Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Monday December 23, 2002

PC News
Christmas Coverage
Your guide to Holiday activity on COMBATSIM.COM

It won't have escaped your notice that Christmas is approaching. Traditionally, the festive season is a quiet time for game news and reviews, so updates to COMBATSIM.COM are likely to be quite sparse for the next week or so.

Here's the guide to our Holiday plans:

  • Mon 23rd: normal service
  • Tues 24th: some news, maybe, no articles
  • Wed 25th and Thurs 26th: no news or articles
  • Fri 27th and Mon 30th: we'll have a look
  • Tues 31st and Wed 1st Jan: no news or articles
  • Thurs 2nd Jan: normal service resumes
On the days with no updates we won't be answering enquiries either, but the site will be up and running as normal.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

America's Army v1.5 Released
The Army has released another update (Version 1.5) in a series of periodic improvements to the America's Army: Operations game. The update includes new parental controls, a bigger and better Weapons Cache Special Edition map, and multiple additions, 'tweaks,' and fixes to existing gameplay.

Weapons Cache SE (Special Edition). By player demand, the Army has significantly increased the size of the ever-popular Weapons Cache map. With an additional objective, the map is now almost twice the size. The Assaulting team has many more options to attack, and the Defense will need to be on their toes to win now. Full details. -- Download

New Screens: Forgotten Battles
Oleg Maddox has posted the latest screens from the IL-2 sequel, Forgotten Battles. Click here.

Junglewar: Vietcong Launch
As part of their marketing strategy, Take 2 Interactive is launching a free online multiplayer game promoting its upcoming title, Vietcong. Junglewar: Vietcong is inspired by the forthcoming PC game, which in turn is based on Vietnam's traumatic jungle warfare. You play as either US Special Forces, or as part of the defiant Vietcong army. Complete missions, gain points and upgrade your character skills to become the battle-hardened soldier feared by all.

Armored Assault Ships
iEntertainment Network announced that they have shipped Armored Assault. Armored Assault puts you in the driverís seat of a World War II tank. Play offline missions or battle it out with hundreds of players in one of several online arenas. Players can join in training arenas, team combat or even participate in large-scale historical recreations of famous World War II ground battle events. Watch for our review of this title coming soon.

iEntertainment has also announced their next title, tentatively called, M1 Tank Platoon. It will be feature Abrams and T-72s in a terrain that looks interestingly like Iraq. This title will be featured at E3 2003.

Deserters Welcomed Back to WWII Online
Strategy First, Playnet.com and Cornered Rat Software will soon kick off a Welcome Back Soldier promotion for the massively multiplayer PC game World War II Online. The program will grant previously subscribers, who have since closed their accounts, free playtime between December 13, 2002 and January 11, 2003. The account holders will need to log in and download the latest patch to the game (version 1.7) to resume playing.

Battlefield 1942 Bonus Map
Electronic Arts and DICE have released the Battle of Coral Sea, a brand new multiplayer map for Battlefield 1942. Coral Sea is an exciting new map set in the Pacific theater. Players test their piloting skills with a total of 24 planes available on the map. The action isnít limited to dogfighting however as each side has a carrier that they need to defend at all costs. To win, youíll need to sink the enemy carrier, and then fly through a buoy that appears amidst the wreckage of the ship. Coral Sea was designed to play with 24 players. We recommend sever settings of 24 players for the Coral Sea map. Download links

War and Peace Demo
Microids has released a playable demo of War and Peace, enabling you to try out this 3D real-time strategy game set in Napoleonic times. The download offers most of the features of the full game (except save games) and is time-limited to 30 minutes. Download

Military News
Boeing Receives SLAM-ER Production
The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a $60.3 million contract for additional production of 120 Standoff Land Attack Missiles - Expanded Response (SLAM-ER).

SLAM-ER is the U.S. Navy's choice for strikes against high-value land targets, ships in port and at sea. The U.S. Navy has utilized SLAM-ER in combat during several recent military operations. The missile has planar wings for long range and aerodynamic performance, a highly effective warhead for penetration and lethality against hardened targets, and automatic target acquisition that makes it easier for the weapon system operator to designate and track the target aimpoint. The U.S. Navy has now ordered almost 500 SLAM- ER's from Boeing.

"SLAM-ER's capability to attack both autonomously as well as using man-in-the-loop control gives the warfighter tremendous flexibility in planning and executing strike missions," said Capt. Carl Reiber, U.S. Navy program manager for Standoff Missile Systems. "It provides the capability of both deep strike and precision attack."

T-37s Collide In Midair
Two T-37 Tweet trainer aircraft assigned to the 89th Flying Training Squadron here collided in midair about 9:20 a.m. Dec. 20. The incident took place during a training mission near Lake Waurika, located about 40 miles northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas.

Each aircraft had an instructor pilot and a student pilot on board. The crew in one of the jets ejected safely from the aircraft before it crashed, and they were picked up by local authorities. The crew of the other aircraft returned to Sheppard and conducted a wheels-up landing. They safely exited the aircraft and were transported to the base hospital for observation.

A board of officers will investigate the incident.

Unmanned U.S. Plane Presumed Shot Down in Iraq
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Underscoring tensions as talk of war looms, a U.S. military unmanned Predator spy plane was presumed lost on Monday after being fired on by an Iraqi aircraft in the southern no-fly zone of Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The incident is the first apparent downing of a U.S. aircraft in the no-fly zone since a new U.N. disarmament resolution was passed in November. U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers said he did not view the incident as an escalation of the dispute with Iraq over U.N. disarmament demands.

"A U.S. Predator was reported missing in southern Iraq after being fired upon by Iraqi military aircraft, and the Predator is assumed to be lost. The incident occurred in the southern no-fly zone," U.S. military Central Command spokesman Navy Cmdr. Dan Gage said. [More...]

Boeing X-45A Continues to Expand Flight Envelope
The Boeing X-45A Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, or UCAV, air vehicle 1 completed its sixth test flight December 19 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The flight - the first with the landing gear retracted and the first in which the vehicle took off and landed on a hard surface runway - comes just over a month after the first flight of X-45A air vehicle 2 on November 21.

After initial flight worthiness tests are completed, the flight test program will progress from single to multi-vehicle operations, including coordinated taxiing and flight, inter-vehicle communications, dropping inert ordnance and performing missions against simulated threats.

The UCAV system is being developed by the Boeing Phantom Works advanced Research &Development unit and the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems business unit in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force. It is the first unmanned system designed from inception for combat, and the program is on track to provide the U.S. Air Force with initial operational capability by 2008.

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