Thursday, December 31, 2009

Election a referendum on F-35?

VALPARAISO, Fla. – The 2010 mayor’s race may shape up as a referendum on the city’s face-off with the Air Force over the F-35. The March 9 ballot so far pits Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold against challenger Brent Smith. Arnold was a driving force behind the city’s lawsuit against the Air Force, while Smith opposed the litigation. The Air Force is building the F-35 joint training center at Eglin, but some residents have been concerned over the noise. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/30/09)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Contract: Vertex, $11.4M

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded an $11,406,910 modification to a previously awarded contract to provide specialized technical services in support of depot level maintenance work performed at the Fleet Readiness Center, Southwest on aircraft and rework of associated components and materials. Services to be provided include modifications, in-service repairs and all other categories of service associated with aircraft depot level maintenance and its planning. Work will be performed in California, Washington, Hawaii and Arizona and is expected to be completed in April 2010. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/30/09)

Second F-35B arrives

The second Lockheed Martin F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing arrived Tuesday at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The aircraft flew nonstop from Fort Worth, Texas, and completed an aerial refueling en route. Over the next year a team will ramp up the plane for flight testing. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/29/09) In another F-35-related development, the United States may let Japan take part the multinational team developing the F-35, according to a Kyodo News report. (Source: Japan Times, 12/30/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base is scheduled to be the JSF training center.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pensacola airport gets director

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Melinda Crawford will be appointed Wednesday as the new director of Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport. Crawford has been the interim director since May 15, when former director Frank Miller left the position for a job in San Antonio, Texas. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/29/09)

Contract: General Dynamics, $33.6M

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt., was awarded a $33,638,976 firm-fixed-price contract for 144 Bradley reactive armor tile sets for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle systems. Most of the work will be done in Haifa, Israel; Burlington and Lyndonville, Vt., but McHenry, Miss., will do 1.7 percent of the work. Estimated completion date is Nov. 30, 2010. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions and Lethality, Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/29/09)

Contract: Raytheon, $12.4M

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $12,427,000 contract, with a task order from an existing requirements contract, to purchase 43 range safety systems necessary for decoy operational testings and miniature air launched decoy and jammer initial operational test and evaluation. 692 ARSS/PK Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/29/09)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rapiscan may get more work

The attempted attack of an airliner by a man wearing explosives under his clothing may mean more business for Rapiscan Systems of Torrance, Calif., and its 10,000 square-foot production facility in Ocean Springs, Miss. Louis Peters, general manager of Rapiscan Mississippi, said Rapiscan has a contract with the Transportation Security Administration to provide 150 systems for airports across the United States. The plant recently hired 25 additional workers. TSA in May awarded Rapiscan a follow-on order of about $3 million for its Rapiscan 620DV Advanced Technology X-Ray system to screen baggage and parcels. A year ago Rapiscan was named the 2008 North American Homeland Security Inspection and Screening Company of the Year by Frost & Sullivan for its ability to develop and deploy products that enhance security at airports, seaports and border crossings worldwide. (Sources: WLOX-TV, Sun Herald, Tcp, 12/28/09)

Contract: Lockheed, $98M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $98,000,000 modification to the previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for special tooling and special test equipment required for the manufacture of Joint Strike Fighter Air System low rate initial production aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in November 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/28/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will become home to the JSF training center.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

JSF center construction funded

More than $84 million for F-35 structures and a 96-room dormitory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is part of the $13.5 billion fiscal 2010 military construction budget. It’s part of the $2.4 billion headed to the Air Force for new or better dorms, fitness centers, training centers, control towers and runways. Final approval of the funds came Dec. 13, when the Senate passed the 2010 consolidated appropriations bill. President Barack Obama also must sign off on the measure. (Source: Air Force Times, 12/27/09)

Teledyne Continental eyes new market

MOBILE, Ala. – Teledyne Continental Motors is making a push into diesel-powered engines to enter new markets worldwide – including small unmanned aerial vehicles. Teledyne Continental is hiring engineers and has bought diesel-related technology, licenses and hardware from an outside source. Teledyne plans to announce details in January. Teledyne Continental is a unit of Teledyne Technologies of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and has about 450 workers in Mobile. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/27/09)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Developer picked for Eglin resort

A developer has been chosen for the new Emerald Breeze Resort on Air Force Gulf-front property in Okaloosa County. Eglin chose Innisfree Hotels and Innisfree Development for the operation and development of a $24 million hotel and multi-use resort next to the Four Points Sheraton, a dozen miles south of Eglin's west gate. The 17-acre property with 600 feet of Gulf frontage will continue its military function as a radar installation, but the resort will be open to military and civilian visitors. Innisfree beat out more than 100 potential developers to create the resort. (Sources: WEAR-TV 12/24/09, Hotels, 12/22/09)

UK announces third JSF buy

The United Kingdom has received financial approval to buy its third Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II operational test aircraft. The approval follows recent F-35 down-select or procurement commitments by Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy and the United States. The U.K. has invested $2 billion in the F-35's development. More than 100 British companies are involved in the program. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 12/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will become home of the JSF training center.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hurricane Hunters fly winter mission

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Members of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron have been tasked by National Weather Service officials to fly their first winter storm of the season on the East Coast starting Dec. 25. The Air Force Reserve's "Hurricane Hunters," assigned to the 403rd Wing, normally collect weather data during tropical storms, enabling forecasters to make more accurate predictions. Between hurricane seasons, they have a lesser known role of collecting weather data during winter storms. The Hurricane Hunters fly WC-130Js at high altitudes and drop small weather canisters, or dropsondes, designed to collect weather data in key locations of high-weather activity. (Source: AFNS, 12/21/09)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shuttle tank departs Michoud

A 15-story shuttle external tank left Sunday from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans for its roughly 900-mile trip to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The trip usually takes six days, meaning it should arrive on or around Christmas day. The tank, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, will boost shuttle Discovery into orbit in March. (Source: Florida Today, 12/21/09)

Ravens to get upgrade

AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif., has received a $23.9 million firm fixed-price order under an existing contract to upgrade existing analog Raven systems being used by the Army and Marine Corps. The potential value is $66.6 million. The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, hand-launched sensor platform that provides real-time video imagery for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units. (Source: BusinessWire, 12/21/09) Gulf Coast note: AeroVironment has an operation in Navarre, Fla.

Missile two for two in testing

An F-15C fired Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder advanced, infrared-guided air-to-air missile as part of the missile's developmental testing program. The weapon successfully passed within lethal range of a BQM-74 target drone, meeting all primary test objectives. The Nov. 20 test occurred at the test range at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and marks the second time the missile has been fired. (Source: Raytheon, 12/21/09)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ST Aerospace Mobile gets contract extension

MOBILE, Ala. - ST Aerospace Mobile said Friday that it has won a three-year extension of a contract to maintain/overhaul Airbus A330s, Boeing 737s, Boeing 757s and Boeing 767s for US Airways. No terms were announced. It’s the second big contract announced this month for the company at Brookley Field Industrial Complex. It earlier won a three-year $90 million contract to maintain Airbus A320s and Boeing 767s for an unnamed airline. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/18/09)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Composite joining method passes test

An innovative method for joining composite structures has passed a series of structural tests. Gene Fraser, vice president of Advanced Programs and Technology for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said it’s a major step towards using composites in future space missions. The joint design was used to mate two segments of NASA’s composite crew module demonstrator. The test article represents the inner pressurized shell for the Orion crew module, part of the Constellation Program to return astronauts to the moon and beyond. Test results proved the mating process retains compartment pressure and withstands external loads at twice the level normally experienced in flight. Tests were done at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. (Source: Globe Newswire, 12/17/09) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are involved in the Constellation program.

Jacobs acquires FWB's Tybrin

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. of Pasadena, Calif., announced Friday that it's acquired Tybrin Corp., a 1,500-person professional services firm headquartered in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Jacobs did not disclose the terms of the transaction. Founded in 1972, Tybrin is a supplier of mission planning solutions, systems engineering, software development, modeling and combat environment simulation, engineering and testing, range safety, and other services to the Department of Defense, NASA, and other government clients. (Source: Jacobs via PRNewswire, 12/18/09) Gulf Coast note: Jacobs has operations in Fort Walton Beach and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Star Aviation gets military work

MOBILE, Ala. – Ten-year-old Star Aviation has won its first military subcontract. MacAulay-Brown Inc., an engineering firm based in Dayton, Ohio, awarded the Mobile company a deal to work on combat survivor locator systems for Air Force C-130s. Star will do structural and electrical engineering work, make wiring harnesses and structural parts, and support installation work. Star did not disclose the value of the work. The company is based at Brookley Field Industrial Complex, where it has about 55 workers. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 12/16/09)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Contract: Raytheon, $19.8M

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $19,763,454 contract which will provide the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Production Lot 23 contract. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 695 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/17/09)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rocketdyne wins contractor award

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne received the 2009 Large Business Prime Contractor Excellence Award from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. The company was recognized for exemplary support of the center’s subcontracting programs under the J-2X upper stage engine and space shuttle main engine contracts. The J-2X engine will power the nation’s next generation space launch vehicles, Ares I and V. The space shuttle main engine – all tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. – is a reusable rocket engine that has powered the shuttles since 1981. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 12/15/09) Gulf Coast note: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne also has an operation at Stennis Space Center.

AirTran returns to airport

GULFPORT, Miss. – AirTran Airways flights will resume at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on Jan. 8. The non-stop flights will initially be three days a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, aboard a 117-seat Boeing 717. Jeremiah Gerald, director of air service and business development at the airport, said it’s been almost a year since AirTran pulled out of the market. AirTran returned under a partnership between the IP Casino Resort, Grand Biloxi Casino and Aviation Advantage. (Source: Sun Herald, 12/16/09)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Donley: Change in tanker request unlikely

The Pentagon is unlikely to change its list of requirements for a fleet of aerial tankers, despite objections from one of the bidders, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said. Northrop Grumman and partner EADS said the terms favor Boeing. Northrop said it would not compete without significant changes. (Source: Reuters, 12/14/09) U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R.-Ala., said Tuesday that he’s unsure what Congress will do if the Northrop makes good on its threat. “I don't think Congress is going to want to be drawn into this, although it could very well happen," he said. (Source: Defense News, 12/15/09) Meanwhile, the war of words continues. A comment on NPR by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., saying she’s never seen anyone standing in line to build anything in Alabama, elicited a host of responses pointing out that Alabama is home to automakers, shipbuilders, aerospace workers and more. (Multiple, McClatchy, 12/15/09)

Contract: McDonnell, $114.6M

McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $114,558,014 contract which will provide support for small diameter bomb Increment 1 production for munitions, carriages and technical supports. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 681 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/15/09)

New park likely to target aerospace

GULFPORT, Miss. – Harrison County is on its way to buying some 600 acres for an industrial park north of Interstate 10 that likely will be marketed to aerospace companies. Harrison County supervisors on Monday gave the OK to buy land in Saucier for the North Harrison County Industrial Park. Larry Barnett, executive director of the Harrison County Development Commission, estimates the park will be ready for tenants in 2013. Plans call for one site of 250 to 300 acres, along with four smaller lots of 50 acres each. Barnett expects manufacturing that would be appropriate for the aerospace corridor that runs along Interstate 10 from New Orleans to Florida. (Source: Sun Herald, 12/14/09)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rocketdyne opens facility at UAH

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne celebrated the opening of the new PoWeR Innovations Research facility on the campus of University of Alabama in Huntsville last week. The facility is part of a collaborative effort designed to develop new technologies and business strategies for both company and the Alabama university. UAH will provide offices, laboratories and support so Rocketdyne personnel can collaborate on planning, research and development activities. Rocketdyne will provide access to its technical and business personnel co-located at the university. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will help develop new technologies of interest to both parties. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 12/11/09) Gulf Coast note: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has activities at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

EADS details helo contract

The Army awarded the fifth year contract for the Lakota Light Utility Helicopter to EADS North America for $247.2 million. This contract increases the company’s supply of 45 additional Lakotas along with hardware to equip the rotary-wing aircraft for medical evacuation, personnel transport and multi-mission applications. The contract funds fiscal year 2010 production of UH-72A Lakotas to be delivered through June 2011, and brings the total number of Light Utility Helicopters ordered by the U.S. Army to 178. The contract ensures continuity of UH-72A deliveries from the state-of-the-art facility in Columbus, Miss., operated by EADS North America’s American Eurocopter business unit. (Source: EADS North America, 12/10/09) Note: Initial story

Eglin to host air show

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Eglin officials confirmed that the base will host an air show in 2010. "75 Years of Eglin Pride" is the theme for the air show scheduled for April 10-11. A wide variety of aerial performers, including the Thunderbirds, will headline the show, which will include static displays. Maj. Gen. C.R. Davis, Air Armament Center commander, said air shows allow the public to better understand the military mission. (Source: Eglin, 12/10/09)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RS-68 boosts DoD satellite

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne helped boost into orbit the third in a series of Wideband Global SATCOM satellites designed to increase communications capabilities for the Department of Defense. The mission launched Dec. 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV with Rocketdyne RS-68 and RL10 engines providing the booster and upper stage propulsion, respectively. It was the 11th launch of a Delta IV vehicle powered by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engines. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 12/07/09) Gulf Coast connection: RS-68 engines are assembled and tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

United selects Trent XWB engine

Rolls-Royce has been selected by United Airlines to power its new fleet of Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The contract for 25 Airbus A350 XWB plus long-term service support is worth $2 billion. The aircraft are due to be delivered between 2016 and 2019. In addition, the airline has also announced future purchase rights for a further 50 aircraft. Firm orders for the Trent XWB engine total more than 1,000 from 33 customers. The engine will enter into service in 2013. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 12/08/09) Gulf Coast connections: ATK will produce composite structures and tooling for the A350 XWB in Iuka, Miss.; XWB engines are scheduled to be tested the Rolls-Royce test stand at Stennis Space Center, Miss., beginning in 2010 or 2011.

Keesler air show wins award

BILOXI, Miss. – Keesler Air Force Base’s “Thunder on the Bay” air show held in April has been named the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Best Military Show Site 2009. Lt. Col. Gregory Thomas, Thunderbird commander/leader, presented the award at the annual International Council of Air Shows in Las Vegas. Thunder on the Bay was held April 4 and 5 and drew an estimated crowd of 142,000. Keesler's next air show will be March 19-20, 2011, showcased with a performance by the Navy Blue Angels, based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (Source: Keesler, 12/08/09)

Block 40 Global Hawk takes to air

PALMDALE, Calif. - The first Block 40 configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial system successfully completed its first flight last month. Designated AF-18, the Global Hawk flew about two hours from Northrop Grumman’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Global Hawk production acceptance activities will transition in the near future from Edwards to Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale. The company performs Global Hawk subassembly work at its Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., and final assembly at its Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 12/08/09)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

ST Aerospace lands contract

MOBILE, Ala. - ST Aerospace Mobile won a new airplane maintenance contract and could hire as many as 200 new employees. The contract calls for the company to maintain Airbus A320 and Boeing 767 planes belonging to an unnamed airline. The contract is worth $90 million for the first three years, and has an option for another two years worth another $80 million. The company has close to 1,300 employees and contractors. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/05/09)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Contract: Lockheed, $329.4M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $329,400,000 modification to the previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter air system low rate initial production Lot III cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract for special tooling and special test equipment. Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland, and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in November 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/04/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the JSF training center.

Contract: Composite Engineering, $29.3M

Composite Engineering Inc., Sacramento, Calif., was awarded a $29,342,315 contract which will provide Lot 7 option to procure a quantity of 36 additional BQM-167As, also known as the Air Force Subscale Aerial Target. 691 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/04/09)

Senators: Move forward on tankers

Two senators say the Air Force should move forward with plan to buy aerial tankers even if Boeing is the only bidder. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Kent Conrad, D-S.D., said in a joint statement that there have already been too many delays. Northrop, which wants to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., said Tuesday it would not bid on the contract unless the Pentagon makes big changes to its request for proposals. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/04/09)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Airbus' Trent named chamber chairman

MOBILE, Ala. - David Trent, head of the Airbus Engineering Center at Brookley Industrial Complex, has been named 2010 chairman of the board of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Opened in 2007, the Airbus center has 145 employees who do interior design work on several Airbus commercial aircraft. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/03/09)

Contract: EADS, $247.2M

EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $247,242,722 firm-fixed-price contract for the funding of program year 2005 of the Army's Light Utility Helicopter program for 45 light utility helicopters, 30 medical evacuation mission equipment packages, 30 MEDEVAC B-kits, 30 hoist B-kits, four personnel mission equipment packages, 11 engine inlet barrier filters, 34 environmental control units, and 45 airborne radio communication 231s. Work is to be performed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command, CCAM-BH-C, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/03/09)

Hearing becomes Constellation rally

WASHINGTON - A congressional hearing on astronaut safety turned into a pep rally for NASA’s Constellation program, with lawmakers and witnesses endorsing it as the best replacement for the shuttle. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who heads the House subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, organized the hearing as a counter to a presidential panel that raised questions about the value of Constellation's Ares I rocket in favor of commercial launchers. (Source: Orlando Sentinel, 12/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are involved in the Constellation program.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fire Scout may play CG role

The Coast Guard is actively pursuing a vertical-takeoff-and-landing unmanned aerial vehicle to satisfy requirements for its National Security Cutter. In October, the service used Northrop Grumman's company-owned Fire Scout, P6, for land-based tests from Webster Field at NAS Patuxent River, Md. The UAV was equipped with off-the-shelf imaging surveillance radar. Northrop used its own money to integrate the radar on the aircraft and has been pouring R&D funds into the Fire Scout to reduce risk. (Source: Aviation Week, 12/01/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Contracts: GCC, CCI, $10M each

GCC/Thomco LLC, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and CCI Group, LLC, Shalimar, Fla., were each awarded a $10,000,000 contract which provides acquisition of base engineering requirements, maintenance, repair and minor construction efforts. 96 CONS/PKAC, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/01/09)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NG threatens not to bid on tanker

Northrop Grumman won’t bid for the Air Force refueling tanker program unless changes are made to the draft request for proposals. In a letter to the Pentagon, Northrop notes the draft request shows a clear preference for a smaller tanker than the A330 the Northrop and teammate EADS are offering. The letter said competing would be a financial burden. Northrop and EADS won the contract in February 2008 over Boeing, which offered the smaller 767. The decision was overturned following a Boeing protest, and restarted in September. Northrop/EAD planned to build the tanker in Mobile, Ala. (Sources: Multiple, including Bloomberg, Reuters, Mobile Press-Register, 12/01/09)

GATR test successful

Alliant Techsystems and Elbit Systems Ltd. have successfully conducted flight tests of the Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket (GATR) fired from an Army OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The recent tests took place at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. GATR can be used in urban areas and against targets where a low collateral damage solution is required. GATR uses advanced acquisition, tracking and guidance algorithms to achieve one-meter accuracy against stationary and moving targets. The GATR system fills the gap between larger, more expensive guided missiles and the current family of unguided rockets. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/01/09)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Contract: Raytheon, $19M

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $19,078,537 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for AIM-9X Sidewinder (Block II) missile obsolescence and engineering technical support for the Navy and Air Force. Work to be provided include missile obsolescence tasks, engineering technical support and software development. Five percent of the work will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., but the majority, 90 percent, will be done in Tucson, Ariz. Another 5 percent will be done at China Lake, Calif. Work is expected to be completed in November 2010. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force and Navy. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/30/09)

NATO to fund spy system

NAPLES, Italy - Fifteen NATO nations will fund an air surveillance command and control system to be located at Naval Air Station Sigonella, a shared Italian-U.S. Navy base in Sicily. The Air Ground Surveillance system consists of eight Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles. The ground portion will be developed by Canadian and European industry, according to a NATO news release. The NATO surveillance project is expected to cost between $1.5 billion to $2.3 billion. Plans are for the project to be in place by 2012. (Source: Stars and Stripes, 12/01/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Airport begins renovations

NEW ORLEANS – Louis Armstrong International Airport has begun $755 million worth of projects to modernize its facilities. It includes construction of a new concourse and the eventual abandonment of two old ones. The airport has identified 16 projects, including new signs and lighting at the terminal curbside and rescue station. (Source: New Orleans Times Picayune, 11/29/09)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Contract: Composite Engineering, $37.6M

Composite Engineering Inc. was awarded a $37,551,848 contract which procures additional subscale aerial targets. At this time, $37,551,848 has been obligated. 691 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/25/09)

US won't share F-35 code

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., could wind up with another F-35-related mission in addition to being the primary Joint Strike Fighter training center. Reuters is reporting that the United States plans to keep to itself sensitive software code that controls the F-35 fighter, despite requests from nations that have helped fund the JSF. The code is key to the plane's electronic brains, Jon Schreiber, who heads the program's international affairs, told Reuters. Instead, the United States plans to set up a "reprogramming facility," probably at Eglin, to further develop F-35-related software and distribute upgrades, he said. Software changes will be integrated there "and new operational flight programs will be disseminated out to everybody who's flying the jet," Schreiber told Reuters. (Source: Reuters, 11/25/09)

Teledyne recalling parts

MOBILE, Ala. - Teledyne Continental Motors is recalling and replacing an engine part in several hundred airplane engines after the part began to wear out more rapidly than normal. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all the planes containing the hydraulic lifters until the parts are replaced. Rhett Ross, president of Teledyne Continental, said about 450 engines and parts sets were in question, and more than two-thirds have already been replaced. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/25/09)

NASA honors Haise

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will present astronaut Fred Haise Jr. with NASA's Ambassador of Exploration Award during a Dec. 2 ceremony at the Gorenflo Elementary School in Biloxi, Miss. Haise, best known for his Apollo 13 flight, will present the award - a moon rock encased in Lucite, to Paul Tisdale, superintendent of the Biloxi Public School System, and Tina Thompson, the school's principal. Haise attended Gorenflo. NASA is giving the award to the first generation of explorers in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs for realizing America's goal of going to the moon. The moon rock is part of the 842 pounds of lunar samples collected during six Apollo expeditions from 1969 to 1972. (Source: NASA, 11/24/09)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tanker does simultaneous refuel

An Australian A330 tanker has performed the first simultaneous fuel transfer with its all-digital hose-and-drogue system, fueling two fighter aircraft at the same time, according to EADS. The hose-and-drogue fuel transfers occurred Nov. 18 during a flight test sortie that utilized both the A330 MRTT's left and right under-wing pods. The plane conducted 11 simultaneous airborne refueling contacts with two NATO F/A-18 fighters and transferred more than 25,000 lbs of fuel. (Source: EADS, 11/23/09) Gulf Coast note: The tanker is the same type being offered by the Northrop Grumman/EADS team to the Air Force. The team wants to assemble the plane in Mobile, Ala.

Fire Scout production deliveries made

SAN DIEGO - Northrop Grumman completed the first three MQ-8B Fire Scout production deliveries to the Navy, which completes the first year of Low Rate Initial Production for the UAV helicopter. Two of the three Fire Scouts were deployed aboard the USS McInerney for use on a scheduled operational deployment. Fire Scouts have been aboard the USS McInerney four times since December 2008, completing 110 ship takeoffs and landings and 45 landings with the harpoon grid, accumulating over 47 hours of flight time. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 11/24/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NASA picks small biz projects to develop

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA has selected for development 368 small business innovation projects that include research to minimize aging of aircraft, new techniques for suppressing fires on spacecraft and advanced transmitters for deep space communications. Chosen from more than 1,600 proposals, the awards are part of NASA's Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Six of the awards will develop technologies for the Innovative Partnership Program at Stennis Space Center. (Source: NASA, 11/23/09)

Goodrich to lay off 80

FOLEY, Ala. – Goodrich in Foley will lay off 78 people in January. The layoffs are from the maintenance, repair, and overhaul division. A representative from the company blamed it on slow demand and the global recession. Company leaders say employees will be offered severance packages and will be eligible to keep their health insurance for six months. Goodrich employs about 800 people in Foley. (Source: WALA-TV, 11/23/09)

Arms buyer spurns including WTO ruling

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon's chief arms buyer spurned pressure from Boeing allies in Congress to factor a World Trade Organization ruling against Airbus into the competition to build aerial tankers to the Air Force. Ashton Carter told reporters the Pentagon addressed the trade issue when it put out draft bidding rules in September for a tanker rematch between Boeing and the team of Northrop Grumman and Airbus parent EADS. The Pentagon said the WTO findings were preliminary. (Source: Reuters, 11/23/09)

Passenger count up in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - Passenger levels were up nearly 9 percent last month at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. Figures show there were 704,686 passengers, compared to 648,544 in October 2008. It’s attributed to concert-goers, conventioners and football fans. (Source: AP via Times-Picayune, 11/22/09)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Navy seeks UAV anti-collision system

ARLINGTON, Va. - Navy researchers are asking industry to develop a collision avoidance system to enable unmanned aerial vehicles to operate in civil airspace. The Office of Naval Research issued a broad agency announcement for the Unmanned Air System Autonomous Collision Avoidance System to enable UAVs to sense and avoid other aircraft while operating in the National Air Space System. Initial research to develop a UAV collision-avoidance system will focus on the Navy Fire Scout unmanned helicopter and Army Tier 2 Shadow fixed-wing UAV. Air Force researchers are pursuing a similar initiative. (Source: Military and Aerospace Electronics, 11/20/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Contract: Sierra Nevada, $9.1M

Sierra Nevada Corp., Centennial, Colo., was awarded a $9,103,824 contract which will provide aircraft weapon integration. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/20/09)

Contract: DTS, $13.9M

DTS Aviation Services Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $13,893,827 contract which will provide aircraft backshop maintenance, munitions and equipment support services for the Air Armament Center and for their command and control, communications, computers and intelligence systems testing for a 12 month period. 96 CONS/PKB, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/20/09)

Global Hawk gets airworthiness certificate

SAN DIEGO - Northrop Grumman said the Air Force has granted the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle a military Airworthiness Certification, a step on the path to routine unmanned flight within the United States. The AWC process verifies an aircraft design has met performance requirements within the mission profile to safely fly in national airspace and assures operators and mission managers that the production articles conform to the design. The certification process evaluated more than 600 airworthiness criteria. (Source: Globe Newswire, 11/20/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Politicking continues on tanker

MOBILE, Ala. - Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, in the wake of a lobbying trip to Washington this week, expressed hope that lawmakers are open to the possibility of buying new aerial refueling tankers from both Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team. Jones said the Mobile group met with nine lawmakers Wednesday and Thursday. Earlier this week, a group of more than a dozen lawmakers who are Boeing supporters began a push to have the Pentagon factor a World Trade Organization dispute over aircraft subsidies into the tanker competition. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/20/09, 11/19/09)

Global Hawk contract awarded

SAN DIEGO – The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $302.9 million contract for five RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial systems. Under the Lot 7 production contract, the company will build two Block 30 systems and three Block 40 systems for the 303d Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The award includes a ground station consisting of a launch and recovery element and a mission control element, plus two additional sensor suites that will be retrofitted into previous production aircraft. The contract runs through 2011. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 11/20/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boeing laser downs UAVs

Unmanned aerial systems may be the rage, but Boeing has just announced the successful test of a mobile laser system to bring them down. The just-announced test was conducted in May, and demonstrated the ability of mobile laser weapon systems to track and destroy small UAVs. During the tests at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX) used a single, high-brightness laser beam to shoot down five UAVs at various ranges. (Source: Boeing, 11/18/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has operations in the Gulf Coast; the Gulf Coast has several unmanned systems operations.

Eglin team wins award

The secretary of the Air Force presented the 2008 and 2009 Small Business Programs Special Achievement Awards at the Air Force Office of Small Business Programs Conference Nov. 17 in Arlington, Va. Among the eight recipients of the fiscal 2009 awards: the 693rd Armament Systems Squadron, Lethal Suppression of Enemy Air Defense Harm Targeting System Team at Eglin AFB, Fla., which won the team award. The awards were presented in the opening session of the 2009 Air Force Small Business Fall Training Conference. The conference ends Nov. 19. (Source: AFNS, 11/18/09)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ares I named best invention

NASA’s Ares I rocket got top honors in TIME magazine’s "Best Inventions of 2009" special edition. The magazine calls the rocket the "best and coolest and smartest thing built in 2009." The magazine’s Paul Kluger noted that in 2004 the nation committed itself to sending astronauts back to the moon and beyond, and Ares I’s first flight last month "dazzled even the skeptics." Alliant Techsystems is the prime contractor for the solid rocket motor first stage of the Ares I. The company’s air-burst munitions system, XM25, was No. 46 in the best inventions list. (Source: ATK, 11/17/09) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center, Miss., are both involved in NASA's program to return astronauts to space.; ATK has an operation in Northwest Florida.

F-35 STOVL in Maryland for testing

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – A Lockheed Martin F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) fighter arrived here Sunday, where it will conduct its first hovers and vertical landings. The ferry flight initiates a sequence of F-35 arrivals at Patuxent River this year and next. The F-35 flew from Fort Worth, Texas, with one stop in Georgia. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 11/16/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will become home of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Change RFP or split tanker buy?

MOBILE, Ala. - Northrop Grumman Corp. and regional political leaders called Monday for changes to the second round of tanker bidding or for a congressional mandate to split the contract between the Northrop Grumman/EADS team and rival Boeing. The split buy option has been brought up before, but it’s opposed by the Pentagon. Monday, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., and Mobile Mayor Sam Jones said they favored a split as a way to head off more delays. Some 400 people gathered at the Battle House Hotel in Mobile for the tanker briefing. Northrop and EADS want to assemble the tankers in Mobile. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/17/09)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Contract: Raytheon, $18.4M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $18,423,384 contract which will provide for the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Mission Targeting System fiscal year 10 contractor logistics support option. 693 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/16/09)

ATK gets more A350 XWB work

MINNEAPOLIS – Airbus SAS and partners Aerolia SA, Premium Aerotec GmbH and Spirit AeroSystems Inc. selected Alliant Techsystems to produce composite structures and tooling for its A350 XWB aircraft. Total expected revenues for ATK is about $1 billion. Combined with the previous announcement for A350 XWB composite engine components, this new selection makes the aircraft the largest commercial program in ATK's history. The company will produce the components at its composite manufacturing center of excellence in Iuka, Miss. (Source: ATK, 11/16/09) Gulf Coast note: Airbus has an engineering center in Mobile, Ala.; ATK has an operation in Northwest Florida.

30 apply for airport top spot

NEW ORLEANS – Airport officials say they hope to select a new aviation director for the Louis Armstrong International Airport during the first quarter of 2010. Monday is the last day for candidates to file resumes. About 30 applications have been received so far, according to Aviation Board Chairman Dan Packer. The board began its search in mid-September. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 11/16/09)

Friday, November 13, 2009

CV-22s return to Hurlburt

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – The 8th Special Operations Squadron returned with their CV-22s during the week, wrapping up their first operational deployment with the tilt-rotor aircraft. The squadron deployed to Iraq with a Boeing contractor as part of the team. The Osprey, which came to Hurlburt in 2007, has the vertical takeoff and landing and hover capabilities of a helicopter and the long-range and speed of a turboprop fixed-wing airplane. The squadron returned to Hurlburt Thursday. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/12/09)

AAC awarded for excellence

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Air Armament Center was recently awarded the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award. The center manages a $52 billion portfolio of air-launched precision attack, combat support and special project weapon applications. The center also provided full spectrum battle space test capabilities to more than 1,000 ongoing test programs to include aircraft, weapons, command and control and special operations for multiple joint and non-DoD agencies. The center also provided DoD and combatant commanders with combat-ready forces and units forward deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. (Source: 96th Air Base Wing PAO, 11/12/09)

H-72A Navy trainer delivered

EADS North America has delivered the first of five H-72A training helicopters to the Navy. The H-72A fleet will be based at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., where it is to be used to train test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries. The H-72A shares the same airframe and is manufactured on the same production line as the Army’s UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, both of which are produced in Mississippi by EADS North America’s American Eurocopter subsidiary. (Source: EADS North America, 11/12/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS North America has two operations in Mobile, Ala., and hopes to eventually assemble aerial refueling tankers and freighters there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vought preps for F-35C drop tests

DALLAS - Vought Aircraft Industries has taken possession of an F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter test article from Lockheed Martin and will perform full-scale drop testing in early 2010. The tests are to verify the strength of the F-35C Navy variant landing gear and airframe structure for carrier landing operations. Pre-test aircraft preparation includes the installation of special drop test fixtures, test systems and instrumentation. Actual drop testing is currently estimated to start in January and continue through April at the Vought Structures Test Lab in Dallas. (Source: Vought, 11/11/09) Gulf Coast note: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Training Center is located at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Pilots for all variants will be trained there.

NASA teams with students

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center has announced plans to team with students at four Mississippi high schools to develop prototype hardware for the next-generation rockets being built to carry humans beyond low-Earth orbit. During the next few months, students at East Central High School in Hurley, Gulfport High School, New Albany School of Career and Technical Education and Petal High School will participate in the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) initiative. They’ll partner with NASA engineers and mentors and use materials provided by the space agency to develop prototype models for the next generation J-2X engine and the Ares I rocket. Both are being built as part of NASA’s Constellation Program plan to transport astronauts to the International Space Station after the space shuttle is retired and to explore destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. (Source: NASA, 11/12/09)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

PC airport named changed again

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – The new airport being built near Panama City is getting yet another name change. The airport authority voted Tuesday to change the name to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. It was a month ago that the authority settled on the name Northwest Florida-Panama City International Airport. The new airport is scheduled to open in May. (Source: WMBB-TV, Panama City Herald, 11/10/09)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

McCain questions tanker rules

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator John McCain has raised concerns about the Pentagon's latest attempt to replace its fleet of KC-135 tankers. In an Oct. 29 letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, McCain asked detailed questions about how bids for the program would be evaluated, how decisions were made about requirements for the new airplanes and whether the new rules would favor mostly smaller airplanes. A copy of the letter was obtained by Reuters. (Source: Reuters, 11/10/09) Gulf Coast note: If the Northrop Grumman/EADS team wins the tanker competition, the planes will be assembled in Mobile, Ala.

Contract: W.G. Yates, $37.3M

W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co., Biloxi, Miss., is being awarded a $37,258,000 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a community hospital tower at Keesler Air Force Base. Work will be performed in Biloxi and is expected to be completed by September 2011. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with seven proposals received. The contracting activity is the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla. (Source: DoD, 11/10/09)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Airbus tanker does night refuel

The A330 tanker achieved a new milestone with its first nighttime refueling operation using the advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System. The Royal Australian Air Force A330 transferred more than 3,300 pounds of fuel through the ARBS during a multi-contact mission involving two F-16 fighter aircraft. The nighttime refueling is part of final flight testing for the A330 MRTT. (Source: EADS North America, 11/09/09) Gulf Coast note: The tanker Northrop Grumman and EADS are proposing for the Air Force, the KC-45, is based on A330. The team will assemble the plane in Mobile, Ala., if it wins.

JSF engine passes key test

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – The Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine that powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has completed altitude qualification ground testing, the final testing that demonstrates the operability and performance required for conventional take-off and landing and carrier variant initial service release (ISR). ISR is the government’s recognition that the F135 engine is ready for operational use and clears Pratt & Whitney to deliver and field production F135 engines. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 11/09/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the home base for the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center.

403rd evacuates planes

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing evacuated aircraft Monday from Keesler Air Force Base to forward operating locations in Texas to avoid possible heavy winds from the tropical system Ida. The 403rd Wing, comprising the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s Hurricane Hunters and the 815th Airlift Squadron's Flying Jennies typically evacuate the aircraft when winds are expected to exceed about 30 miles per hour. (Source: AFNS, 11/09/09)

Friday, November 6, 2009

SSC gets official Project Ready designation

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center was officially designated a “Project Ready” site in a formal event Friday. It’s the first site to earn certification in the “technology park” category of the Mississippi Power program. The Project Ready designation indicates a site is “shovel-ready” for new businesses that come calling. The 14,000-acre SSC has about 4,000 acres of developable space. (Source: Tcp, 11/06/09)

Boom trainer delivered, freighter airborne

In the tanker competition pitting Boeing against the Northrop Grumman/EADS team, no “first” goes unnoticed. Boeing said it delivered the first Remote Aerial Refueling Operator Trainer to the Japan Air Self Defense Force last month to support the Boeing KC-767J tanker. It simulates the system that allows boom operators to refuel aircraft while sitting near the tanker cockpit at a console using an array of cameras and remote controls. Meanwhile, in Toulouse, France, the Airbus A330-200 freighter flew Thursday, a milestone for a plane that could eventually be assembled in Mobile, Ala. The Northrop/EADS team wants to assemble the A330-based tanker and the freighter in Mobile, Ala., if the team wins the Air Force competition. (Sources: Boeing, Mobile Press Register, 11/06/09)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Whiting Field gets new commander

MILTON, Fla. – Capt. Pete Hall has been installed as the new commanding officer of Naval Air Station Whiting Field, replacing Capt. Enrique Sadsad. More than 2,000 people were at the change of command ceremony Thursday. Hall said he looked forward to becoming part of the Whiting family. Sadsad is being assigned to Bahrain. Whiting Field provides initial training for naval aviators. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/05/09)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

AFSOC vice commander named

Brig. Gen. O.G. Mannon, 82nd Training Wing commander at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, has been named the next vice commander of Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The announcement was made by the Defense Department Nov. 2. Mannon, who has spent most of his career in the special operations community, said he looks forward to working with old friends. (Source: 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs, DoD, 11/02/09)

SBIRS approaches milestone

The first Space Based Infrared System missile warning satellite bound for geosynchronous orbit is on track for delivery to the Air Force by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2010, according to Lockheed Martin. It will be a milestone for the $10.4 billion program, which has undergone restructuring, overruns and delays. (Source:, 11/04/09) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space & Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss., builds subsystems for the SBIRS program

Maiden flight set for Airbus freighter

Airbus said the maiden flight for its A330-200 freighter is scheduled Thursday at its headquarters in Toulouse, France. The flight marks an important milestone for a plane that eventually could be assembled in Mobile. Airbus, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., is part of a team led by Northrop Grumman Corp. that is competing for a contract to build aerial refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/04/09)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Admiral: Speedup unmanned programs

WASHINGTON - The Navy's top admiral said he hoped to speed up work on unmanned weapons systems, including underwater vehicles and an unmanned combat plane. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead cited the Navy's earlier-than-planned deployment last month of the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, which he said is performing “wonderfully.” Roughead also said he’s pressing to accelerate development of the Unmanned Combat Aerial System. The Fire Scout and UCAS are both Northrop Grumman products. (Source: Reuters, 11/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman Fire Scout finishing work is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Contract: W R Systems, $26.9M

W R Systems Ltd., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $26,946,956 contract for in-service engineering technical support services for various navigation systems. This contract combines purchases for the Navy, and foreign governments under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Three percent of the work will be done in Pascagoula, Miss., and 75 percent in Hampton Roads, Va. Other sites are in Hawaii, California, Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Washington and foreign military sites and is expected to be completed by October 2010. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/30/09)

Micro UAV training program launched

A new joint training program has been launched at a Navy outlying field near Holley in Santa Rosa County, Fla. The Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems will teach special operations personnel from all branches how to operate Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Vehicles, unmanned aircraft now used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The training center falls under the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field. There was a ribbon-cutting Thursday. The first class has 11 students. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/29/09)

AF releases short list for F-35

Eleven Air Force and Air Guard bases are on the short list for hundreds of F-35 fighters, the Air Force announced. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was chosen some time back as the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center, but since then other communities with bases have launched efforts to be chosen for other F-35s. Part of the reason is the Air Force is retiring 250 F-16s and F-15s over the next year. The Air Force proposed operating F-35s out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.; and two Air Guard bases. The 11 bases were selected after the Air Force evaluated 205 of its installations. (Source: Air Force Times, 10/29/09)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contract: Bell, $13.2M

Bell Aerospace Services Inc., Bedford, Texas, is being awarded a $13,199,152 contract to provide up to 145,152 hours of contractor engineering technical services on-site proficiency training for the airframe, avionics, and electrical systems of the H-1 aircraft. Nine percent of the work will be performed in New Orleans, La., and 53 percent in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Other sites are Cherry Point, N.C., New River, N.C., Johnstown, Pa., Okinawa, Japan, and Atlanta, and is expected to be completed in October 2012. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/29/09)

Boeing puts second 787 line in S.C.

Boeing has chosen its North Charleston, S.C., facility as the location for a second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program. In addition to serving as a location for final assembly of 787 Dreamliners, the facility also will support the testing and delivery of the airplanes. The Washington Roundtable, a group representing executives of private sector employers in Washington state, said the decision shows the group needs to work harder to make changes to make the state more competitive. (Sources: Boeing, Business Wire, 10/28/09) Gulf Coast note: The decision is of interest to the Gulf Coast, where Boeing is competing against the Northrop Grumman/EADS team to build tankers for the Air Force. EADS wants to assemble them in Mobile, Ala.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leaders to debate next step in space

Aerospace industry leaders will meet in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2 to debate the future of America’s space programs in light of the recent findings by the Augustine Commission. It’s also occurring after the successful launch of Ares I-X on Wednesday. The half-day event will feature panelists from leading space exploration companies as well as from NASA and academia. It’s organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. (Source: Business Wire, 10/27/09) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast is involved in the space program through Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Contract: McDonnell, $72M

McDonnell Douglas Corp., of St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a $72,022,275 contract to provide 2,925 Lot 14 guided vehicle kits for joint direct attack munition purposes. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 678 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/28/09)

Northrop won't rule out tanker boycott

Reuters is reporting that Northrop Grumman left open the possibility it might boycott the Pentagon's aerial tanker competition, faulting draft bidding rules and expanding a complaint that rival Boeing was given an unfair edge. Northrop, partnered with Europe's EADS, said Wednesday the proposed rules set up a cost shootout with Boeing that would spur a race to the bottom and reduce the capabilities of the refueling tankers. (Source: Reuters, 10/28/09) Gulf Coast note: The Northrop/EADS team wants to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Ares I-X launched

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - NASA successfully launched the Ares I-X rocket Wednesday after scrubbing the launch Tuesday due to weather. The prototype rocket was scheduled to fly about two minutes before the first-stage booster burns out and drops in the Atlantic for recovery. The Ares I-X is part of the Constellation Program, which is designed to return astronauts to the moon and beyond. The rocket is 327 feet tall. (Source: NASA, 10/28/09) Gulf Coast note: Both Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are involved in the Constellation Program.

College names scholarship for Goldman

Meridian Community College in Meridian has established an engineering scholarship in honor of alumnus Gene Goldman, director of NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. The first $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an engineering student attending MCC during the 2010 spring semester. As an MCC graduate, Goldman went on to earn the Registered Professional Engineer-Civil certification and a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University in Starkville. (Source: NASA, 10/23/09)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tanker fight escalates - again

Lawmakers who support Boeing and those who support Northrop Grumman/EADS in the battle over a $35 billion Air Force tanker project are concerned about the fairness of the draft request for bids issued last month. In separate letters, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., expressed concerns. The battle for some times now has been less about planes and more about jobs. Boeing wants to build them in Washington, and Northrop/EADS want to build them in Mobile, Ala. Both sides have major lobbying efforts. Northrop is expected to hold a press conference Wednesday to respond to the draft request. (Source: Multiple, including AP, 10/27/09)

Ares I-X launch scrubbed

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - NASA scrubbed the launch of its Ares I-X rocket because of the weather, but the agency will try again on Wednesday. The flight is part of the Constellation Program, NASA’s bid to return astronauts to the moon and beyond. The rocket is a sub-orbital prototype for a new booster for the shuttle’s replacement, Orion. (Source: Multiple, 10/27/09) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are both involved in the Constellation Program.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ares I-X set to launch

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – The Ares I-X is scheduled to take off Tuesday at 8 a.m. EDT in a test launch of the brand new rocket that’s part of NASA’s Constellation Program. The flight will last just minutes. NASA will broadcast the launch live on NASA TV, which will be webcast simultaneously. The rocket is a sub-orbital prototype for a new booster for the shuttle’s replacement, Orion. The rocket is 327 feet tall. (Source: Multiple, 10/26/09) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are both involved in the Constellation Program.

JASSM passes test

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, JASSM, successfully completed Lot 7 Reliability Assessment Program flight tests with 15 successes out of 16 flights Oct. 22. The tests were conducted by the Air Force at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., using B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and F-16 fighters from Eglin against a wide range of targets and various scenarios. The tests pave the way for awarding the Lot 8 production contract to Lockheed Martin. JASSM is a stealthy, conventional, precision, launch-and-leave, standoff missile that can be launched from fighters and bombers. A 2,000-pound class weapon with a combination penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead, JASSM cruises autonomously using an infrared seeker in addition to the anti-jam GPS to find a specific point on the target. Eglin is home of the Air Armament Center, which oversees the development of air weapons systems. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 10/23/09)

Four-state lobbying group announced

BAY MINETTE, Ala. – The battle between two regions over the Air Force tanker project escalated Monday when the governors of Alabama and Mississippi jointly announced formation of the Aerospace Alliance, a four-state effort to promote the Gulf Coast region's aerospace activities. It's first task will be to support Northrop Grumman and EADS’ effort to win the $35 billion Air Force tanker project. EADS wants to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., while competitor Boeing wants to build them in Washington state and Kansas. A large number of people, many of them elected officials, turned out for the announcement at Faulkner State Community College. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley was there and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour spoke to the gathering via satellite. Joining them were representatives from Northrop Grumman and EADS. Boeing has its own large lobbying effort that includes backing from congressional delegations in Kansas and Washington, labor unions, and others. Northrop/EADS won the contract in 2008 but a Boeing protest was upheld. The new group’s Web site is at (Source: Tcp, 10/26/09)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eglin group wins DoD award

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The 708th Armament Systems Group has been recognized for unprecedented acquisition management success with selection by the Department of Defense as the winner of 2009 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award. The award singles out the group as the best acquisition team in the Air Force. The 708th delivered a new laser-guided version of the Joint Direct Attack Munition to warfighters in 11 months. The award will be presented Nov. 3. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 10/23/09)

Friday, October 23, 2009

NASA Global Hawk returns to flight

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - NASA and Northrop Grumman Friday announced the initial return to flight of a Global Hawk planned for environmental science research. Dryden Flight Research Center and Northrop are returning NASA's two Global Hawks to flight under a Space Act Agreement signed in 2008. The two aircraft were among seven Global Hawks built and flown in the original Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program. The aircraft that flew for about four hours Friday last took to the skies in May 2003. (Source: NASA, 10/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Portions of current Global Hawks are built in Moss Point, Miss.

Boeing won't release pricing

Reuters reports that Boeing declined a Pentagon request to release its pricing information from the last aerial tanker competition to Northrop Grumman. The Pentagon gave Boeing information on the winning bidders pricing after Boeing lost the contest in 2008 to the Northrop Grumman/EADS team. That’s common. But Boeing’s protest of the award was upheld and the battle over the tanker contract has been renewed. That led Northrop to seek Boeing’s pricing information. A Pentagon general counsel told Northrop in a letter Sept. 23, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, that the Pentagon "sought Boeing's permission to release this information, and Boeing declined," according to the letter. (Source: Reuters, 10/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop/EADS plan to assemble the tanker in Mobile, Ala., if they win the contract.

Frontier to restart New Orleans service

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Frontier Airlines will return to the Louis Armstrong International Airport next year for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, offering a daily service to Denver beginning June 15. In addition, Southwest Airlines, which trimmed New Orleans service after the hurricane, is adding two daily trips in May. One is a direct flight to St. Louis and the other is a second flight to Denver. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 10/23/09)

Goodyear 3Q report

Goodrich Corp. saw profit and revenue continue to fall in the third quarter. But company leaders expressed confidence that the world economy would boost air travel next year, in turn boosting sales. The company, which employs 800 people making and overhauling jet engine cowlings in Foley, Ala., had a profit of $145.4 million in the third quarter, down 13 percent from a high-water mark in the same quarter of 2008. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/23/09)

Teledyne 3Q report

Teledyne Technologies profit per share hit a record in the third quarter, helped by cost cutting and a tax windfall. Total profit rose to $35.1 million, up 14 percent from $30.9 million in the same quarter of 2008. The results were boosted by $8.2 million in research and development tax credits. Teledyne is the parent company of Teledyne Continental Motors, a 420-worker unit that makes propeller plane engines at Mobile's Brookley Field Industrial Complex. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/23/09)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Industry concerned over tanker rules

Reuters reports that industry executives are starting to raise questions about the Pentagon’s draft rules for a new aerial tanker competition and say the bid for a "fixed-price" deal on such a big development program is unprecedented and risky. Boeing and Northrop Grumman are not saying much, but some executives are beginning to privately air concerns about the rules, according to Reuters. (Source: Reuters, 10/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop and partner EADS plan to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., if they are awarded the contract.

Tanker passes fuel to fighter

A Royal Australian Air Force A330 tanker, the same type EADS hopes to sell to the U.S. Air Force, marked a performance milestone with the first in-flight refueling of a fighter. The test involved the integrated Aerial Refueling Boom System. The fuel was transferred to two F-16. The flight lasted four hours and 30 minutes, with more than 3,300 pounds of fuel transferred during 13 contacts. (Source: EADS North America, 10/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing is competing against the Northrop Grumman/EADS team to build tankers for the Air Force. Northrop/EADS wants to assemble them in Mobile, Ala.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Governors slate aerospace briefing

The governors Mississippi and Alabama have scheduled a briefing Monday in Bay Minette, Ala., to discuss the KC-45 tanker project and a “major announcement” impacting the future of aerospace in the Gulf Coast. The briefing is at Faulkner State Community College. The Gulf Coast region between New Orleans and Northwest Florida has a long history in aviation. But the contest pitting Boeing against Northrop Grumman and partner EADS to build aerial tankers has galvanized efforts to promote the region’s aerospace activities. EADS wants to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., a move that would also benefit Northwest Florida and South Mississippi. (Source: Tcp, 10/21/09)

Panama City airport gets Southwest

Southwest Airlines plans to begin serving the new Panama City, Fla., airport when the facility opens in May 2010. Three Florida cities, Panama City, Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, all hoped to get the discount airliner. Mobile, Ala., also made a pitch. The media in Pensacola also report that doesn’t mean Pensacola is out of the running since the company considers Pensacola and Panama City separate markets. According to Reuters, Southwest forged a deal with St. Joe Co., a huge landowner in the Panhandle, in which St. Joe will make quarterly cash payments to Southwest to cover shortfalls in the carrier's operations at the airport in the first three years of service. (Sources: Florida Freedom News, Pensacola News Journal, Reuters, 10/21/09)

Officials get intro on F-35 status

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - Okaloosa County commissioners received an introduction and update of the F-35 program Tuesday from J.R. McDonald, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of corporate and business development. McDonald, who moved to Okaloosa County a few months ago to oversee the company’s activities from Pensacola to Panama City, is the first vice president the company has stationed at its office in Shalimar. McDonald said he anticipated the first F-35 to arrive next summer, a few months later than the original March goal. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/20/09)

Boeing 3Q report

The Boeing Co. posted a third-quarter loss of $1.6 billion and reduced its full-year profit forecast, hurt by $3.5 billion in charges for the delayed 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 jumbo jet programs. Revenues rose 9 percent to $16.7 billion. (Source: Boeing, 10/21/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast.

Northrop Grumman 3Q report

Northrop Grumman Corp. reported that third quarter 2009 earnings from continuing
operations totaled $487 million compared with $509 million in the third quarter of 2008. Third
quarter 2009 net pension adjustment reduced earnings from continuing operations by $47 million compared with an increase to earnings from continuing operations of $42 million in the third quarter of 2008. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 10/21/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

O'Keefe named to EADS post

Former NASA leader Sean O'Keefe will become chief executive of EADS North America. Ralph Crosby, current chief executive of EADS North America, will stay on as nonexecutive chairman. O'Keefe is a former Navy secretary who served as administrator of NASA from 2001 to 2005. A New Orleans native, he also served as chancellor of Louisiana State University from 2005-2008 and most recently was GE Aviation vice president. His EADS appointment is effective Nov. 1.(Source: Multiple, 10/20/09)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stennis gets Project Ready designation

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center next month will be formally recognized as a “Project Ready” site, a designation that indicates it’s “shovel-ready” for new businesses that come calling. It’s the first site to earn certification in the new “technology park” category, a later addition to the program. The formal recognition is Nov. 6. “Since Hurricane Katrina, we have seen a 10 percent growth in our center’s workforce in support of NASA, other government agencies, and private technology-based companies,” said Gene Goldman, director of Stennis. “We feel that our future is bright in South Mississippi, and we hope this certification will reassure those looking at our center.” The certification program by Mississippi Power uses a third party to determine when a site is ready. (Source: NASA, 10/19/09) Note: In August, the Jackson County Aviation Technology Park in Moss Point, Miss., was awarded Project Ready status.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Airmen complete 800-mile march

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - After walking over 800 miles through five states, 12 special tactics airmen arrived at Hurlburt Field Friday, completing a memorial march for their fallen comrades. The marchers, including some from Keesler Air Force Base, split up into six two-man teams and walked day and night to honor 12 special tactics airmen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each marcher carried a 50-pound ruck sack and a baton engraved with the name of a fallen special tactics airman. The 12 airmen reunited just outside the base and walked the final five miles as a team. The march began at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. (Source: AFNS, 10/16/09)

Contract: Wintec, $85M

Wintec, Arrowmaker, Inc., of Fort Washington, Md., was awarded a $85,000,000 contract which will provide advisory and assistance services to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla. HQ AFSOC/A7KZ, Hurlburt Field is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/16/09)

ATK delivers composite crew module

Alliant Techsystems delivered a technological first to NASA: a full-scale, crew module structure made of composite materials. The Composite Crew Module is designed to reduce the overall weight of future manned launch vehicles. Full-scale structural testing will be performed at NASA's Langley Research Center to determine the viability of the composite structure. The structure was fabricated and assembled at ATK's facility in Iuka, Miss. (Source: ATK, 10/14/09) Gulf Coast note: ATK has an operation in Northwest Florida; South Mississippi has multiple companies involved in manufacturing with composites; Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center, Miss., are involved in the space program.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next Biloxi air show in 2011

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – People who want to see more air shows at Keesler Air Force Base will have to wait until the spring of 2011. Col. Chris Valle, vice commander of the 81st Training Wing, said Keesler is bidding to bring the Navy's Blue Angels to South Mississippi for the next show. Keesler in April held its first air show since Hurricane Katrina. Featured were the Thunderbirds, the Air Force precision flying team. Some 140,000 spectators attended the show over two days. (Source: Sun Herald, 10/15/09)

Group to attend aviation conference

CRESTVIEW, Fla. - A delegation from Okaloosa County will attend an aviation business conference in Orlando next week to try to lure companies to Bob Sikes Airport’s industrial park. The National Business Aviation Association is holding its annual convention Oct. 20-23. Some 30,000 people are expected to attend, among them more than a dozen county and business leaders to promote the Crestview Air Park at Bob Sikes Airport. The airport has an 8,000-foot runway and is close to highways, the Gulf of Mexico and military bases. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/14/09)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pensacola getting United flights

PENSACOLA, Fla. – United Airlines will be coming to Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport beginning Feb. 11 and offering direct flights to Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The flights will be on 50-seat Canadair regional jets. The Washington flights will be twice daily, and one Chicago flight will be added on the weekend during the winter and spring. United will be serving Pensacola for the first time. The airport is also trying to get Southwest Airlines. (Sources: WEAR-TV, Pensacola News Journal, Mobile Press-Register, 10/14/09)

UAV market worth billions

Defense industry consultants predict the market for unmanned aerial vehicles will reach the upper teens in billions of dollars worth of procurement through 2018, with related research and development possibly doubling that. Forecast International predicts the market for UAV procurement will be worth $18 billion or more worldwide over the next 10 years. (Source: Aviation Week, 10/14/09) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast has several UAV-related activities, including a Northrop Grumman UAV plant in Moss Point, Miss., Mehlcorp, which designs payload operation modules at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and an AeroVironment operation in Navarre, Fla.

First Lady to visit Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - First Lady Michelle Obama will address members of the military and civil service employees working on Eglin Air Force Base Thursday, said Marie Vanover, a spokeswoman for the base. A news release from Obama’s press office termed the visit “part of the first lady’s ongoing outreach to military families.” This year has been designated the U.S. Air Force's Year of the Air Force Family. The itinerary, according to the White House news release, calls for her to meet first with base leaders. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/14/09)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CEOs urge 787 line in Washington

Leaders from Washington state’s largest companies are urging Boeing to build a second 787 production line in the state. The company has one 787 production line in the state, but there’s concern it may opt to use a recently purchased plant in South Carolina – the former Vought Aircraft plant – for the second 787 line. The letter from members of the Washington Roundtable points out that work remains to be done to improve Boeing’s competitive standing in the global economy, but said the state and Boeing have a long track record of success. (Source: Business Wire, 10/13/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing is competing against Northrop Grumman and EADS to build aerial tankers for the Air Force. Boeing wants to build them in Washington, and EADS wants to assemble them in Mobile, Ala.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Euro Hawk could lead to more sales

Northrop Grumman hopes the Euro Hawk rolled out last week will lead to “a huge” international market, according to Duke Dufresne, company strike and surveillance division general manager. Aviation Week reports Dufresne as saying that aside from sales to Germany and NATO, the Global Hawk also is being eyed by Australia, Spain, Korea and Japan. The first international version of the UAV, which differs from previous variants in having six wing-mounted signals intelligence pods, will start taxi tests in February. The first flight is targeted for March. Current plans call for a direct flight along the great circle route via Canada airspace to EADS’ Manching site in Germany. Germany is expected to buy four more Euro Hawks. (Source: Aviation Week, 10/12/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

SDB test wraps up

The Boeing GBU-40 Small Diameter Bomb II team finished a 42-month risk reduction program last month with a flight test at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. In the test, the guided test vehicle dropped from an F-15E Strike Eagle was equipped with production-ready components, including a Harris data link, Lockheed Martin tri-mode seeker, and modified SDB Increment I (GBU-39) assemblies. The weapon received target updates using a tactical radio communications system processed by the seeker. The seeker successfully performed search, detect, track and classify and the weapon fuze detonated upon impact with the intended target. Boeing is teamed with Lockheed Martin in the SDB II program competition, and as the prime contractor will provide the air vehicle and system integration. Lockheed Martin will supply the sensor/seeker. (Source: Boeing, 10/12/09)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Unions back Boeing tanker bid

Leaders of one of the nation's largest labor unions are calling on Defense Secretary Robert Gates to select Boeing for the U.S. Air Force tanker contract. A group of 10 state presidents representing the AFL-CIO said in a letter to Gates that Boeing is the right choice "for investing in American workers, American knowledge, American security and America's future." Boeing is competing against the Northrop Grumman/EADS team to build the next generation of tankers. EADS wants to assemble them in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/10/09)

Friday, October 9, 2009

World View-2 successfully launched

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Boeing successfully launched the WorldView-2 satellite for DigitalGlobe aboard a Delta II rocket Thursday. Liftoff was at 11:51 a.m. Pacific Time, and the Delta II released WorldView-2 about 62 minutes after liftoff into a sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite is designed to collect and record commercial, high-resolution Earth imagery. DigitalGlobe now has three satellites in its constellation. (Source: Boeing, 10/08/09) Gulf Coast note: DigitalGlobe has an office at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Goodrich Foley celebrates 25 years

FOLEY, Ala. - The Goodrich plant has grown from 37 to 800 employees, showing Alabama can be a leader in the aircraft manufacturing industry, company and state officials said Thursday. The plant, which makes and repairs aircraft engine housings, marked its 25th anniversary Thursday with a celebration that included local, state and federal dignitaries. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/09/09)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bunker buster deployment nears

The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday what’s been clear to anyone who tracks DoD contracts. Deployment of the massive “bunker buster” bomb, capable of penetrating deeply buried facilities, is on a fast track. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the first 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator should be ready by the middle of next year. He notes that the United States has other weapons capable of penetrating hardened facilities, but says the technology in the MOP takes the capability to a new level and puts it in a class by itself. The Pentagon said in August it wanted to speed up production plans. (Source: Multiple, including Voice of America, AFP, 10/08/09) Gulf Coast note: The weapon is being developed by Boeing and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Euro Hawk unveiled by Northrop

PALMDALE, Calif. - Northrop Grumman and EADS Defence & Security (DS) introduced the first Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system in an unveiling ceremony Thursday in Palmdale. The Euro Hawk marks the first international configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance UAV, and solidifies Northrop Grumman's first transatlantic cooperation with Germany and DS. More than 300 employees from Northrop and DS and officials from the German Air Force and Ministry of Defence attended. The aircraft will be equipped with German sensors. (Source: Globe Newswire, 10/08/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. EADS and Northrop are also teamed up in the competition to build aerial tankers for the Air Force. If they win, the planes would be assembled in Mobile, Ala.

Fire Scout now on first deployment

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - The MQ-8B Fire Scout made naval aviation history when the fleet deployed the rotary wing unmanned aircraft system aboard the USS McInerney this week. Fleet introduction of the Fire Scout marks the first time a large, automated UAV has been delivered for ship board operation by sailors. The Fire Scout departed with the 4th Fleet to assist during a counter-narcotics trafficking deployment. It will provide situational awareness as the fleet employs its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, said Capt. Tim Dunigan, Fire Scout program manager. (Source: Naval Air Systems Command, 10/07/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Panama City airport picks name

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - The Bay County airport authority has voted to name the new international airport now under construction at West Bay the Northwest Florida – Panama City International Airport. It’s scheduled to open in May 2010. The authority solicited input from community organizations, including the region’s Tourism Development Councils, Economic Development Alliances, chambers and citizens. (Source: Business Wire, 10/07/09)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

EADS, Army validate Lakota mobility

EADS, Army validate Lakota mobility
GULFPORT, Miss. - EADS North America and the Army successfully loaded four UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters and one company-owned EC145 helicopter onto a C-17, validating the transportability of the LUH. The demonstration was performed at Gulfport in preparation for a future delivery of four U.S. Army UH-72A Lakotas to the Pacific theater for basing on the Kwajalein Atoll. The loading test confirmed that five UH-72A helicopters can be accommodated in the C-17’s cargo bay with minimal disassembly, and that the aircraft can be made mission-ready upon arrival with no maintenance test flights required. The Lakotas are build in Columbus, Miss. (Source: EADS NA, 10/05/09)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Keel-laying" held for flight academy

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The National Flight Academy at Naval Air Station Pensacola hosted a keel-laying ceremony Tuesday to celebrate construction on the 100,000-square-foot educational facility. When completed in 2011, the academy will be a science camp for students grades 7-12, and will use a naval-aviation-themed environment. Ground was broken in June. The $26.5 million construction project includes a 100,000-square-foot academy and 55,000-square-foot addition to the National Naval Aviation Museum. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 10/06/09)

Contract: Raytheon, $17.5M

Raytheon Missile Systems Co., of Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $17,471,784 contract to provide 578 propulsion sections to be installed into AIM-120B air vehicles. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 695 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/06/09)

Engineering focus of program

MOBILE, Ala. – In a bid to get more students interested in engineering, nine Mobile County elementary and middle schools will get a $3.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a program designed to do just that. U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner said it’s a pilot program that will set the pace for educators across the nation. The program is Engaging Youth in Engineering. Alabama needs at least 1,200 more engineers and about 24,000 technicians, said Bob Foley, assistant dean at the USA's College of Engineering. The state's engineering colleges are only producing about 400 a year. “You can't bring Northrop Grumman or EADS into Mobile without training workers,” Bonner said. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/06/09)

Mobile wants to get Southwest

MOBILE, Ala. - Mobile Regional Airport and business leaders are launching a new push for the Dallas-based discount carrier Southwest Airlines, which could include efforts to give public money and free hotel rooms as enticements. The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce is sounding out business leaders on potential pledges, using an online survey set to end Wednesday. The incentives would echo those offered by three Florida airports also seeking the carrier: Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/06/09)