Friday, December 30, 2011

New Qwest hangar opens

CRESTVIEW, Fla. -- A new 20,000 square-foot hangar officially opened at the Bob Sikes Airport with a ribbon-cutting Friday. Qwest Air Parts of Memphis, Tenn., which dismantles airplanes for spare parts, has been in Crestview for a year and has been working out of the $1.7 million hangar for two months now. The company has already dismantled an A310 and is now working on a DC-10 and MD-88. Air Methods, an air ambulance service, is the airport's newest tenant and will lease space in the new Qwest hangar. (Source: Crestview News Bulletin, 12/29/11)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Contract: Bell-Boeing, $33.3M

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $33,343,681 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for non-recurring efforts and flight test aircraft modifications for the Joint and Allied Threat Awareness System and Radar Warning Receiver (APR-39D(V)X) integration in support of the MV-22B Osprey aircraft. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, Pa. (96 percent); Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (3 percent); and St. Louis, Mo. (1 percent). Work is expected to be completed in February 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/29/11)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Contract: UT, $1.1B

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $1,122,306,649 not-to-exceed undefinitized modification to a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract related to the F-35. It provides for the Lot V Low Rate Initial Production of 21 F135 conventional take off and landing propulsion systems for the Air Force; 3 short take-off and vertical landing systems for the Marine Corps; and 6 carrier variant systems for the Navy. Work will be done in Connecticut, the United Kingdom and Indiana and completed in February 2014. The contract combines purchases for the Air Force (46.3 percent); Marine Corps (34.5 percent); Navy (14.9 percent); and the Cooperative Partner Participants (4.3 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/28/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Contract: Northrop, $47.2M

Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $47,176,105 firm fixed price contract for the purchase and integration of two battlefield airborne communications node payloads on two Global Hawk Block 20 aircraft. Global Hawks AF-11 and AF-13 will be provided to Northrop Grumman to integrate the BACN payload in Palmdale, Calif. Work is expected to be completed Aug. 22, 2012, for AF-11 and Dec. 15, 2012, for AF-13. The contracting activity is the Air Force Material Command, Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. (Source: DoD, 12/28/11) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawk are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $485M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $485,000,000 not-to-exceed cost-plus-fixed-fee undefinitized modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract. A total of $131,500,000 is being obligated at time of award. This modification provides the F-35 Low Rate Initial Production Lot V production non-recurring requirements inclusive of special tooling/special test equipment and subcontractor technical assistance for the Air Force, Navy, and the Cooperative Partner participants. Work will be performed in Texas, California, United Kingdom, Italy, New Hampshire and Maryland. Work is expected to be completed in December 2013. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force (38.5 percent), the Navy (38.5 percent) and the Cooperative Partner participants (23 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/27/11)

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $253M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $253,000,000 modification to definitize the previously awarded F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Low Rate Initial Production IV sustainment undefinitized contract action. This contract has both cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract line items. This modification provides for recurring and non-recurring sustainment for the Navy, Air Force, and Cooperative Program participants. Work will be performed in Texas, California, United Kingdom, Florida, New Hampshire and Maryland. Work is expected to be completed in May 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $169,686,815 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (55.5 percent), Air Force (35.2 percent) and Cooperative Program participants (9.3 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/27/11)

F-35 sim a cut above

The $20 million simulators for pilots who will learn to fly the Lockheed Martin F-35 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are so advanced they can be used to replicated aerial refueling with a KC-10 and KC-135, officials said. Air Force Times reports that 10 of the full mission simulators, built by Lockheed Martin, have been ordered so far. The refueling capability is just one of the advances. (Source: Air Force Times, 12/27/11) Eglin is where pilots from all branches of the U.S. military as well as allied pilots will be trained on all three variants of the fighter.

Airport still seeking carrier

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- It's still unclear if a commercial carrier will come in to serve Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport once Delta Airlines ends service. In July the airline said it was discontinuing service to 24 smaller markets, including Hattiesburg. Under federal guidelines the airliner was required to provide service for at least 90 days, but it's remained in place while a replacement is found, and there's no word how much longer that will be. The Department of Transportation currently is accepting bids for air service. (Source: Hattiesburg American, 12/26/11) Previous post

Orion drop test successful

Orion parachute drop. NASA photo 
NASA last week conducted a drop test of the Orion crew vehicle's parachutes over the Arizona desert in preparation for its orbital flight test in 2014. A C-130 plane dropped the Orion test article from an altitude of 25,000 feet above the Army's Yuma Proving Grounds. Orion's drogue chutes were deployed between 15,000 and 20,000 feet, followed by the pilot parachutes, which then deployed two main landing parachutes. Orion will be capable of carrying astronauts into deep space. (Source: NASA, 12/21/11) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin builds Orion at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Airport wants world class cuisine

NEW ORLEANS -- The airport is in a city known for its restaurants and cuisine, but you wouldn't know that from what's available in the concourses at Louis Armstrong International Airport. Officials hope to change that and provide passengers with world class concessions by the time the city hosts the Super Bowl in February 2013. The aviation board and the master food and beverage concessionaire are discussing it all. An in-depth story by the Times-Picayune. (Source: Times-Picayune, 12/24/11)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Contract: EADS, $212.7M

EADS North America Inc., Arlington, Va., was awarded a $212,703,701 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the modification of an existing contract to procure 39 production aircraft in support of the Army's Light Utility Helicopter Program. Work will be done in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2013. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/23/11)

Maintainers qualifying on F-35

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The first group of military maintainers at the 33rd Fighter Wing recently qualified in numerous F-35A flight inspections by a uniformed certifier, a task only civilian certifiers initially were contracted to support. "This first-ever Air Force to Air Force on-the-job training event is an important milestone,” said Lt. Col. Michael Miles, commander, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. With hundreds of verifications on joint technical data on how to maintain the aircraft left to be accomplished for each of the three F-35 variants in 2012 and beyond, the military maintainers are not ready to take over, but are moving forward. (Source: Team Eglin, 12/22/11)

Airliner has growing pains

For Vision Airlines, there were some ups and downs during the year for the newest commercial carrier at Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The company started with a single direct route from Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Miami. But everything changed in January 2011 when it announced it would add direct flights to nearly 20 more cities. Since then, some routes were dropped, others added. A year-in-review story. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/22/11)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Contract: GeoEnvironmental, $7.5M

GeoEnvironmental Resources, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a maximum amount $7,500,000 architect-engineering contract for geotechnical engineering services to support the construction and maintenance of facilities required primarily for Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia, and various activities within the NAVFAC Atlantic area of responsibility. Work to be performed provides for subsurface investigations with subsequent geotechnical/foundation analysis. Task order 0001 is being awarded at $67,077 for A-E services to support the fiscal 2011 Airfield Pavement Condition Assessment Program at Whiting Field North, Fla.; Whiting Field South, Fla.; Naval Outlying Field (NOLF) Evergreen, Ala.; NOLF Brewton, Ala.; and NOLF Choctaw, Fla. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by March 2012. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/22/11)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A year of J-2X testing

A-2 Test Control Center at SSC. NASA photo
NASA has provided a year-end wrap-up of the work that's been done on the J-2X engine, which will power the heavy-lift Space Launch System's second stage. It's the first human-rated rocket engine to be developed in 40 years, and NASA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne are setting new records in rocket engine development with the first J-2X engine unit, E10001. During the year it went through its first 10 tests probing engine performance and accumulated a total hot-fire test run time of 1,040 seconds at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss. "E10001 got to 100 percent power in just four tests and achieved a full flight-duration test of 500 seconds in its eighth test, quicker than any other U.S. engine program in history," said Tom Byrd, J-2X engine lead in the SLS Liquid Engines Office. The J-2X engine test program will need only five percent the number of tests required to develop the original J-2 engine. (Source: NASA, 12/21/11) Previous post

Another test done on AEHF

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. - Raytheon Co. has successfully tested with the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite that will provide secure communications for the military. Raytheon's U.S. Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT) is the second operationally fielded terminal to interoperate with an on-orbit AEHF satellite after the recent success of the company's U.S. Army Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T). The first AEHF satellite, launched in August 2010, recently began a set of operational tests. The AEHF, designed to replace the Milstar system, is a joint service satellite communications system for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. (Source: Raytheon, 12/20/11) Gulf Coast note: The Lockheed Martin AEHF satellite's core propulsion module is built at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous

VT Aerospace, PW partner

SINGAPORE -- Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) announced that Vision Technologies Aerospace Inc. (VT Aerospace) entered into an agreement with Pratt & Whitney to invest in a 50.1 percent stake in EcoServices LLC. Pratt & Whitney will retain the remaining 49.9 percent. EcoServices will provide EcoPower Engine Wash services to customers around the world. It will become a subsidiary of VT Aerospace. VT Aerospace owns three aerospace operating companies in Mobile, Ala., and San Antonio, Texas, specializing in aircraft engineering design, maintenance and modification. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/21/11, ST Engineering, 12/22/11)

Contract: Equilon, $99M

Equilon Enterprises, doing business as Shell Oil Products, Houston, Texas, was awarded a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $99,807,351 for JP8 aviation turbine fuel. The other location of performance is Mobile, Ala. Using service is Defense Logistics Agency Energy. Type of appropriation is FY12 Defense Working Capital Funds. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/20/11)

Contract: Placid, $41.6M

Placid Refining Co. LLC, Baton Rouge, La., was awarded a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $41,583,070 for JP8 and JP5 aviation turbine fuel. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Defense Logistics Agency Energy. Type of appropriation is FY12 Defense Working Capital Funds. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/20/11)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Contract: Cubic, $14.9M

Cubic Defense Applications Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $14,972,799 firm-fixed-price for about 70 airborne subsystems, parallel umbilical, ground subsystems: transport ground subsystem with live monitor, control display units, portable ground subsystem, remote range unit, maintenance boot flash module, engineering and technical management support and program management. The location of the performance is San Diego, Calif. and Fort Walton Beach, Fla. and is expected to be completed May 6, 2013. AAC/EBYK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/20/11)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Japan opts for F-35

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Japan Ministry of Defense announced its selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35 as the Japan Air Self Defense Force's next generation fighter aircraft. The initial contract will be for four F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants. The F-35 program is comprised of nine partner nations: the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. The U.K. and Netherlands have ordered test aircraft, and Italy and Australia have committed long-lead funding for their initial operational aircraft. In October 2010, Israel selected the F-35A as the Israel Air Force's next generation fighter. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/19/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Contract: Boeing, $10.9M

The Boeing Co., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is being awarded a $10,878,123 firm-fixed-price contract for five major subassemblies required to build-up six AC-130U 25mm ammunition storage handling systems assemblies. These subassemblies are conveyor assembly; loader/downloader; magazine transfer unit; magazine drive gearbox; and the gun drive gearbox. The location of the activity is Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and is expected to be completed Jan. 31, 2014. AFGLSC, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/19/11)

Friday, December 16, 2011

AJ26 No. 8 tested at SSC

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- There was another successful test firing of Aerojet's AJ26 engine No. 8 Thursday in support of Orbital Science Corp.'s program to launch a cargo mission to the International Space Station. The next test of an AJ26, this one engine No. 9, is slated for January. Once the data is reviewed and the engine is inspected, it will be shipped to the launch site at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for installation on Orbital's Antares rocket, the new name for the medium-class launch vehicle previously called Taurus II. The Aerojet engines will power the first stage of the Antares. Orbital is part of NASA's ongoing Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Contract. (Source: NASA, 12/15/11) Previous AJ26 test post

AIRINC to reopen in Fairhope

FAIRHOPE, Ala. -- Aero-mark MRO will open a 26,000 square-foot facility to assemble and repair military aircraft system parts, according to the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. Plans are to open in January at the Fairhope airport with 25 workers, growing to 60 in three years. The company is awaiting FAA approval for a license. The company is owned by AIRINC, a repair station at the airport that was sold to Fokker Aircraft. Fokker closed the plant last October and moved operations to Georgia. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/16/11) Previous post

Panel: BRAC in 2015 or 2017?

Amid uncertainty over how deep the Pentagon's budget cuts will be over the coming decade, a panel of speakers in the inaugural Defense Communities 360 Live Webcast Thursday warned defense communities that the consequences will be widespread at installations across the nation. They expect another base closure round between elections, perhaps in 2015 or 2017. (Source: Defense Communities 360, 12/16/11) Gulf Coast note: This region is home to multiple bases, with most involved in aerospace activities.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mobile ranked 34 on Milken list

Mobile, Ala., is ranked 34, Pensacola, Fla., 73, and New Orleans 101 in the 2011 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index of 200 large metro areas. All three moved up in the index, designed to show performance of 379 large and small metro areas in creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth, including technology growth. Mobile last year was 59, Pensacola 116 and New Orleans 123. In the list of 179 small metro areas, Pascagoula, Miss., is ranked 40, Panama City, Fla., is 73, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is 75, and Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., 79. Gulfport's ranking is an improvement over last year's 101 ranking. Pascagoula, Panama City and Fort Walton Beach dropped from 26, 49 and 73, respectively. The Gulf Coast region along the I-10 corridor has significant aerospace activities. (Source: Tcp, 12/15/11) Milken data

Goodrich EPP wins Florida award

Goodrich Corp.'s Engineered Polymer Products (EPP) site in Jacksonville, Fla., was recognized as a 2011 Manufacturer of the Year by the Manufacturers Association of Florida. The advocacy group selected EPP, part of Goodrich's Aerostructures business, because of the quality and customer focus of its workforce, as well as its commitment at all levels to continuous improvement. The award is in the 61- to 125-employee category. (Source: Goodrich, 12/14/11) Gulf Coast note: Goodrich Alabama Service Center, Foley, Ala., is part of Goodrich Aerostructures.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SSC wraps up J-2X 2011 tests

J-2X engine test Dec. 14, 2011. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA conducted its final J-2X rocket engine test of the year Wednesday, the 10th firing in a series on the upper-stage engine for the Space Launch System. The engine was test fired on the A-2 stand at 100 percent power for engine performance calibration and the effects of fuel inlet pressure variations. The engine, No. 10001, will be moved from the stand to allow for addition of a nozzle extension and associated test facility modifications needed for additional engine tests in 2012. J-2X engines 10002 through 10004 are being manufactured for hot fire testing at Stennis planned through 2014. In addition, tests of the J-2X powerpack are scheduled for 2012. On Thursday SSC is scheduled to test the Aerojet AJ26 engine. (Source: NASA, 12/14/11)

Eglin protection measure in bill

An amendment designed to protect the research, development, test and evaluation activities at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is included in a defense spending bill coming before Congress. The amendment drafted by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., was pushed through a conference committee by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. It requires the Air Force to present Congress a report on its proposal to reorganize its Materiel Command within 180 days of the bill’s passage. The consolidations announced in November would put Eglin's 46th Test Wing under the command of a two-star at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. A thriving aerospace industry has grown up around Eglin due to the base's RDT&E functions, and the fear is any attempt to move that function to Edwards. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/13/11)

South Miss hotspot for defense jobs

A new report ranks South Mississippi as one of the top five lesser-known regions in the country for defense jobs. The report released Tuesday by said defense spending, notably in shipbuilding and aerospace, helped rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The report said South Mississippi has jobs for rocket scientists, oceanographers, cyber-security personnel, geospatial analysts, technical trainers and test engineers. South Mississippi is home to NASA's Stennis Space Center, and the Navy is a big tenant. It's also home to the Navy Seabees, Keesler Air Force Base and major shipbuilding activities. Detroit, Omaha, Neb., Seattle, and Mohawk Valley in upstate New York also were named in the top five. (Source: Sun Herald, PRNewswire, 12/13/11)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Engines to be tested this week

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Two rocket engine tests are scheduled this week at Stennis Space Center. On Wednesday NASA will conduct another in a series of tests on the J-2X rocket engine being developed by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne for NASA's Space Launch System. The test is at the A-2 stand. NASA did a combustion stability test of the J-2X Dec. 1. On Thursday there will be a test of the Aeroject AJ26 rocket engine that will power Orbital Sciences Corp.’s commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station. (Source: NASA, 12/13/11)

Monday, December 12, 2011

20th Space Control Squadron

U.S. Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The operators of the 20th Space Control Squadron have a big task: using the world's most powerful radar for around-the-clock space surveillance. The squadron's AN/FPS-85 radar helps the Air Force keep track of more than 22,000 orbiting satellites, from baseball-size objects in near-Earth orbit to basketball-size objects in deep space. A feature story on the organization by the public affairs office. (Source: 20th Special Control Squadron, 12/12/11) Previous post

46th Test Wing gets award

U.S. Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For the 13th year, the 46th Test Wing has been awarded an Air Force Outstanding Unit award for 2010. The award recognizes the top 10 percent of numbered Air Force units. The 46th Test Wing performed more than 5,600 air and ground test missions and logged more than 6,200 flying hours while testing 37 highly modified test aircraft worth $4.5 billion. Some of the weapon systems tested for both U.S. and allied forces included the Small Diameter Bomb I & II, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Hard Target Void Sensing Fuze, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, and the Trident Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. (Source: 46th Test Wing, 12/12/11)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Avalex grand opening next month

GULF BREEZE, Fla. -- The new $10 million, 53,000-square-foot headquarters of Avalex Technologies will hold a grand opening Jan. 7, 2012. The company, which makes flat panel displays, digital mapping systems, video recorders and infrared sensor pointing systems for military and law enforcement airborne surveillance, has 65 employees. CEO Tad Ihns said the company is still hiring, looking for two software engineers and a military business developer. Workers moved into the new building, a former Ford dealership, in November from nearby Pensacola. Avalex has 7,000 square-feet of space left that’s available for lease, and the property is also zoned for a five-story building on the western edge of the property. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/10/11)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $4B

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $4,011,919,310 fixed-price-incentive (firm target) (FPIF) modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract. This modification provides for the manufacture and delivery of 30 Low Rate Initial Production Lot V F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force (21 Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft); the Navy (6 Carrier Variant (CV) aircraft) and Marine Corps (3 Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft). In addition, this modification provides for associated ancillary mission equipment and flight test instrumentation for those aircraft, and flight test instrumentation for the United Kingdom. Work is expected to be completed in January 2014. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($2,644,270,340; 65.9 percent); Navy ($937,374,286; 23.34 percent); Marine Corps ($426,190,013; 10.6 percent); and the United Kingdom ($4,084,671; 0.1 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/09/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 training center.

NLRB ends complaint over plant

The National Labor Relations Board has dropped its legal challenge against Boeing over a nonunion 787 plant the company opened in South Carolina. The decision announced Friday comes after the Machinists union approved a four-year contract extension with Boeing. As part of that deal, the union agreed to withdraw its charge that the company violated federal labor laws. (Source: multiple, including FoxNews, New York Times, Bloomberg, 12/09/11) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has operations in the Gulf Coast region.

Eglin gets Marine F-35 next week

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The first Marine F-35 is expected to arrive at the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Training Center in Northwest Florida next week. The F-35C will be flown from the Lockheed Martin manufacturing center in Fort Worth, Texas, by the military's first F-35 pilots, according to the base. There are three variants of the F-35, one a conventional takeoff and landing variant, one designed for carrier landings and one a vertical takeoff and landing version. The arrival of the F-35 at Eglin will bring to seven the number of F-35s at the base. Eventually, the base will have 59 Joint Strike Fighters. (Source: Tcp, 12/09/11) Previous post on F-35 "hot spots."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SSC to test Blue Origin engines

Another commercial engine will be tested at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., next spring, according to NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. She made the announcement while visiting Blue Origin in Kent, Wash., Thursday. The company is one of NASA's commercial partners developing systems to reach low Earth orbit as part of the Commercial Crew Development Program. Garver said Blue Origin has delivered its BE-3 engine thrust chamber assembly, the engine's combustion chamber and nozzle, to SSC, where testing will begin in April 2012 on the E-1 Test Stand. The company is developing a reusable launch vehicle, designed to take off and land vertically, and an escape system for its crewed spacecraft. "We're delighted Blue Origin is taking advantage of Stennis, a center with a long record of propulsion testing from the dawn of the Space Age, to test the rocket engines of the future," Garver said. (Source: NASA, 12/08/11)

Base marks 20th as "Tree City"

MILTON, Fla. -- Naval Air Station Whiting Field marked its 20th consecutive year as a National Arbor Day Foundation "Tree City, USA." The base celebrated the platinum anniversary of its green leadership by planting a sapling river birch on the grounds of the air station's fire department Tuesday. The National Arbor Day Foundation sets four standards that a town or installation must meet in order to achieve the designation. Whiting is the longest-serving military "Tree City USA." (Source: NNS, 12/08/11) The base in Northwest Florida trains naval helicopter and fixed-wing aviators.

Workers OK contract extension

Unionized Boeing machinists approved a four-year contract extension that likely ends a federal complaint over the opening of a non-union assembly plant in South Carolina. Union officials say that 74 percent of voting members chose to approve the deal. The union represents 28,000 workers in Washington, Oregon and Kansas. Boeing promised that if workers approved the pact, the company would build the new version of the 737 in the Puget Sound region. (Source: AP via Fox News, News Tribune, Business Wire, Seattle Times, 12/08/11) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has several operations in the Gulf Coast.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SLS booster to be discussed

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA will host an industry day at the Marshall Space Flight Center to share information on an upcoming NASA Research Announcement for the Space Launch System's advanced booster. Marshall is leading the design and development of the SLS. The 130-metric ton vehicle will require an advanced booster with a significant increase in thrust over existing U.S. liquid or solid boosters. Its first full-scale test flight is set for 2017. The industry day is Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. CST in the Morris Auditorium in Marshall's building 4200. (Source: NASA, 12/07/11) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are involved in the SLS project.

Contract: Raytheon, $34.6M

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded a $34,627,623 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide for the development and management services for the systems under the Product Management Office for Integrated Tactical Systems. Work will be performed in Andover, Mass., Huntsville, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/07/11)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Upgraded powerpack ready to test

J-2X powerpack at A-1 stand. NASA photo 
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- An upgraded J-2X powerpack has been installed on the A-1 Test Stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center and will be tested next month. The powerpack that was installed Monday consists of a gas generator and turbopumps. The powerpack pumps liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the J-2X's main combustion chamber to produce the needed thrust. The Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne J-2X is designed to provide 294,000 pounds of thrust, up from the 230,000-pound capability of the original J-2 used in the Apollo program. It took two years to modify the A-1 stand for the J-2X test series. (Source: NASA, 12/06/11)

Manned, unmanned share intel

SAN DIEGO -- A Fire Scout unmanned helicopter successfully sent sensor data to the cockpit display of a MH-60 helicopter during a Navy and Northrop Grumman demonstration in October. The demonstration near Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., paves the way for improving the speed at which field commanders can make decisions during military operations. Until now, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data gathered by Fire Scout has been sent to its host ship for further dissemination. During the demonstration, crew members aboard a nearby Coast Guard boat also viewed Fire Scout's sensor data in real time using a remote terminal. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 12/06/11) Previous: New squadron to use MH-60 and Fire Scout. Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Third flight academy launched

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Escambia High School has become the third area school to create a flight academy. The National Flight Academy at Naval Air Station Pensacola partnered with the district to create an Aviation Classroom Experience, a game-based learning environment to teach skills in science, technology, engineering and math. The class has 31 computers with flight simulator software and three full-sized flight simulators. Other area schools with flight academies are Warrington Middle School, also in Escambia County, and Milton High School in Santa Rosa County. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/05/11)

Millions in work on the table

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is ready to put $200 million of work for the heavy launch Space Launch System on the table. NASA announced its intentions Dec. 1 and modified the announcement Dec. 2 on the government contracting website The agency said it will issue a "Draft Research Announcement" around Dec. 12. NASA is seeking research proposals to meet the "goal of reducing risk in the areas of affordability, performance, and reliability" in the new rocket's booster, scheduled to make its first flight in 2017. (Source: Huntsville Times, 12/05/11) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the SLS project.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Big biofuel purchase made

F/A 18 with green markings. Navy photo
WASHINGTON -- The Defense Logistics Agency is buying 450,000 gallons of drop-in biofuel, accelerating demonstration of a homegrown fuel source that can reduce dependence on foreign oil. The biofuel is made from a blend of non-food waste from the Louisiana-based Dynamic Fuels LLC and algae produced by Solazyme. The fuel will be used in the Navy's demonstration of a Green Strike Group in the summer of 2012 during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. The biofuel will be mixed with aviation gas or marine diesel fuel for use in the demonstration. In preparation for the demonstration, the Navy recently completed testing of all aircraft, including F/A-18 and all six Blue Angels and the V-22 Osprey, and has successfully tested the RCB-X (riverine command boat), training patrol craft, self defense test ship, and conducted full-scale gas turbine engine testing. (Source: NNS, 12/05/11) Gulf Coast note: Dynamic Fuels, a joint venture of Tyson Foods Inc., and Syntroleum Corp., is building a synthetic fuels plant in Geismar, La., between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, to turn animal byproducts such as beef tallow and pork and chicken fat into renewable diesel; the Blue Angels are based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.; riverine craft are used by special warfare units at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Orion water landing test set

A test version of the Orion crew capsule will take its final splash of the year Dec. 13 at the Hydro Impact Basin of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. Testing began this summer to certify the Orion spacecraft for water landings. Since July, engineers have conducted six tests from different angles, heights and pitches to simulate varying sea conditions and impacts Orion could face upon landing in the Pacific Ocean. The Hydro Impact Basin is 115 feet long, 90 feet wide and 20 feet deep. (Source: NASA, 12/05/11) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans assembles the Orion crew capsule.

Crestview firm to provide fuel

CRESTVIEW, Fla. - Emerald Coast Aviation was selected to provide aviation fuel at Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The company, which started as a fixed-base operator at DeFunak Springs Airport in Walton County, beat four other bidders for the contract. Emerald Coast now has operations at all three Okaloosa County airports. The company also will supply gas for the rental car fleet. (Source: Crestview Bulletin, 12/01/11)

F-35 alt engine work ends

General Electric and Rolls Royce stopped financing their F136 turbofan designed for the F-35. The two companies had been privately funding the developmental effort after the Defense Department formally terminated the project in April. The decision marks the end of a 15-year effort to develop an alternative to the Pratt and Whitney F135 engine that powers the Joint Strike Fighter. (Source: Defense News, 12/02/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 training center; Rolls-Royce and GE have operations in the Gulf Coast region.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Measure protects Eglin research

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he succeeded in passing a measure he believes can prevent Eglin's Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation function from being snatched away by another base during any pending Pentagon cuts. There is no companion measure in the House version. A conference committee is to be selected to combine the House and Senate versions of the bill. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/02/11)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Contract: Boeing, $125.9M

Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $125,917,979 firm-fixed-price contract for a quantity of 4,977 Lot 16 Guided Vehicle kits procured for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) purposes. The JDAM weapon system provides the Air Force and Navy with an aerial delivery capability for existing 500-, 1,000-, and 2,000-pound bombs. The JDAM is a strap-on kit with Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System capability. This procurement action is an option exercised as a separate contract. Work will be performed at St. Charles, Mo., and is expected to be completed May 31, 2014. ACC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/02/11)

Contract: GCC and CCI, $10M

GCC/Thomco 1, LLC JV, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and CCI Group, LLC, Shalimar, Fla., are being awarded a $10,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to contract for Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements maintenance, repair, and minor construction efforts. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AAC/PKO, Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/02/11)

JSF testing reveals "hot spots"

Testing of the F-35 has shown more "hot spots" in the airframe than expected, the program chief said. Vice Adm. David Venlet recommends slowing production of the fighter until the issues are resolved. The fatigue hot spots are not a threat to safety or the mission, but need to be fixed to make sure the plane's structural parts last the 8,000 hours of service life required, he said. (Source: AOL Defense, 12/01/11). Meanwhile, a senior Defense Department official said the Marine Corps could start training new students to fly the F-35B short take-off vertical landing version of the F-35 in August 2012. (Source: Defense News, 11/30/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the center that will train F-35 pilots.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

J-2X combustion stability tested

J-2X combustion stablity test. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA conducted a stability test firing of the J-2X rocket engine Thursday on the A-2 test stand at Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. The upper-stage engine is being developed to carry humans farther into space than ever before. The 80-second test firing focused on characterizing the new engine's combustion stability. During the test, a controlled explosion was initiated inside the engine's combustion chamber to introduce an energetic pulse of vibrations not expected during nominal operations. Data from this and future combustion stability tests will help engineers understand more about the engine's performance and robustness during operation. The engine is being developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and will provide upper-stage power for NASA's new Space Launch System. The SLS will carry the Orion spacecraft, its crew, cargo, equipment and science experiments to space. (Source: NASA, 12/01/11)

SSC security contract awarded

NASA has selected ISS Action Inc. of Jamaica, N.Y., to provide protective services at the agency's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss. The firm, fixed price contract consists of a base period of eight months and four one-year option periods; with a total value of $25.9 million. ISS Action Inc. will provide security services at Stennis, including physical security operations, personnel security, access control, badging, 911 dispatch center, access monitoring, traffic control and locksmith services. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/01/11)

Video game feature MOAB

A huge bomb developed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is a featured weapon in a new video game. A digital version of the Massive Ordinance Air Blast, or MOAB, is a featured weapon in the game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," published by Activision for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. When the 30-foot, 21,600-pound MOAB was developed in 2003, it was the largest non-nuclear weapon in the Air Force's inventory. It was detonated at Eglin twice. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/30/11)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Solar powers Whiting Field

MILTON, Fla. - Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Northwest Florida marked a step on its path to energy independence Nov. 29 with a ribbon-cutting for the air station's first large-scale photovoltaic power system. At the time of the ceremony, the power system was generating sufficient energy to reduce the host structure's energy consumption to "net zero." The solar array is designed to provide primary power to building 2981, which houses Training Air Wing 5's fixed-wing Training Squadron 2 and Training Squadron 6. A duplicate of the solar array has been installed to service a similar facility containing two of the air station's three south field-based helicopter training squadrons. The solar generators are the culmination of a Navy-wide initiative to expand the energy independence of its stateside installations. (Source: Naval Air Station Whiting Field, 11/30/11)

Boeing, union reach agreement

Boeing and its biggest union reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract extension that would ensure the 737MAX is built in Renton, Wash., and likely lead to a settlement of the National Labor Relations Board case against Boeing over a 787 production line in South Carolina. The deal could also bring Air Force tanker work to Puget Sound if Boeing decides to shut down a Wichita, Kan., plant. The 28,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers are due to vote on the deal next week. (Sources: Seattle Times, Reuters, 11/30/11) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has operations in the Gulf Coast region

NASA picks SBIR proposals

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA selected 300 small business proposals to enter into negotiations for possible contract awards through the agency's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Eight of the proposals involve technologies being developed for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, including one involving Innovative Imaging and Research at SSC and the University of Southern Mississippi. The programs encourage small businesses and research institutions to engage in federal research, development and commercialization to address NASA needs. Program results have benefited many NASA efforts, including modern air traffic control systems, Earth-observing spacecraft, the International Space Station and the Mars rovers. (Source: NASA Stennis Space Center, 11/30/11, NASA release, 11/29/11)

12-pound UAV bomb flies

TUCSON, Ariz. - Raytheon has completed captive carry tests of its Small Tactical Munition Phase II configuration, paving the way for flight tests of the bombs for Shadow-class unmanned systems. The 12-pound, 22-inch, precision-guided, gravity-dropped bomb is designed to engage moving and static targets, and can be used by manned and unmanned aircraft. It has foldable fins and wings, enabling deployment from common launch tubes. (Source: Raytheon, 11/30/11) Gulf Coast note: Portions of the Global Hawk and Fire Scout are built in Moss Point, Miss.; the Navy is developing an armed version of the Fire Scout; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., develops aerial weapons; the Coast Guard in Mobile, Ala., has a UAV training program.

AICUZ study to be released

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Keesler Air Force Base's updated Air Installation Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) study will be released at a public meeting next month. Keesler officials point out that as surrounding cities grow, it’s important that government, businesses and Keesler work together to implement mutually-beneficial planning for the future. The study addresses aircraft noise and accident potential zones created by current flying operations at Keesler, and contains information on building height restrictions and other data. A question-and-answer period follows the 6:30 p.m. presentation Dec. 12 at the Biloxi Visitors Center. (Source: 81st Training Wing Public Affairs, 11/30/11)

Another J-2X test slated

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA at Stennis Space Center is scheduled to conduct another test Thursday on the J-2X, the upper-stage rocket engine being developed by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. Earlier this month NASA conducted a successful 500-second test of the engine, which will be used to carry humans, cargo and equipment beyond low-Earth orbit on the agency's new heavy lift Space Launch System. The J-2X uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. (Source: NASA, 11/30/11)

Decoy jammer to begin production

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Air Force has authorized Raytheon to begin low rate initial production of the Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer variant. MALD is a modular, air-launched, programmable, 300-pound system with a 575-mile range. It protects aircraft by duplicating the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft. The new model adds radar-jamming capability that allows it to perform stand-in jamming missions instead of using manned aircraft. Raytheon will begin delivering MALD-J in 2012. (Source: Raytheon, 11/29/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., has been the contracting activity for development of the system.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hurlburt general to lead probe

Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Clark of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla., has been appointed to head an investigation into the Nov. 26 deaths of Pakistani soldiers during an engagement near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, directed Clark to provide an initial report on the incident by Dec. 23. NATO, the Afghan and Pakistan governments are also invited to name representatives to the team. (Sources: American Forces Press Service, United States Central Command, 11/28/11, Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/29/11)

Contract: Raytheon, $19.6M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $19,639,651 firm-fixed-price contract to provide High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile Targeting System (HTS) contractor logistics support depot support for the HTS pod. AAC/EBAS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/29/11)

Jacobs gets AAC contract

PASADENA, Calif. - Jacobs Engineering Group received a follow-on contract to provide advisory and assistance services for the Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Technical and Engineering Acquisition Support 6 contract contains a ceiling of $662 million, and has a total ordering period of three years, beginning Dec. 11. With a staff of nearly 600 personnel, Jacobs provides technical expertise to help AAC develop, acquire, test, deploy and sustain air delivered munitions. Work includes systems engineering and integration support of virtually all Air Force air-launched weapon systems; test and training range systems; and numerous air combat support systems. (Source: Jacobs via PRNewswire, 11/29/11) Note: The Air Armament Center is being eliminated in a restructuring, but the base will continue to have a directorate and remain the Air Force’s center for aerial weapons development. (Post)

U.K. sub tests Tomahawk at Eglin

A British submarine, HMS Astute, earlier this month test fired Tomahawk cruise missiles from a location in the Gulf of Mexico to a target at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The tests were designed to show the new class of sub capable of using the Tomahawk cruise missile. The first launch tested a Block III Tomahawk, followed by a torpedo tube-launched Block IV Tomahawk. The Astute class of sub is built by BAE Systems, and will continue trials in the U.S. until the early spring before returning to the U.K. for more training before her first operational deployment. (Sources: Wired, 11/17/11, BayNet, 11/28/11)

Permit issued for airport project

A building permit has been issued for a $6.1 million terminal and hangar at Stennis International Airport in Hancock County, Miss. GM&R Construction Co. of Bay St. Louis was the successful bidder. Jack Zink, executive director of the Hancock County Development Commission, expects work to start any day on the 10,000-square foot, two-story terminal and 24,000-square foot hangar to replace the hangar destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. The airport supports business and executive jets and military flight training, and is used by Roll-Royce to support engine testing at Stennis Space Center. (Source: Sun Herald, 11/28/11)

Airline files bankruptcy

AMR, parent of American Airlines, the nation’s third largest airline, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. The parent company said that American, American Eagle and all other subsidiaries will operate normal flight schedules during the bankruptcy filing process. (Source: Multiple, 11/29/11) Gulf Coast note: American serves Mobile (Ala.) Regional Airport, Pensacola (Fla.) International Airport, Gulfport-Biloxi (Miss.) International Airport, New Orleans International Airport and Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Valparaiso, Fla.

Monday, November 28, 2011

F-35 launches from EMALS

EMALS launch. Navy photo
LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The Navy launched an F-35C test aircraft with the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) in a Nov. 18 demonstration. The test of aircraft CF-3 provided an early opportunity to evaluate technical risks and began the process to integrate the carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter with the future carrier fleet aircraft launching system being developed for the new Gerald R. Ford class of carrier. Aircraft for years have used steam catapults, and the F-35C has completed more than 50 steam catapult launches. But EMALS uses magnetic fields to propel a carriage down a track, allowing a more gradual speed increase and reducing airframe stress. In the past year the EMALS team launched a T-45 Goshawk, an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, a C-2A Greyhound and several F/A-18 aircraft. (Source: NNS, 11/28/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home to the F-35 training center.

Second X-47 takes flight

X-47B aircraft. Northrop Grumman photo
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The second Northrop Grumman unmanned X-47B fighter logged its first flight Nov. 22 at Edwards Air Force Base. Air Vehicle 2 (AV-2) climbed to 5,000 feet, flew racetrack patterns and landed after a half-hour flight. The X-47B is being developed for the Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration program. The tailless AV-2 autonomous aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s F100-PW-220U engine and exhaust system. (Sources: Northrop Grumman, Pratt and Whitney, 11/28/11) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman and Pratt and Whitney have aerospace operations in this region; Fire Scout and Global Hawk unmanned systems are build in part in Moss Point, Miss.; multiple companies in the region are involved in UAV-related activities.

New squadron to use Fire Scouts

SAN DIEGO - The Navy's first composite squadron equipped with manned and unmanned helicopters for expeditionary missions will form in San Diego next year. Nicknamed the "Magicians," Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35 will be the first to support littoral combat ships and other ships with both the manned MH-60R Seahawk and unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout. The composite squadron will deploy detachments of both aircraft to LCSs, cruisers, destroyers and frigates. (Source: Navy Times, 11/27/11) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., builds one version of littoral combat ships.

Tanker may break ceiling $500M

Boeing may exceed by $500 million the cost ceiling on its contract for Air Force refueling tankers. That's $200 million more than previous estimates. Boeing, developing the tanker from its 767, absorbs the cost over the contract's $4.8 billion ceiling. Government officials in June told Bloomberg News that Boeing was projected to exceed the ceiling by $300 million. The new estimate is in the Selected Acquisition Report, the Pentagon’s first official cost review for the 179-aircraft program. (Source: Bloomberg via Washington Post, 11/27/11) Gulf Coast note: Boeing won the contract over EADS, who planned to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Huge bombs delivered

The Pentagon has taken delivery of huge bunker-busting bombs designed to penetrate deep to reach underground facilities. Boeing delivered 20 of the Massive Ordnance Penetrators to the Air Force. Each GPS-guided penetrator is 20 feet long, weighs 30,000 pounds and carries a 5,300-pound payload. The explosive power of a MOP is 10 times that of its predecessor, the BLU-109. The Air Force began taking delivery of the bombs, which can be carried in a B-2, in September. (Source: Los Angeles Times, Fox News, Bloomberg via SF Chronicle, 11/16/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., has been involved in developing and deploying the MOP. Previous postings: contract; contract; contract; Bunker buster deployment nears; Pentagon eyes bunker buster speedup

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Airport to begin improvements

DESTIN, Fla. - Okaloosa County commissioners approved the use of a $250,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation to get a runway improvement project started at Destin Airport. Okaloosa County Airports Director Greg Donovan said he estimates the cost of refurbishing the 5,000-foot runway and improving the lighting and navigational signage will be about $4 million. Donovan said his staff is lobbying the Federal Aviation Administration to obtain money from the agency's aviation trust fund to pay for the remainder of the runway replacement. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/22/11)

Airport Web site redesigned

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport will launch a new website that Airport Authority board members hope will strengthen the region's brand. The new site, to be online in December, is a complete redesign and will contain a feature that allows site visitors to track on a map in real time a plane's position. (Source: Walton Sun, 11/23/11)

First test done of on-orbit AEHF

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. - Raytheon Co. became the first to successfully test with the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite. Raytheon's Army Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical Terminal is the first operationally-fielded terminal to interoperate with an on-orbit AEHF satellite. Raytheon will deliver 364 AEHF SMART-T terminals to the U.S. armed services. The first AEHF satellite, launched in August 2010, recently began an set of operational tests. The AEHF, designed to replace the Milstar system, is a joint service satellite communications system that provides secure communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. (Source: Raytheon, 11/22/11) Gulf Coast note: The Lockheed Martin AEHF satellite’s core propulsion module is build at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CID stands up commands

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The Center for Information Dominance stood up two new commands Nov. 14. The request for the new commands, the Center for Information Dominance Unit (CIDU) Corry Station and CIDU Monterey, was approved by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus Oct. 31. The new commands are in response to the "expanded size of the detachment and assigned cyber training mission." Annually, CID Unit Corry Station, Pensacola, Fla., trains about 9,000 Navy and Joint Cryptologists, Information Systems Technicians and Information Warfare and Information Professional officers, while CID Unit Monterey, Calif., trains about 1,200 Cryptologic Technicians and Foreign Language Officers. In remarks during the stand-up ceremony at Corry Station, CID Commanding Officer Capt. Susan K. Cerovsky compared the shore-based commands to that of a newly-commissioned ship. With a staff of nearly 1,300 military, civilian and contracted staff members, CID Corry Station oversees the development and administration of more than 168 courses at four commands, two detachments and 16 learning sites throughout the United States and in Japan. CID Corry Station provides training for about 24,000 members of the U.S. Armed Services and allied forces each year. (Source: NNS, 11/21/11) Note: Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss., is the Air Force's center for electronics training, including cyber security.

Lockheed hits F-35 test target

Lockheed Martin passed its 2011 flight-test targets for the F-35, with aircraft now flying at a pace that will allow the company to exceed its target for a significantly higher number of flights in 2012. The test program completed its 875th flight for the year on Nov. 17, passing the full-year target of 872. A total of 6,809 test points were accumulated on those flights, exceeding the year-end target of 6,622. Training on the F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., has yet to begin. (Source: Aviation Week, 11/21/11)

First international F-35 rolls out

FORT WORTH, Texas - The first international Lockheed Martin F-35 rolled out of the factory Sunday evening. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence will use the short takeoff/vertical landing jet, known as BK-1, for training and operational tests. BK-1 will undergo functional fuel system checks before being transported to the flight line for ground and flight tests in the coming months. The jet is scheduled to be delivered in 2012. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 11/22/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center

Security contract awarded

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - NASA awarded Excalibur Associates Inc. of Alexandria, Va., a contract to provide protective services at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans. The contract begins Jan. 1, 2012, with a nine-month base period, followed by option periods. Excalibur will provide support for physical and personnel security, technology protection and emergency management and training. (Source: PRNewswire, 11/21/11)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Supercommittee fails

A special congressional super committee acknowledged failure Monday to cut the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, and President Obama warned that he would veto any attempt to undo a resulting round of across-the-board spending cuts. (Source: Washington Post, 11/21/11) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta released a statement noting his concern. "If Congress fails to act over the next year, the Department of Defense will face devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation's defense," he said. (Source: DoD release, 11/21/11) "We are now working on a plan to minimize the impact of the sequester on the Department of Defense and to ensure that any cuts do not leave us with a hollow military," Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement. "The first responsibility of any government is to provide for the common defense; we will pursue all options to make certain that we continue to fulfill that solemn commitment." (Source: Washington Post, 11/21/11) The Pentagon's belt-tightening has already been felt through workforce reductions. Now comes word that Boeing may close a military-aircraft plant in Wichita, Kan. About 2,100 people work for Boeing in Wichita, modifying and upgrading military aircraft. Kansas is one of the states that expected to benefit with a Boeing win over EADS to build tankers for the Air Force. (Source: Bloomberg, 11/21/11)

Airport traffic continues growth

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Total passenger traffic in October at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport near Panama City, Fla., rose about 4 percent from October 2010, continuing an upward trend of since the airport moved from the Panama City field on May 23, 2010. Traffic totaled 77,389 for October this year, compared to 74,372 in October 2010, airport Executive Director John Wheat told board members. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 11/20/11)

NASA gauging interest in E-4 stand

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA is seeking to identify industry interest in Stennis Space Center's underutilized E-4 Test Facility. Originally designed to conduct ground tests of propulsion systems in support of NASA's Rocket Based Combined Cycle Program, the E-4 Test Facility was partially built but has not been completed and further development is not planned. It consists of concrete-walled test cells and associated hard stand, a high-bay work area with a bridge crane and adjacent work area, control room space and personnel offices. The facility was designed to provide low-pressure hydrocarbon fuel and oxidizer to test articles having a thrust in the horizontal plane up to 50,000 lbf maximum. Pending the level of interest in a leasing or partnering arrangement, a site visit will be conducted on Jan. 12, 2012. (Source: Tcp, 11/21/11) NOA/RFI

Thursday, November 17, 2011

AJ26 undergoes test

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Engineers at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center conducted a test firing on an Aerojet AJ26 flight engine Thursday. Orbital Sciences Corp. is testing the engines for the commercial cargo missions to the International Space Station. AJ26 engines will be used to power Orbital's Taurus II rocket. Orbital is part of NASA's ongoing Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract. The AJ26 flight engines are being tested on the E-1 Test Stand. After the engines are successfully tested, inspected and test data reviewed, the engines are shipped to the Wallops Flight Facility launch site in Virginia for installation on the Taurus II rocket. (Source: NASA, 11/17/11) Previous story

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NASA among best places to work

NASA is one of the best places to work in the federal government, according to a survey released Wednesday. NASA, which has operations at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, is ranked No. 5 among 308 federal agencies. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden acknowledge Stennis Space Center, ranked second overall among the federal organizations. "I'm particularly proud that Stennis was ranked first in the government for employee empowerment, fairness and support for diversity." The Departments of the Navy, Army and Air Force -- which have bases scattered throughout the Gulf Coast -- are ranked 15, 16 and 18, respectively. The survey was done by Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization. The agencies ranked higher than NASA are the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Government Accountability Office and Smithsonian Institution. The survey found that satisfaction among federal workers is down for the first time in four years, in part because of budgetary uncertainties. (Sources: NASA, Partnership for Public Service, Washington Post, 11/16/11)

X-47B gets magazine award

X-47B UCAS. Northrop Grumman photo
The editors of Popular Science magazine selected the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System to receive a 2011 Best of What's New award in the Aviation & Space category. The award was formally announced in the magazine's Dec. issue. Two tailless, autonomous X-47B unmanned aircraft are currently undergoing testing. The X-47B is designed to operate from a Navy aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman's UCAS-D industry team includes GKN Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Pratt and Whitney, Eaton, GE, Hamilton Sundstrand, Dell, Honeywell, Goodrich, Moog, Wind River, Parker Aerospace and Rockwell Collins. (Source: Globe Newswire, 11/16/11) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman's Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, built in part in Moss Point, Miss., has been successfully deployed aboard Navy ships.

Company picks Niceville

North Eastern Aeronautical Company Inc., NEANY, announces the opening of its newest office in Niceville, Fla. The company is a research, design, test and evaluation firm specializing in unmanned aerial systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, sensors and electro-optics. "With Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Bases, the Pensacola Naval Air Station, and numerous universities all located in the panhandle, I believe the area is a perfect fit for NEANY,” said company president Steven Steptoe. NEANY also has offices in Patuxent River, Md., Arlington, Va., and Scottsdale, Ariz. (Source: ECN Magazine, 11/16/11)

Navy starts land-buying process

FOLEY, Ala. - The Navy has begun efforts to buy property needed to expand two Baldwin County airfields to accommodate new training aircraft. Work is scheduled to start next summer to extend four runways, two at Barin Field in Foley and two at Summerdale Field. The runways are needed to accommodate the T-6A, which is replacing the T-34 training aircraft. The Navy operates several outlying fields in Baldwin County for training flights out of Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 11/15/11)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goodrich hosts job fair

FOLEY, Ala. - Foley's Goodrich Aerostructures plant is hosting a job fair Saturday to find workers to construct housing for Airbus engines. Baldwin County's largest industrial employer with some 800 workers, Goodrich is looking to hire 40 workers who have experience in heavy construction, automotive, sheet metal or heating/air conditioning. In the apprenticeship, workers would learn to construct a nacelle, the cover housing that encases the engine for the Airbus A320. The new jobs came about because of increased demand. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/15/11)

Senators: Further cuts unacceptable

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pointed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's dire description of the impact of further cuts in defense spending as the latest evidence that up to $600 billion in automatic defense spending cuts "should not be allowed to occur." The senators' comments came in response to a letter Panetta sent Monday listing cuts in weapons programs, end strength and the civilian workforce that likely would occur under a worst-case budget scenario. (Source: Defense Communities 360, 11/14/11) Meanwhile, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, is urging the congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee to consider closing unneeded overseas bases, rather than slashing force structure or weapons systems. Last year, the president's bipartisan deficit reduction commission estimated that responsible overseas base closings could save taxpayers $8.5 billion through 2015. (Source: Defense Communities 360, 11/14/11)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Panetta: F-35, shipbuilding at risk

Two military programs of high interest to the Gulf Coast, shipbuilding and the F-35, could be at risk with additional defense cuts. In a letter to Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said reductions beyond the $450 billion, 10-year defense budget cuts already planned would reduce the size of the military sharply. If a special committee of lawmakers fails to reach agreement by Nov. 23 on deficit reduction, that would trigger a so-called sequestration that would involve at least another $500 billion in defense cuts over a decade and cut military programs in 2013 by 23 percent. In addition to the F-35, other programs that face termination include shipbuilding, space initiatives, silo-based nuclear missiles and ground combat vehicle modernization. (Source: Bloomberg via Business Week, 11/14/11) Gulf Coast note: The F-35 training center is at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; Gulfport and Pascagoula, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., build ships for the military.

GE gets orders for engines

GE90-115B engine. GE Aviation photo
At the Dubai Air Show Monday, the United Arab Emirates announced that it ordered 50 aircraft powered by two GE90-115B engines, and agreed to a 12-year maintenance, repair and overhaul contract for those engines. The total value over the life of the contract is $6 billion. The order will have an impact on multiple GE Aviation operations nationwide, including the 258-worker GE Aviation plant in Batesville, Miss. Workers there manufacture composite engine parts – fan stator, acoustic panels and fan platforms – for the GE90. (Source: GE Aviation, 11/14/11) Gulf Coast note: GE Aviation is also building a composite engine parts facility in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Auburn, Ala.

Airbus, Boeing see demand hike

Rivals Boeing and Airbus both anticipate a huge demand increase in the Middle East over the next 20 years for passenger and cargo aircraft. Airbus' latest Global Market forecast says carriers in the Middle East will need 1,921 new passenger and freighter aircraft between 2011 and 2030 valued at $347.4 billion. Boeing forecasts that airlines in the Middle East will need an estimated 2,520 airplanes worth $450 billion by 2030. The forecasts come as the region's carriers continue to surpass global air traffic and capacity growth rates. (Sources: Boeing, EADS/Airbus, 11/14/11) Gulf Coast note: Speakers at the Aerospace Alliance Summit in Sandestin, Fla., in September also projected growth. An Airbus official said there would be a demand worldwide for 26,000 new commercial aircraft; another from GE Aviation noted the company is opening new facilities in Mississippi and Alabama because of the backlog and expected growth of the industry.

U.S. astronaut aboard Soyuz

U.S. astronaut Dan Burbank has become the first American to fly to the International Space Station since the retirement of space shuttle fleet. Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin launched Sunday (Monday Kazakhstan time) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They'll dock with the ISS Tuesday. NASA is paying the Russian Federal Space Agency $1.5 billion to fly U.S. and partner nation astronauts while waiting for U.S. commercial companies to begin round-trip supply missions, likely no earlier than 2016. (Sources: Florida Today, NASA, 11/13/11) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests NASA and commercial rocket engines.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hotel on AF land raises concerns

Resort owners who will be competing against a proposed hotel on Air Force land on Okaloosa Island, Fla., are raising some concerns. They're concerned about the bidding process, and whether other Eglin Air Force Base holdings on the island might end up on the market. The $24 million hotel is to be built, owned and run by the developers, though the land will remain in military hands. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/12/11) Previous story

A growing aerospace footprint

The past few months have brought some encouraging developments for South Mississippi's aerospace activities. That includes NASA's plans to build heavy-lift rocket using space shuttle main engines and the J-2X engines that are tested at Stennis Space Center, and the transfer of the former Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant to NASA, adding a 1.6 million-square-foot facility to NASA's inventory at SSC. Other activities include GE Aviation's plans to build a plant near Hattiesburg, and other developments. (Source: Sun Herald, 11/13/11)

Friday, November 11, 2011

BAE closing Texas plant

BAE Systems plans to close its commercial aircraft electronics manufacturing plant in Irving, Texas, next year, resulting in the loss of 160 jobs. The company in March 2009 began shifting much of the work done at the plant to Fort Wayne, Ind., and Mexico. BAE has surplus capacity in Fort Wayne, the company said. (Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11/10/11) Gulf Coast note: BAE Systems has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast, including Gautier, Miss., Mobile, Ala., and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Coast Guard trains with A-Team

A crew from the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala., last month trained with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha, called the A-Team, and the 7th Special Forces Group of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in series of high altitude jumps from an HC-144A Ocean Sentry. ATC Mobile requested a waiver from Coast Guard Headquarters to allow parachute jumps from the Ocean Sentry. Daytime jumps were done at Eglin and near Meridian, Miss., and night insertion jumps were done around Foley, Ala. It was all in preparation for the 7th Group's unconventional warfare exercise Oct. 26 through Nov. 12. (Source: Coast Guard Heartland, 11/07/11) The HC-144, based on a CN-235 transport, is a medium-range surveillance aircraft manufactured by Airbus Military.

Whiting gets new commander

MILTON, Fla. - Capt. Matthew Coughlin took over from Capt. Pete Hall as commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The change of command ceremony, attended by about 400 people, was Thursday at the air station near Milton. Coughlin's first time at the base was 22 years ago. He received his wings in 1990. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/10/11) Whiting Field trains student naval aviators in the primary and intermediate phases of fixed-wing aviation and in the advanced phases of helicopter training.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shuttle gear bound for SSC

The 266-foot-long Pegasus barge, used to transport space shuttle external tanks from Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., is on its way to NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss. Pegasus, which will arrive at SSC Nov. 16 after a 900-mile journey, is carrying space shuttle main engine ground support equipment. The NASA barge and shuttle equipment will remain in storage at SSC until final disposition is determined. Pegasus left Kennedy manned by a crew of four and towed by NASA's space shuttle solid rocket booster recovery ship Freedom Star. The barge sailed 41 times between 1999 and 2011 for the shuttle program. The shuttle main engine ground support equipment was used at Kennedy to install shuttle engines into orbiters. The Kennedy shop where the equipment was stored is among the facilities turned over to Space Florida for future use by Boeing, which plans to use the facility to build its CST-100 commercial crew capsule. The shuttle main engines will be used in the Space Launch System engine testing program. (Source: Space Ref, Florida Today, 11/10/11) Previous story

Utah balks at AFMC changes

Members of Utah's congressional delegation are calling for at least a year delay in implementing the restructuring of the Air Force Materiel Command. In a Nov. 2 letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, the delegation said the Air Force failed to follow procedures, which calls for an impact analysis of changes costing more than $500 million. The delegation is concerned about the impact on Hill Air Force Base. The letter was signed by Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee; U.S. Reps. Jim Matheson, Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. (Sources: Deseret News, 11/07/11, The Patriot, 11/10/11) Gulf Coast note: The restructuring also hit Gulf Coast bases in Northwest Florida and South Mississippi. For previous stories, see Eglin losing AAC, 96th ABW, Keesler to lose 68 civilian positions, Leader worried about Eglin future or the column/analysis, Week in Review (10/30 to 11/5)

Blue Angels show this weekend

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Gates open at 8 a.m. each day and admission is free. The show begins at 9 a.m. with the Blue Angels flight demonstration team scheduled to fly around 2 p.m. Over 100,000 people are expected to view the show each day. In addition to the flying, the show includes static display of aircraft and vendor booths. (Source: Tcp, 11/10/11) More information

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

J-2X has 500-second test firing

J-2X test Nov. 9, 2011. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA conducted a successful 500-second test of the new upper-stage rocket engine today at John C. Stennis Space Center. The engine will be used to carry humans, cargo and equipment beyond low-Earth orbit on the agency's new heavy lift Space Launch System. Data from the test will be analyzed as operators prepare for additional engine firings. The J-2X and the RS-25D/E engines for the SLS core stage will be tested for flight certification at Stennis. Both engines use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. The core stage engines were developed originally for the space shuttle. The J-2X engine is being developed by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. (Source: NASA, 11/09/11)

Airport gets a new name

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The airport in Pensacola now has a new name: Pensacola International Airport. The airport, long known as Pensacola Regional Airport, changed its name a few years ago to Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport. Now it's dropped "Gulf Coast Regional" and replaced it with "international." Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward said that while the airport has no international flights, it reflects an effort to raise the profile of the city. The airport also dedicated a new terminal expansion, part of an $82 million, five-year capital improvement project. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/09/11)

GD to built robot mine detector

General Dynamics Advanced Informational Systems has been awarded a Navy contract to design and build the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle system. The development and manufacturing will be done in Panama City, Fla., Greensboro, N.C., Fairfax, Va., and Quincy and Braintree, Mass. GD will hire 10 new employees. The system will initially be a part of the Littoral Combat Ship Mine Warfare mission package. The $86.7 million contract awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command calls for one Engineering Development Model and five low-rate initial production systems if all options are exercised. The system will be able to identify mines in high-clutter underwater environments in a single pass. It also will gather environmental data that can provide intelligence support for other mine warfare systems. (Source: General Dynamics, 11/09/11) Gulf Coast note: Littoral Combat Ships are being built by General Dynamics as well as Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.; Navy operations in the Gulf Coast include the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, Fla., and the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Naval Oceanographic Office, Naval Oceanography Mine Warefare Center and Naval Research Lab detachment, all at South Mississippi's Stennis Space Center.

Ground broken for Exelis operation

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Ground was broken Tuesday for the ITT Exelis facility at the VentureCrossing Enterprise Centre in Bay County. The 105,000-square-foot facility will be used by the company’s mine defense systems work. The event was hosted by St. Joe Co., which is developing the 75,000-acre mixed use business park near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The park will include office, industrial, manufacturing, hotel, retail and residential uses. Gov. Rick Scott said the project is important to Florida because of its strong ties to the defense industry. ITT Exelis currently has about 100 employees in the Panama City area. (Source: Panama City News Herald, Business Wire, 11/08/11)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Florida gears up to protect bases

Six people from Northwest Florida will join six other military and civic leaders from elsewhere in the state to serve on the Florida Defense Support Task Force. The panel, created by legislation sponsored by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, will advocate for Florida's bases and missions, including high-tech research and development, at a time of Pentagon belt-tightening and the threat of another base realignment and closure commission. The defense industry is Florida's third largest job producer. There are 21 military bases and missions, bringing $58 billion into the economy every year. In Gaetz's district, base personnel and contracts tied to five installations pump $14.5 billion of economic activity into the region. A $5 million appropriation will help fund research and advocacy on behalf of the uniformed and civilian jobs tied to the state’s bases. (Source: Press release, Sen. Don Gaetz, 11/08/11)