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by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday September 18, 2002

PC News
New Screens: Midway - Naval Battles
We have screens from, Midway - Naval Battles, the Naval Tatical RTS by Hungarian developers Mithis Games to be released Fall 2003. Midway adapts the naval battles of the Second World War. It introduces how the naval warfare changed during WW2 - from the dreadnaughts protecting the memory of Battle of Jutland to the forerunners of modern carriers. The player may control different vessels in real or hypothetical naval battles. The fleet consists of ships, captains, officers and crew of different abilities. In order to achieve victory, an effective team should be forged.

The episodes follow each other in a truly historical way. The player may choose the American, English, German or Japanese side to serve, which also determines his/her own, controllable character, the hero. During the campaign the player may climb up on the career ladder: from a captain up to the rank of an admiral.

Game Features:
  • Revolutionary 3D engine with abilities never seen before
  • 3D action and tactical battle on the surface, in the air and beneath water
  • Uniquely realistic spectacle: sea and weather effects, real movements of ships
  • Unmatched, detailed tactical gameplay
  • Weather effects that greatly influence the tactics
  • Fleet units, formations, group tactics
  • Simple- but realistic resource management
  • RPG-elements: unique abilities of the crew, officers and captains which are capable of developing during the adventure
  • Team management: the officers and captains of the fleet are managed by the player
  • Historical ships, equipments and battles
  • 4 nations to serve with different career possibilities
  • More than 20 exciting naval battle
  • More than 40 different ships, submarines and planes
  • More than 100 types of weapons and equipments
  • Multiplayer options via LAN or Internet
IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles Features
Ubi Soft today announced the features of IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles, its forthcoming expansion pack for IL-2 Sturmovik. The expansion pack will add 30 new missions, 27 additional flyable aircraft and a new dynamic campaign system offering almost limitless replayability. IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles is expected to ship to North American retail shelves this winter, with an MSRP of $19.99.

Military News
F-22 Redesignation Reflects Combat Role
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper announced a change in the designation of the F-22 Raptor at the 2002 Air Force Association National Convention here Sept. 17. The change is meant to more accurately reflect the aircraft's multimission roles and capabilities in contemporary strategic environments.

"Secretary (of the Air Force Dr. James G.) Roche and I have decided to adopt the name F/A-22, using the A (or attack) prefix to emphasize the multiple roles and many dimensions of the Raptor," Jumper explained. "The Raptor will feed on prey both from the sky and from the (ground)."

Advances in technology and emerging Air Force doctrine make today's Raptor very different from the fighter envisioned when the program was first planned. Technological advancements in the fire control radar and integrated avionics, combined with the advent of smaller, very precise munitions, create a far more powerful air-to-ground strike system, Jumper said in a written statement.

"Indeed, the Raptor's most significant contributions over the next 30 years will be (in) its attack role, particularly against the most lethal next two generations of (enemy) surface-to-air missiles," Jumper said.

The F/A-22 will enable the Air Force's other stealth assets to operate 24 hours a day and will "sanitize the fly corridors" for airlift aircraft to resupply ground forces deployed in enemy territory, the general said.

Roche said in a written statement that the Raptor has been transformed, in line with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's priorities, to a multimission, joint system that will change the way the United States and its allies conduct war.

"Therefore, a redesignation will increase the focus on this transformation and allow people to better grasp this overall evolution," Roche said.

The F/A-22 has evolved into an air dominance aircraft capable of "kicking down the door" in anti-access situations, and the redesignation simply better reflects the inherent air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities of the Raptor, Roche said.

"Transformation is changing our thinking, but not necessarily throwing everything old away," Jumper said. "It's building on what we have but using it in very new ways."

The F/A-22 is a prime example of the Air Force's approach to transforming by combining air dominance, precision attack, networked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and joint close air support into an unprecedented single platform, he said.

"Its sensors will provide valuable information regarding precise target location and characteristics into a common network for all to use -- both air, land and sea," Jumper said. "In short, it will be its own intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform."

The F/A-22 will be the only system able to reliably engage cruise missiles and will be delivered to replace fighters that have been in active service longer than any fighter the Air Force has ever had in its inventory, Jumper said. He added that the F/A-22 will be able to deploy with a fraction of the logistics footprint and manpower required to sustain the service's current 25-year old platforms.

"(Secretary Roche and I) believe that the combination of these capabilities is transformational and that this transformational weapon should be called the F/A-22," Jumper said.

Officials Release Helicopter Accident Report
There were several factors contributing to the May 30 crash of an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter, according to Air Force officials in an accident investigation board report released Sept. 17.

These factors are inaccurate performance-planning data, cumbersome performance-planning charts, changing winds, the pilot's delayed execution of a planned escape route and use of a decertified method for confirming power numbers.

At the time of the crash, the helicopter was assisting in the rescue of three critically injured climbers on Mount Hood near Portland, Ore.

The pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and four pararescuemen escaped safely with nonlife-threatening injuries. The helicopter and its crew were assigned to the 939th Rescue Wing at Portland Air National Guard Base.

According to the report, the aircraft was hovering over the rescue site when the main rotor slowed and the helicopter began to descend. The pilot tried to recover the aircraft and guide it away from the rescue operation. When he realized the helicopter was not recoverable, he attempted to land. During the landing attempt, the main rotor blades hit the terrain. The helicopter rolled seven-and-a-half times down the mountain before coming to a rest. (Courtesy of Air Combat Command News Service)

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