as groups (of squads). With chain of command you can issue orders to individual units, squads, or groups.
  • Branching campaign structure that allows you to lose some scenarios and still advance.
  • Realistic ballistic modeling on artillery and tank shells. Shell paths are affected by air resistance.
  • Unit damage can be of a limited nature that may affect only sensors, movement, armor, or weapon systems.
  • Hundreds of units can be in battle at once.
Fighting Steel Project V4.0 Released
Naval Warfare Simulations has announced that the Fighting Steel Project V4.0 has been posted.This update includes the newly added BB Iowa and CA Wichita classes, some improved sound effects, and a list of additional gunnery updates and other enhancements. Click here for more information.

Raider Operations Announced
Historical Strategy Re-Creations (HSR) has announced that it is now in the final release preparation stages for its "Raider Operations" (RO)(working title) naval game. This is the first new naval gunnery game to be published in 9 years.

Raider Operations is an Internet, multi-player, simultaneous movement, real-time game which re-creates strategic level naval gunnery operations and the tactical battles that derive directly from the results of those operations in the period from 1898 to 1944. RO also provides challenging solitaire play. Internet sessions will be free.

This new design delivers many key features naval enthusiasts have been hoping for:

  • Both a strategic game and a seamlessly integrated tactical game having a real-time first person battle view.
  • Delayed information about the enemy.
  • Historically realistic and plausible results.
  • Not turn based, not hex based and not phase based, Raider Operations has continuous time (with pausing), simultaneous ordering and real-time modeling.
  • Unlimited ships, players, time scales, and geographic scales. Land presented worldwide. Team play with AI support as needed.
  • Runs well on the smallest and oldest systems (best at 1024x768 screen resolution). Including Macintosh using Virtual PC (also Linux, NT and Windows 2000).
  • Colorful events and shell details reported in full logs providing a complete history of the game.
  • Advanced command and control modeling with AI officers conducting subordinate responsibilities. You make admiral level decisions.

Military News

X-47A Pegasus UAV Unveiled
Northrop Grumman Corporation's Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) announced today that it has completed production of the X-47A Pegasus, a company-funded, unmanned air vehicle that will be used to demonstrate aerodynamic qualities suitable for autonomous operation from an aircraft carrier.

"Pegasus will demonstrate the suitability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) for aircraft carrier operations, continuing Northrop Grumman's legacy of investing in leading-edge technologies and innovative concepts to meet emerging defense needs," said Scott J. Seymour, ISS vice president for Air Combat Systems. "UAV's represent a transformational capability that can cost-effectively augment manned systems. We are working closely with our customers to leverage the synergy of manned and unmanned aircraft to accomplish current and future mission requirements."

David Mazur, Northrop Grumman's X-47A Pegasus program manager, noted that the company made the decision to invest in an unmanned demonstration air vehicle in July 2000. "To go from program start to a finished air vehicle in one year's time is quite an accomplishment and a tribute to our employees and the industry team that worked on Pegasus," Mr. Mazur said. In particular, Northrop Grumman worked with Scaled Composites, Mojave, Calif., on building the air vehicle.

The Pegasus demonstrator which rolled out today in Mojave will be moved next month to the company's facility in El Segundo, Calif., for a series of systems checkout tests to prepare it for first flight, expected by the end of this year.

Northrop Grumman received the X-47A designation for Pegasus from the Air Force earlier this year. The "X" (experimental) designation acknowledges Pegasus' significance as a program that will advance challenging aviation concepts.

The results of the Pegasus demonstration effort will be used in Northrop Grumman's continuing work on a naval unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV-N). Under its UCAV-N contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Navy, Northrop Grumman is performing trade studies, analysis and preliminary design. The goal of the joint DARPA/Navy project is to demonstrate the technical feasibility for a UCAV-N system to effectively and affordably conduct sea-based 21st century suppression of enemy air defenses, strike and surveillance missions within the emerging global command and control architecture.

Furmanite Develops Customized Solution For Tornado Aircraft
Kaneb Services subsidiary Furmanite World-wide has delivered an advanced customized solution for on-site maintenance of Tornado fighter aircraft. The new machine, manufactured by Furmanite and designed in partnership with BAE SYSTEMS, is set to be rolled out to air forces across the world following a successful on-site trial with the German air force last month.

The Furmanite solution provides cost-effective on-site maintenance of the Tornado taileron system. Lightweight and portable, it can be applied to a Tornado aircraft in a hangar, virtually anywhere in the world.

The equipment is a lightweight, portable air-powered precision engineering tool that bolts directly onto the Tornado taileron spigot, and is set to specific tolerances determined by BAE SYSTEM's technicians. The maintenance procedure on a Tornado jet has been reduced to one week, when that same procedure previously could take up to six months and required the removal and replacement of the taileron spigots.

Based on its revolutionary performance capabilities, Furmanite's solution has been nominated for a BAE SYSTEMS' Chairman's Award for Innovation.

BAE SYSTEMS' David Gillett commented: "We called in Furmanite on a recommendation, based on their expertise in this area. We gave them a very difficult problem to solve, requiring very specific and accurate results, and they solved it."

"Furmanite has achieved a significant advance for the aviation industry, at the same time opening new market opportunities for our company. In partnership with BAE SYSTEMS, Furmanite has delivered the first precision engineering solution for high-tolerance, on-site aircraft machining," said John R. Barnes, chairman and CEO of Kaneb Services, Inc. "This solution is now being offered to air forces world-wide." Today, more than 1,000 Tornado jets are in service.

MH-60R Completes First Flight
The first test article MH-60R aircraft made its maiden forward flight on July 19, successfully carrying out basic flight acceptance test procedures, including engine power checks, auto rotation and vibration checks. The initial flight lasted 1.7 hours and the aircraft has since compiled another 2.3 hours in preparation for customer acceptance.

The test aircraft is a remanufactured US Navy SH-60B that has been retrofitted at Sikorsky with a new Lockheed-Martin glass cockpit. Airframe improvements include a new cabin, strengthened floor, high-speed machined parts, and future growth provisions. The original SH-60B tailcone and dynamic components were removed and underwent special depot level maintenance (SDLM) at Sikorsky prior to incorporation on the MH-60R.

"The successful flight of the first test aircraft brings the MH-60R one step closer to production," said John Wakefield, Sikorsky's vice president for the Maritime Helo Product Line. "This aircraft will provide the Navy with enhanced capability to perform undersea, anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare missions."

The Navy will accept the first test aircraft later this month. The aircraft will remain in Stratford after acceptance for additional testing prior to its first stop at the Naval Air Warfare Centre (NAWC) by August 10 for flight test instrumentation. The aircraft will then be flown to Lockheed Martin Systems Integration for the installation and testing of the new mission systems, including sonar, radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Integrated Self Defence Suite and Displays.

The first two prototype MH-60R aircraft are already in test flight at the NAWC. Under the current contract, Sikorsky and Lockheed will provide nine remanufactured SH-60B aircraft, including four test articles to be delivered in 2001 and five low-rate initial production aircraft delivered in 2002.

The US Navy recently restructured the remaining MH-60R aircraft from a remanufacture of the existing US Navy H-60 fleet to a new buy programme with a total requirement of 243 aircraft. Also, the programme designation has changed from the SH-60R to reflect the MH-60R's multi-mission role. The aircraft will fly from the Navy's frigates, destroyers aircraft carriers, and cruisers and carry out the missions currently performed by the SH-60B/F and HH-60H aircraft.

"The MH-60R will provide greatly increased capability to our warfighters while lowering the operating and support costs of the Navy helicopter fleet." said Captain Bill Shannon, the Navy Multi-Mission Helicopter Programme Manager.

New Radio System Lifts Fog Of Battle
A new radio system being issued to the UK's front-line combat troops in all three Services will help lift the fog of battle. Troops will get a lightweight headset linked to a radio the size of a personnel stereo system to pass orders and information amongst themselves during combat at distances up to half a kilometre, including among buildings or in thick woodland.

Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach watched trials of the new system by 45 Commando Royal Marines on Salisbury Plain today.

Afterwards he said "The one aspect of infantry combat that has not changed since the Romans is the need for squad leaders to shout orders or pass instructions by hand signals to their soldiers.

"The new Bowman Personal Role Radio will end this and will transform the way our troops fight. It is one of the very best examples we have of a low cost item of equipment that has a huge impact on combat effectiveness. "It means our troops will be able to tell each other what is round the corner. Having that information gives our men and their commanders huge tactical advantage and cuts the chance of friendly fire incidents."

The new radio is being delivered as part of the Bowman battlefield communications system.

A contract valued at about 20 million for 45,000 Personal Role Radios and five years' support was awarded to Marconi in February this year. PRR will equip combat formations across all three Services including the Royal Marines, RAF Regiment and Army infantry, engineer and artillery units among others with a planned in service date of March 2002.

The Personal Role Radio has a headset that fits under a soldier's combat helmet connected to a small radio that can be clipped to the soldier's webbing.

US Threatens To Cut Korea Loose Over Fighter Contract
The United States will refuse to help integrate crucial weapon systems if Korea looks elsewhere to fulfil its new fighter programme. A request by the ROK Air Force to confirm that the US would be willing to integrate American built weapons with the Eurofighter-Typhoon, Rafale, or Su-35 aircraft has been denied by the US Defence Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA). The three fighters are competing with the F-15 for the programme, code-named F-X, which is worth an estimated $3.3 billion.

In a letter viewed by the Korea Times, the director for Middle East Asia and North Africa at the DSCA, Edward W. Ross said, "At this time, we can't respond positively to your request for Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs) for the integration of various US weapon systems".

The weapon systems involved enable the craft to communicate with each other and identify hostile targets and it is thought that the withdrawal of US assistance could have potentially disastrous results. "All other products except for F-15s need integration work for cryptographic systems and weapons since the existing ROK Air Force fleet is so integrated and needs to fly with US fighters in the Korean theatre," one ROK military official said.

This attempt to pressurise the Koreans could stem from doubts over the lifespan of the Boeing F-15 fighter. If the F-X programme was to opt elsewhere it is feasible that international demand would not be sufficient to ensure the continued production of the F-15.

However, Boeing has strongly refuted any such claims. "Even if Korea does not buy F-15, the production line will keep running as Boeing has other customers such as Israel and Saudi Arabia," said a Boeing official.

If the F-X contract does not go to F-15 it would mean a period of lengthy negotiations between both the US and Korean governments and the chosen aircraft manufacturer in order to find a satisfactory solution to the problem of integration. For this reason, along with the desire to keep relations with the US healthy, it seems likely that Korea will bow to Stateside pressure.

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