Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Thursday August 09, 2001

PC News

Not So Fast; Silent Hunter 2 And Destroyer Command Update
If you aren't already baking in this summertime heat wave, then you might be baked when we tell you that the release dates for Silent Hunter 2 and Destroyer Command have slipped once again. Both titles were expected to be simultaneously released late August/early September. Silent Hunter 2 will now be released October 14, 2001 and a month later, on November 14, 2001, Destroyer Command will hit store shelves.

Don't be too disappointed, you will be glad to know that it is for a good cause. Ubi Soft has assured us that their biggest priority is to the fans of the naval simulation genre. "We want the fans to be happy with the titles. Ubi Soft is committed to providing a decent release for Silent Hunter 2 and Destroyer Command. Extra financial backing has been put in place to ensure extra development time, especially for the inter-operability feature between these two titles", said Marcus Beer PR Manager Ubi Soft.

By the sounds of it, Ubi Soft has no intention of repeating the classic Hasbro maneuver "push it out, patch it later."

Team Factor Finds Publisher
Czech Republic developer 7FX has recently signed a worldwide publishing deal with a London based company Singularity Software for "Team Factor". Team Factor is a multiplayer team-based first-person shooter similar to the incredibly popular Half-Life: Counter-Strike mod. You can select from three different teams - blue, red, and black - which are composed of soldiers from different nations. The blue team is made up of US Army Rangers and German Fallschirmjaegers, the red team features the Russian Spetznaz, and the black team currently represents the rest of the world.

Each team has a unique variation on the four basic soldier types - soldier, sniper, specialist, and scout - and each type has a unique set of attributes that makes them ideal for specific combat situations. For example, the basic soldier type has balanced abilities and can access a reasonable amount of weaponry, while the sniper type is for those that want long-range observation and attack capabilities. 7FX has designed the individual team objectives to discourage two teams from joining forces and attacking the single remaining team.

In addition to grenades and general explosive devices, Team Factor features over 40 weapons, all of which have been meticulously modeled after their real-life counterparts. Pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and machine guns are all included in your arsenal - though weapon use is restricted to the type of soldier the player is using. Chances are most players will be able to find their favorite weapons in Team Factor.

7FX is currently preparing a two level game demo to be released the beginning of September.

Aces High Introduces New Arena
HiTech Creations has announced the release of their newest arena "Combat Theater". "Combat Theater" deals with historical, quasi-historical and perhaps even what-if setups. The Theater will rotate between different settings. The length of the rotation period will be dictated by player response. In launching this newest arena, Doug "Pyro" Balmos said, "We're are now poised to open up a lot more diversity of gameplay in AH, and this is a step in that direction. There's a lot more to do to fulfill the potential of this and other expanded offerings, but we'll continue to add and improve as we always have".

Air Command 3 Expansion Pack Released
Shrapnel Games announced today that they have released the Airport Expansion Pack for Air Command 3.0. The expansion pack includes airports from around the world, including three airports designed by the winners of the Airport Design Contest. Air Command 3.0 is a simulation of air traffic control with multiple difficulty levels, pilot digitized voices, pilot errors and miscommunications, and an airport editor provide for many hours of nail biting game play. Click here for further details

Military News

Royal Navy Tomahawk Testing On Target
The TOMAHAWK Cruise Missile system is on target to achieve full operational capability with the Royal Navy after a successful test launch yesterday from the attack submarine HMS TRAFALGAR in the Gulf of Mexico. This provides the UK with a third TOMAHAWK fitted submarine at the date originally planned and its success significantly enhances the Royal Navy's ability to deploy a continuous TOMAHAWK capability world-wide.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach said, "I congratulate the Royal Navy and the TOMAHAWK Integrated Project Team on this successful test firing. TOMAHAWK has already proved its worth in action with the Royal Navy during the Kosovo campaign in 1999. It will now achieve Fleet Weapon Acceptance at the end of this year, as originally planned when the project was approved in 1995. This means the full operational capability will have been delivered to the Royal Navy on time and within budget."

The missile was flown to a target using the satellite Global Positioning System and Digital Mapping Navigation Techniques over a pre-planned route to the test range at the US Air Force Base, Eglin in western Florida. It then made a simulated aerial detonation close above its target, before being recovered safely by parachute.

All Mission Planning and Targeting data for the test flight was provided to HMS TRAFALGAR via satellite communications from the Royal Navy's operational headquarters at Northwood, north west London.

Harpoon Block II Missile Attacks Land Target
The US Navy has successfully tested the new Harpoon Block II missile against a land target on San Nicolas Island at the Naval Air Warfare Centre-Weapons Division sea range off Pt. Mugu in California. This was the first time the missile was employed against a land target. Harpoon is deployed by the navies of 26 countries.

The missile demonstrated its coastal target suppression capabilities by scoring a direct hit on a simulated SA-20 Mobile Radar Van. One of the many new capabilities of the Block II Harpoon is its ability to use its GPS-aided navigation to fly precisely to pre-launch programmed target co-ordinates.

"Today's operation again proved the viability and capability of the Harpoon Block II through a modernisation upgrade of the missile using proven hardware components from the SLAM-ER and JDAM missile programmes," said Capt. Carl Reiber, Navy programme manager, Standoff Missile Systems (PMA-258).

Harpoon Block II provides long-range guidance for coastal and ship targets by incorporating the inertial measuring unit from the Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) program; and the software, mission computer, integrated Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System and GPS antenna from the Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER).

The missile was launched from the USS Decatur (DDG-73), an Arleigh Burke- class guided missile destroyer, which had installed an upgraded Harpoon Ship Command and Launch Control System (HSCLCS) prior to the first launch of the Block II missile in May 2001.

For conventional anti-ship missions, such as open ocean or near-land, the inclusion of GPS/INS improves guidance to the target search area. In addition, the missile is initialised with information about areas to avoid in the search pattern. This information, coupled with the accurate navigation solution, greatly reduces target location uncertainty and allows the Harpoon's active radar seeker to better discriminate the desired target ships from islands, other obstructions or neutral ships.

To strike targets on land and ships in port, the missile uses GPS-aided inertial navigation to hit a user-defined target impact point. The 500-pound blast warhead delivers lethal firepower against a wide variety of land-based targets, including coastal defence sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port/industrial facilities and ships in port. These Block II improvements will maintain Harpoon's probability of target kill even against ships very close to land and in congested waterways.

The multimission Block II missile is capable of being deployed from all current Harpoon missile system platforms with either upgraded existing command and launch equipment or the new Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control System (AHWCS). Block II is fully compatible with Block I capability and existing HSCLCS and AHWCS.

Raytheon Delivers SSDS For USS Nimitz
A Raytheon Company system for the USS NIMITZ designed to provide improved ship self-defence has completed development and has been delivered to the Navy. The Ship Self Defence System (SSDS) combat system, designated MK2 MOD 0, will provide a capability against anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) for the US Navy's aircraft carriers and amphibious ships.

Raytheon's Naval & Maritime Integrated Systems (N&MIS) business unit developed the system during the past two years teamed with the Navy's Programme Executive Office for Theatre Surface Combatants (PEO TSC).

"The team has met the challenges and the resulting SSDS is a highly capable and stable system that provides the next generation in ship self defence for the NIMITZ. It also provides a solid foundation for upgrades for all carriers and amphibious class ships." said Dan Smith, N&MIS vice president and general manager.

SSDS, using track data from the Raytheon's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system, provides automated defence against ASCMs by co-ordinating the actions of the ship's self defence weapon and electronic warfare systems. Although SSDS will not improve capability of individual sensors, it enhances target tracking by integrating the inputs from several different sensors to form a composite track. For example, SSDS will correlate target detections from individual radars, the electronic support measures (ESM) system (radar warning receiver), and the identification-friend or foe (IFF) system, combining these to build composite tracks on targets while identifying and prioritising threats. The system will eventually be installed aboard most classes of non-Aegis ships.

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