Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Contract: Raytheon, $569M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $569,021,288 firm-fixed-price contract modification for 234 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Air Intercept Missile (AIM)-120D All-Up-Round (AUR) missiles; four AIM-120D air vehicles instrumented; eight integrated test vehicles; 101 AIM-120D Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); 203 AIM-120C7 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) AURs; warranty for 100 CATMs; warranty for 25 AIM-120C7 AURs (Bahrain); 103 non-developmental item-airborne instrumentation units; test equipment; Air Force AIM 120D guidance section; Personnel Reliability Program Phase IV; and FMS software and contractor logistics support. This contract supports foreign military sales (23 percent). AAC/EBAC, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/31/11)

Contract: InDyne, $192.8M

InDyne Inc., Reston, Va., is being awarded a $192,811,018 cost-plus-award-fee contract which exercises option two, fiscal 2012 and 2013, of Eglin Test and Training Complex Range operations and maintenance for test and training areas, and technical facilities, to include test and training mission support; engineering support for range system design, modification, configuration; and range support services to accomplish authorized range activities. AAC/PKET, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/31/11)

Contract: Boeing, $14.4M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $14,370,342 firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide a quantity of 602 Joint Direct Attack Munitions. Air Armament Center/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/31/11)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Contract: EADS, $43.8M

EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $43,811,456 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the modification of an existing contract to procure 32 security and support mission equipment package production cut-in. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2013. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/29/11)

Mk 38 Tactical Laser System concept tested

BAE Systems, Boeing, and the Navy recently conducted a successful test of the Mk 38 MOD 2 Tactical Laser System concept at Eglin Air Force Base in Eglin, Fla. The concept is a proposed high energy laser addition to the Mk 38 naval gun systems currently deployed on most surface combatants. The results of the field testing demonstrated a capability to identify and classify targets and provide rapid hand-off to the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated Experiments system for interdiction. The test system fired against air and surface maritime targets. Additionally, swarm tests were conducted to simulate an attack by a large number of fast, maneuvering small boats, intermingled with neutral boat traffic. These tests demonstrated a consistent ability to detect, track, classify and engage threat vessels at tactically relevant ranges. (Source: BAE Systems via Business Wire, 08/30/11)

Monday, August 29, 2011

NG to add to Fire Scout workforce

Northrop Grumman will add 100 workers in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., to enable the company to continue developing its Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle and a larger version called Fire-X. About 200 employees are already assigned to the program. The company also is negotiating with the Navy to add weapons to Fire Scout, says George Vardoulakis, Northrop's vice president of tactical unmanned systems. (Source: Signon San Diego, 08/28/11) Gulf Coast note: The Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., builds portions of the Fire Scout.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

LM, AF sign sensors deal

The Air Force and Lockheed Martin signed a five-year deal to further sensors technology. The cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Air Force Research Laboratory will assess the viability of Lockheed's cooled tri-mode seeker for integration onto Air Force weapon platforms. The seeker combines several sensors and a radar that run simultaneously and share information in flight. The work will be done with AFRL's Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., according to the Dayton Business Journal. AFRL, the U.S. Air Force's science and technology program, has a $2.2 billion annual budget and performs an additional $2 billion a year in customer funded research and development. (Source: Dayton Business Journal, Lockheed Martin, 08/26/11)

Friday, August 26, 2011

F-35 gets official rollout

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Air Force officially rolled out the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter during a ceremony Friday at the 58th Fighter Squadron Hanger. Hundreds of people attended the event, hosted by Gen. Edward Rice, Air Education and Training Command commander. Eglin is home of the F-35 training center, where pilots and maintainers from the Air Force, Navy, Marines and foreign nations will train with three variants of the fighter. Florida Sen. Don Gaetz said the F-35 will have a big impact on Northwest Florida. (Sources, multiple, including WEAR-TV, WALA-TV, 08/26/11) In a related matter, the production version of the F-35 has been cleared to fly, according to Lockheed Martin. The entire JSF fleet was grounded Aug. 2 after one jet suffered a malfunction of the integrated power package. A dozen instrumented test aircraft were OKd to fly Aug. 18, and now a half-dozen production jets, including two at Eglin, can take to the air. (Source: Air Force Times, 08/25/11)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NASA takes over plant

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The 1.6 million square-foot former Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant was formally turned over to NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center Wednesday, increasing NASA's total facility space at SSC by about a third. The Army plant hasn't made munitions since 1990 and was deactivated in 1992. About half the space is already occupied by a dozen employers, including Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the Government Printing Office, Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security's National Center for Critical Information Processing and Storage. The ceremony was held in the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engine assembly portion of the plant. Attending were NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who said the economic development potential is "tremendous for the Gulf Coast." (Source: Sun Herald, 08/24/11)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Airport planning for future growth

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, which opened in May 2010, hopes a $475,000 federal grant will help it plan for future expansion. The Transportation Department grant will be used to hire a company to develop short- and long-term forecasts for future passenger traffic. Last month the airport near Panama City marked the million-passenger milestone. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 08/22/11)

F-35 'roll out' scheduled

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Air Force will officially "roll out" the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter during a ceremony Friday, Aug. 26, at Eglin Air Force Base. The event will be hosted by Gen. Edward Rice, Air Education and Training Command commander. Other guest speakers include Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Program, and Col. Andrew Toth, 33rd Fighter Wing commander. Eglin is home of the F-35 training center. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 08/22/11)

Huge plant being turned over to NASA

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The former Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant will be formally turned over to NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center during a ceremony Aug. 24. Acquisition of the 1.6 million square-foot plant, which hasn't made munitions since 1990, will increase NASA's total facility space at SSC by about 33 percent. The Army plant, deactivated in 1992, today has a dozen employers, including Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, the Government Printing Office and the Department of Energy, and there's room for more operations. The ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. CDT. Participants include Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi and NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. (Source: NASA, 08/19/11)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feds to set up UAS test airspace

The Pentagon and the Federal Aviation Administration plan to carve out between four and 10 "bubbles" in civilian airspace to test unmanned aerial systems, said Steve Pennington, executive director of the Defense Policy Board on Federal Aviation. They'll provide DoD and the FAA space to show that unmanned systems can fly in heavily-traveled commercial airspace in all conditions. The sites will not be co-located with existing DoD sites that have been cleared to fly UAS in the United States, but the new airspace sites will likely butt up against those DoD-owned sites. DoD will begin preliminary site selection by the end of 2012, Pennington said. (Source: AOL, 08/18/11) Gulf Coast notes: South Mississippi has two locations cleared for unmanned flights, and unmanned systems are also tested at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Fire Scout with a bite coming soon

The MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter may soon head to sea with air-to-surface missiles. The Navy's drone helicopter, which recently finished its second deployment, will start carrying either Raytheon Griffin or BAE Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, two small missiles that would give an aircraft designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance some teeth. Capt. Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager, said at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference that Northrop Grumman is working to integrate a Griffin onto the UAV and will likely demonstrate the system later this month. (Source: Navy Times, 08/18/11) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

F-35 test fleet OKd to fly

The F-35 test fleet has been cleared for flight, but the Air Force's production aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are still grounded, the Pentagon said Thursday. An Air Force safety board is continuing its investigation of the failure of the AF-4's Integrated Power Package on Aug. 2, which led to the grounding of the fleet of 20 aircraft. Ground operations of the test fleet resumed Aug. 10. (Source: Air Force Times, 08/18/11)

Monday, August 15, 2011

AAC change of command set

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Maj. Gen. Kenneth A. Merchant will assume command of the Air Armament Center from Maj. Gen. C.R. Davis Friday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. Merchant's previous assignment was director at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., where he was director of Logistics, Headquarters, Air Mobility Command. Davis will assume command of the Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Sept. 1, the same day he's promoted to lieutenant general. In another Eglin event Friday, Col. David A. Harris, Vice Commander, Air Armament Center, will pin on the rank of brigadier general in a 10 a.m. ceremony at Eglin's Club. (Source: 96th Air Base Wing, 08/15/11)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ferguson: SSC future most secure

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Crew members from the final mission of space shuttle Atlantis visited NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center on Thursday to thank employees and their families for their part in the success of the mission. "Of all the NASA centers that are involved in human space flight, I think Stennis' future is probably the most clear at this point," said mission commander Chris Ferguson. Stennis tested all the space shuttle main engines, and continues to test rocket engines for commercial companies. "The space shuttle (main engines) that you've tested and operated here for probably at least 35 years was really one of the success stories," said pilot Doug Hurley. Hundreds crowded the auditorium of StenniSphere to hear Hurley, Ferguson and mission specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Waldheim share their appreciation and their experiences in space. (Source: Sun Herald, 08/11/11)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

FWB ranks 20th on geek cities list

The Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin metro area is ranked 20 on Forbes list of America's Geekiest Cities. That means it has a lot of people with degrees in science and engineering-related fields. Of the workforce in the Fort Walton Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area, 8.8 percent or some 7,200 workers are employed in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics field. Much of that is due to Eglin Air Force Base, which acts as a magnet for technology-oriented defense contractors. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 08/10/11)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aerospace summit scheduled

DESTIN, Fla. - The future of aerospace and aviation in the region and nation will be the focus of the Aerospace Alliance Summit being held Sept. 15-16 at Sandestin Golf and Beach and Resort in Florida. The summit is hosted by the Aerospace Alliance, a partnership of the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida’s Great Northwest. (Source: Aerospace Alliance, 08/10/11)

Tower work to resume

GULFPORT, Miss. - Construction will resume at the air traffic control tower at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on Monday, an airport official said Wednesday. Work on the $12 million project in Gulfport and at airports across the country was halted last month when Congress failed to provide funding for infrastructure projects. Congress has since approved a budget and the work can now proceed. (Source: Sun Herald, 08/10/11) Previous story

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vision Airlines shuffles cities it serves

Vision Airlines will discontinue service from Northwest Florida Regional Airport to selected destinations during the fall and winter. The reduced schedule will start Aug. 19, when the airline cuts service to Lafayette and Shreveport, La., Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn., and Asheville, N.C. Vision made the announcement as it released its fall and winter flight schedule Monday. The airline said it will continue to serve the Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Fla., area with flights from Atlanta, Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Orlando, and the St. Petersburg-Tampa-Clearwater area throughout the fall and winter. Service to Little Rock, Ark., will continue until Nov. 2. The company will add routes to its winter schedule. (Sources: Knoxville News Sentinel, Northwest Florida Daily News, PRNewswire, 08/08/11)

Rolls-Royce looks to expand test sites

Rolls-Royce Group is studying locations in the United States and Germany for new engine test sites, a newspaper reported Monday. The company told workers in Derby, England, where it employs 11,000, that it was considering sites outside of the United Kingdom, The Telegraph reported. Derby is the company's "center of excellence" for large engines. It builds and tests the Trent XWB, which will go in the new Airbus A350. That program will continue in Derby as it expands, but the company says it's looking at new locations to help fulfill orders worth about $98 billion. Rolls-Royce could open test sites either in the United States or Germany or both, the Telegraph reported. (Source: Indianapolis Business Journal, 08/08/11) Gulf Coast note: Rolls-Royce currently tests jet engines at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $535.3M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $535,315,000 advance acquisition contract to provide long lead parts and components required for the manufacture of 38 Low Rate Initial Production Lot VI F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft (19 Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) aircraft for the Air Force; 4 CTOLs for the government of Italy; 2 CTOLs for the government of Australia; 6 Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft for the Marine Corps; and 7 Carrier Variant (CV) aircraft for the Navy). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/08/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Atlantis crew to visit SSC

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Crew members of space shuttle Atlantis' final mission, STS-135, will visit NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, at 8:45 a.m. to thank employees for their part in a safe mission. Atlantis completed its final flight on July 21.The mission also marked the final flight of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Atlantis was launched on its maiden STS-51-J mission in October 1985. During its 26 years in service, the orbiter flew 33 missions and logged more than 131 million miles in space. Atlantis and sister crafts Discovery and Endeavour now are being prepared for permanent display at selected sites.(Source: NASA, 08/08/11)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hurlburt preferred site for Predator unit

Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the preferred alternative for the Air Force Reserve Command MQ-1 remote split-operations squadron, Air Force officials said. Hurlburt Field will get a single MQ-1 RSO squadron consisting of 140 personnel and associated equipment. This action does not involve remotely piloted aircraft, only ground control systems. The MQ-1 Predator's primary mission is to provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and precision-strike capability for joint force commanders. Predator flight operations are split between launch and recovery element aircrews overseas and mission-control element crews based in the United States. LRE crews launch and recover the aircraft within the area of responsibility. MCE crews operate the aircraft via satellite data links from locations within the States. Air Force officials said an environmental assessment will determine the final basing selection. The Air Force announced in May 2011 that the Eglin Complex in Florida was the candidate location for the Air Force Reserve Command MQ-1 remote split-operations squadron. The Eglin complex includes Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Camp Rudder and Choctaw Field. Site survey teams evaluated the bases at the candidate location for feasibility, timing, cost and planning purposes to meet initial operational capability requirements.(Source: AFNS, 08/5/11) Previous story

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Runway lights go out; flights diverted

Seven flights coming into Northwest Florida Regional Airport had to be diverted to other airports or canceled Wednesday night when the runway lights went out shortly after 8 p.m. and remained out overnight. Eglin Air Force Base officials, who maintain the runway, reported at about 11 a.m. that they had found the problem and would have it repaired by the time lights were needed for Thursday evening landings, Okaloosa County Airports Director Greg Donovan said. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 08/04/11)

F-35s grounded

Flight and ground operations for the Joint Strike Fighter were suspended after the secondary power system of F-35A AF-4, an Air Force variant test aircraft, failed on Aug. 2 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., during a ground maintenance engine run. The problem was in the F-35's integrated power package, an F-35-unique system that combines the functions of engine starter, emergency and auxiliary power unit, environmental control system and back-up generator. (Source: Aviation Week, 08/04/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center. Two production units have already been delivered to the base.

Frigate returns with drones

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - USS Halyburton, its two Fire Scout unmanned helicopters and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron returned to Naval Station Mayport Wednesday after a seven-month deployment. The ship conducted numerous counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in support of Operation Unified Protector, employing the MQ-8B Fire Scouts. MQ-8B operators set records for maximum altitude, range and endurance, with 438 hours flown by Fire Scout. One of the drones was lost over Libya in June and later replaced. The Libyan government has claimed its forces downed the remotely operated vehicle, but neither the Navy nor NATO will say what caused the MQ-8B Fire Scout to go down. (Sources: NNS, Florida Times-Union, 08/03/11) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Museum gets Marine One helicopter

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A helicopter that served as Marine One is the newest display at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The green and white Sikorsky VH-3A Sea King was one of several similar models used by the White House beginning in 1962 to transport the president. It was acquired two years ago and went through months of restoration, and is now on display in Hangar Bay One. The museum plans a dedication ceremony in the near future. (Sources: WEAR-TV, Pensacola News Journal, 08/03/11)