Friday, July 31, 2009

Ex-officer guilty in scheme

PENSACOLA, Fla. – A retired Air Force officer was convicted of destroying records and lying to a grand jury in connection with contracts awarded by a research lab at Eglin Air Force Base. Richard Schaller was accused of helping another retired Air Force officer who worked at the Air Force Research Laboratory on Eglin steer contracts to Schaller's company. (Source: AP, 07/31/09)

Aviation museum gets new exhibit

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The National Naval Aviation Museum this week got a new aircraft for display – an SH-60B Seahawk that has been in continuous duty with the Navy since 1986. It flew in Wednesday and was officially unveiled Thursday. The helicopter flew more than 8,700 hours. Missions included training, counter-submarine and counter-narcotics. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 07/31/09)

Boeing completes SC plant purchase

Boeing completed acquisition of the business and operations of Vought Aircraft Industries’ South Carolina facility, where a structure for the 787 Dreamliner is built. The purchase was originally announced July 7. The plant in North Charleston will be called Boeing Charleston, which will be managed by the 787 program, and will continue to perform fabrication, assembly and systems installation for 787 aft fuselage sections. (Source: Boeing, 07/30/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing is competing against Northrop Grumman/EADS to build an aerial tanker for the Air Force. EADS wants to build the plane assembly plant in Mobile, Ala.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

White House resists split tanker buy

The White House budget office complained this week about Congressional pressure to split the aerial refueling tanker buy between Boeing and Northrop Grumman. A statement said the administration supports taking advantage of efficiencies associated with an award to a single contractor. If the Northrop Grumman/EADS team wins it will assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 07/30/09)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

X-47B passes structural tests

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A series of static and dynamic proof load tests were recently completed to validate the design and structural integrity of the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System. It was done under the UCAS Carrier Demonstration program. The X-47B, now designated with Navy Bureau Number 168063, will undergo engine integration and taxi tests through the fall in preparation for first flight and carrier trials. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 07/29/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of the Global Hawk and Fire Scout UAVs in Moss Point, Miss.

Stennis does last shuttle engine test

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The last Space Shuttle Main Engine test was conducted this afternoon at this South Mississippi NASA center. The test marked the end of 34 years of testing space shuttle main engines at Stennis. The center’s new mission is helping NASA prepare for the next era of human spaceflight, the Constellation Program. Last year and the year before Stennis did component tests for the J-2X engine that will be used in the program. A new test stand is being built at Stennis for future J-2X testing. (Source: Tcp, 07/29/09)

Raytheon GBU-53B completes test

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Raytheon Co. completed a series of captive carry flight tests of its entry in the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II competition. Engineers tested the weapon's integration and guidance receiver navigator on an Air Force F-15E and also conducted seeker-performance evaluations on an Army UH-1 helicopter. (Source: Raytheon via PRNewswire, 07/29/09)

General Dynamics 2Q report

FALLS CHURCH, Va. –General Dynamics reported second-quarter 2009 earnings from continuing operations of $621 million compared to 2008 second-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $641 million. Revenues in the most-recent quarter grew to $8.1 billion, increasing 10.9 percent over second-quarter 2008 revenues of $7.3 billion. (Source: GD via PRNewswire, 07/29/09) Gulf Coast note: General Dynamics has operations along the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

JSF engine marks milestone

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – The engine that will power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter surpassed 12,000 engine test hours as part of the system development and demonstration phase. Added to hours during the concept demonstration program, the F135 engine has more than 15,600 test hours. Pratt & Whitney will deliver the first seven production engines later this year. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 07/28/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to host the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

EADS 2Q report

PARIS - EADS NV, parent company of Airbus, reported second-quarter net profit rose close to 70 percent. Earnings before interest, taxes and other items rose to $936 million, up from last year but below analysts’ forecasts. The company also warned it may take hits on future profits from the delayed A400M military transport program. (Sources: multiple, including AP via Google, Dow Jones via Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, 07/28/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS plans to build a tanker assembly plant in Mobile, Ala., if it and partner Northrop Grumman win an Air Force contract.

UAVs now in academy curriculum

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – U.S. Air Force Academy officials have integrated unmanned aircraft systems into the school's curriculum. Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould, the academy superintendent, said the service has made UAVs a priority, and their value is evidenced every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. Training on the two Viking 300 UAS' is being held Camp Red Devil at Fort Carson, Colo. The program opened July 12. (Source: AFNS, 07/27/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman UAVs are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

EADS sells more tankers

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. said Saudi Arabia will buy three more of the company's A330 refueling tankers. The company said the Royal Saudi Air Force will take delivery of the first of six A330 tankers in 2011. EADS is part of a team led by Northrop Grumman Corp. competing against Boeing for a contract to build tankers for the Air Force. If Northrop/EADS wins, the planes will be assembled in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 07/28/09)

Eglin VA clinic popular first year

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Since the Community Based Outpatient Clinic opened 14 months ago, veterans in the first year have made 15,982 visits, said the facility’s chief medical officer. The clinic, near Eglin Air Force Base’s west gate, offers primary medical care, mental health services, lab work, a small pharmacy and nutrition assistance to about 4,500 veterans in Okaloosa County. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/26/09)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

AF accepts HEO-2 for operations

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – The Lockheed Martin-led team developing the Space Based Infrared System said the second Highly Elliptical Orbit payload and ground system modifications have been accepted for operations by the U.S. Air Force, paving the way for U.S. Strategic Command's formal certification of the HEO-2 system next month. SBIRS is designed to provide early warning of missile launches and support other missions. (Source: Lockheed Martin via PRNewswire, 07/24/09) Gulf Coast note: SBIRS subsystems are built at the Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space and Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Teledyne 2Q report

Teledyne Technologies' Continental Motors unit saw a $700,000 operating profit in the second quarter after losing $4.3 million in the first quarter of 2009 and $2.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales for Teledyne Continental Motors, based in Mobile, Ala., were down 38 percent in the second quarter from a year ago. The overall company, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., had a profit of $25.2 million in the second quarter, down 23 percent from the second quarter of 2008. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 07/24/09)

Friday, July 24, 2009

One F-35 suit dismissed

VALPARAISO, Fla. – A federal judge dismissed the city’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Air Force. It was prompted by an Air Force agreement to provide F-35 noise data to the city. In addition to the FOIA suit, Valparaiso has sued the Air Force over its decision to bring 59 F-35s to Eglin Air Force Base and use its runway nearest Valparaiso. Negotiations continue in that case. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/23/09)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gates backed into corner?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates thought he punted the aerial tanker problem to someone else, but since he opted to stay on in his post, it’s right back in his hands. Gates has insisted on a winner-take-all in the competition between Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team, but the House Appropriations Committee says it must review terms of the competition. That increases the chance of politicking. Analysts say the review could lead Gates to agree to a splitting the contract. (Source: Politico, 07/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop/EADS plan to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if they win. Boeing will build them in Washington if it wins.

Goodrich 2Q report

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Goodrich Corp. reported second quarter sales of $1,700 million, a decrease of 8 percent compared to the second quarter 2008 sales of $1,849 million, including sales reductions of $91 million related to foreign currency exchange rate impacts and for lowered sales resulting from the formation of the engine controls joint venture with Rolls-Royce. (Source: Goodrich via PRNewswire, 07/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Goodrich has an aerospace service center in Foley, Ala.

Raytheon 2Q report

WALTHAM, Mass. - Raytheon Co. reported second quarter 2009 income from continuing operations of $504 million, up 17 percent compared to $432 million in the second quarter 2008. Net sales for the second quarter 2009 were $6.1 billion, up from $5.9 billion in the second quarter 2008. (Source: Raytheon via PRNewswire, 07/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Raytheon has operations along the Gulf Coast.

Northrop Grumman 2Q report

LOS ANGELES - Northrop Grumman Corp. reported that second quarter 2009 earnings from continuing operations totaled $394 million compared with $483 million in the second quarter of 2008. Second quarter 2009 earnings included a net $64 million pre-tax gain for legal matters as well as a $105 million pre-tax charge for cost increases in the estimates to complete several ships under construction at the company's Gulf Coast shipyards. (Source: Northrop via PRNewswire, 07/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop has multiple operations along the Gulf Coast.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pentagon orders more M777s

The Pentagon has ordered 62 more M777 howitzers from BAE Systems in a deal worth $117 million. The additional work for the company’s Barrow, UK, and Hattiesburg, Miss., facilities pushes manufacturing on current sales well into 2012. The Hattiesburg facility, which opened in 2003, is responsible for final integration and test of the weapon system. (Source: BAE Systems, 07/20/09) Gulf Coast note: BAE Systems also has operations in Gautier, Miss., and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Test wing gets new leader

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The 46th Test Wing welcomed a new leader in a ceremony this week. Col. Michael Brewer accepted the helm of the wing from Maj. Gen. Charles Davis, program executive officer for weapons and Air Armament Center commander. Brewer was previously vice commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Det. 3, Edwards AFB, Calif. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 07/21/09)

Boeing 2Q report

CHICAGO - The Boeing Company's second-quarter revenues rose 1 percent to $17.2 billion, while earnings per share rose 22 percent to $1.41. Operating cash flow increased to $1 billion. The company also reported a backlog of $328 billion, nearly five times current annual revenues. (Source: Boeing via PRNewswire, 07/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has operations along the Gulf Coast.

Last shuttle engine test slated

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The last planned Space Shuttle Main Engine test will be July 29 at 2 p.m. CDT at this South Mississippi NASA center. The 520-second test ends a 34-year era of space shuttle main engine testing at Stennis. The first shuttle mission was in 1981 and there have been 126 since then, with all the main engines tested at Stennis. Seven flights remain before the space shuttle fleet is retired. The center is now helping NASA prepare for the next era of human spaceflight. Between 2007 and 2008, Stennis conducted component testing as part of early development of the J-2X engine for the Constellation Program. The J-2X will be tested at simulated altitudes up to 100,000 feet on the 300-foot A-3 test stand currently under construction at the center. (Source: NASA, 07/21/09)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

County, Navy reach runway accord

MILTON, Fla. - Santa Rosa County and the Navy reached an agreement to let businesses in a planned aviation park use a Whiting Field Naval Air Station runway. Whiting Aviation Park will be built on 267 acres of land adjacent to the base. The land was purchased as part of Santa Rosa County's ongoing encroachment-prevention efforts. The agreement allows up to 75 flights a day. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 07/21/09) Previous story, June 2009

County in running for service center

MILTON, Fla. - Santa Rosa County officials say the county is in the running for a military-related service center that could employ 800 people. The executive director of TEAM Santa Rosa Economic Development Council told the board of directors Monday that she could find out next week if East Milton has been chosen as one of three sites in Florida to compete with four other states for the facility. The company has not been named. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 07/21/09)

Lockheed Martin 2Q report

BETHESDA, Md. - Lockheed Martin Corp. today reported second quarter 2009 net earnings of $734 million compared to $882 million in 2008. Net sales for the second quarter of 2009 were $11.2 billion, compared to $11.0 billion in 2008. Cash from operations for the second quarter of 2009 was $1.1 billion, compared to $1.5 billion in 2008. (Source: Lockheed Martin via PRNewswire, 07/21/09) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin has operations in the Gulf Coast.

Feds could anchor proposed complex

MOBILE, Ala. - The government wants to lease 24,000 square feet of office space downtown or at the Brookley Field Industrial Complex for Department of Homeland Security agencies. Mobile Airport Authority officials said they've offered the first building in a proposed office park that the authority would like to build on South Broad Street, south of Fort Whiting and across the street from the Airbus engineering center. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 07/21/09) Brookley is also the site chosen by EADS to assemble an aerial refueling tanker if the company wins an Air Force contract.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Airborne tool would aid ASW training

Antisubmarine warfare training may get a new airborne tool to detect marine mammals that sometimes limit training exercises. Advanced Coherent Technologies LLC of San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $7.7 million contract for a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research project called “Living Marine Resources Imaging Sensor.” The contract provides for the continued development of a flight ready prototype sensor. Sixty percent of the work will be done in Mobile, Ala., and 40 percent in San Diego, and is expected to be completed in July 2014. The Phase I solicitation requested development of a radar system and associated algorithms to detect breaching whales in various sea states. (Source: DoD, 07/20/09)

Second contractors pleads guilty

A former government employee at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., pleaded guilty Monday and agreed to cooperate with an investigation of appropriations members of Congress steer to defense contractors. Mark O’Hair pleaded guilty to a false statement and conflict-of-interest charge. He’s the second defendant now cooperating with federal prosecutors looking onto allegations of wrongdoing by contractors with ties to Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. Last week Richard Ianieri, former chief executive of a defense contractor with ties to Murtha pleaded guilty to soliciting kickbacks from a subcontractor in Pennsylvania. (Sources: multiple, including AP, The Hill, Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/20/09) Previous story, February 2009

Lakotas bound for Puerto Rico

The first two EADS North America-built UH-72A Lakota helicopters to be based outside of the continental United States have been delivered to the Army for operations in Puerto Rico. The helicopters are made in Columbus, Miss., by American Eurocopter, an EADS North America company. (Source: EADS North America, 07/20/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS also hopes to build a tanker assembly facility in Mobile, Ala. Another EADS company, EADS-CASA, has a maintenance facility in Mobile.

Friday, July 17, 2009

UAVs integrated into AF plans

Air Force leaders last month approved the Air Force Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan. The plan outlines a coordinated strategy for UAV integration across all Air Force functions. While the vision does not advocate replacement of manned missions, it does identify UAS alternatives for some manned missions. The plan highlights capabilities that will revolutionize UAV operations, including multi-aircraft control. The UAS Flight Plan is a long-range vision to 2047. (Source: AFNS, 07/15/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds two unmanned systems, Global Hawk and Fire Scout, in Moss Point, Miss.; UAV-maker AeroVironment has a training operation in Navarre, Fla.

Contract: McDonnell, $12.1M

McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $12,100,000 contract to provide massive ordnance penetrator on B-2 platform. At this time $6,000,000 has been obligated. AAC/708th, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/16/09)

More work done on Stennis stand

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Work on a pair of transfer docks for the new rocket test stand at John C. Stennis Space Center has been completed. The docks allow barges to deliver fuels to the A-3 Test Stand via Stennis’ seven-and-one-half-mile canal system that connects the site to the Pearl River. From the docks, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen will be loaded into run tanks and used to conduct engine tests. The docks also are outfitted to allow for direct liquid transfer during a test. The A-3 stand will be used to test the J-2X engine for the Constellation Program. (Source: NASA, 07/17/09)

Keesler chosen for cyber training

BILOXI, Miss. - Keesler Air Force Base was chosen as the site for the new Undergraduate Cyberspace Training Unit, a program that will teach its students how to protect communications networks. The new unit will mean more students and teachers at Keesler. The first class begins in the fall of 2010. The training will include how to design, secure, assess, exploit, attack and defend various communication networks, including telephones, Internet protocol, satellite, land mobile radio, industrial control systems, integrated air defense and tactical data link. (Source: The Sun Herald, 07/17/09)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

60-year Keesler program ends

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – A course that’s been taught for six decades at Keesler is ending and being merged with other career fields. The last radio communications operations class in the 336th Training Squadron graduates next week. Radio operators deploy radio transmitters, receivers and ancillary equipment for line-of-sight, air-to-ground and satellite communications in fixed and tactical environments. The training in the reconfigured career fields will continue to be done at Keesler. (Source: Keesler Air Force Base, 07/15/09)

City's FOIA suit accord reached

VALPARAISO, Fla. - City commissioners voted Wednesday to approve a settlement in their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the Air Force. Most of the meeting with attorneys was held in executive session. As a part of the settlement, the Air Force agreed to give Valparaiso all of the noise data within 30 days of the settlement’s signing by both parties. The suit is connected to the establishment of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Training Center. Valparaiso has been concerned over the noise associated with the aircraft. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/15/09)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Contract: Pratt & Whitney, $571.1M

Pratt & Whitney of East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $571,114,320 modification to the previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter F-135 (engine) low rate initial production Lot III advance acquisition contract to a cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract. It sets the final price and fully funds the procurement of seven Air Force conventional take off and landing propulsion systems, one spare main engine, initial spare modules and spare parts; one Royal Netherlands Air Force CTOL propulsion system, one spare main engine, and spare parts; seven Marine Corps short take off and vertical landing propulsion systems; initial spare modules and spare parts; two United Kingdom Royal Navy STOVL propulsion systems, one spare main engine, initial spare modules and spare parts. The contract also provides for associated special tooling, test equipment and more. Work will be performed in Connecticut, Indiana and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in February 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/15/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is schedule to become home of the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center.

Contract: Bell Boeing, $24.5M

Bell Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $24,500,000 contract for the development and delivery of safety corrective actions, reliability and maintainability improvements, and quick reaction capability improvements in support of V-22 Osprey missions for the Air Force Special Operations Command and the Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Pennsylvania and Texas and is expected to be completed in December 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/15/09) Gulf Coast note: Ospreys are used by the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Contract: Northrop, $26.6M

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $26,640,000 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for additional operations and maintenance support for the Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration Program. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed in August 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/15/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Fire Scout shows off real-time vid

A Northrop Grumman Fire Scout unmanned helicopter testing in the United States provided real-time video feed of electro-optical/ infrared sensor imagery to participants at the Paris Air Show last month. The video was of selected areas of Chesapeake Bay and the shoreline of Southern Maryland. The Navy Fire Scout will complete operational evaluation this summer. (Source: Globe Newswire, 07/15/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

UK A330 set for tanker conversion

The first Airbus A330 slated for the United Kingdom’s strategic tanker program has arrived ahead of schedule at the Airbus facility in Madrid, Spain, to begin its conversion into a multi-role tanker transport. The Royal Air Force tanker uses the same airframe as Northrop Grumman’s KC-45, which is proposed for the U.S. Air Force’s tanker fleet. (Source: EADS North America, 07/15/09) Gulf Coast note: If EADS and partner Northrop Grumman win the Air Force contract, the KC-45 will be assembled in Mobile, Ala. If Boeing wins it will be assembled in Washington.

L-3 Crestview cuts jobs

CRESTVIEW, Fla. - L-3 Crestview Aerospace cut 28 jobs this week. That’s the same number of positions that were cut in May. The company blamed the cuts on the decrease in demand in the commercial aviation sector. The company, one of the largest employers in Okaloosa County, is a subsidiary of L-3 Integrated Systems and does aircraft modification and aerostructure fabrication. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/15/09)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stennis projects among 20 picked

Two Stennis Space Center projects are among the 20 selected for NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program. The NASA Innovation Fund was established to advance work from NASA innovators on novel technologies and concepts that have the potential to revolutionize the way NASA performs its missions. More than 230 proposals were submitted. Each project is funded for a maximum of $50,000, with work to be completed by the end of September. The two Stennis projects are titled “Harvesting Vibrational Energy to Power Wireless Instrumentation Systems” and “Coanda Rocket Plume Deflectors for Large-Scale Test Facilities.” (Source: NASA, 07/10/09)

Waveland incubator study funded

WAVELAND, Miss. - The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration is providing a $24,000 grant to Waveland to develop a feasibility study on establishing a business incubator in the city. Sandra Walters, EDA chief financial officer and chief administrative officer, said the grant will determine the viability of a business incubator to nurture technology and engineering-based businesses and help Waveland capitalize on its proximity to NASA's Stennis Space Center. (Source: Times Picayune, 07/13/09)

Monday, July 13, 2009

F-15 to be displayed at airport

VALPARAISO, Fla. – An F-15 from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base will go on permanent display at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The plane was transported Monday and will be part of a display, expected to be completed in August, honoring the military. Another Eglin F-15 was sent to Mobile, Ala., where it will be part of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. The F-15s are being phased out at Eglin and replaced by F-35s. (Source: Multiple, 07/13/09)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Okaloosa airport plans upgrades

VALPARAISO, Fla. - An upcoming project at Northwest Florida Regional Airport will improve the electrical system, security and parking. Construction is expected to begin in November on a number of improvements, including a realignment of the road leading to the airport’s terminal. A pre-bid meeting for construction companies to get more details about the project is scheduled for Tuesday. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/11/09)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Contract: Lockheed, $262.5M

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded a $262,500,000 contract for the long lead parts and material procurement for the 4th Space Based Infrared Systems Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Satellite and the 4th Highly Elliptical Orbit Payload. Space Based Infrared Systems Wing, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/10/09) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space and Technology Center, Stennis Space Center, Miss., builds subsystems for SBIRS.

First of JSF leadership now at Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The future 33rd Operations Group deputy commander is now at Eglin Air Force Base preparing for his role at the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center. Navy Capt. Mike Saunders arrived at Eglin a few weeks ago and is working with the F-35 Joint Site Activation Task Force and shadowing current operations at the 33rd Fighter Wing. He’s the first senior staff member of the future F-35 wing. Saunders background includes leading the Navy Fighter Weapons School and Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center. Air Force Col. James Ravella, future group commander, arrives next month. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 07/08/09)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Contract: Sauer, $7M

Sauer Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded $7,021,100 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract for the design and construction to renovate three facilities at Stennis Space Center, Miss. It includes work on building 3205 and a new buoy blast & paint facility for the National Data Buoy Center. Work is expected to be completed by January 2011. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/09/09)

Paris: Mississippi, partners make splash

The recent Paris Air Show let aerospace companies show off their products to military and commercial buyers. But it also let South Mississippi and its partners Alabama and Florida strut their stuff on a world stage, make contacts and build relationships they hope will pay off down the road. (Source: Alliance Insight, 07/08/09) (PDF) (Story)

Inouye: Split tanker buy too costly

The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee now opposes directing the Pentagon to buy tankers from both Boeing and Northrop Grumman. Sen. Daniel Inouye said in an interview today that his view has evolved since last month when he hadn’t ruled it out and said he needed more data from the Pentagon. Now he said it may be “much more expensive,” but he provided no figures. (Source: Bloomberg, 07/09/09)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Boom does night test

The EADS advanced aerial refueling boom system, featured on Northrop Grumman’s KC-45 offering for the U.S. Air Force, demonstrated nighttime operational capabilities during a multi-contact mission with an F-16 fighter aircraft. The boom’s system features laser infrared lighting and high-definition digital stereoscopic viewing. The boom was installed on EADS’ A310 test bed, and involved a Portuguese F-16AM. (Source: EADS, 07/08/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS and partner Northrop Grumman plan to establish a tanker assembly plant in Mobile, Ala., if they win the Air Force tanker contest against Boeing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Boeing buying Vought S.C. plant

Boeing has agreed to acquire for some $580 million the business and operations of Vought Aircraft Industries at its South Carolina facility. The Vought facility in North Charleston does fabrication and assembly of structures and systems installation of 787 aft fuselage sections, made primarily of composite materials. Boeing will acquire the assets and inventory and assume operation of the site. This transaction is anticipated to close in the third quarter. Once acquired, the North Charleston facility will be managed by the 787 program. Vought will continue its work on many Boeing programs, including other components of the 787, as well as structures and components on the 737, 747, 767, 777, C-17 and V-22 through operations located elsewhere. (Source: PRNewswire, 07/07/09)

Jacobs takes over Michoud

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been certified by NASA ready to assume operational management of the Michoud Assembly Facility. Jacobs was awarded the manufacturing support and facility operations contract May 1, and officially took over from Lockheed Martin July 1. It will employ about 450 workers. Jacobs president and CEO Craig Martin said Michoud will be central to the success of human missions to the moon and Mars. Michoud, manufacturer of Space Shuttle external tanks, has been selected as the site to manufacture several major components for the Constellation Program. (Source: PRNewswire, 07/07/09)

Opinion: Solving two aero dilemmas

A Bloomberg news columnist in Paris has an interesting way to resolve two problems faced by the aerospace industry. Airbus should drop its troubled A400 troop transport so European nations can buy proven transports from the United States. And in return, the United States should buy the already flying Airbus A330 aerial tanker. It would help aerospace companies on both continents, who in the future will face challenges from China’s and India’s aerospace industries. (Source: Bloomberg, New York Times, 07/07/09)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ares I moves forward

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Though the fate of Ares I is uncertain pending a review by a special panel, the new crew launch vehicle is moving from the computer-aided design workstations to various fabrication facilities. To hold down costs, NASA is developing Ares I in-house before farming out production to industry. Experts in friction stir-welding have produced their first tank dome using the same robotic tool that Boeing will use in upper stage production at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Development of the J-2X, which will power the Ares I upper stage and the earth departure stage, is moving along. Power-pack trials were done at Stennis Space Center, and the A2 test stand will be modified for the J-2X after the last space shuttle main engine test in September. (Source: Aviation Week, 07/05/09)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Restored Electra unveiled

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A restored Lockheed Electra, the type of plane Amelia Earhart was flying when she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, was unveiled Thursday at the National Naval Aviation Museum. July 2 was the 72nd anniversary of Earhart's disappearance during an attempt to circle the globe. The musem's Electra is painted in Navy colors with dark blue wings, but is otherwise outfitted the same as Earhart's plane. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 07/03/09)

Justice joins suit against SAIC

The Justice Department has joined a whistleblower lawsuit over a $3.2 billion contract to provide support services at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The suit claims Science Applications International Corp. conspired with federal officials to rig the technology contract awarded in 2004. The suit claims three former or current federal employees conspired to steer a computer project to SAIC. A company started by one of those former employees had teamed up with SAIC to bid on the contract. The suit was filed by whistleblower David McGee, a former employee at the center. (Source: Multiple, including Washington Post, Reuters, 07/03/09)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Boeing 2nd assembly line the buzz

Boeing may buy supplier Vought Aircraft Industries’ plant in North Charleston, S.C., and establish a second 787 assembly plant there. The plant makes fuselage sections for the 787, but the purchase would put more of the 787 program directly under Boeing’s control. Analysts say it would make sense as a way to cope with the backlog of orders for the program, already two years behind schedule. Washington state wants to keep a second line in Puget Sound, but South Carolina is a right to work state and was in the running in 2003 when Boeing was looking to build the 787 outside of Washington. (Sources: Multiple, including Charlotte Business Journal, Dallas News, Seattle Times, 07/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Mobile, Ala., and Hancock County, Miss., were both among the finalists for the 787 plant in 2003.

Contract: Lockheed, $441.9M

Lockheed Martin is being awarded a $441,938,182 modification to definitize the previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter Air System low rate initial production Lot III advance acquisition contract to a cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract. This modification provides for common and unique performance based logistics support and hardware for the sustainment of seven U.S. Air Force and one Government of the Netherlands conventional take-off and landing aircraft; seven U.S. Marine Corps and two United Kingdom short take-off vertical-landing aircraft; material necessary to support activation of JSF bases, and associated systems. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is slated to become the JSF Training Center.

City eyes annexing part of Hurlburt

MARY ESTHER, Fla. – A proposal to annex a 3-mile stretch of Hurlburt Field is designed to make his city larger and increase state revenue-sharing dollars. The annexation would add 2,000 residents who live in base housing and barracks on the land. The city would not assume any new services or maintenance duties, but residents of the annexed area would be able to vote in local elections and run for office. Mary Esther's population is about 4,500 now. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/01/09)

Hurricane Hunters prep for missions

ST. CROIX, U.S.V.I. - Members of the Air Force Reserve Command's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron deployed to their detachment here to fly training missions over the Caribbean in preparation for the 2009 hurricane season. Unit Airmen are part of the 403rd Wing located at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and are the only Department of Defense unit flying into tropical storms and hurricanes collecting critical data. During the next months until Nov. 30, the Hurricane Hunters will be honing their skills in special WC-130J Hercules aircraft. (Source: AFNS, 07/02/09)

Gulfport adds Dallas flight

GULFPORT, Miss. - Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport is adding a fourth daily flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. The expanded service starts Aug. 25 on American Airlines/American Eagle. The additional flights will leave Gulfport at 10:55 a.m. daily and leave Dallas for the Coast at 11:10 a.m. (Source: Sun Herald, 07/01/09)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Keesler's wins and losses

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Keesler will see a decrease of 31 military positions and an increase of 15 civilian positions as a result of the Air Force's proposed force structure realignment for fiscal 2010. The 81st Training Wing will have an increase of 14 civilian positions, while the 85th Engineering Installation Squadron and the 19th Operational Group Detachment 6 each will get an additional position. The 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron's aeromedical staging flight will see a decrease of 31 military positions due to mission transfer earlier this year. Other miscellaneous actions resulted in a decrease of one civilian position. (Source: AFNS, 07/01/09)

Boeing picks ATK for motors

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Boeing chose Alliant Techsystems to make the upper stage ullage motors for the Ares I launch vehicle. The Ares I is NASA's two-stage rocket that will launch astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft on missions to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond. The ullage motor is similar to the Space Shuttle booster separation motor. (Source: ATK, 07/01/09) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center, Miss., are both involved in the Constellation Program; Boeing has an operation at Michoud and ATK an office in Northwest Florida.