Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday September 03, 2002

PC News
Rainbox Six 3: Raven Shield Delayed
We have learned, straight from the producer, that the release date of Rainbox Six 3: Raven Shield is postponed till beginning of February. Originally scheduled to release in November, Chadi Lebbos, Producer Raven Shield, said, " The delay will permit us to deliver the ultimate Rainbow Six experience and a game worthy of the Clancy name. The work we still have to do is tweaking and balancing the whole game out. The very important testing and debugging period has already started a while back." For more information on Raven Shield, check out our interview with Chaddi and the Montreal team.

Black Hawk Down MP Demo News
NovaLogic today announced that the official multiplayer demo for Delta Force - Black Hawk Down will be released on Thursday September 5th 2002. The demo will be available for download from www.novalogic.com and a number of key mirror sites. The demo follows the hugely successful multiplayer beta that had over 200,000 recorded downloads during its seven-day availability period. The demo will feature one multiplayer level and includes day and night settings. Delta Force – Black Hawk Down will ship during October 2002. For more information on Black Hawk Down, check out our preview coverage of the game.

New Screens: Iron Storm
We have 9 new screens from the upcoming World War I shooter, Iron Storm. The game takes place in an imaginary environment that has been inspired by real events. Iron Storm takes real elements from the First World War (trenches, barbed wire fences, mines, gas warfare) and combines them with more modern elements from the Second World War (radar, penicillin, automatic weapons, tanks) as well as elements inspired by the Vietnam War (helicopters, lasers, electronics).

The gameplay in Iron Storm combines shoot ’em-up, action and reflection. The player undertakes an infiltration mission and must possess combat skills as well as stealth if he is to survive as he penetrates behind enemy lines. Depending on the circumstances, the player can choose between first and third person views.

New Screens: SWAT Urban Justice
We have 10 new screens from SWAT: Urban Justice. SWAT:UJ takes the great gameplay pioneered in SWAT 3 to an entirely new level with the innovative Takedown engine, 16 realistic missions, faster pace, and 24-person multiplayer capabilities. Include the added gameplay scalability of Jumpstart mode and the option to use new football-style plays that minimize team micromanagement.

Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin Demo
Battlefront.com has released a playable demo of Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin, the 3D turn-based war game sequel under construction at Big Time Software. The demo offers two beta scenario complete with all the resources and gameplay elements needed to complete them. Download demo

Iron Storm Demo
A playable demo of Iron Storm is now available, offering the opportunity to try out this first- and third-person shooter by 4X Studio that puts you in the middle of an alternate history World War I that still rages in 1964. This demo features two missions from the full game and supports English and the main European languages. Download demo.

New Screens: WWII: Frontline Command
We have 8 new screens from WWII: Frontline Command. Frontline Command is a squad-based action RTS game currently in development at The Bitmap Brothers. As a commander of Allied forces in Europe in the last year of World War II, players enter into combat with the Axis forces to drive the enemy back deep inside its own territory. Its single-player campaign game features 25 missions, starting with the initial Allied assault on June 6th 1944 and ending at Hitler's lair in mountainous southern Germany. The close of the campaign will see the player pitted against crack German Army units with experimental hardware.

IL-2 Sturmovik v1.2 Released
Ubi Soft has released the latest IL-2 Sturmovik upgrade, Version 1.2, 1 week earlier than previously announced. The upgrade consists of four new flyable aircraft and 10 new single player missions and six new cooperative online missions. All of the new features including how to activate the Stuka diving sirens are explained in the readme file that will be included with the upgrade. Download the upgrade.

New Screens: LOMAC
Last week Ubi Soft released three work-in-progress development shots of Lock On: Modern Air Combat. The first shot illustrates the detail being put into the new weapons models. The second shows an example of a pilot which can have variable o2 mask, clear visor, and dark visor. The third image gives you an early look at the new F/A-18C model. The Hornet will be used with US, Canadian and Spanish forces. Click here to view screenshots.

Military News
Kuwait to Purchase Sixteen Apache Longbows
Kuwait's ministry of defense has signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the U.S. Department of Defense for the purchase of 16 AH-64D Apache Longbow combat helicopters. With the signing of this agreement, Kuwait becomes the seventh international defense force to select the AH-64D and the eleventh Apache customer worldwide.

Once the foreign military sales agreement is complete, the U.S. Army will contract with Boeing and other team Apache industry members on behalf of Kuwait for the aircraft and equipment. The total program, which is expected to approach $900 million, includes the acquisition of the Longbow fire control radar, ordnance -- including Hellfire missiles -- spare parts, training services and maintenance support. Production and delivery information for these aircraft -- to be used by the Kuwait Air Force -- has not been disclosed.

The AH-64D Apache features fully integrated avionics and weapons plus a state-of-the-art modem that transmits real-time, secure, digitized battlefield information to air and ground forces. The Apache Longbow is the world's only fourth-generation attack helicopter and the only combat helicopter in service with the ability to rapidly detect, classify, prioritize and engage stationary or moving enemy targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather environments.

USS Kitty Hawk Commanding Officer Relieved
The Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Robert F. Willard, relieved the commanding officer of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Capt. Thomas Hejl, Sept. 3 due to a loss of confidence in Capt. Hejl's ability to lead his crew and carry out essential missions and taskings. Capt. Hejl will be temporarily assigned to the Naval Air Forces, Pacific staff in San Diego.

The United States is engaged in a global war against terrorism, and it is vital that our forward deployed ships be ready to carry out our nation's taskings when ordered. The material condition of Kitty Hawk and the crew's proficiency are essential elements to this required high level of readiness. This step is being taken to ensure USS Kitty Hawk achieves and maintains those high standards.

USS Kitty Hawk's new commanding officer is Capt. Robert Donel (Don) Barbaree, Jr. the former executive officer of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and commanding officer of USS Seattle (AOE 3). Capt. Barbaree had been serving as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Engagement at 7th Fleet.

While this action has been deemed necessary by Vice Adm. Willard, he commended Captain Hejl for his many years of honorable service to his country and the U.S Navy.

Joint Strike Fighter Test Team Puts Safety First
With planning for the Joint Strike Fighter flight-test program in high gear, experts from the JSF integrated test force here are focusing on the high-tech safety designs the new fighter will offer future aircrews.

Both the Air Force and the Navy will conduct testing on all of the JSF variants, including the Air Force, Navy and Marine versions as well as the foreign version of the aircraft. Once test pilots begin evaluating the JSF, they will be looking at several key features that have been designed specifically for its pilots and ground crews.

The fighter's most unique safety characteristic is its prognostic health management system, which begins working before the aircraft returns from a mission, said Mark Crawford, chief engineer for the JSF here. With this system, the aircraft relays key maintenance information to ground support people who can then assemble the right skills, technical data and aircraft spares needed to quickly return the jet to the air.

Crawford said that if a system, such as the aircraft's radar, were to fail or sustain battle damage, the health management technology would signal an in-flight reconfiguration thus allowing the pilot to link to a wingman's radar system to complete the mission. The reliability and fault-isolation data offered by the system will also help JSF maintenance crews identify when an aircraft is meeting mission and reconfiguration requirements.

"This will lead to reduced maintenance and supply cycle time and will make the most of our logistics resources," said Crawford. "This means more sorties with fewer resources and the ability to do both safely."

The fighter's ground collision avoidance system also has been developed to assist a pilot in a situation where he or she might be task-saturated or temporarily incapacitated. If such a situation arises, the aircraft will automatically maneuver to avoid hitting terrain or obstacles.

The system uses digitally stored databases including one containing terrain representative data to predict when a collision with the ground is imminent, said Crawford. A fly-up is commanded prior to impact signaling the flight controls to execute an automatic fly-up. The mission computer terrain database can be updated flight to flight to support the current mission plan. Pilots will also have the ability to add man-made features to the terrain if needed, said Crawford.

The new fighter also represents a significant step forward in safety of short takeoff and vertical landing, or STOVL, operations as compared to older aircraft such as the British Harrier. The airframe of the Marine version of the JSF has been modified to allow for STOVL operations and is slated to replace the Marine's current fleet of AV-8B Harrier jump jets.

The JSF flight control system will take inputs from the pilot and through its sophisticated software algorithms will determine the safest and most effective method to accomplish the pilot's desired task. The computer system will also correct for environmental and other external influences on the aircraft including wind and ship movement to safely land the F-35 on a carrier deck.

"In the older legacy STOVL systems the pilots had to account for all of these influences, which significantly drove up their workload and led to a higher mishap rate over the lifecycle of those aircraft," Crawford said. "During the concept demonstration phase, F-35 pilots were extremely impressed with the X-35's reduced workload and commented on the relative ease of landing vertically as compared to with what they were used to in the past."

The team is relying on lessons learned from the fighter's concept demonstration phase, which ended last October with the Defense Department's decision to safely develop the JSF, according to Joe Dowden, director of the JSF test force here.

In all, the joint JSF flight-test program will conduct an estimated 11,000 flight-test hours before turning the aircraft over to those who will fly it into combat. The first test aircraft is expected to touch down here for developmental testing in 2005. An additional 18 are expected to arrive once the program moves into operational testing in 2010.

Once the JSF moves into production, the Air Force will be its largest customer, with current plans to purchase about 2000 of the conventional takeoff and landing version of the aircraft. The Air Force version is designed primarily for air-to-ground combat and to replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt and to complement the F-22 Raptor.

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