Thursday, March 31, 2011
MARIETTA, Ga. – Lockheed Martin rolled out the first aircraft in a new fleet of MC-130J Combat Shadow IIs for the U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations Command during a ceremony in Georgia Tuesday. Lockheed Martin is contracted to build 15 MC 130Js to begin replacing the current fleet. The U.S. Air Force is authorized to acquire up to 20 MC-130Js against an approved requirement for 37. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 03/29/11) Gulf Coast note: The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $9,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for technical support of the use of Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) special test vehicles, special test equipment, and test positions to include AMRAAM modeling and simulation. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AAC/PKES, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/31/11)
The World Trade Organization in a report published today said Boeing received at least $5.3 billion in improper subsidies from the United States to develop jets, including the 787. That gave it an unfair advantage against European rival Airbus. The European Union claimed research and development grants from the federal government’s NASA and Defense Department, including development of carbon composites, contributed to the technologies to build the 787. An appeal by Washington is being considered. The ruling is the latest round in a six-year battle between Boeing and Airbus, part of EADS. In a case decided last June, the WTO found that Airbus had benefited from improper subsidies as well. (Source: Multiple, including New York Times, Reuters, 03/31/11)
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Col. David A. Hlatky has been relieved as commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., effective today. Maj. Gen. Mark Solo, 19th Air Force commander at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, lost confidence in Hlatky's ability to command as a result of an investigation following allegations of personal misconduct. Col. Andrew J. Toth assumed command of the wing today. He previously served as the executive officer to the commander of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. (Source: Air Education and Training Command, 03/31/11)
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $21,468,420 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the procurement of four UH-72A light utility helicopters; four airborne radio communication 231 system production cut-in; and one engine inlet barrier filter production cut-in. Work will be done in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2012. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/30/11)
Sikorsky Support Services, Inc., Pensacola, Fla., is being awarded an $84,100,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance to support 273 T-34, 54 T-44, and 62 T-6 aircraft based primarily at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; NAS Whiting Field, Fla.; and NAS Pensacola. Work will be performed in Corpus Christi, Whiting Field, Pensacola and various sites within the continental United States. Work is expected to be completed in October 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/30/11)
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $42,285,583 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery requirements contract for logistics support of 124 TH-57B/TH-57C aircraft. Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Fla. (99 percent), and NAS Patuxent River, Md. and is expected to be completed in September 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/30/11)
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA cut the ribbon on a new cryogenics control center at John C. Stennis Space Center today, marking near completion of a project to strengthen protection for liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen barges in the event of a natural disaster. The new structure consolidates LH and LOX operations and provides a safe shelter for a disaster ride-out crew. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, NASA conducted a study to identify support systems at the site that should be "hardened" to withstand the impacts of future storms. The study cited the need to provide a safe haven for LH and LOX cryogenic barges needed to perform rocket engine testing at the south Mississippi facility. The project ensures a safe haven for all six LOX and three LH barges at Stennis. (Source: NASA, 03/30/10)
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Alliant Techsystems Inc., Plymouth, Minn., is being awarded a $35,796,194 fixed-price incentive contract which will provide the hard target sensing fuze, an advanced fuze system for use with BLU-109, BLU-113, and BLU-122 warheads and their associated guidance systems. The fuze system will be capable of surviving penetration through 5,000 to 15,000 pounds per square inch of multiple soil layers and/or reinforced concrete, and detonating within a specific void inside the target or at a specific delay time programmed into the fuze. The fuze will also provide in-flight programmability, safing and arming, multi-mode function capability (time-delay and void sensing), and multi-delay arming. AAC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/29/11)
Monday, March 28, 2011
Eurocopter, the helicopter unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space group, EADS, said Monday it entered an agreement to buy all the outstanding shares of Canada's Vector Aerospace Corp. The deal for the helicopter overhaul and repair company is valued at $638 million. (Sources: Multiple, including AFP, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, 03/28/11) Gulf Coast note: Vector Aerospace has an operation at the South Alabama Regional Airport in Andalusia, Ala., which opened in 2008. EADS has a helicopter production facility in Columbus, Miss., and two operations in Mobile, Ala. Previous
Faulty maintenance procedures caused the in-flight failure of the engine generators on an F-35, the program office said. Those procedures have now been revised, and the entire fleet of F-35s has been cleared to resume flight operations. The problem was found in a test flight earlier this month in California in an F-35 with an alternate generator configuration. (Source: Defense News, 03/25/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. - The U.S. Coast Guard doesn't have any unmanned systems in its inventory, but the service is forging ahead with some training, according to the service's unmanned aerial system platform manager. The skeleton of the service's program is taking shape at Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Ala. The Coast Guard has trained three pilots in Mobile to operate the MQ-9 Guardian, a variant of the Air Force's Reaper. The program is in its infancy and there's no training pipeline yet, pending funding. One of the systems the Coast Guard is eyeing is the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, built in part in nearby Moss Point, Miss. (Source: Navy Times, 03/26/11)
Friday, March 25, 2011
EADS on Thursday said that it was in exclusive talks to purchase Vector Aerospace, a Canadian company that repairs and maintains civil and military helicopters. The move comes as EADS is attempting to revive hopes of expanding its footprint in North America through a mix of organic growth and deals following its loss last month to Boeing of the $35 billion Air Force aerial tanker project. (Source: Financial Times, 03/24/11) Gulf Coast note: Vector Aerospace has an operation at the South Alabama Regional Airport in Andalusia, Ala., which opened in 2008. EADS has a helicopter production facility in Columbus, Miss., and two operations in Mobile, Ala.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
WASHINGTON - The Department of Defense Thursday issued a stop work order on the F-136 engine being developed by General Electric and Rolls-Royce for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The administration and DoD oppose the extra engine as a waste of taxpayer dollars. The stop work order will remain in place pending final resolution of the program's future, for a period not to exceed 90 days, unless extended by agreement of the government and the contractor. The F-35's primary engine is the Pratt and Whitney F135. (Source: DoD, 03/24/11, GE response, 03/24/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the JSF training center.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $7,261,201 firm-fixed-price contract for contractor logistics support for the C-12 aircraft for Pacific Air Force, Air Force Material Command, Defense Intelligence Agency, and Defense Security Corporation Agency, consisting of maintenance, repair, and support functions for seven months from April 1, 2011 through Oct. 31, 2011. Work will be performed at L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss. OC-ALC/GKSKH, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/23/11)
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – Vision Airlines plans to announce new destinations Friday. In December the airline launched direct flights from Northwest Florida Regional Airport to Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Miami. On Friday it will expand service to 10 additional destinations, with five more to start the following week. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 03/23/11)
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., and Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., are being awarded a $20,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for integrated precision ordinance delivery system Phases II-IV; research and development. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and Tucson, Ariz. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. AFRL/RWK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/18/11)
Thursday, March 17, 2011
JDA LLC, Concord, Calif., is being awarded an $8,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for a data replay system. Work will be performed at Concord, Calif. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. AAC/PKO, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/17/11)
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $314,623.67 firm-fixed-price contract for contractor logistics support for the C-12 aircraft for Pacific Air Force, Air Force Material Command, Defense Intelligence Agency, and Defense Security Corporation Agency, consisting of maintenance, repair and support functions for seven months (including phase-in) from April 1 through Oct. 31, 2011. The location of performance is Madison, Miss. OC -ALC/GKSKH, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/17/11)
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $20,293,345 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery requirements contract to provide logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance of 14 T39N and six T-39G aircraft at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. In addition, this modification provides for aircraft intermediate maintenance services in support of Chief of Naval Air Training aircraft and transient aircraft at NAS Pensacola and NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Work will be performed in Pensacola (99 percent), and Corpus Christi (1 percent), and is expected to be completed September 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/16/11)
MOBILE, Ala. - Airbus Corporate Foundation announced a $50,000 initial grant to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, seeding a new advanced aerospace engineering program for students. Staff members at the Airbus Engineering Center in Mobile will work hands-on with students as mentors. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 03/16/11)
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
L-3 Communications Systems Field Support, Vertex Aerospace, LLC, Madison Miss., was awarded a $25,607,255 contract for aircraft maintenance and logistical life cycle support for 65 Navy C-12 aircraft at 21 global locations. Services include scheduled/unscheduled organizational maintenance; aircraft servicing; depot level maintenance; support equipment maintenance; modifications; and engineering support. Work is expected to be completed in September 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/15/11)
Seven of 10 F-35 test planes have been cleared to resume flights after a grounding was ordered. The grounding came after one plane experienced an in-flight failure of two electrical generators and an oil leak last week. The suspension was lifted on seven aircraft with older-model generators. The three using a newer version remained grounded. In another F-35 related matter, the Navy said it would buy 680 F-35s, half suited for aircraft carrier landings and half short-takeoff and vertical-landing versions for the Marines. (Source: Bloomberg via Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 03/14/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home of the F-35 training center.
BILOXI, Miss. - The Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team will perform in Mississippi at the Keesler Air Force Base air show Saturday and Sunday. It's the first Keesler show for the Blue Angles since 1978. The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team is also on the schedule along with several other demonstration teams and aerobatics performers. (Source: Sun Herald, 03/13/11) The Blue Angles returned home to Pensacola, Fla., Monday after spending the winter training in El Centro, Calif.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Kaman Precision Products Inc., Orlando, Fla., is being awarded a $23,834,070 firm-fixed-price contract modification which will provide the Air Force with 6,000 of the Joint Programmable Fuze (JPF) systems to meet munitions requirements. The JPF is a state-of-the-art fuze system used with precision weapons systems such as the JDAM, and equipped with variable delay settings that may be programmed manually or from the cockpit through its in-flight reprogrammability feature. AAC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 03/14/11)
The military has grounded fleet of 10 F-35s while Lockheed Martin looks into a dual generator failure and an oil leak that occurred during a flight last week at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The incident came just as military officials were reporting significant progress on the program after a major restructuring that slowed development to allow more flight testing before the plane goes into production. (Source: Reuters, Air Force Times, 03/12/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The story didn't have direct ties to the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor, but it was interesting in light of Mobile, Ala.'s recent loss of the Air Force aerial refueling tanker project. I'm talking about the $33 million KQ-X project, designed to show the ability of one unmanned aircraft to refuel another. Could it have implications for the Gulf Coast? (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, 03/12/11)
Friday, March 11, 2011
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver was in South Mississippi Thursday to reinforce the importance of NASA’s Stennis Space Center and to meet with employees there. She told the Sun Herald at an editorial board meeting that it’s a unique facility that should be fully utilized. She held up Stennis, where up to 30 percent of the costs are borne by other government agencies and companies, as an example of how capabilities can be share. (Source: Sun Herald, 03/10/11)
MOSS POINT, Miss. – The first Global Hawk fuselage that will be used for a Navy BAMS aircraft has been finished and will be shipped to Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., facility for finishing work. The center fuselage was finished a week ahead of schedule, officials said. The Navy plans to have more than 60 Broad Area Maritime Surveillance aircraft providing watch for the fleet. The Northrop Grumman Moss Point facility also does finishing work on the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. (Source: Sun Herald, WLOX, Mississippi Press, 03/10/11). Previous
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The Marine Corps' top general said he wants and early end to the two-year probation imposed on the Marine version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Gen. James Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that the Marines need the short-takeoff version to carry out the Marine mission. The Marine variant was put on probation because of technical issues. But Amos said he's encouraged by its progress. (Source: Reuters, 03/08/11) Meanwhile, the Navy version of the F-35 broke the sound barrier last week. The carrier variant flew out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., reaching Mach 1.02. The Navy's version is the last of the three variants to break the sound barrier. (Source: Defense News, 03/08/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the JSF training center.
Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans has been approved to schedule charter flights to and from Cuba. In addition to New Orleans, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the charter flights can now be scheduled as well from airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Dallas/Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Previously flights were only allowed from Los Angeles, Miami and New York. (Source: AP via New Orleans Times-Picayune, 03/08/11)
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne completed a series of Hardware Acceptance Reviews on the first RS-68A production rocket engine, validating the hydrogen-fueled engine is ready to power a heavy-lift vehicle into space. Engine 30003, the first of three RS-68A production engines to undergo a review, has been shipped to Decatur, Ala., for integration onto a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle. RS-68A production engines 30004 and 30005 will undergo hardware reviews in March and April 2011 after completion of hot-fire testing at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The three engines are scheduled to boost the Delta IV Heavy next year carrying a government payload into orbit. (Source: PRNewswire, 03/08/11)
The failure to devise a spaceflight plan for NASA after the shuttle fleet is retired raises the specter of more workforce cuts in the U.S. launch industry, according to the head of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Jim Maser estimates that NASA, the White House and Congress have "four to eight months" to choose a way forward. After that, he expects layoffs at PWR he begins to roll up unfunded rocket engine programs like the J-2X cryogenic upper-stage engine. Developed for the Ares I crew launch vehicle under the old Constellation program, the first full-up J-2X is set to begin testing at Stennis Space Center, Miss., next month. (Source: Aviation Week, 03/08/11)
Monday, March 7, 2011
A Navy plan to extend four runways at outlying fields in Baldwin County, Ala., is moving forward. Naval Air Station Whiting Field, in Milton, Fla., said the project's environmental assessment has been completed. The 1,000-foot runway extensions would cross land now occupied by 23 homes and 203 acres of other people's property in Foley and Summerdale. After a review by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Navy will begin talking to residents about land acquisition. The Navy is replacing T-34C training aircraft with the T-6A, which requires longer runways. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 03/07/11)
Friday, March 4, 2011
Europe's EADS said today that it won't file a protest with the Government Accountability Office over last week's decision by the Air Force to award the $35 billion aerial tanker project to rival Boeing. The move is likely to dismay EADS supports in the Gulf Coast region, where EADS planned to assemble the aircraft. The company had planned to build a $600 million aircraft assembly plant in Mobile, Ala. (Sources: Multiple, including New York Times, Bloomberg Business Week, 03/04/11)
Thursday, March 3, 2011
The Air Force and Boeing have signed the contract to develop a new fleet of aerial refueling tankers, while EADS continues to ponder whether to protest the award. The Air Force last week awarded the contract to Boeing to build the tankers, a decision that was a disappointment in Mobile, where EADS planned to build an assembly plant. EADS was briefed on the decision earlier this week and has 10 days to decide whether to protest. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 03/03/11) Reuters is reporting that EADS is poised to concede defeat and could announce as early as Friday that it will not protest the award. (Source: Reuters, 03/03/11)