Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday October 16, 2002

PC News
Oldman Cast in MOHAA Add-on
Electronic Arts has announced the addition of acclaimed actor Gary Oldman to the cast of Medal of Honor Allied Assault Spearhead. Mr. Oldman will provide the voice-over for the historical video segments and briefings that appear between each mission in the World War II themed game. The game is currently under development by EALA and is scheduled for release on PC this November.

The Medal of Honor Allied Assault Spearhead expansion pack will include nine new single-player levels and over twelve new multi-player levels. Players will also have the opportunity to play as British, American, German and Soviet troops in an enhanced multi-player mode. Additionally, players will have the ability to choose from a vast arsenal of authentic Soviet and British weapons.

New Screens: Platoon
We have 10 new screens from the Vietnam RTS, Platoon, based on the 1986 Oliver Stone film. For more information on Platoon, check out our interview with the development team.

VFR Photographic Scenery
Just Flight has today released information and screens on its latest upgrade for Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2002. VFR Photographic Scenery is the result of a collaboration between Just Flight, aerial photographic company Getmapping, and developer Visual Flight. The upgrade allows players to fly over photo-realistic scenery across England and Wales, although it will initially be sold by region. The first volume, containing some 1.8Gb of data, will be released in the UK later this month and covers East and South East England.

Throttle Up And Take Control
Thrustmaster has announced the release of the next generation joystick from the Top Gun AfterBurner range, the Top Gun AfterBurner Force Feedback. This joystick combines both a full size throttle and powerful force feedback effects. The Top Gun AfterBurner II features a detachable throttle, and adjustable handle, with redesigned action buttons, the 8-way textured hat-switch has a non-slip surface. The AfterBurner II also comes with customizing software, the Thrustmapper 3.0, to give you access to up to 60 different functions.

Military News
Fire Scout Demonstrates Data Link Capabilities
Northrop Grumman Corporation's Integrated Systems sector has successfully conducted the first in-flight download of real-time sensor imagery from the U.S. Navy's RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle.

The Fire Scout tactical common data link, which is supplied by L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah, consists of both directional and omni directional antennas on the air vehicle and at the ground control station. The data link (Ku band) has a narrow band uplink for vehicle and payload control, and a wide band downlink for digital streaming video and data from the payload (EO/IR/LDRF) to the ground control station and on to the C4I architecture.

In Friday's tests, the Fire Scout first flew for 30 minutes through 32 total waypoints at the China Lake range. During this flight, the vehicle climbed to a maximum altitude of 4,000 feet MSL at an air speed of 30 knots GS. On the second and third flights, Fire Scout flew for 15 minutes through 21 total waypoints while again reaching 4,000 feet MSL and 30 knots CAS. The last two flights focused on payload and data link performance.

The ongoing flight series includes a number of important tests and has demonstrated the system's ability to take off, fly, navigate and land autonomously and collect imagery from its onboard sensor payload. Additional flight tests to support engineering and manufacturing development are planned this fall and winter. Flight tests to demonstrate weapons targeting and delivery as well as shipboard landings are also being considered.

The Fire Scout system is in development for the Navy and Marine Corps. Flying at altitudes up to 20,000 feet, it employs an advanced payload with an electro-optical/infrared sensor including a laser designator/rangefinder to provide intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance with pinpoint accuracy. This demonstrated system provides military decision-makers real-time information and targeting of enemy resources and personnel on the ground. The Fire Scout's communications suite allows simultaneous voice/data relay much farther than the "line of sight" limits of current systems.

Fully autonomous, Fire Scout can fly high above deployed Marines to watch for threats within 150 nautical miles of the ground control station. The system then directs Navy and Marine weapons accurately to the target with precise target location coordinates or the laser designator. Fire Scout was designed to respond to Navy and Marine Corps emerging requirements and to replace the aging Pioneer. A complete system includes three UAVs, two ground control stations, a data link suite and modular mission payloads.

BAE Systems Decoy Completes Navy Fighter Tests
The U.S. Navy and BAE SYSTEMS have successfully completed a series of flight tests of the BAE SYSTEMS AN/ALE-55 Fibre Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD) on the Navy's new F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. The success of these tests follows similarly successful test flights on a U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber in June and July.

The flight tests, conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, were designed to test the endurance and in-flight stability of the FOTD under extremely stressful flight conditions. During these tests, the ALE-55 was subjected to combat representative flight manoeuvres. Its fibre optic towline, which connects the decoy to the aircraft, endured multiple exposures to the fighter's afterburner plume. The ALE-55 maintained fibre optic and electrical continuity throughout the entire flight profile.

"It's proving to be an incredibly stable decoy through even the most extreme flight conditions," said Walt Wolf, BAE SYSTEMS Flight Test Program Manager. Wolf said the ALE-55's distinct dynamic fins are key to the decoy's stability. The fins adjust to changes in the air stream and help maintain continuity by minimising the stress on the fibre optic line.

Another key component to the ALE-55 is its towline's unique ability to withstand the intense heat of the F/A-18's afterburner plume, explained Wolf. "In the past, a decoy's towline would 'burn through' when exposed to a fighter jet's afterburner plume," Wolf said. "BAE SYSTEMS worked closely with the Navy, industry, and academia to develop a thermally resistant fibre optic line that has withstood more than three times the required duration of exposure in maximum afterburner."

IDECM incorporates onboard receivers and off-board countermeasures that include the high-powered FOTD and deployment canister. IDECM provides a highly effective electronic warfare defence for U.S. military aircraft against current and future RF missile threats. Currently, the IDECM is slated for deployment on the F/A-18E/F, the B-1B, and the F-15 aircraft.

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