Friday, October 30, 2009

Contract: W R Systems, $26.9M

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

Micro UAV training program launched

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

AF releases short list for F-35

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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contract: Bell, $13.2M

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

Boeing puts second 787 line in S.C.

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leaders to debate next step in space

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

Contract: McDonnell, $72M

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

Northrop won't rule out tanker boycott

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

Ares I-X launched

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

College names scholarship for Goldman

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tanker fight escalates - again

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

Ares I-X launch scrubbed

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ares I-X set to launch

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

JASSM passes test

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

Four-state lobbying group announced

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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eglin group wins DoD award

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

Friday, October 23, 2009

NASA Global Hawk returns to flight

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

Boeing won't release pricing

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

Frontier to restart New Orleans service

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

Goodyear 3Q report

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

Teledyne 3Q report

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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Industry concerned over tanker rules

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

Tanker passes fuel to fighter

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Governors slate aerospace briefing

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

Panama City airport gets Southwest

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

Officials get intro on F-35 status

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

Boeing 3Q report

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

Northrop Grumman 3Q report

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

O'Keefe named to EADS post

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

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stennis gets Project Ready designation

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

Friday, October 16, 2009

Airmen complete 800-mile march

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

Contract: Wintec, $85M

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

ATK delivers composite crew module

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next Biloxi air show in 2011

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

Group to attend aviation conference

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pensacola getting United flights

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

UAV market worth billions

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

First Lady to visit Eglin

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CEOs urge 787 line in Washington

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

Monday, October 12, 2009

Euro Hawk could lead to more sales

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

SDB test wraps up

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Unions back Boeing tanker bid

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

Friday, October 9, 2009

World View-2 successfully launched

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

Goodrich Foley celebrates 25 years

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

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bunker buster deployment nears

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

Euro Hawk unveiled by Northrop

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

Fire Scout now on first deployment

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

Panama City airport picks name

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

EADS, Army validate Lakota mobility

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Keel-laying" held for flight academy

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

Contract: Raytheon, $17.5M

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

Engineering focus of program

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

Mobile wants to get Southwest

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

AirTran plans new non-stop

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Passengers can take a new non-stop AirTran Airways flight to Baltimore-Washington International Airport starting Thursday, according to officials. The flight from Louis Armstrong International Airport will depart daily at 5:04 p.m. every weekday but Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when it doesn't operate. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 10/06/09)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Contract: McDonnell, $51.9M

McDonnell Douglas Corp. of St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a $51,900,000 contract to provide Massive Ordnance Penetrator Integration on B-2 test aircraft. At this time $32,150,000 has been obligated. 708 ARSG/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/02/09)

Sessions raises fairness issue in tanker

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., introduced legislation to block funding for the tanker program until the Pentagon releases pricing data to Northrop Grumman from the first round of competition. The Pentagon last week opened a rematch between Boeing and the Northrop/EADS team for the contract. But Northrop says the new competition is unfair because the Air Force denied its request to see details of Boeing's previous bid, although Boeing was allowed to see Northrop's pricing data after the initial competition last year. Northrop/EADS plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile if the team wins the next competition. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/02/09)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fire Scout up for innovation award

The Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, built in part in Moss Point, Miss., is in the running for an innovation award from the C4ISR Journal. The awards honor outstanding innovations in intelligence gathering and networking. Finalists were selected for five categories: sensors, innovations, organizations, network systems and platforms. A “top five award” will be presented to one winner from each category at a banquet later this month in Arlington, Va. In addition to Fire Scout, the other products in the innovations category are QinetiQ’s solar-electric powered Zephyr, Sierra Nevada’s sensor pod for tactical level ISR, the Naval Air Systems Command’s digital close air support system and Raytheon’s ARTEMIS imaging spectrometer. (Source: PRNewswire, 10/01/09) Gulf Coast note: QinetiQ also has an operation on the Gulf Coast in Long Beach, Miss.

Northrop wins KC-10 service contract

Northrop Grumman beat rival Boeing for a $3.8 billion contract to maintain and service Air Force KC-10 refueling tankers. Boeing’s current contract expires in January. It’s been servicing the planes for more than a decade. Northrop and partner EADS are also competing against Boeing to build tankers to the Air Force. (Source: Reuters, 10/01/09) Gulf Coast note: If Northrop/EADS wins the tanker competition, planes would be assembled in Mobile, Ala.

Contract: Tybrin, $6.2M

Tybrin Corp. of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $6,191,927 contract which will provide for non-personal advisory and assistance services to fully support aerospace research, development, test and evaluation activities at the Air Force Flight Test Center. At this time, no money has been obligated. AFFTC/PKTJ, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/01/09)

Tanks installed at new stand

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Construction of the A-3 test stand at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center is approaching another milestone with delivery and installation of 14 water, isopropyl alcohol and liquid oxygen tanks. Nine of the tanks already have been installed, with the remaining five to arrive on-site in upcoming weeks. The A-3 stand will provide high-altitude testing on the J-2X engine in development for the Constellation Program, NASA’s bid to return humans to the moon and beyond. (Source: NASA, 10/01/09)

New F-35 wing leader feels privileged

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The new commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing said training the first generation of F- 35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers is the “privilege of a lifetime.” Col. David Hlatky said he’s eager and excited by the challenge. The wing, which for years flew F-15s on air dominance missions, now falls under Air Education and Training Command’s 19th Air Force and is the Department of Defense’s first joint strike fighter organization. “We are building a magnificent joint strike fighter training campus that will house Marines, sailors, airmen and at least eight coalition partners," Hlatky said. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 10/01/09)

EADS facility has grand opening

MOBILE, Ala. – EADS North America held a grand opening Thursday for a new maintenance, repair and overhaul delivery center at the Mobile Regional Airport. The 30,000 square-foot facility will provide North American operators of the C-212 and CN-235 tactical transports with a certified FAA repair station as well as direct manufacturer support. The C-212 and CN-235 are used by a variety of military and civil operators, including the U.S. Coast Guard, which is building a fleet of HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft based on the CN-235. The new facility expands upon an already-existing EADS CASA North America facility that’s provided training, spares and customer support since 2005. (Source: EADS NA, 10/01/09)

Teledyne trims schedule

MOBILE, Ala. - Teledyne Continental Motors workers face more unpaid down time in the future. The entire 420-worker plant, which makes aircraft engines, will shut down next week and most of the 160 salaried employees will work only four days a week for the remainder of the year. Hourly employees will work a normal schedule, officials said. Holiday schedules are also trimmed back. All this is being caused by a downturn of business. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/01/09)