Friday, May 28, 2010
Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $5,986,457 contract which will sustain systems engineering support for the production and fielded systems of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range. 308 ARSG/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contacting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/28/10)
MOSS POINT, Miss. - Moss Point and Jackson County officials cut the grand-opening ribbon at the new Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Facility at Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point on Thursday. The 3,910-square-foot-facility cost $609,000. The opening marks the growth of the airport. Six years ago the air traffic control tower was built and flights increased 50 percent, said Carol Snapp, the airport director. She said once the rescue facility is manned, flights will increase again. (Source: Mississippi Press, 05/28/10)
The U.S. House on Thursday night adopted a measure to force the Pentagon to consider the role of illegal subsidies in the contest between Boeing and EADS to sell refueling tankers to the Air Force. A decision by the World Trade Organization in a dispute over large aircraft found that the European company had received subsidies. The measure must pass several other steps, including reconciliation with a companion defense bill in the Senate. The Pentagon has resisted considering the ruling. (Source: Financial Times, 05/28/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS wants to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala.
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA announced Ken Human is the associate director of John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss. He'll support Stennis Director Patrick Scheuermann and Deputy Center Director Rick Gilbrech. Most recently, Human served as the deputy manager of the External Integration Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, supporting the International Space Station Program, responsible for further development of international partnerships and collaborations, particularly with the Russian, Japanese, Canadian and European space agencies. Human began his NASA career at Stennis in 1978 as an attorney advisor in the legal office. Stennis is NASA's primary testing ground for rocket engines and propulsion systems, and is the agency's systems engineering center for applied science activities. (Source: NASA, 05/28/10)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Lawmakers who support the Constellation Program, NASA's bid to return astronauts to the moon and beyond, were outraged the agency reassigned the head of the program. Jeff Hanley, who was moved to a deputy position at Johnson Space Center in Houston, has opposed administration efforts to shut down the program. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Hanley had become "the focus of attention" and was "conflicted" over the administration's updated mission for NASA. (Source: Orlando Sentinel, 05/26/10) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the Constellation Program.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded an $18,074,568 modification to a previously awarded contract to provide for additional logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate and depot-level maintenance of 13 T39N and 6 T-39G aircraft at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. In addition, this modification provides for aircraft intermediate maintenance services in support of Chief of Naval Air Training aircraft and transient aircraft at NAS Pensacola and NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Seventy-five percent of the work will be done in Pensacola and the rest in Corpus Christi and is expected to be completed in September 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/26/10)
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Pratt & Whitney has delivered the final F135 flight test engine and the first lot of F135 production engines for the F-35. The full complement of 29 test engines delivered by Pratt & Whitney includes 11 ground test engines and 18 flight test engines. The first lot of F135 production engines consists of four conventional take off and landing engines, the variant of the F-35 that will be used by the Air Force. All of the engines are destined for aircraft that will support the flight training program at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company. (Source: Pratt and Whitney via PRNewswire, 05/26/10)
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Boeing is painting its rival in the Air Force tanker competition as a security risk, pointing out that the company has courted Iran and others at odds with the United States. Boeing wants lawmakers and the Pentagon to factor national-security into the competition. EADS North America, which is the company competing in the competition, is a subsidiary of EADS NV, headquartered in Germany and France. EADS North America accuses Boeing of mounting a misinformation campaign and trying to make the competition about anything other than the best tanker. (Sources: Reuters, The Hill, 05/25/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS North America wants to assemble its tankers in Mobile, Ala.
Monday, May 24, 2010
The Netherlands' involvement in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will remain uncertain for several more months. The lower house of the Dutch parliament voted to cancel the purchase of an F-35 initial operational test and evaluation aircraft, but the caretaker government now in place wants the decision left to the new government. General elections are planned for June 9, but the situation could remain unresolved as new coalition agreements are worked out. The F-35 purchase has been politically contentious in the Netherlands, and the debate has become more heated because of the F-35's schedule and cost overruns. (Source: Aerospace Daily and Defense Report via Military.com, 05/24/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home to the still-developing Joint Strike Fighter training center.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Northrop Grumman opened an office in Grand Forks to provide support for the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems being assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base. The office could eventually employ more than 100 people and attract suppliers and subcontractors as the number of aircraft increase at the base. (Source: Northrop Grumman via Globe Newswire, 05/24/10) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.
Lockheed Martin delivered the first satellite in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. It will be prepared for a July 30 liftoff aboard an Atlas V. The multi-satellite AEHF system will provide the U.S. military with global, protected, high capacity and secure communications. It's the successor to the five-satellite Milstar constellation. The governments of Canada, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom participate in the AEHF program as international partners and will have access to the communications capability of AEHF. (Source: Lockheed Martin via PRNewswire, 05/24/10) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space & Technology Center personnel at Stennis Space Center, Miss., worked on the core propulsion modules for the AEHF program.
Friday, May 21, 2010
PANAMA CITY, Fla. - The nation's newest commercial airport, the 4,000-acre Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, will begin operation Sunday. The airport is replacing the Panama City-Bay County International Airport and sits on land donated by the region's largest landowner, St. Joe Co. The airport will be served by Southwest and Delta, and initially will be using a 10,000-foot runway. A ribbon-cutting and grand opening is scheduled for Saturday. (Source: Multiple, including Panama City News-Herald, 05/20/10, Dallas Morning News, 05/21/10)
Two A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft have successfully completed tanker-to-tanker refueling missions. The two MRTTs are in certification flights for Australia. The plane has also successfully refueled F-16 and F/A-18 fighters and E-3 AWACS. The MRTT is the same design as the KC-45 that EADS North America plans to offer in the contest to build U.S. tankers. If the KC-45 wins, the planes will be assembled in Mobile, Ala. The company also plans to assemble freighter aircraft at the same facility. (Source: EADS North America, 05/19/10) Boeing, the other company that plans to compete for the U.S. tanker project, will build its planes, a modified 767, in Washington state.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
NEW ORLEANS, La. - AirTran Airways will launch a new nonstop flight between New Orleans and Milwaukee Oct. 7. The additional flight increases the number of cities the airline flies to from New Orleans to three. AirTran already operates daily flights to Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington. (Source: Times-Picayune, 05/19/10)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
In a bid to reduce the current wait time for training, the Navy wants to decrease the number of officers in the Aviation Preflight Indoctrination student pilot pre-load. Reductions in fleet requirements and material challenges with training aircraft have caused the student pilot population to exceed the pre-load by about 200 personnel, increasing the waiting period from commissioning to API from three to six months. Navy officials plan to offer redesignations to some who now hope to be aviators. Navy officials are also planning to offer delays or deferments via internships, graduate education, and other temporary additional duty options, prior to moving to Pensacola, Fla. (Source: NNS, 05/18/10) Gulf Coast note: Naval Air Station Pensacola and Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., are initial location for naval aviator training.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded two contracts related to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. One is an $85,499,548 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive/award-fee contract in support of the JSF low-rate initial production Lot II. This provides for the procurement of the additional special tooling and special test equipment required under LRIP II to meet anticipated production ramp. Work is expected to be completed in April 2012. The second contract is a $58,000,000 modification to the previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for technical services required to meet production ramp rates in support of the JSF low-rate initial production Lot III aircraft. This work is expected to be completed in January 2011. Work on both contracts will be done in Texas, California, the United Kingdom, Italy and other locations inside and outside the U.S. The Naval Air Systems command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both contracts. (Source: DoD, 05/19/10) Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home to the JSF training center.
R.C. Construction Co. Inc., Greenwood, Miss., was awarded a $23,160,074 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of short take off vertical landing simulated carrier practice landing decks. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base and nearby Duke Field, Fla., with an estimated completion date of July 15, 2011. Bids were solicited on the Internet with 11 bids received. The U.S. Corps of Engineers Mobile Regional Contracting Center Mobile., Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/19/10)
MILTON, Fla. - Military flight students at Naval Air Station Whiting Field took to the sky for the first time at the controls of a new training aircraft Tuesday. Over the next three years the T-6B Texan II will replace the T-34 Turbo Mentor that's served Whiting Field for the last 30 years. The T-6B Texan is a single-engine, two-seat trainer that's faster, more powerful and includes an updated avionics package that uses flight instruments on a digital display rather than gauges. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 05/19/10)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Tybrin Corp., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services, Gaithersburg, Md., and L-3 Services, Inc., Chantilly, Va., were each awarded contracts for services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division's Combat Environment Simulation Division. Services to be provided include the acquisition and deployment of equipment or systems designed to provide a dense, realistic, and electromagnetic environment to be used by the tri-service community for weapon systems development; training; test and evaluation; test and evaluation of defense suppression systems; electronic warfare systems; electronic countermeasures equipment; and electronic counter-countermeasures equipment. Tybrin's ceiling is $241,540,417. Each company will have the opportunity to bid on each individual task order. Work will be performed in China Lake and Point Mugu, Calif., and is expected to be completed in May 2015. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/18/10)
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $30,000,000 contract which will provide for congressionally mandated advance procurement long-lead associated with two Block 30 and two Block 40 Global Hawk air vehicles; two in-line airborne signals intelligence payloads; two multi-platform radar technology insertion program sensors; two in-line sensors; and other items and activities required to protect the production schedule for Lot 10. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/18/10) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $303,337,052 contract which will provide production of two Global Hawk Block 30 air vehicles, two Global Hawk Block 40 air vehicles, and related program sustaining support efforts. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/18/10) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.
GULFPORT, Miss. – The first flight of Branson AirExpress landed at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on Monday. Nonstop flights on 50-seat jets are Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, with one-way fares starting at $59. Connecting flights are available to Houston and Austin, Texas, starting at $99, said Jonathan Borges with Branson AirExpress. (Source: Sun Herald, 05/17/10)
Although the president wants to kill the Constellation Program and the Ares I, NASA managers in charge of the rocket have put together an ambitious testing program to speed its development, including a flight in November 2014 with astronauts aboard. That would be earlier than NASA's current schedule, which calls for the first manned flight in March 2015, and much faster than the 2017 date predicted by a blue-ribbon panel that reviewed NASA's human spaceflight program last year. (Source: New York Times, 05/16/10) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in Constellation and other NASA programs.
2020 Company LLC, Falls Church, Va., Colsa Corp., Huntsville, Ala., and Oasis Systems Inc., Lexington, Mass., were awarded a $28.5 million contract which will provide a wide range of diverse, non-engineering, technical and acquisition management support required in the acquisition, development, production and support of various equipment and weapons systems within the Air Armament Center and other organizations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AAC/PKES, Eglin, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/17/10)
Friday, May 14, 2010
KILN, Miss. - Stennis International Airport just outside Stennis Space Center has been transformed into a staging area for the eastern Gulf of Mexico for crews battling the oil spill. Flights have already dropped more than 53,000 gallons of oil dispersant to try to break up the oil on the water's surface. Ground crews at the airport pump more than 23,000 gallons of jet fuel a day to keep the aerial missions flying from dawn until dusk. Thousands of barrels of dispersant, trucks of giant plastic barrels and other equipment are arriving at the airport's hangars from all across the world. Responders decided to use the Hancock County airport because it is strategically located near the interstate and close to the Gulf. (Source: Sun Herald, 05/13/10)
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - A senior vice president of government relations for EADS North America told a dinner audience he has the utmost confidence his company will win the contract to build tankers for the Air Force. Sam Adcock made the statement during the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation dinner. "We're in this competition, and we're going to build this aircraft in Mobile, Ala.," he said. "In 10 years, along the Gulf Coast between Alabama and Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida, we're going to have well in excess of 10,000 jobs." EADS is competing against Boeing. (Source: Mississippi Press, 05/14/10)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Speegle Construction Inc., Niceville, Fla., was awarded an $11,028,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of the 7th Special Forces Group backyard training ranges, 7SFG compound, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work is to be performed in Eglin with an estimated completion date of Aug. 1, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 18 bids received. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile Regional Contracting Center, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/13/10)
Lawmakers who support Boeing's bid to build tankers for the Air Force introduced legislation today that would require the Pentagon to add the value of government subsidies to a competing proposal from EADS. It would amount to $5 million per plane. Boeing wants to build tankers based on the 767, and EADS wants to build modified A330s. The Pentagon won't consider the WTO ruling in part because of the appeals process, in part because of a counter complaint by the European Union against Boeing. The bill is co-authored by Rep. Todd Tiahrt and Sen. Sam Brownback, both of Kansas, where Boeing has manufacturing facilities. The legislation has about 20 supporters in the House and four in the Senate, the two politicians said. (Source: Bloomberg, 05/13/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS wants to assemble its tankers in Mobile, Ala.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 program has been recognized for its "cutting-edge design and technology" with an award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The award was presented May 12 in Washington, D.C. The citation recognizes the "cutting-edge design and technology of – and global collaboration involved in – the Joint Strike Fighter, enabling a unique battlespace capability for the future." Lockheed is developing the F-35 with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. AIAA is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. (Source: Lockheed Martin via PRNewswire, 05/13/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be the home of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training center. Lockheed, Northrop and BAE Systems all have operations in the Gulf Coast region.
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Naval aviation is the topic of the 24th Naval Aviation Symposium being held today and Friday at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Panel topics range from the birth of naval aviation to advancements in the field. In connection with the symposium, Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, will be inducted into the Hall of Honor Friday in the Blue Angels Atrium at the museum. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 05/13/10)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Two big NASA contractors could be on the hook for millions in program shutdown costs if the Obama administration revamps manned space-exploration. ATK and Lockheed Martin are waging battle with NASA's leadership over who will cover possibly more than $1 billion in such expenses, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cites people familiar with the situation. The Senate Commerce Committee expected on Wednesday to delve into the termination-liability issues. (Source: Wall Street Journal, 05/12/10) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are NASA facilities in the Gulf Coast region.
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. - Developers plan to build a "green" Holiday Inn at the Stennis Technology Park that could bring more business to the 26-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Mississippi 603, just outside Stennis Space Center. The total investment is about $15 million. The hotel will have conference facilities, a business center, bar and restaurant. Plans call for 143 rooms but that number could go up to 172, said MHR Development's Kip Reddien. The hope is to begin construction in late summer. The park houses a 30,000-square-foot building. Scott Bolton, the park's project manager, said the Holiday Inn should benefit from its proximity to NASA's Stennis Space Center and Stennis International Airport. (Source: Sun Herald, 05/11/10)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
A bill is being introduced that would force the Pentagon to consider World Trade Organization rulings when deciding defense contracts. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., plans to introduce the bill Thursday, according to an e-mail obtained by Reuters and verified by a congressional aide. The immediate impact would be in the $40 billion competition between Boeing and EADS to build tankers for the Air Force. Kevin Rozelsky, Boeing's director of legislative affairs, has approached some senators about supporting the bill. (Source: Reuters, 05/11/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS hopes to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala. Boeing wants to build them in Washington state.
Representatives from Northwest Florida have scheduled a series of town hall meetings near Fort Bragg, N.C., to provide information to thousands of military personnel who will be relocating to Eglin Air Force base next year. The meetings are Tuesday and Wednesday. About 30 organizations from Northwest Florida will be represented. The bed down of the 7th Special Forces at Eglin will bring 2,200 new soldiers to the region by the middle of 2011. When spouses and children are added, the total population increase in the region has been estimated at more than 6,000. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 05/11/10)
Monday, May 10, 2010
A. E. New Jr. Inc, Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $16,132,000 contract to design-build two single-story sprinkler-equipped child development center facilities with core administration area, staff support area, facility support area, and child care areas. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 17, 2011. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/10/10)
Friday, May 7, 2010
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $14,000,000 ceiling-priced undefinitized contract action to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics services in support of the Navy's T-34 and T-44 aircraft. Services to be provided include aircraft maintenance and logistics support, including labor, equipment, tools, and material. Half the work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., and half at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and is expected to be completed in November 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/07/10)
Thursday, May 6, 2010
WASHINGTON - President Obama's plans for NASA appear to be in trouble. Few Democrats have publicly endorsed the entire plan, while opponents like Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., continue to blast the Obama plan as "destructive." NASA appears to be hedging its bets that the president's vision might not pass muster with Congress. Kennedy Space Center officials and contractors, under direction from Johnson Space Center and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, are pressing ahead with plans for test flights of a multibillion-dollar Ares I rocket that Obama wants to cancel. (Source: Orlando Sentinel, 05/06/10) Gulf Coast note: NASA has operations at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - A UH-1 Huey set up outside the terminal at Northwest Florida Regional Airport was dedicated Wednesday in honor of the late Michael J. Novosel Sr., who earned a Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam. Hundreds of people, including family members and soldiers from Fort Rucker, Ala., attended the ceremony. The Huey, which arrived at the airport April 23, will greet visitors at the airport’s entrance. The display is a tribute to all Vietnam veterans. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 05/05/10)
NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Air Force has launched a new training program for Combat Systems Officer students with the inaugural class of the 479th Flying Training Group. The year-long program combines navigator, electronic warfare and weapon systems training into a single pipeline. The resulting CSOs - pronounced Sizzos - will be trained in a common set of core skills to fill any of the roles once filled by navigators, WSOs or EWOs. There will also be a significant increase in hands-on flying. The CSO course will include 38 sorties in T-6 Texan II and modified T-1A Jayhawks, and 40 missions in simulators. The 479th FTG became the 12th Flying Training Wing's newest group in October, when it started operations in Florida as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Committee directive to relocate Air Force navigator training from Randolph Air Force Base to NAS Pensacola, where the Navy conducts its Naval Flight Officer training. With stand-up of the new group, nearly 35 percent of the 12th FTW is now in Florida. (Source: Air Education and Training Command, 05/05/10)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $96,744,354 contract which will provide miniature air launched decoy low rate initial production contracts for a 24-month effort to include operational test and evaluation. At this time, $89,817,202 has been obligated. 692 ARSS/PK Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/05/10)
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., is being awarded a $79,239,035 contract for the procurement of 487 NexGen MWS sensors and 99 NexGen MWS processors, including associated technical data, for the H-53 and H-46 helicopters. Under two percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/05/10)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Air Force changed its KC-X Request for Proposals to list a contract "start date" of Nov. 12. Previous Pentagon announcements said the award for the $40 billion contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force would be made in the early fall. This comes a month after the Defense Department announced that EADS would be granted an extra 60 days to put together a solo bid on the tanker after Northrop Grumman, which said the RFP favored a smaller Boeing plane, dropped out as EADS' partner. The original contract "award date" listed in the amended RFP is Aug. 16. (Source: Air Force Times, 05/03/10) Meanwhile, in Frankfurt, Germany, EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois said he's certain EADS would win the tanker contract. "I would even bet that we will get the contract," Gallois told German tabloid Bild. (Source: Reuters, 05/03/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS wants to build the tankers in Mobile, Ala.
Monday, May 3, 2010
The oil slick floating in the Gulf of Mexico caused a few headaches in the effort to ship an external fuel tank to Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The 15-story tank used in Space Shuttle launches is made at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, and it's sent in a covered barge to Kennedy. But the slick blocked the usual deep-water access. The barge was placed on a barge Saturday and was scheduled for a Monday night departure to Gulfport, Miss. That's where the NASA retrieval ship, Freedom Star, will take over from the commercial towers and bring it the rest of the way to Kennedy. The 900-mile trip takes six days. (Sources: Multiple, including WLOX-TV, MSNBC, 05/03/10)
Northrop Grumman and Bell Helicopter have unveiled a new unmanned helicopter, Fire-X, based on the four-blade, single engine Bell 407. The new drone borrows many of the systems that are used in the successful Fire Scout. The new UAV will be able to keep tabs on adversaries for longer periods of time and deliver more cargo to more remote locations. The first flight of Fire-X is expected by the end of 2010. The new aircraft represents Northrop Grumman's entry in an anticipated U.S. Navy competition in 2011 to demonstrate a new medium-range unmanned system. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 05/03/10) Gulf Coast note: Northrop's Fire Scout is built in part in Moss Point, Miss.