Thursday, April 30, 2009

First production F-35 fuselage delivered

Northrop Grumman has delivered to Lockheed Martin the center fuselage for the first production F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, designated AF-6, a conventional takeoff and landing variant for the Air Force. Northrop, a partner of Lockheed Martin on the F-35 program, designs and produces the center fuselages for all three F-35 variants – conventional, short-takeoff and carrier-compatible. (Source: Globe Newswire, 04/30/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home of the JSF training center.

Lifeline thrown to shuttle

House and Senate leaders authorized $2.5 billion to keep the space shuttle flying through 2011, if it’s necessary to complete planned missions to the international space station. Funding to maintain shuttle operations past the current deadline of December 2010 is part of the nonbinding $3.4 trillion budget blueprint passed by the House and Senate Wednesday. (Source: Wall Street Journal, 04/29/09) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are both involved in the shuttle program.

Outlook bright for Coast

BILOXI, Miss. - Representatives from six airlines and about 150 South Mississippi executives expressed optimism for the Coast at Wednesday’s Airline and Tourism Development Summit at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino. Bruce Frallic, executive director of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, said airlines are making money serving Gulfport and are considering adding flights. Jeremiah Gerald, director of air service and business development for the airport, said Gulfport is outpacing U.S. growth, with passenger volume up 230 percent since 1998. (Source: The Sun Herald, 04/29/09)

General Dynamics 1Q report

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - General Dynamics first-quarter earnings rose 3 percent as sales of warships and other military equipment made up for lower profits from business jets. The Falls Church, Va.-based defense contractor reported first-quarter net income of $590 million, up from profit of $572 million in the same quarter last year. (Source: GD, 04/29/09)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Northrop adds to UAV lineup

Northrop Grumman, a major unmanned aerial vehicle maker with its Global Hawk and Fire Scout, has acquired Swift Engineering of San Clemente, Calif. The purchase gives Northrop the KillerBee line of unmanned systems, renamed the Bat. The blended wing-body UAV will be offered in sizes with wingspans ranging from 6.5 feet to 33.2 feet. (Source: Aviation Week, 04/28/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Systems Center is in Moss Point, Miss., where the company builds portions of the Fire Scout and Global Hawk.

Control system for multi-UAVs gets nod

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Raytheon Co. received a $16.5 million Navy contract to migrate the current Tactical Control System to a Linux-based operating system and add upgrades to the system software. The Navy's vision is to develop a common unmanned aircraft ground system for multiple platforms, allowing operators to run on one system multiple unmanned aircraft and payloads. Among other things, the contract provides for integration and testing leading to operational evaluation on the Fire Scout. The Navy plans to conduct operational evaluations of the Fire Scout this summer. (Source: Raytheon, 04/29/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are made in part at the Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.

Sides forming in tanker deal

Despite a movement towards buying aerial tankers from both Boeing and Northrop Grumman/EADS, there’s still plenty of opposition and fence-sitting. The Mobile Press-Register reports that Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., blasted the split buy in an interview Monday. Meanwhile, Aviation Week reports that several key senators are not persuaded about the split. It says Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., as well as Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and E. Benjamin Nelson, D-Neb., are not taking a position yet. (Sources: Mobile Press Register, Aviation Week, 04/29/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop/EADS plan to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if they win the contract.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Contracts: Multiple, $48M

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to multiple contractors, including Tybrin Corp., of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., for a maximum $48,000,000. Other contractors are Mark G. Miller Inc. of Layton, Utah, SoBran Inc. of Dayton, Ohio,, White Dot Solutions Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Gauss Management Research and Engineering of Ogden, Utah. This action provides engineering and related services in the development and sustainment of software engineering support for the 309th Software Maintenance Group. OO-ALC/PKES, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/28/09)

Tanker marks refueling milestone

EADS says the Airbus A330 tanker transport marked a new development milestone when it was refueled by a French Air Force C-135. In two sorties the C-135 made 20 contacts with a Royal Australian Air Force A330. The A330 is the platform that Northrop Grumman plans to use for the KC-45, which is competing against the Boeing KC-767 to provide tankers for the U.S. Air Force. (Source: EADS, 04/28/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS North America and Northrop Grumman plan to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if they win the contract.

GBU-53B completes CTV test

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Raytheon launched its first GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II as a control test vehicle flight from an Air Force F-15E. After safely separating from the aircraft, the weapon deployed its wings, performed a series of preprogrammed maneuvers and flew to a predesignated position. The mission met all primary test objectives. The GBU-53/B is designed to take out moving targets in adverse weather conditions. (Source: Raytheon, 04/28/09)

Monday, April 27, 2009

33rd provided summit cover

EGLIN AIR FORCE, Fla. - Ten F-15s and 125 personnel from the 33rd Fighter Wing returned last week from a 15-day deployment providing aerial security support for Summit of the Americas conference. Wing members operated from Port Salines International Airport, Grenada, where a Joint Task Force set up a bare base. The airport had no taxiways or equipment to support fighter operations before the team arrived with four tons of equipment needed to establish 24-hour security protection. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 04/24/09)

Fire Scout payload gets nod

MELBOURNE, Fla. - Northrop Grumman received Milestone "C" approval from the Defense Department for its Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system, designed to support Marine Corps amphibious assault operations. The system now enters low-rate initial production. COBRA is designed to detect and localize minefields patterns and other obstacles in the littoral zone prior to amphibious assaults. It will be carried aboard MQ-8B Fire Scout UAVs. (Source: Global Newswire, 04/27/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are made in part at the Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.; two COBRA team members are Arete Associates of Niceville, Fla., and QinetiQ North America, which owns PSI of Long Beach, Miss.

F-35 in UK for testing

The first structural test airframe for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter arrived in the United Kingdom to undergo tests in the Structural and Dynamic Test facility at BAE Systems’ site in Brough, East Yorkshire, England. The F-35A, designated AG-1, is the conventional takeoff and landing variant. BAE Systems is a principal subcontractor to Lockheed Martin. AG-1 left Fort Worth, Texas, March 27. It took three weeks to make the ocean voyage. (Source: BAE Systems, 04/27/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to become the home of the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Museum to restore ditched plane

A vintage dive bomber pulled from Lake Michigan will be restored at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Fla., and go on display at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The Douglas SBD Dauntless was on a training mission in 1944 when it was ditched and found in the mid-1990s 20 miles from shore. It was brought to shore Friday. (Source: AP, 04/25/09)

Hurlburt top AF installation

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - For the second time in six years, Hurlburt Field received the Commander In Chief's 2009 Installation Excellence Award. The first time was in 2003. The award includes a $1 million prize to be used to improve quality of life on the base. The award was established in 1984. Hurlburt is home of the Air Force Special Operations Command. (Source: Florida Freedom Newspapers, 04/24/09)

2008 big for bird strikes in N.O.

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Bird strikes at Louis Armstrong International Airport showed a six-fold increase between 2007 and 2008, but the number of serious strikes remained steady over the past 18 years, according to Federal Aviation Administration data released Friday. Officials said the jump indicates the airport is doing a better job reporting strikes. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 04/24/09)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gulf Breeze vies for aviation company

GULF BREEZE, Fla. - Gulf Breeze is competing with Georgia to bring in a new avionics manufacturer that may mean 37 or more jobs. The Santa Rosa County Commission voted Thursday to designate “Project Broken Arrow” as a “Qualified Target Industry” to receive state tax discounts. The project would be a headquarters and manufacturing facility. The company manufactures and designs aviation-related components, said Shannon Ogletree, industry recruiter for TEAM Santa Rosa. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 04/24/09)

Teledyne Continental to cut hours

MOBILE, Ala. - Teledyne Continental Motors will cut the hours of its employees as the maker of piston airplane engines struggles with low demand. The company, which employs 400 people at Brookley Field Industrial Complex, will put employees on four-day weeks, and could close entirely for five weeks during the rest of the year. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 04/24/09)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Senators lift hold on Carter

After meeting with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions said they will lift their hold on Ashton Carter, the nominee for Under Secretary of Defense and Acquisition. The two senators met with Gates Thursday to discuss the contoversial Air Force tanker contract, which pits Boeing against the Northrop Grumman/EADS team. Shelby, who said he wants to contract to go to the best value rather than based on price alone, said Gates echoed the desire to deliver the best airplane to troops. (Source: WKRG-TV, 04/23/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS will assemble the plane in Mobile, Ala., if it wins the contract.

Contract: Lockheed, $5.6M

Lockheed Martin is being awarded a $5,553,093 contract for engineering and technical support in the integration of Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures Systems into a MH-60S helicopter. Systems to be incorporated in the MH-60S are the Advanced Sonar System; Airborne Mine Neutralization System; Airborne Laser Mine Detection System; Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System; and Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep. Half the work will be done in Panama City, Fla., and half in Oswego, N.Y. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/23/09)

Contract: Northrop, $8.7M

Northrop Grumman is being awarded an $8,743,239 modification to a previously awarded contract to provide additional operations and maintenance support for the Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. and San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed in November 2009. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/23/09). Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Goodrich 1Q report

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Goodrich Corp. reported an increase in first-quarter net income to $170 million, up from earnings of $158 million a year ago. Sales fell 2.8 percent to nearly $1.7 billion in the latest quarter. Goodrich attributes the lower revenue to economic conditions and the residual impact of the 2008 Boeing machinists’ strike on the company’s major market channels. (Source: PRNewswire, 04/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Goodrich operates a service center in Foley, Ala.

Raytheon 1Q report

WALTHAM, Mass. - Raytheon Co. reported first quarter 2009 income from continuing operations of $457 million compared to $401 million in the first quarter 2008. Net sales for the first quarter 2009 were $5.9 billion, up 10 percent from $5.4 billion in the first quarter 2008, with growth across all of the company's businesses. (Source: PRNewswire, 04/23/09). Gulf Coast note: Raytheon has operations along the Gulf Coast.

Boeing OK with tanker split

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Boeing's top defense executive said Wednesday the company will support splitting the aerial tanker deal with the Northrop Grumman/EADS team if the Pentagon chooses that approach. Boeing had been mum up to now, though both Northrop and EADS had OKd a split. Defense Secretary Robert Gates opposes buying two tankers, but a movement has grown in Congress to split the deal because it may be the best way to move the process forward. The Air Force considers replacing the tanker fleet a high priority. (Source: AP via Seattle Times, 04/23/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS plans to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., if it wins all or part of the contract.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Events overtake NASA study

Delays in establishing a clear space policy may have rendered NASA plans to narrow the post-shuttle "gap" in U.S. human access to space out of date before implementation. A Constellation Program Acceleration Study released April 20 finds the U.S. space agency $1.9 billion short of the funds it needs to meet an internal initial operational capability target date of September 2014. (Source: Aviation Week, 04/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility and the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, both in New Orleans, and Stennis Space Center, Miss., are all involved in the Constellation Program.

Long-time airport chief leaving

PENSACOLA, Fla. – After 22 years as director of Pensacola Regional Airport, Frank Miller is leaving to become San Antonio’s aviation director. Miller, whose new position becomes effective May 18, will oversee the day-to-day operations at the San Antonio International Airport and its $500 million expansion project. (Source: San Antonio Business Journal, 04/22/09)

F-35 lands at Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – After a one-day delay, a Joint Strike Fighter designated AA-1 landed at Eglin for the first time Wednesday afternoon. It will give local mayors, county commissioners and school board members a chance to see the plane that has been the focal point of several lawsuits. The city of Valparaiso wants to stop the Air Force from establishing a JSF training center at the base, but the county is suing the city to get it to drop its suit. (Source: Tcp, 04/22/09)

F-35 critical data not taken

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have suggested that cyber-attacks had not caused any serious security breaches in the Pentagon's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Defense and corporate officials said attacks on the Pentagon as well as the F-35 program are constant. The comments came in response to a Wall Street Journal story Monday reporting that cyber-attackers copied and siphoned off data related to design and electronics systems. (Source: Washington Post, 04/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will become home to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Training Center.

Inouye to consider split tanker buy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, signaled he’s giving serious consideration to a proposal that would split the contract to build the next fleet of aerial refueling tankers between Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team. Defense Secretary Robert Gates opposes a split buy, but some congressional leaders think it may be the only way to get the purchase moving forward. (Source: Government, 04/22/09) Gulf Coast note: The Mobile Press-Register reported Wednesday that Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., also called for a split buy, saying it may be the best way to move the stalled program. EADS plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if it wins all or part of the contract.

Northrop Grumman 1Q report

LOS ANGELES - Northrop Grumman Corp. reported that first quarter 2009 earnings from continuing operations increased 48 percent to $389 million compared with $263 million in the first quarter of 2008. First quarter 2008 earnings were reduced by a pre-tax charge of $326 million in the company's Shipbuilding sector. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 04/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman has multiple operations along the Gulf Coast.

Teledyne Technologies 1Q report

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Teledyne Technologies Inc. reported first quarter 2009 sales of $440.3 million, compared with sales of $451.8 million for the same period of 2008. Net income for the first quarter of 2009 was $20.8 million compared with net income of $27.9 million in the first quarter of 2008. (Source: Business Wire, 04/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Teledyne Continental in Mobile, Ala., is part of Teledyne Technologies.

Boeing 1Q report

CHICAGO - Boeing Co. reported first quarter net income of $0.6 billion with earnings per share of $0.86 which includes the previously announced $0.38 per share reduction from revised twin-aisle commercial airplane production rates and lower price escalation forecasts. Revenue rose 3 percent to $16.5 billion on higher commercial airplane deliveries and higher volume in defense. (Source: Boeing, 04/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has operations in New Orleans and Northwest Florida.

Contract: Northrop, $21.6M

The Air Force is awarding a fixed price incentive firm contract to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., of San Diego, Calif., for $21,600,000. This contract will provide advance procurement of LRIP Lot nine selected long lead items required to meet the production schedule of two Global Hawk Block 30 and three Global Hawk Block 40 Air Vehicles as well as the selected long lead items for the ASIP sensors. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/21/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

F-35 visit delayed

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The F-35 that was supposed to arrive here today has been delayed until Wednesday. A Lockheed official said the aircraft experienced an anomaly with a system during engine startup. The plane is making its inaugural visit to Eglin, which is scheduled to be the home of the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 04/21/09)

Lockheed Martin 1Q report

Lockheed Martin Corp. reported first quarter 2009 net earnings of $666 million compared to $730 million in 2008. Net sales for the first quarter of 2009 were $10.4 billion, compared to $10.0 billion in 2008. Cash from operations for the first quarter of 2009 was $1.2 billion, compared to $880 million in 2008. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 04/21/09) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast region

Northwest fades in Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. - Northwest Airlines will begin fading from view next month at Mobile Regional Airport as Pinnacle Airlines Corp. stops providing ground services for its three daily round trips to Memphis. Beginning May 12 passengers on Northwest will check in at the Delta Air Lines ticketing desk and board at one of Delta's two gates at the airport. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 04/21/09)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Friction stir weld underway on Orion

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Lockheed Martin has begun its first friction stir weld process on an Orion crew module ground test article at the Michoud Assembly Facility. This ground test article will help validate the process, which will be used for all crew module welds. The weld system is part of the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, managed by the University of New Orleans Foundation in partnership with NASA and Louisiana. Weld operations on the test article will continue for three months. The structure will then undergo mechanical assembly, integration and testing in New Orleans and Denver. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the Orion crew exploration vehicle, slated to make its first crewed flight in 2015. (Source: PRNewswire, 04/20/09)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Feature: QinetiQ/PSI

LONG BEACH, Miss. - South Mississippi's QinetiQ/PSI has been quietly working on an impressive list of cutting edge products at its 25,000 square-foot facility, including a shoulder-mounted system that detects the location of snipers, a device that checks for explosives at airports and a system that makes aerial supply drops more accurate. And those are just the systems it can talk about. (Source: Alliance Insight, April 2009)

Friday, April 17, 2009

City can proceed with F-35 suits

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The city of Valparaiso will be able to proceed with two suits against the Air Force over the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center at Eglin Air Force Base. In Pensacola federal court, a judge rejected a motion by the Air Force to dismiss the city’s Freedom of Information suit. Earlier in Valparaiso, a circuit judge denied a temporary injunction requested by Okaloosa County which would have halted the two Valparaiso suits. Valparaiso fears the noise of the F-35 will drive down property values. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 04/17/09)

City violated records law in F-35 fight

VALPARAISO, Fla. - An Okaloosa County circuit judge ruled Valparaiso officials violated state public records law in their fight over the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center at Eglin Air Force Base. Valparaiso has 10 days to turn over documents. Okaloosa County’s request for a temporary injunction to halt Valparaiso's federal suit against the Air Force was denied until the state suit between the county and city is resolved. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 04/17/09)

EADS chief OK with split tanker buy

The chief executive of EADS, Louis Gallois, said his company and partner Northrop Grumman would probably bid on a $35 billion tankers project even if the Pentagon decided to buy from his company and Boeing. His condition is his company would have to be able to build at least 12 planes a year to justify the cost of the Gulf Coast. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates opposes a split buy, but there’s a move underway in Congress to buy from both aerospace giants. (Source: New York Times, 04/16/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS NA plans to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., at Brookley Industrial Complex. Northrop Grumman also plans to build a plant next to EADS should the team win the contract. EADS has also indicated it will build cargo planes at the facility.

Land buy helps protect Whiting

MILTON, Fla. - The Navy has partnered with Santa Rosa County to buy nearly 600 acres near Naval Air Station Whiting Field to help prevent encroachment at the base in Milton. In the last eight years the county has been using state money to buy up land to keep development away. The Navy contributed $2.8 million, 75 percent of the cost. (Source: WEAR-TV, 04/16/09)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Center to provide new service

FOLEY, Ala. - Goodrich Corp.'s Alabama Service Center received approval from Boeing to provide overheat service bulletin inspections and modifications for Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. The bulletin outlines instructions for inspection of the aircraft's CFM-56-7 engine thrust reverser inner walls as well as insulation blankets. In 2007, the Alabama Service Center became the third facility in Goodrich's worldwide maintenance, repair and overhaul network authorized to participate in Boeing's Network Service Center program to repair and overhaul Next-Generation 737 and 777 thrust reversers. (Source: Goodrich, 04/16/09)

Gulfport hosts airline summit

GULFPORT, Miss. - The Mississippi Gulf Coast Airline and Tourism Development Summit will be held at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino with a dinner April 28, followed by a day of presentations and tour of the Coast. The first Airline Summit was held soon after Hurricane Katrina and the fourth summit this year will give airline executives a look at the progress on the Coast and plans for more development. (Source: The Sun Herald, 04/16/09)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lakota program chief wins award

The Huntsville, Ala.-based program manager for EADS North America’s Light Utility Helicopter, John Burke, will receive the 2009 Leadership Excellence Award from the National Defense Industrial Association’s Tennessee Valley Chapter. Through March 2009, the company has delivered 62 of the Columbus, Miss.-built UH-72As to active Army and National Guard units nationwide. The Army plans to buy 345 Lakotas through 2016, and the Navy wants five. (Source: EADS North America, 04/15/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS also has an engineering center and maintenance operation in Mobile, Ala.

NASA picks 16 STTR projects

Mississippi State University and a company in Winona, Miss., think they’ve come up with a way to ensure the purity of hydrogen fuel that’s important for engine testing at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The proposed project is among 16 selected by NASA for negotiation of Phase 2 contract awards in the Small Business Technology Transfer program. Mississippi Ethanol LLC and MSU want to develop a technique and sensor to measure simultaneously concentrations of several contaminants in hydrogen gas storage tanks and supply lines. The purity of hydrogen fuel is important in NASA engine testing. The proposed sensor may also be used for quality control in pharmaceutical, chemical and food processing industries. (Source: NASA, 04/15/09)

Director steps down

GULF BREEZE, Fla. - Brice Harris, director of the Andrews Institute's space-tourism program, resigned Tuesday in the wake of accusations he used his state job to get the position. Gov. Charlie Crist is seeking an Ethics Commission inquiry into Harris' role in developing the institute's contract for Project Odyssey, designed to get tourists ready to launch into orbit. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 04/15/09)

Goodrich Alabama center wins award

FOLEY, Ala. - Goodrich Corp's Alabama Service Center in Foley and Customer Services campus in Monroe, N.C. received Corporate Diamond Certificate of Excellence awards from the Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Maintenance Technician program. The Corporate Diamond award is the highest award presented in the AMT program. The award has now been presented eight times to the Alabama center. (Source: Goodrich, 04/15/09)

F-35 to visit Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will make its inaugural landing at Eglin April 21 and remain at the base for four days. Base officials invited local mayors, county commissioners and school board members to visit see the plane that has been the focal point of several lawsuits. The city of Valparaiso wants to stop the Air Force from establishing a JSF training center at the base, but the county is suing the city to get it to drop its suit. No public events are scheduled. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 04/15/09)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More money for pro-tanker Web site

MOBILE, Ala. - The Mobile County Commission approved paying a Pensacola, Fla., company $63,500 to train county workers to run a Web site that encourages the Air Force to select Mobile as the site for construction of new refueling tankers. Birdwell Photography & Multimedia Inc. has previously been paid nearly $450,000 by the county to build and maintain the Web site, (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 04/14/09)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stennis center wins award

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The NASA Shared Services Center won the Best New Captive Services Delivery award from the Shared Services Outsourcing Network. The award recognizes the most successful shared services organization launched within the last three years. About 30 public and private sector organizations applied for the award. The center is a public-private partnership between NASA, CSC, Mississippi and Louisiana. CSC provides administrative, financial, human resources and procurement support services to about 20,000 NASA employees, applicants, contractors and university partners. The center combines the services that were once done at NASA headquarters and 10 NASA centers. (Source: PRNewswire, 04/13/09)

Navy won't expand Wolf OLF

MOBILE, Ala. - Wolf Field in Lillian was removed from consideration for expansion to meet the needs of a new Navy training aircraft. The Navy is replacing the T-34C trainer with the T-6B, which requires longer runways. Three other fields in Baldwin County are still being considered. The planes will be operating out of Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Fla. Outlying fields, or OLFs, are used to practice takeoffs and landings. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 04/13/09)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Contract: Lockheed, $41.2M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $41,200,000 modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract for long lead materials and effort associated with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Air System Low Rate Initial Production Lot IV procurement of three additional Navy Carrier Variant Air Systems and one United Kingdom Short Take Off Vertical Landing Air System. Work is expected to be completed in January 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/09/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to become home of the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center.

Civic leaders briefed on security issues

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Civic leaders from 20 states got an in-depth view of Eglin and Hurlburt Field's national security programs during the National Security Forum Alumni Tour March 31 to April 3. More than 50 community leaders received briefings and looked at the McKinley Climatic Lab, the Air Force Research Lab's Taconi Room and Air Force Special Operations Command's Special Tactics Training Squadron at Hurlburt. The program is hosted by the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 04/08/09)

GE chief backs split tanker buy

The head of General Electric is supporting a move to split the Air Force tanker contract between Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. Jeff Immelt, GE's chairman and chief executive officer, said the compromise proposed by Rep. John Murtha may be the best way to get the troubled program back on track. "I think Murtha has created a path to break the deadlock," Immelt told The Enquirer newspaper in Cincinnati in an interview published Wednesday. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 04/09/09) Gulf Coast note: The Northrop Grumman/EADS North America team wants to build the tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

County sues city over F-35

VALPARAISO, Fla. - Okaloosa County filed suit Wednesday in circuit court against the city of Valparaiso, seeking to torpedo the city’s suit against the Air Force over the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center. Valparaiso sued the Air Force because of concerns over the noise of the F-35, claiming the Air Force did not consider alternate sites at Eglin Air Force Base that would mitigate the noise. But some are concerned Valparaiso’s suit is jeopardizing the center, which will have a $350 million impact through construction alone. (Sources: Northwest Florida Daily News, WEAR-TV, 04/08/09)

International flights to resume

NEW ORLEANS, La. - International air service will return to Louis Armstrong International Airport in July. AeroMexico will begin offering nonstop flights to Mexico City from New Orleans July 6. The flights will operate six times a week. AeroMexico will be the first foreign line to operate out of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 04/07/09)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Contract: BAE, $22.4M

BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $22,427,138 modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for maintenance, logistics, and life cycle services in support of communication-electronic equipment/systems and subsystems for various Navy, Army, Air Force, Special Operations Forces and other federal agencies. Two percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/07/09)

FWB company wins Boeing award

A Fort Walton Beach, Fla., company is among nine named by Boeing as 2008 Suppliers of the Year. Fort Walton Machining Inc. was chosen in the diversity/veteran owned small business category. The winners are from among the company's 10,800 active suppliers worldwide. Winners were judged on quality, delivery performance, cost, environmental initiatives, customer service and technical expertise. (Source: Boeing, 04/06/09)

Louisiana aviation market stable

NEW ORLEANS, La. - New Orleans and Louisiana in general have stable aviation business, aviation consultant Mike Boyd said during the Louisiana Airport Managers & Associates conference this week. Part of the reason is a higher demand in Louisiana for air service. Nationwide, about 41 million fewer passengers flew in 2008 than 2007, a 7 percent decline. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 04/07/09)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fire Scout preps for final exam

Fire Scout unmanned helicopters will be ready for their first deployment later this year, paving the way to full-rate production, possibly before 2010. A story in the April issue of Seapower said two Fire Scouts will be aboard the guided missile frigate USS McInerney when it deploys with the Fourth Fleet to the Southern Command’s area of operations. The Fire Scout was designed for use on Littoral Combat Ships, but delays in that program prompted the Navy to test the system on a frigate. The Fire Scout, MQ-8B, provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance using electro-optical sensors, UHF radios and a data link to relay videos to a receiver station on a ship. The Navy plans to buy 168 of the aircraft, built in part in Moss Point, Miss. (Source: Seapower, April 2009)

Tanker rebid in summer; more F-35 funds

The Pentagon plans to reopen the competition this summer to replace the Air Force’s fleet of aerial tankers, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates still wants to go with one supplier – either Boeing or the Northrop Grumman/EADS North America team. Gates, who announced his proposed fiscal 2010 budget today, also wants to put more money into the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project. Both projects are important to the Gulf Coast region. The tankers would be assembled in Mobile, Ala., if the Northrop/EADS team wins. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the designated home of the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center. (Source: Multiple, 04/06/09)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Flight academy aims for more funds

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A foundation that wants to build a flight academy at the National Museum of Naval Aviation has raised $17.5 million for the four-story building. Now it’s trying to raise the $8.8 million for equipment. The National Flight Academy is designed as a five-day camp that teaches middle and high school students science and technology in a Navy-themed setting. Some of the most expensive equipment for the carrier-themed facility will be flight simulators. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 04/05/09) Gulf Coast note: A group in South Mississippi is also raising funds to build a science center, called Infinity, near Stennis Space Center.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Airport eyes new taxi system

NEW ORLEANS, La. - The New Orleans Aviation Board has recruited Dulles Airport Taxi of Virginia to overhaul the taxicab system at Louis Armstrong International Airport. The board has not yet signed a contract. The airport's disorganized network of taxicabs has long been a sore point for the bureau, which often hears complaints from meeting planners and tourists that many of the vehicles are dirty and inconvenient for travel. (Source: New Orleans Times Picayune, 04/04/09)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Murtha, Gates meet to discuss tanker

Rep. John Murtha, chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, met with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday in an effort to secure Pentagon backing for dividing the $35 billion aerial tanker contract between Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. (Source: New York Times, 04/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop teammate, EADS North America, plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if it wins the contract.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Contractors fret over budget

Defense contractors have converged on Capitol Hill in recent weeks to shore up congressional support for projects, according to Politico. They’re concerned by the pledge by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to reduce military spending. While details of the $534 billion defense budget remain unknown, the ax could fall on some as early as next week. (Source: Politico, 04/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Numerous defense programs impact the Gulf Coast, which has multiple military bases and defense contractor operations.

Constellation Program cost rises

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The cost of the Constellation Program has gone up, and is likely to keep rising, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The cost and delays may force some rethinking in Washington of America's lunar ambitions and could doom the project as the nation faces an economic crisis and record deficits. (Source: Orlando Sentinel, 04/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are both involved in the Constellation program.

Airport decision expected by May

BATON ROUGE, La. - State leaders will decide by May 1 whether to continue efforts to build a $4.4 billion airport near Donaldsonville. Critics claim the state has spent too much on a 17-year project that has failed to attract private investors. Backers envision an airport with links to water, rail and highways built on a 25,000-acre site. Supporters contend the airport, called the Louisiana Transportation Center, would be the biggest economic development project in state history. Donaldsonville is between Baton Rouge and New Orleans along Interstate 10. (Source: Baton Rouge Advocate, 04/02/09)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

EADS launches ad campaign

EADS North America launched an advertising campaign to underscore the company’s role in America’s economy. The campaign highlights the $11 billion spent in the U.S. by EADS and its business units in 2008, supporting more than 200,000 American jobs. The initial ad features members of the Mississippi-based American Eurocopter team that produces UH-72A Lakotas. A total of 345 UH-72As are expected to be acquired by the Army through 2016, with nearly 60 of these rotary-wing aircraft already delivered. (Source: EADS North America, 03/31/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS also has an Airbus engineering center and an EADS CASA maintenance center in Mobile, Ala. EADS NA is also teamed up with Northrop Grumman to compete for the aerial tanker program, and plans to assemble them in Mobile if the team wins.

Delta adds flights in Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. - Delta Air Lines will add two more flights to Mobile Regional Airport beginning June 5, bringing its total to nine on weekdays and returning mainline jet service to Mobile for the first time since November. The carrier's total number of seats will increase by just 1.7 percent because Delta will substitute 50-seat regional jets for some of the 70-seat regional jets it is flying. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 04/01/09)