Monday, November 30, 2009
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)
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
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
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)
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)
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 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
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.
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
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)
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)
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)
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
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.
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)
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)
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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
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)
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)
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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)
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
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
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)
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: Military.com, 11/04/09) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space & Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss., builds subsystems for the SBIRS program
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
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.