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)