Thursday, February 28, 2013

Airbus meets with suppliers

MOBILE, Ala. -- Airbus met with potential suppliers during a gathering to Wednesday in the city where the company will build a $600 million A320 assembly line. David Williams, vice president of procurement for Airbus Americas, told a crowd of nearly 1,000 gathered for the supplier briefing that the Mobile facility will help the company further execute its globalization strategy by bringing production directly to one of its strongest markets. "We want to be a global player," Williams said, noting suppliers will play a key role in meeting that goal. Williams said the procurement process for the Mobile facility is "moving along quickly, as it should be," but a strict protocol must be followed to be considered. Interested suppliers should visit the Airbus Alabama website, send a “request for information” where prompted and any company that takes those steps is included in a broad database. (Source link, 02/27/13)

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $333.8M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $333,786,000 fixed-price-incentive, advance acquisition contract to provide long lead-time parts, materials and components required for the delivery for the 35 Low Rate Initial Production lot VIII F-35 aircraft: 19 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft for the U.S. Air Force; six short takeoff vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps; four Carrier Variant aircraft for the U.S. Navy; four STOVL for the United Kingdom; and two CTOL aircraft for the Government of Norway. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $333,786,000 are being obligated on this award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force (46 percent); the U. S. Marine Corps (26 percent); and the U.S. Navy (8 percent); the United Kingdom (14 percent); and Norway (6 percent). This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to the FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting authority. (Source: DoD, 02/28/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AF Global Hawk wins award

The U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft program was recently awarded the 2012 Dr. James G. Roche Sustainment Excellence Award for the most improved performance in aircraft maintenance and logistics readiness. Capable of flying for more than 30 hours at an altitude over 60,000 feet, Global Hawk provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and communications relay capabilities. It's accumulating more than 88,000 total flight hours, 80 percent in combat. A total of 37 Global Hawks have been delivered to the Air Force, with additional aircraft scheduled for delivery this year. (Source: PRNewswire, 02/25/13) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. Previous

Monday, February 25, 2013

Orbital tests rocket at new pad

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- NASA commercial partner Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., successfully conducted an engine test of its Antares rocket Friday at the nation's newest launch pad. The company fired dual AJ26 rocket engines for the full duration 29 seconds while the rocket was bolted down on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Known as a "hot fire" test, it demonstrated the readiness of the rocket's first stage and launch pad fueling systems to support upcoming test flights. (Source: NASA, 02/22/13) Gulf Coast note: Orbital partner Aerojet tests AJ26 engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous

White House details cuts in states

The White House on Sunday released state-by-state reports on the impact it says the sequester will have if Congress fails to avert it by Friday. The impact on military readiness in the four states with a piece of the I-10 aerospace corridor: 74,000 civilian Defense Department employees would be furloughed in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, reducing gross pay by around $445.9 million in the four states. The total cut in funding for the military operations in all four states is $336.8 million. (Sources: Multiple. Details for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, 02/24/13)

Friday, February 22, 2013

New military assignments

The chief of staff, Air Force announced several assignments of interest to the Gulf Coast region. Maj. Gen. Norman J. Brozenick Jr., commander, Special Operations Command - Pacific, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, is being assigned to vice commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Brig. Gen. Marshall B. Webb, selected for the rank of major general, director, plans, programs, requirements, and assessments at headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, is being assigned to commander, Special Operations Command - Europe/director, Special Operations, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany; Col. Albert M. Elton II, selected for the rank of brigadier general, commander, 27th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., is being assigned as director, plans, programs, requirements, and assessments, headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field. (Source: DoD, 02/22/13)

Crack cancels F-35s flights

A routine engine inspection revealed a crack on an engine blade of the F135 engine installed in F-35A aircraft AF-2 operating at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Engineering teams are shipping the engine's turbine module and its associated hardware to Pratt & Whitney's Engine Facility in Middletown, Conn., to conduct more thorough evaluation and root cause analysis. As a precaution, all F-35 flight operations have been suspended until the investigation is complete. The F-35 Joint Program Office is working closely with Pratt & Whitney and Lockheed Martin at all F-35 locations to ensure the integrity of the engine, and to return the fleet safely to flight as soon as possible. (Source: DoD, 02/22/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center and currently has 22 F-35s. Previous: F-35C takes flightContract for F-35 engine

Space travel revolution?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Gov. Robert Bentley was in Huntsville Friday to unveil a "fusion power generator" developed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville that could revolutionize space travel. The ceremony at Redstone Arsenal was to announce the $300,000 grant from the Alabama Innovation Fund and to unveil the device, called Charger 1. Officials say the device will be instrumental in advancing propulsion technology and maintaining Alabama's status as one of the leading states in the nation in aerospace and propulsion research. (Source: link, 02/22/13) Gulf Coast note: NASA and commercial companies test propulsion systems at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous

New round of tests begin

J-2X test Feb. 15. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA conducted the first in a new round of tests on the J-2X rocket engine Feb. 15 at Stennis Space Center. The 35-second test continued progress in development of the engine that will power the upper-stage of NASA's new Space Launch System. The new round of tests on J-2X engine number 10002 on the A-2 Test Stand will provide performance data. Once the series is completed, the engine will be transferred to the A-1 Test Stand at SSC to undergo a series of gimbal (or pivot) tests for the first time. The J-2X engine is the first human-rated liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen engine developed in the United States in decades. It is being designed and built by NASA and partner Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif. (Source: NASA, Space Travel, 02/21/13) Previous

NASA creates new directorate

WASHINGTON – NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced creation of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, which will be a catalyst for the creation of technologies and innovation needed to maintain NASA leadership in space while also benefiting America's economy. The directorate will develop the cross-cutting, pioneering new technologies needed for NASA's current and future missions, many of which also benefit America's aerospace industries, other government agencies. NASA will focus leadership responsibility for the existing Space Technology Program in the mission directorate, improving communication, management and accountability of critical technology investment activities across the agency. Associate Administrator Michael Gazarik will head the organization. The Space Technology Mission Directorate will employ a portfolio approach, spanning a range of discipline areas and technology readiness levels. Research and technology development will take place within NASA centers, in academia, and industry, and leverage collaboration with other government and international partners. (Source: NASA, 02/21/13) Gulf Coast note: NASA's Stennis Space Center is in South Mississippi and its manufacturing center, Michoud Assembly Facility, is in east New Orleans.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Launch abort motor delivered

ATK delivered a launch abort motor to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., for Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) of NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, set to fly next year. The test flight abort motor is configured with inert propellant since EFT-1 will have no crew. The abort motor is part of Orion's Launch Abort System (LAS), designed to pull the Orion crew module away from the launch vehicle in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during the initial ascent. Having an inert abort motor in the LAS stack for EFT-1 helps NASA achieve its goals simulating the same weight, structure and aerodynamics of the live motor configuration. The launch abort motor is more than 17 feet tall, measures three feet in diameter, and includes a revolutionary turn-flow rocket manifold technology. ATK is on contract to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor building the Orion spacecraft. (Source: PRNewswire, 02/21/13) Gulf Coast note: Orion was built in part at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Bolden to tour rapid prototyping

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will see some of the cutting-edge techniques being used to create parts for the engines of the Space Launch System during a visit Friday to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. SLS is a heavy-launch rocket, the most powerful ever built. Bolden will tour the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing Rapid Prototyping Facility for a look at the equipment used in selective laser melting, similar to 3-D printing. Laser melting is enabling the production of complex, strong metal parts without welding, while reducing manufacturing time and costs. (Source: NASA, 02/21/13) Gulf Coast note: NASA's National Center for Advanced Manufacturing is at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Small propulsion systems needed

NASA's Space Technology Program is seeking proposals to develop miniaturized electrospray propulsion technologies that could revolutionize small satellite propulsion systems. Electrospray thrusters use electricity to energize material and then disperse a resulting liquid or aerosol through an emitter to create thrust. The development of low-mass, lightweight micro thruster technologies has the potential to radically change propulsion capabilities of small satellites. Such micro thrusters also might be of use for very fine pointing aboard future large space-based observatories. "Small spacecraft are a dominant trend in aerospace today," said NASA's Space Technology Program Director Michael Gazarik . U.S. organizations, including NASA centers and other government agencies; federally funded research and development centers; educational institutions; industry and nonprofit organizations can submit ideas. This solicitation is an appendix to NASA's Game Changing Opportunities in Technology Development research announcement and can be found through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System website by going to "Solicitation" and then "Open Solicitations" at: (Source: PRNewswire, 02/20/13) Gulf Coast note: The region is involved in propulsion technology. NASA tests large rocket engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss. It's also where Rolls-Royce tests jet engines; GE Aviation is building an engines parts plant near Hattiesburg, Miss.; FSU's Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion is in Tallahassee, Fla.

Contract: Lockheed, $284.4M

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $284,439,355 fixed-price incentive firm target contract for advanced procurement for the Space-Based Infrared Systems GEO 5-6 program. The location of performance is Sunnyvale, Calif. Work is expected to be completed by June 19, 2016. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2011 and 2012. The contracting activity is SMC/IS, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. (Source: DoD, 02/20/13) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin's facility at Stennis Space Center, Miss., works on the SBIR propulsion subsystem. Previous

Airline pays money it owed

Less than 24 hours after it was charged with grand theft, Nevada-based Vision Airlines paid the $117,659.98 it owed Okaloosa County, Fla. The carrier sent a check to Northwest Florida Regional Airport early Tuesday, county Airports Director Greg Donovan said. State Attorney Bill Eddins said he was pleased to hear that Vision had paid the county. "It is certainly a mitigating factor in the criminal case," he said. "But it's premature for me to indicate where this leaves us." Vision Airlines owed the county a portion of the passenger facility charges it collected while operating at Northwest Florida Regional from December 2010 to July 2012. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/19/13)

Block 40 Global Hawk in trouble?

In early talks on the forthcoming fiscal 2014 budget request, the Air Force proposes closing the book on Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk franchise, according to Aviation Week. The Block 40 aircraft is being proposed for termination in favor of higher-priority programs. Northrop Grumman has delivered eight of 11 Block 40s on order. Sixteen Block 30s of 30 planned have been delivered. Early work on the next of each block is under way at the company's Moss Point, Miss., facility, and both are slated for delivery in 2014. NATO's work on the Global Hawk-based Alliance Ground Surveillance program continues as does the Navy's program to outfit a Global Hawk for maritime surveillance. (Source: Aviation Week, 02/19/13) In another Global Hawk matter, a Global Hawk support unit at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., will be deactivated Sept. 29 due to Pentagon budget cutbacks, according to reports. There are 80 full-time and 115 traditional Air Force reservists serving in the affected 13th Reconnaissance Squadron. (Source: News10, 02/19/13)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

F-35C production model takes flight

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The first Lockheed Martin production model F-35C carrier variant, CF-6, flew its first sortie Thursday. Upon delivery later this year, the jet will be assigned to Navy Fighter Attack Squadron 101 (VFA-101) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The unit will serve as the Fleet Replacement Squadron, training Navy F-35C pilots and maintainers. At Eglin, CF-6 will join a fleet of nine F-35A conventional takeoff and landing jets and 13 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing jets already on station. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 02/15/13)

Aerospace training facility planned

MOBILE, Ala. -- Officials with Mobile County schools unveiled plans on Monday for the new Aerospace Training Facility to be built at B.C. Rain High School. The 15,500-square-foot building, which will cost $1.9 million, will be able to accommodate a variety of training programs. The Aerospace Training Facility is part of the school system’s signature academies initiative. Davidson High has an engineering academy, while Murphy High offers programs in international studies and culinary arts. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 02/18/13)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Airport traffic up

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Passenger traffic at Pensacola International Airport increased by more than four percent in January, officials said. Airport marketing spokeswoman Belinda Zephir said a total of 101,647 passengers passed through the city-owned facility last month, an increase of 4,098. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 02/18/13)

Grants will help bases

The state is sending funds to Escambia, Santa Rosa and Bay counties to help support the military. The Florida Defense Support Task Force is providing $500,000 to the Bay Defense Alliance in Panama City to acquire land to buffer Naval Support Activity Panama City from encroachment. It's also providing $250,000 the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce to help outfit a Corry Station lab for cyber security analysis. The Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze will receive $225,000 to help Wounded Warriors recuperate, and Santa Rosa County is getting $160,000 to build a fence separating Naval Air Station Whiting Field from the developing Whiting Aviation Park. Another $1.5 million in fiscal 2013 funding was awarded to six other projects in Orlando, Highlands County and Jacksonville. (Sources: WEAR-TV, WMBB, Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/18/13)

Airport reopens after overhaul

DESTIN, Fla. -- Destin's refurbished runway opened Friday morning, and within minutes planes were touching down. Crews from C.W. Roberts and RS&H spent the past month resurfacing the 5,000-foot-long, 100-foot-wide runway. The airport had been closed to fixed-wing air traffic since Feb. 4 during the runway's first major overhaul since it opened in 1963. The airport sees about 60,000 flights a year. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News and Destin Log, 02/17/13)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Search on for UAV test sites

WASHINGTON -- The federal government Thursday began to solicit proposals for six test sites where unmanned aircraft will be put through tests in preparation for their eventual integration into U.S. airspace. The six locations, which have generated interest from more than 30 states, will become the primary testing grounds for unmanned aerial systems, scheduled to enter U.S. airspace in September 2015. The sites also will be used to address safety concerns, such as what happens if a drone has an equipment failure or operator error, according to FAA officials. The FAA had given itself a Dec. 31, 2012, deadline to name the six sites but the effort was delayed. It's unclear when the six winners will be chosen. (Source: Washington Times, 02/14/13) Gulf Coast note: The region is involved in building and using UAVs. Fire Scouts and Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; a UAV flight center opened at Camp Shelby, Miss., last spring; UAVs are used at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; Okaloosa County, Fla., is developing an indoor unmanned systems center; the region is also involved in non-aerial unmanned systems, notably underwater.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Contract: USRA, $24.9M

Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Md., is being awarded a $24,900,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Air Force Research Lab Scholars Program. The location of performance is Kirtland Air Force Base N.M., Sunspot, N.M., and Maui, Hawaii. Work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2018. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funds. This agreement is optional use and allows for decentralized ordering by other AFRL Technical Directorates located in Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, Eglin AFB, Fla., and Rome, N.Y. The contracting activity is AFRL Phillips Research Site. (Source: DoD, 02/14/13)

Contract: Oasis Systems, $54.5M

Oasis Systems LLC, Lexington, Mass., is being awarded a $54,533,104 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification for technical and acquisition management support services. The location of the performance is Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2014. Type of appropriation is multiple funding at the task order level. The contracting activity is AFTC/PZZ, Eglin AFB. Fla. Contract involves Foreign Military Sales. (Source: DoD, 02/14/13)

Contract: COLSA, $54.5M

COLSA Corp., Huntville, Ala., is being awarded a $54,533,104 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification for technical and acquisition management support services. The location of performance is Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2014. Type of appropriation is multiple funding at the task order level. The contracting activity is AFTC/PZZ, Eglin AFB. Fla. Contract involves Foreign Military Sales. (Source: DoD, 02/14/13)

Contract: UT, $65M

United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $64,999,589 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract for the Joint Strike Fighter F135 Propulsion System Low Rate Initial Production Lot VI recurring sustainment, operations, and maintenance efforts. Efforts include labor and materials required to maintain and repair F135 propulsion systems; sustainment labor consisting of fleet and material management, sustaining engineering, and joint services technical data updates; and material required to support fielded propulsion systems and support equipment after unit and depot activations at production, training, and operational locations. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Conn. (54 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (31 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (15 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2013. Fiscal 2012 and 2013 contract funds in the amount of $55,348,405 are being obligated on this award, $11,772,218 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Marine Corps (69 percent); the U.S. Air Force (26 percent); and the U.S. Navy (5 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/14/13) Previous Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Hawkeye squadron disbanding

NEW ORLEANS -- Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 77, VAW-77, will be ceremonially disbanded next month, the Navy confirmed Wednesday. Its six E-2C Hawkeyes and many of its personnel already have been redistributed elsewhere in the fleet. Its aircrews made their last flights out of the Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse late last month. The Navy Reserve aviation squadron is credited with saving more than 1,840 New Orleans-area residents during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hawkeyes follow the path of Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and Navy P-2 Orion airplanes, all of which had been based in Belle Chasse until recent years. The squadron’s disestablishment ceremony is March 9 at the air station. (Source: New Orleans Times Picayune, 02/13/13)

Airlines announce merger

American Airlines and US Airways are merging, paving the way for the creation of the nation's largest airline. The deal, formally announced Thursday morning, is valued at $11 billion. Under the terms, US Airways shareholders would own 28 percent of the combined airline, while American Airlines shareholders, creditors, labor unions and employees would own 72 percent. The larger company will operated under the American Airlines name, with headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. (Source: Multiple, including New York Times, Los Angeles Times, 02/14/13) Gulf Coast note: Both airlines serve New Orleans, Gulfport, Miss., Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola and Valparaiso/Eglin in Florida.

Spinoff 2012 available

NASA for years has pointed out how space technology has made its way into commercial products. The latest issue of Spinoff 2012 illustrates more of the same. It includes details about a plant that texts a farmer to say it needs more water; an invisible coating that scrubs pollutants from the air; a robot that roams a hospital's halls, aiding doctors and nurses by recording vital signs. (Source: PRNewswire, 02/13/13) Spinoff publication. Gulf Coast note: NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., was involved in developing the air-cleaning coatings.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

F-35B restrictions lifted

Flight restrictions have been lifted on the F-35B, the Marine Corps version of the stealth fighter, clearing the way for testing and training flights to resume. Col. Kevin Killea, who oversees aviation requirements for the Marine Corps, said the Navy and F-35 program office had more work to do to resolve the manufacturing issues blamed for the grounding. All 25 F-35Bs were grounded Jan. 18 after a fuel line detached just before a training flight at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on Jan. 16. The Pentagon later said the issue stemmed from a manufacturing defect, not maintenance or design issues. (Source: Reuters, Defense News, 02/13/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base is home of the F-35 training center.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Orion shows failed chute capability

NASA engineers demonstrated the Orion spacecraft can land safely if one of its three main parachutes fails to inflate during deployment. The test was conducted Tuesday in Yuma, Ariz., with the parachutes attached to a test article. Engineers rigged the parachutes so only two would inflate, leaving the third to flag behind, when the test capsule was dropped from a plane at 25,000 feet. The test was the eighth parachute engineering development drop test. The next is scheduled for May. The system also will be put to the test in 2014 when Orion, the crew capsule for the Space Launch System, makes its first flight test. During the mission, an uncrewed capsule will travel 3,600 miles from Earth. (Source: NASA, 02/12/13) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the Space Launch System program.

AFSOC preps for cuts

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Air Force Special Operations Command will be required to implement spending cuts that will have substantial impact on its mission if sequestration takes effect March 1. The command has undertaken several actions to save money such as implementing a temporary civilian hiring freeze, releasing non-mission critical term and temporary employees, canceling non-mission critical travel, limiting supply purchases, reducing service contracts and other actions. (Source: AFSOC Public Affairs, 02/12/13)

Tyndall hosts visitors

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- More than 30 community leaders last week attended a briefing about the future arrival of an additional F-22 Raptor squadron. The purpose of briefing community leaders was to keep them informed of the changes the base is currently undergoing, the projected changes in the year ahead, fiscal responsibility and environmental protection. The F-22s are coming from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 02/11/13) Two days before that, 19 members from Bay County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Bay received a tour of Tyndall and its units. They were briefed on an F-22 Raptor ground instructional training aircraft, toured the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, flight tower and radar approach control. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 02/12/13)

RR wins V-22 engine contract

Rolls-Royce has been awarded an $83.7 million contract for engines to power 19 V-22 aircraft operated by the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force. The contract, a modification of a prior agreement, includes a total of 38 Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines manufactured in Indianapolis, Ind. The contract was awarded through the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland. (Source: Business Wire, 02/12/13) Gulf Coast note: Air Force CV-22s operate out of Hurlburt Field, Fla.

NASA ready for new J-2X testing

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA's is getting ready for a new round of tests on the next-generation J-2X rocket engine that will help power the agency's Space Launch System to new destinations in the solar system. Beginning this month, engineers will conduct a series of tests on the second J-2X development engine, designated number 10002, on the A-2 Test Stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center. Once the series is completed, the engine will be transferred to the A-1 Test Stand to undergo a series of gimbal, or pivot, tests for the first time. NASA already has conducted successful tests on engine number 10001 and on the J-2X powerpack assembly. In total, 34 tests were conducted on the J-2X engine and powerpack, with the J-2X achieving a full flight-duration firing of 500 seconds in the eighth test, earlier than any rocket engine in U.S. history. (Source: NASA, 02/11/13) Previous

New warfare center welcomed

At a ceremony Monday, the Air Force dissolved the Special Operations Training Center at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and rolled its mission into the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center. The new center will combine training and education with weapons testing and evaluation, as well as preparing airmen to deploy for counter-insurgency operations. The Air Warfare Center will oversee the missions of all the units that fell under the former training center at Hurlburt, and add the 919th Air Reserves Special Operations Wing at Duke Field, Fla., and two Air Guard units in Mississippi and Alabama. Headquarters for the Air Warfare Center will be at Hurlburt Field, with operating locations at Duke Field and Robins Air Force Base, Ga. About 850 active-duty and 900 reserve airmen will fall under the center's command. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/11/13)

Monday, February 11, 2013

NASA awards engineering contract

NASA selected Jacobs Technology Inc. of Tullahoma, Tenn., for an engineering, technology and science contract at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The cost-plus-award-fee services contract has a potential value of $1.93 billion, including options. Companies that will support Jacobs on this contract include HX5 of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Aerodyne Industries of Oldsmar, Fla.; Hamilton Sundstrand of Windsor Locks, Conn.; and Barrios Technology, ERC Inc., GeoControl Systems Inc., Oceaneering Space Systems and MRI Technologies, all of Houston. (Source: NASA, 02/08/13)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Contract: L-3, $57.1M

L-3 Communications Corp., Madison, Miss., was awarded a $57,141,401 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the Life-Cycle Contractor Support maintenance for the Army's fleet of C-12, RC-12 and UC-35 fixed-wing aircraft. Work will be performed in Madison, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2014. The Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/08/13)

Contract: Multiple, $7.8M

B3H, Shalimar, Fla.; Decypher -PSI Government Solutions, San Antonio, Texas; Monterey Consultants, Dayton, Ohio; Sawdey Solutions Services, Beavercreek, Ohio; and ExecuTech Strategic Consulting, Woodbridge, Va., are being awarded a $7,813,187 firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for advisory and assistance services for all multiple skill sets and tasks in support of Air Mobility Command and tenant units. The primary location of the performance is Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Work is expected to be completed by June 30, 2016. The contracting activity is AMC/A7KQA, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (Source: DoD, 02/08/13)

728th ACS has final mission

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 62-year-old 728th Air Control Squadron completed its final mission late last month and will have its official deactivation ceremony May 17. Air Combat Command early last year was directed to reduce its number of U.S. based Control and Reporting Centers from three to two. The 728th was selected for deactivation because it was not collocated with operational aircraft and live, air-to-air opportunities were limited here, according to a statement by the Secretary of the Air Force when the closure was announced. For the final mission, the 728th ACS provided communications and data to a sortie with four F-35s from the 33rd Fighter Wing. (Source: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 02/07/13)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ATK completes SLS test

NASA and ATK completed the second in a series of development tests for NASA's Space Launch System booster program late last month at ATK's Promontory, Utah, facility. The avionics and controls test, Flight Control Test 2, included a hot fire of the fully integrated heritage thrust vector control, the new SLS booster avionics subsystem and new electronic support equipment. FCT-2 focused on replacement of heritage test equipment with new electronic support equipment. Much of the equipment replaced was designed and built during the mid- to late-1970s and was successfully used on all Space Shuttle reusable solid rocket motor (RSRM) and five segment RSRM static motor firings. (Source: ATK, 02/01/13) Gulf Coast note: SLS engines will be tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; the core stage of the SLS and the Orion launch vehicle are built at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans.

Fire Scout avionics gets shield

A protective cage to store and protect electronic components of the next-generation MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has been received by Northrop Grumman. Known as a Faraday cage and produced by Summit Aviation, a Greenwich AeroGroup company, it shields aircraft electronic systems from possible electromagnetic interference. A total of 28 new MQ-8Cs will be built using a Bell 407 airframe. It's a larger, more capable version of the Fire Scout MQ-8B that is now serving aboard Navy ships and in Afghanistan. Prior to installation on the MQ-8C airframe, integration and testing of the Faraday cages will be done at the Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss. (Sources: Northrop Grumman, 01/31/13; Military & Aerospace Electronics, 02/01/13; link, 02/04/13)

Pakistani officers visit EOD

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A delegation of four Pakistani military officers toured the Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal recently for a familiarization trip and visit with students from Pakistan. The delegation from the Pakistani army and air force toured several divisions and practical training areas to observe the basic EOD training received by students. Each year up to 125 students from 94 countries attend NAVSCOLEOD, which provides high-risk, specialized, basic and advanced EOD training to more than 2,100 U.S. and partner nation military and selected U.S. government personnel each year. (Source: Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, 02/06/13)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vice commander visits Tyndall

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- To familiarize himself with the newest member of Air Combat Command, Lt. Gen. William Rew, ACC vice commander, paid Tyndall a visit from Jan. 31 through Feb. 1. Among other things, he visited 325th Fighter Wing Headquarters and the First Air Force, which ensures the air sovereignty of the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This was the general's initial visit since the transition from Air Education and Training Command to ACC, which occurred on Oct. 1, 2012. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 02/05/13)

Engine deal finalized

Reuters reports that Pratt & Whitney finalized a contract with the Pentagon for 32 engines to power a fifth batch of F-35s, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. The agreement was reached after more than a year of negotiations. Pratt & Whitney agreeing to lower its price by about $20 million, said one of the sources. The Pentagon awarded PW a preliminary contract or "undefinitized contract action" valued at $1.12 billion for 30 engines in December 2011, and industry and military officials have been trying to work out the details since then. PW had an additional $9.5 million added to the preliminary contract in August 2012 for the two extra engines. (Source: Reuters, 02/04/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Blue Angels at risk?

The Blue Angels flight demonstration team could be impacted by sequestration, Navy officials said. Air shows scheduled between April 1 and Sept. 30 would be canceled if the proposed military spending cuts known as sequestration become reality. That would save the Navy $20 million by canceling the shows in its fiscal third and fourth quarters. Lt. Katie Kelley, the public information officer for the Blue Angels, said the team is aware of the possible budget cuts but is continuing to prepare for the 2013 air show season. The Blue Angels are based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (Sources: Pensacola News Journal, WEAR-TV, 02/04/13)

Ribbon-cutting held for tower

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday for the Keesler Medical Center’s new Back Bay Tower. The tower contains state-of-the art medical and surgical inpatient wards, intensive care and recovery/peri-anesthesia care units as well as a new emergency department, physical-occupational therapy-chiropractic clinic, two new operating rooms and two cardiac catheterization labs. Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Kory Cornum, 81st Medical Group commander, also announced that the Keesler Hospital has been officially re-designated "Keesler Medical Center." (Source: Keesler, 02/01/13)

Airbus awards contract

Airbus has selected Birmingham, Ala.'s Hoar Program Management (HPM) to manage design and construction of the $600 million aircraft assembly plant that will be built in Mobile, Ala. Construction of the plant, which will assemble A320 aircraft at Brookley Aeroplex and employ about 1,000 workers, is expected to begin this summer. The first aircraft will be delivered in 2016. HPM has offices in Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile, Ala.; Houston, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Tampa, Fla.; and Charlotte, N.C. (Sources: story, Airbus press release, 02/01/13)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

LM joins Dream Chaser team

Lockheed Martin has joined Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser team, officials said last week. Jim Crocker, vice president and general manager for civil space at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., said the Sierra Nevada partnership will leverage Lockheed Martin's expertise in human spaceflight and composite aerospace structures. Lockheed Martin will assemble the composite structure for the first space-bound Dream Chaser vehicle at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The company will use composites developed for the F-22 and F-35 fighter planes, Crocker said. Sierra Nevada is developing the Dream Chaser under NASA's commercial crew program, vying to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. (Source: Spaceflight Now, 01/31/13)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hoewing retiring from foundation

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Gerald Hoewing, a retired Navy vice admiral, said Thursday that he plans to step down as president and chief executive of the foundation that manages and provides financial support for the National Museum of Naval Aviation. The foundation also supports the National Flight Academy at Naval Air Station Pensacola, adjacent to the museum. Hoewing, 63, will step down in May. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 01/31/13)

Lockheed F-35 chief retiring

The head of Lockheed Martin's F-35 program plans to retire, ending a decade-plus run in charge of the program. Tom Burbage will step down from his role at the end of March, Lockheed spokeswoman Laura Siebert confirmed to Defense News. The news was initially reported by Aviation Week. Nothing has been announced on Burbage's replacement. (Source: Defense News, Aviation Week, 01/31/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.