Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Monday August 27, 2001

PC News

COUGAR HOTAS: Syntax Changes
Thrustmaster config expert and founder of "The X-Files: Fuzzy-Logic TM Setups," Ulf 'Don ULFonso' Muckel, has released some new information about the coming programming syntax for the highly anticipated Thrustmaster Cougar HOTAS. To view these changes, click here, then click on the "Forum" link, then the "Standard Syntax" link, and then on the forum topic entitled "some CHANGES for the Cougar ;-)".

Falcon 4.0 Community Merger
The Falcon 4.0 saga continues. Last May, G2Interactive announced it had secured a licensing deal from Infogrames to develop Falcon 5. By early June G2 Interactive had informed the Falcon 4.0 Community they had until June 18, 2001, to release final versions of their products, or be pursued by the Infogrames legal department.

On Saturday, August 25, an announcement was made that the Falcon 4.0 Community comprised of RPG, eTeam, and others, have joined forces under the watchful eye of Glenn 'Sleepdoc' Kletzky. On behalf of the Falcon 4.0 community, Kletzky has negotiated with G2 Interactive to allow the creation of a SINGLE, ALL INCLUSIVE, COMBINED TEAM to continue Falcon 4 development. The new team, called F4SuperPAK, will be governed by prominent members of the Falcon community. Glenn Kletzky, who is considered a non-participating, neutral intermediary, has a unique relationship with many members of the community, as well as his long relationship with the principles of G2Interactive.

The key point in the agreement with G2Interactive, is that F4SuperPAK will sign over all claims (real or imaginary) of the copyright protection to G2Interactive for use in any for-profit endeavor they choose in the future. In return F4SuperPAK will have a minimum of 120 days continued development.

The management team onboard is:

  • -Art: Christian 'Ripper' Thomsen, Jerry 'Pookie' Davis
  • -Coding: Joel 'Jackal' Bierling, Julian 'Codec' Onions
  • -Realism: Sylvain 'BugSquasher' Gagnon, Shawn 'Viper' Agne, Alex 'BubbleMeister' Easton
  • -Theater : Manfred 'Schumi' Nelles, Chris 'Washout' Carter
  • -Spokesperson, PR, and Web presence: Kurt 'Froglips' Giesselman, Mark 'Frugal' Bush
Planned enhancements include:

  • the total merger of all possible and reasonable community based modifications (data, functionality, cockpits, terrains, etc.) within single executable.
  • all possible and reasonable RPG data and exe edits including the new AI
  • all possible and reasonable cockpits, terrains, and artwork
  • all possible and reasonable Source Code features and functions (the best of 1.08i2 combined with eF v1.10)
  • completion of the eFalcon multiplayer client/server code (if it is humanly possible)
  • DirectX 8.0a compatibility and new graphics features (offloading to GPU, T&L, increased poly capability, etc.)
Other features as agreed upon by the management team such as:

  • Major features/fixes available in the 1.08i2 version of the Microprose code that haven't yet made it into the eTeam 1.10 version.
  • In game, easy and fully integrated Terrain/campaign switching
  • An expanded in-game configuration interface where player preferences can be selected.
  • All possible and reasonable exe code required for additional aircraft HUDs, avionics, and other aircraft systems eFalcon terrain features (expanded color pallette, enhanced far tiles, etc.)
The Mosquito Has Landed
HiTech Creations has announced a new addition to Aces High.

The Mosquito VI

NVIDIA's New Levels of Visual Quality
NVIDIA Corporation today displayed the next step in the adoption of digital displays. NVIDIA and Eizo have teamed up to deliver the industry's first dual digital visual interface (DVI) for consumers, enabling two digital flat panels to run at a resolution of 1280x1024, powered by a single NVIDIA graphics processing unit (GPU) featuring NVIDIA's TwinView technology.

NVIDIA's technology demonstration, featuring the GeForce2 MX GPU powering dual digital displays, showcases the importance of delivering a single chip solution. Consumers will now be able to have an affordable digital experience in comparison to today's more costly solutions. According to DisplaySearch, the leader in flat panel display market research and consulting, dual digital monitor sales are predicted to be 6 million units in 2001 and increase to 10 million units by the end of 2002. Thus the ability to save desktop space while enlarging the display area will be a key competitive differentiator.

"Digital flat panel displays will be more and more pervasive in the coming years," said Dan Vivoli, vice president of Marketing at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA offers the best experience for digital flat panel users by providing the cleanest, brightest, display output and the unique ability to support two digital panels from a single GPU."

Military News

Iraq Says It Shoots Down U.S. Spy Plane
(Reuters) - The Iraqi army said Monday its air defenses had shot down a U.S. reconnaissance plane while it was flying over southern Iraq.

Western sources in Kuwait told Reuters that the United States lost contact with an unmanned Predator surveillance plane while it was on a mission over Iraq. "The air defenses in the Basra area shot down the plane when it was flying a spy mission inside Iraqi airspace," an Iraqi military spokesman told the Iraqi News Agency. He did not say whether the aircraft was manned or not. [More...]

F-22 Passes Live-Fire Test
The F-22 Raptor was subjected to a live-fire test on 22 August. Testing, conducted as if the aircraft was in flight and had been hit by an anti-aircraft artillery round, was used to evaluate the structural design of the F-22, programme officials here said.

Computer-controlled hydraulic jacks pushed against the wings to simulate flight loads of a maneuvering airplane. A battery of jet engines blew high-velocity air across the wing and the fuel tanks were filled with fuel.

Glenn Miller, deputy director of the F-22 System Programme Office, said he was very pleased with the test. "The F-22 performed as we expected," Miller said. "We use these tests to confirm the ability of the F-22 to withstand combat-induced damage. Survivable designs mean reduced loss of aircraft and more importantly our pilots in combat."

High-speed photography captured the results of a high-explosive incendiary round hitting the aircraft. The explosive bullet generated a shock wave that travelled through the fuel and imparted loads on the wing's skin and internal structure. A portion of the wing skin deformed into the air stream and then ripped off, test officials said. The damaged wing remained largely intact because of unique features of the F-22 wing design.

Additional tests will be conducted in the next few weeks to determine the remaining flight capability of the damaged wing, officials said. These tests will apply even higher flight loads.

A joint government and contractor team led by the F-22 system programme office at the Aircraft Survivability Research Facility here conducted the test. The test team consisted of members of the 46th Test Wing Detachment , assisted by the F-22 prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, and the designer and builder of the aircraft's wings, Boeing.

The F-22 has completed several live-fire tests since the being of the F-22 design phase. Prototypes of portions of the airplane were shot with explosive bullets. These tests provided Lockheed and Boeing designers with data needed to refine usage of new materials and construction techniques. These earlier tests led to several design changes. This test demonstrated the effectiveness of some of these changes.

USS Winston S Churchill Visits UK
One of the US Navy's newest warships, and the only one currently in service named after a non-American individual, the USS Winston S Churchill arrived in Portsmouth for her first visit to the UK and to take part in the International Festival of the Sea.

Winston S Churchill only entered service earlier this year. To mark the association with the UK, her crew includes a Royal Navy officer, at present Lieutenant Essenhigh, son of the First Sea Lord.

HMS Monmouth, one of the Royal Navy's most modern class of warships, the Type 23 frigate, met USS Winston S Churchill and escorted her into Portsmouth on 22 August. A Second World War Spitfire conducted a fly-past for the US ship. Another WW2 veteran, the former Motor Torpedo Boat 102, was also at hand to greet her. The MTB was once used by Churchill and Eisenhower in 1944 during an inspection of the D-Day invasion fleet.And the tall ship Sea Cloud II also arrived to take part in the International Festival of the Sea.

Another Type 23 frigate in Portsmouth for the Festival is HMS Marlborough, named after the great Duke of Marlborough who first made the Churchill name famous: John Churchill.

Mission Planning Systems For Italian Air Force
BAE SYSTEMS has received a $4.2 million contract from Datamat of Italy to upgrade mission planning systems for the Italian Air Force's Tornado, AM-X, and C-130 aircraft. The company's Information & Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) business unit will deliver new hardware and enhanced software originally delivered under a contract it received from Datamat in 1996. The equipment is similar to the Air Force Mission Support System (AFMSS) developed by IEWS for the US Air Force. A second phase option could bring the total value of the contract to $5.4 million.

AFMSS provides advanced automation tools to assist aircrews in both pre-mission planning and post-mission debriefings. The system's capabilities include flight planning, route planning, weapons delivery planning and target area tactics, radar predictions, mapping and imagery, and post-flight analysis and debriefing.

Under the initial phase of the contract, BAE SYSTEMS will provide the latest version of the core software and deliver 12 portable workstations. The company will also integrate all source code modifications and assist Datamat with development of Aircraft/Weapons/Electronics (A/W/E) modules for the three aircraft types. These software modules include aircraft-specific characteristics that tailor the core mission planner for various platforms.

Joel Daniels, IEWS' programme manager, said the AFMSS system "continues to meet the requirements of the Italian Air Force. With this advance, our NATO ally will be able to provide this key mission planning capability on other platforms including both the H and J versions of the C-130."

In December 1992, the US Air Force selected IEWS to develop and produce AFMSS -- the next-generation automated mission planning system. Since that time, the company has delivered more than 1,000 systems in a variety of configurations for more than two dozen US Air Force platforms. Additional units have been delivered to Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Israel.

PACAF Exercises In South China Sea
Pacific Air Forces people demonstrated their ability to effectively project airpower from multiple points in PACAF's area of responsibility Aug. 17 when they provided support for a rare U.S. military exercise in the South China sea.

Two Naval carrier battle groups exercised a training exercise known as a passing exercise. More than 20 Air Force aircraft joined the Navy ships participating, which included 14 vessels, more than 130 carrier-based aircraft and about 15,000 people. The two carrier battle groups involved were the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Constellation.

During the exercise, PACAF aircraft deployed from multiple points throughout the command, integrating their aerospace capabilities into the operation of the exercise.

"In less than 96 hours, our people were able to plan, mobilize and execute their force projection capability across 2, 200 miles of ocean into the South China Sea," said Col. Thomas Poulos, assistant director of PACAF Air and Space Operations.

These aircraft provided fighter, refueling, reconnaissance and countermeasure assistance to the Naval carrier battle group.

"In addition, air mobility aircraft flew more than 30 hours, spanning a distance almost half the world's surface, to set up a remote airfield providing exercise aircraft an alternate land-based landing point," Poulos said.

"This short-notice deployment of air assets not only shows the U.S. resolve to defend its interest, but demonstrates its commitment to providing peace and cooperation in the region," said Gen. William Begert, PACAF commander. "It also demonstrates our abilities as a full service major command capable of supporting the full-complement of the Air Force core competencies and our ability to seamlessly operate in a joint environment."

The exercise centered around the USS Constellation, on its way home to San Diego following a six-month deployment that included operations in the Arabian Gulf, and USS Carl Vinson, which is beginning a six-month deployment, having recently left its homeport in Bremerton, Wash.

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