Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Friday, January 24, 2003

PC Games & Hardware News

Strategy First to Publish Just Flight Add-ons
(Montreal, Canada) Publisher Strategy First is happy to announce a publishing agreement with European Publisher and Developer Just Flight to bring 4 add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator series to the North American market in 2003.

"The Just Flight games are fun, historic titles that will have fans of Flight Simulator very excited," says Steve Milburn, Director of Marketing for Strategy First. "We are very happy to be bringing these add-ons to the North American market."

Strategy First to publish four Just Flight Add-ons.

Mungo Amyatt-Leir, Just Flight's Managing Director, adds, "Strategy First is a perfect partner for us and we're pleased that our most popular releases will be reaching an even wider audience in North America, the birthplace of flight simulators."

Strategy First will publish the following four Just Flight titles: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, The Dam Busters, World Airliners and World Airports.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight gives players 11 impeccably detailed historic aircraft that make up the Royal Air Force's unique Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The Dam Busters lets players experience the first realistic simulation that meticulously captures the heroism and sheer excitement of the historic Dam Busters raid of 1943. World Airliners puts players at the controls of the 777-200 and 747-400 commercial airliners. World Airports is a tour of nine of the world's most famous and busiest airports, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and Newark.

Website: Strategy First
Website: Just Flight

Platoon Easy Mod
Monte Cristo and Digital Reality are pleased to bring you a mod for Platoon. This mod features a number of changes in the gameplay that allow you to experience the game in a totally new way, and respond to a number of requests that the community has expressed. This modification makes the game easier in two ways: It allows you to save the game within missions, and allows the soldiers to respond to enemy fire by firing and taking cover without requiring you to give an explicit order.

The much needed in-game save feature has been added.

Platoon covers the period from the early days of the conflict (late 1965) to the height of battle in 1968. and recreates some of the most tragic moments of the Vietnam war : Operation “Shiny Bayonet”, the Pleiku Campaign, Operation “Pershing”... Combat and weapons are ultra realistic, real-life tactics making use of real US Army reports and documents.

Download: Platoon Easy Mod [1.76 MB]

Rise of Nations to Launch in UK this May
Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Rise of Nations, the latest real-time strategy game from famed game developer Brian Reynolds, will launch in the UK early May. Poised to reinvent the genre, Rise of Nations allows players to overwhelm opponents with military might, or to apply the tried-and-true art of diplomacy to campaign over 6,000 years of history from the Ancient Age to the Information Age - and ultimately, to achieve global prominence.

Conquer the world, baby!

Developed by Big Huge Games, Rise of Nations combines the epic scope and depth of traditional turn-based strategy games with the pulse-pounding thrill and speed of RTS games, providing unprecedented excitement while maintaining rich gameplay. The game allows players to create new cities, improve their city infrastructure and expand national borders. Players have the option to win through military might using everything from slingers, cannons, musketeers, tanks, aircraft carriers to nuclear missiles, or corner the market on key commodities, and wheel and deal with 18 highly diverse and unique nations. Rise of Nations also features innovative approaches to gameplay through features such as national borders, spies, generals and flank attacks.

In addition to streamlined and fast-paced multiplayer games, Rise of Nations also features the in-depth Conquer the World campaign, which allows gamers to expand their empire across the globe as they face a variety of tactical challenges on the road to global domination.

Website: Rise of Nations

War and Peace Patch v1.0.2
War and Peace is a revolutionary game in the RTS genre. For the first time, players will really be in charge of the entire strategy of their nations: politics, economy, diplomacy, army, tactics, etc. On a unique, full 3D map of the entire world, you'll be able to take full commands of your nation in a true historical context. You will discover and enjoy the experience of being a major statesman at the dawn of the fascinating 19th century!

Conquer the world, ba.... oh! did we use that already?

Website: http://www.microids.com/english/Gameswar.html
File Download: War and Peace Patch v1.0.2 [8.1 MB] (3DGamers)

GHC adds Battlefield 1942 Section
The Gaming Help Center has added a help section for Battlefield 1942. What is the Gaming Help Center, you ask?

From the GHC website:
Gaming Help Center is a website built for the gamer in distress. You come here to find help about games or to find the right game for you to buy. This site is almost entirely client based which means that it doesn't expand unless you ask questions and interact with the other viewers via forums. Go to the forums and post a gaming problem and it will be answered and put on the site. The person viewing the website helps build it. Questions (gaming questions) are very important so ask them. Currently Gaming Help Center (GHC) is only PC based but if we get popular enough we might add other fields such as X-box and PS2.

Website: Gaming Help Center

Defense / Aerospace News

Historic AVRO Arrow Hangers Slated for Demolition

The Arrow Alliance wants to stop the demolition of the historic AVRO Arrow hangers.

From Peter Waddell of the Arrow-Alliance:
On Feb 1, 2003 Boeing intends to tear down the hangers where the Arrow was built. I have been to the site and it is still inspiring. I wish at least part of the plant maybe the face could be preserved. The full size painting of the Arrow is still on the ground where the actual plane was rolled out. It is a very special feeling to actually stand on that piece of ground and see the size of the plane painted on the ground beneath your feet.

If you know of anyone who might be able to help in the urgent request to save a piece of Canadian History I would welcome your assistance and advice.

Please forward or e-mail others who might also been connected with this history to try to approach a historical board to preserve this last piece of original history.

Please print out and sign or fax or e-mail a copy of this document to Sheila Copps. There are many other channels we should pursue, I'll try to put together a page on the web site ASAP. Either that or in the discussion group.

Sheila Copps: [email protected]
Website: http://www.pch.gc.ca/index_e.cfm

Please see links and info below.
Heritage Toronto: http://heritagetoronto.org/cgi/contact/display.pl
Email: [email protected]

Navy Names New Destroyers Honoring Naval Heroes
WASHINGTON (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England has selected the names of three naval heroes for the next Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.

Fleet Adm. William F. Halsey Jr., Adm. Forrest Sherman and Adm. David Glasgow Farragut will each have a guided-missile destroyer sail under their names.

USS Halsey will honor Adm. William F. Halsey Jr. (1882-1959). During World War I (WWI), Cmdr. Halsey was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions while in command of USS Benham (DD 397) and USS Shaw (DD 373).

"Halsey," "Sherman," and "Farragut" will adorn new destroyers.

Designated a naval aviator in 1935 at the age of 52, he took command of USS Saratoga (CV 3) from 1935 until 1937. In February 1942, then-Vice Adm. Halsey led the first counter-strikes of World War II (WWII) against the Japanese with carrier raids on the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.

Northrop-Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss., will build Halsey.

USS Forrest Sherman will honor Adm. Forrest Percival Sherman (1896-1951). Sherman served as Chief of Naval Operations from November 1949 until his death on July 22, 1951.

When WWII began, he served in the War Plans Division under the Chief of Naval Operations. After assuming command of USS Wasp (CVS 18) in May 1942, he attained the rank of captain and earned the Navy Cross for his leadership during early phases of the occupation and defense of Guadalcanal.

Sherman went on to become the youngest man ever to serve as Chief of Naval Operations. One previous ship, USS Forrest Sherman (DD 931), was named in his honor.

Sherman will be built by Northrop-Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss.

USS Farragut is named for Adm. David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870). One of the Civil War's great heroes, Farragut gained famed for his exploits while in command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War.

In 1862, his ships fought past Confederate forts to capture New Orleans, proving for the first time cities could be taken by naval forces. In 1863 at Vicksburg, Miss., he gained control of the Mississippi River, splitting the Confederacy. Then, in 1864, he boldly led his squadron through a minefield to win the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Four previous ships have been named Farragut: A torpedo boat (1899-1919); a destroyer (DD 300) (1920-1930); a destroyer (DD 348) (1934-1945) that earned 14 battle stars in WWII; and a guided-missile destroyer (DDG 37) (1960-1989).

Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics Co., in Maine will build Farragut.

Halsey, Sherman and Farragut are Flight IIA variants of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and incorporate a helicopter hanger facility in the original design. The ships can carry two SH-60B/R helicopters.

Guided-missile destroyers operate independently and in conjunction with carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and replenishment groups.

B-52 Sees Biggest Improvement in 15 Years
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) — After three years of planning, Air Force flight test experts here introduced a new offensive avionics system for the B-52 Stratofortress.

Flight testing of the B-52 Avionics Midlife Improvement, known as AMI, began in mid-December and is scheduled to continue through March 2004, with 80 sorties averaging eight hours long and several global missions planned to last more than 24 hours.

The AMI program is specifically designed to upgrade the B-52H offensive avionics system and includes replacing the inertial navigation system, the avionics control unit, the data transfer system and all associated hardware and software.

The Big Ugly "Fellow" gets new avionics system.

"It is the biggest improvement to the B-52 in 12 (to) 15 years," said Maj. Ed Bellem, B-52 flight commander and AMI project pilot. "AMI is a critical modification; an essential upgrade needed to keep the B-52 airborne.

"Processors equivalent to the Commodore 64 are being removed and replaced with (Pentium II-level) processing capabilities," Bellem said. "This improvement will ensure the airplane knows where it is at all times and can accurately deliver bombs on target."

As the main hub for all AMI flight testing, approximately 200 people at Edwards are dedicated to the program; however, the B-52's avionics upgrade stretches far beyond the boundaries of the base.

Boeing's Wichita, Kan., division is responsible for the overall development of AMI. Key players include people from the Boeing High Desert Assembly Integration and Test Centers; the 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Edwards; the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; and the B-52 system program office at Tinker AFB, Okla.

"Everybody is hustling to keep this program on track," said David Siu, B-52 flight test manager and AMI project manager.

The $8.5 million effort is on time and on cost, but the schedule is the greatest risk.

"The fleet starts living off spare parts in 2004," said Bellem. "The current INS is becoming unsupportable."

With the B-52 approaching its 50th anniversary, parts to repair, maintain and replace are just not available, he said.

Some of the manufacturers are going out of business, while others are trying to stay on the front end of technology, spending their money to support new platforms as opposed to old ones, according to Siu.

AMI is not only needed to prevent capability loss caused by a lack of vendors and non-supportable equipment, but the improvement will also ensure compatibility with new and future weapon systems, he said.

"Without this avionics upgrade, there is no way weapons coming online today or in the future will be able to operate with the B-52 as their platform," said Maj. Merrice Spencer, a B-52 navigator and chief of avionics and weapons integration.

To date, AMI is conquering these main system shortcomings and performing as designed, said Bellem.

"So far, the upgrade has been almost transparent to us," he said, "but there has been a significant improvement in reliability, which corresponds to mission-capable rate."

The average time between aircraft need extensive repairs has increased from an average of 700 hours to an average of 7,500 hours.

AMI's extensive flight-test schedule is based on the capability of the B-52 itself. The aircraft can carry a 20 to 30 varying weapon types -- more than any other platform in the inventory. Flight testing must maximize weapon scenarios to demonstrate AMI's ability to enhance mission performance.

"The B-52 has proven its flexibility over 50 years, from dropping bombs at 50,000 feet to providing close-air support," said Spencer. "The flexibility of this bomber will continue well into the future."

Danish Air Force Upgrades F-16 AN/ALQ-162 Countermeasures Systems
(ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.) The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) has reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to using Northrop Grumman Corporation's AN/ALQ-162 electronic countermeasures system to protect its fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft.

The RDAF has signed a foreign military sales contract with the U.S. Navy for 20 Pulse Doppler/Power Plus retrofit kits as an initial upgrade to the 82 AN/ALQ-162 V(1) configurations currently installed on its F-16s.

"For many years, since the days of the original program, the Danish Air Force has relied on Northrop Grumman's AN/ALQ-162 countermeasures system as the sole electronic warfare suite to protect its fighters," said Ev Pratt, vice president of Electronic Warfare programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division in Rolling Meadows, Ill. "Like a growing number of international users, the RDAF recognizes and values the outstanding performance and cost benefits the AN/ALQ-162 provides."

Northrup Grumman awarded $7M contract

The target completion date for deliveries under the $7 million contract is year-end 2003.

The AN/ALQ-162 is a compact, lightweight, high-band radio frequency countermeasures system. Nearly 700 systems have been delivered to all three branches of the U.S. military as well as the air forces of several allied nations.

The system hardware and software improvements contained in the AN/ALQ-162 V(6) upgrade are designed to provide improved capabilities to counter advanced airborne and ground-based missile systems. With these enhancements, the AN/ALQ-162(V)6 provides pilots with self-protection against a wide variety of sophisticated continuous wave and pulse Doppler terminal radar threats.

This latest follow-on contract is the first of what is expected to be a multiple procurement by the RDAF. "The RDAF plans to expand its use of the AN/ALQ-162 to other platforms such as C-130 transports and EH-101 helicopters," Pratt explained. In this regard, Northrop Grumman is working with Lockheed Martin to integrate the system into the ECIPS pylon, a wing weapon pylon configuration manufactured by the Danish company TERMA.

US Navy and Canadian F/A-18's Get New Center Barrels and Nacelles
(EL SEGUNDO, Calif.) Northrop Grumman Corporation's Integrated Systems sector has been awarded a $47.4 million contract by the U.S. Navy for continued production of replacement structural assemblies and spare parts for the F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter that will extend the service life of aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy and the Canadian Defence Force.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems will provide 37 "center barrel" fuselage sections and 12 engine nacelles for the Navy and 34 center barrels and spare parts for Canadian F/A-18s. The structural assemblies and spare parts are for the A/B/C/D models of the F/A-18.

F/A-18s get new parts

The center barrel, a major section of the F/A-18's fuselage, serves as the attachment point for the wings and main landing gear.

Work is to be completed by April 2007 and will be performed at Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems facility in El Segundo. This award follows previous contracts totaling $30.2 million for F/A-18 structural assemblies.

The combat-proven F/A-18 Hornet is a single- and dual-seat, twin-engine multimission tactical aircraft. Hornets are in service with the Navy and Marine Corps and the air forces of Canada, Australia, Spain, Kuwait, Finland, Switzerland and Malaysia.

As principal subcontractor to The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman has produced the center/aft fuselage section and twin vertical tails and integrated all associated subsystems for each version of the F/A-18 including the current production model, the Super Hornet.

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