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by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday August 08, 2001

Operation Flashpoint Ultimate Upgrade Released
Codemasters has released the Operation Flashpoint Ultimate Upgrade 1. This upgrade includes new unit and weapon add-ons, new single and multiplayer missions. Released in Europe, North American Release Date: September 2001.Click here for our previous coverage.

Military News

Italian Air Force Buys Predator System
The Italian Air Force has ordered a Predator UAV system from manufacturers General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The contract valued at $60 million includes options for the planned purchased of additional aircraft and a number of General Atomics Lynx synthetic aperture radars(SAR) to support all-weather operations.

Production will begin immediately with -deliverables scheduled within 7-9 months. GA-ASI has teamed with Meteor, an Italian aerospace company working in the field of UAVs and Flight Simulators, who will assist with in-country activities and programme support.

Marking this contract milestone, Mr. Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of GA-ASI, stated, "Since 1994, the Predator system has been operated by the US Air Force and has proven its military utility as an essential intelligence gatherer and targeting system. It will play an essential reconnaissance and surveillance role for the Italian Air Force in both military and commercial applications."

GA-ASI won a competitive contract in January 1994 for ten Predator aircraft under the ACTD Program. The first aircraft flew less than six months after contract award. In July 1995, a short one year after first flight, Predator deployed to various countries in the Balkans to support U.N, US and NATO interests in the area. Predator has continued to support operations in the Balkans and Southwest Asia, flying more than 2,300 combat area missions. The jet-powered Predator B, the next generation Predator, has been flying since February 2001.

Eurofighter Awarded IERS Contract
Eurofighter GmbH has been awarded a contract for the provision of an Industrial Exchange and Repair Service (IERS) for Eurofighter Typhoon airborne equipment. The contract is valued in the region of DM1.5 billion. IERS will support the introduction to service of the Eurofighter Typhoon Weapon System across the four partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom by providing an efficient and cost-effective exchange and repair service for key equipment.

IERS is unique in that Eurofighter will manage equipment exchange spares as an international spares pool. This contrasts with more traditional support scenarios where an aircraft customer buys and manages its own spares stock. The "common spares pool" planned for Eurofighter Typhoon will minimise the overall spares requirement and significantly reduce support costs of the four Partner Nations. Commenting on the contract award Major General Roseano, General Manager of the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), said, "This is a significant milestone in the Eurofighter programme. Following the award of a series of ILS contracts this is the first in-service support contract to be awarded to Eurofighter. The IERS contract will give the Nations confidence in preparation for delivery and subsequent operation of the first tranche of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and guarantee flight operations in the four Nations' Air forces."

IERS will allow the four Eurofighter partner air forces to either exchange or submit for repair, airborne equipment, directly at their operating bases. IERS will be provided at the four initial main operating bases of the partner air forces. It will cover a total 199 key items of equipment with 60 items in an exchange service and 139 items in a Guaranteed Repair Turn Round Service. An Industry-managed transportation network will transport items between operating bases and repair centres. The overall efficiency of the service will be monitored and guaranteed through a dedicated information technology logistics management system (IT-LMS). Eurofighter GmbH in Hallbergmoos, Germany is the prime contractor and manager of the overall service.

IERS involves, as partners, all of the main European equipment suppliers including BAE SYSTEM's CSS and SSD, Teldix, LITEF, Smiths, Fiat Avio, Alenia DSAE and INDRA who will provide the repair service. Additionally, the international transportation network will be provided by Zst Ambrosetti of Rome, Italy. The IT-LMS will be provided by a joint venture UK company, BAE SYSTEMS-IFS.

The contract award covers IERS set-up Phase and the Operational Phase until the end of 2005. Follow-on contracts are anticipated and a similar service is expected to be offered to export customers where appropriate.

Lockheed Martin Will Develop MEADS Radar
Lockheed Martin has been awarded three contracts to develop radar systems to support the Risk Reduction Effort (RRE) for the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS), an international air defence programme. The contracts have a combined value of more than $45 million.

The MEADS RRE phase is a collaboration with Alenia Marconi Systems (AMS) in Italy, European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) and LFK in Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States, working as MEADS International.

Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems - Radar Systems is responsible for the design concept for the new surveillance radar that will be used for MEADS. It also is teamed with AMS and EADS to design and produce a functional prototype of the new multifunction fire-control radar (MFCR). The MEADS radar concepts will use a common design for the digital receiver and signal/data processor, allowing for validation of both radar designs using a single prototype.

"These contract awards are a major milestone for NE&SS-Radar Systems," observed Richard Schubert, vice president, radar/sensor systems. "They affirm our position as the world's leader for long-range surveillance radars and even more important, as an emerging leader in the design and development of ground-based X-band radars for missile defence around the world."

Under the RRE program, MEADS International will assess critical technology areas taking into account evolving national air defence concepts. In addition, the RRE programme will generate detailed specifications, statements of work, schedules and cost to prepare for the decision by the participating nations for a follow-on Design and Development Phase.

RNZAF Fighters Up For Sale
The RNZAF fighter aircraft are soon to be offered for sale. 17 Skyhawks and 17 Macchis are involved. The aircraft will be placed on the international market, following the Government's decision to restructure elements of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Air Force Director of Logistics Group Captain Peter Guy said the international financial broker firm Ernst Young had been selected to organise and conduct the marketing strategy and represent the RNZAF during the sale process.

The Skyhawks, some of which have seen over 30 years of service with the RNZAF, will be stored at Woodbourne and the Macchis, which are ten years old, at Ohakea.

Group Captain Guy said a number of organisations had expressed an interest in the aircraft and he expected that they would all be sold.

L-3 Communications Awarded F-16 ATD Contract
L-3 Communications' Link Simulation and Training division has been awarded a one-year, $7.4 million contract for the F-16 Aircrew Training Devices (ATD) program. The F-16 ATD program, part of the US Air Force's Training Systems Acquisition II programme, will consolidate the operation, maintenance and support of F-16 aircrew and maintenance trainers currently being used by the US Air Force, Air National Guard and foreign militaries world-wide. Under terms of the agreement, the Air Force can exercise nine additional one-year options that could grow the programme to approximately $74 million in value.

The contract requires Link to provide on-site contractor logistics support teams at various US Air Force and Air National Guard training locations in the United States and overseas. Link will be providing technical on-call support for fielded F-16 Unit Training Device (UTD) pilot simulators and maintenance trainers located at bases world-wide.

During the first three years of the programme Link also will be making upgrades to currently-fielded F-16 Weapons Systems Trainers (WST). These Link-built simulators, delivered between 1982 and 1994, are used to provide high-fidelity pilot mission training. In making these modifications, each F-16 WST will have its existing mainframe computers, visual systems and interface electronics replaced by Link's advanced personal computer host and image generation systems. Integration of this new computing technology will substantially enhance simulator performance, reduce system maintenance complexity and improve trainer reliability.

A Link team also will operate and support the F-16 ATD program's Training System Support Centre (TSSC), which will be located at Hill AFB. TSSC management, engineering and technical personnel will be responsible for maintaining trainer configuration and concurrency in line with modifications made to F-16 aircraft. In addition, the TSSC team will provide both enhancement engineering and software baseline management. The TSSC also will serve as a central repository for existing visual system databases, the computer generated imagery that pilots view as they fly a simulator, as well as the site for development of new databases.

"This contract award now positions Link as the single point of contact for support of all currently-fielded F-16 trainers, consolidating six separate sustainment contracts for F-16 training support into one," said David Williams, Link Simulation and Training's vice president for training services programmes. "This consolidation will enable Link to provide significant synergies across all F-16 maintenance and aircrew training support requirements."

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