Friday, November 29, 2013

Mayor going to Germany

MOBILE, Ala. – The new mayor of Mobile is going to Germany next week to meet with potential suppliers and Airbus representatives. Sandy Stimpson will join local and state business leaders at the Aviation Forum 2013 in Hamburg, where he will be one of the speakers to an audience of global aerospace experts and company executives. Also going are representatives from the Mobile County Commission, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Airport Authority, Alabama State Docks, Alabama Power Co., and the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. Also, a delegation of state officials will be led by Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield. (Source:, Made in Alabama, 11/29/13) Previous (2012)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Workers protest EADS restructuring

More than 20,000 EADS workers at 30 locations took to the streets in Germany on Thursday to protest restructuring plans they fear could cost thousands of jobs. Protests sites included the company's Airbus plant near Hamburg and the Eurofighter plant in Manching. EADS is planning to combine its defense and space subsidiaries next year and might sell some operations. It has 140,000 workers worldwide, including 50,000 in Germany. EADS wants to streamline the collection of German, French and Spanish businesses that created it in 2000. The reorganization follows the company's decision this year to scrap a decades-old Franco-German ownership pact to reduce government interference and give management more freedom to reshape the group. (Source: Reuters, 11/28/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala. Previous

Re-up bonus ends in 45 fields

The Air Force is eliminating the selective reenlistment bonus (SRB) for 45 career fields, officials said Tuesday. Airmen in fields with canceled bonuses have until Dec. 4 to reenlist and still receive the bonuses typically used to encourage retention. Ten career fields still in high demand with low manning, such as battlefield airmen and cyberspace specialties, remain on the SRB list. The changes are being blamed on sequestration and the push for a smaller Air Force. (Sources: Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs, 11/26/13, Pensacola News Journal, 11/27/13) Gulf Coast note: Tyndall AFB, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field and Keesler Air Force Base are all in the Gulf Coast region.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MRC gets $10M SSC contract

The Mississippi Research Consortium was awarded a $10 million contract to provide engineering and scientific research to NASA, other government agencies and various tenants at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Areas of work include rocket propulsion testing research and development, project formulation, new business development, remote sensing applications, ecosystem integration and analysis, coastal community resiliency and sustainable development, water quality, climate change and variability effects on regional ecosystems, acoustics, image analysis, geographic information systems, computational fluid dynamics, polymers/ceramics, electron microscopy, micro-electromechanical systems, magneto hydrodynamics, diagnostics instrumentation, and other associated scientific, computational and engineering areas. The consortium is a collaboration of Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi and University of Mississippi. The period of performance shall be a one-year base period with four one-year options through Nov. 30, 2018. (Source: FBO, 11/27/13)

Contract: Northrop, $13.9M

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Aerospace Systems, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $13,857,607 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for logistics services in support of the MQ-8B/C Fire Scout unmanned air vehicle. This work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., and Pt. Mugu, Calif., and is expected to be completed in November 2014. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10U.S.C. 2304 (c) (1). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, is the contracting activity (N00019-14-C-0012). (Source: DoD, 11/27/13) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Spring to add 30 A320s

Spring Airlines Co., China's biggest non state-controlled carrier, agreed to buy 30 additional A320 jets and may buy more as government policy shifts to favor discount airlines. The Shanghai-based airline signed an agreement on Nov. 22 for the A320 single-aisle jets pending government approvals. The purchase has a list price of about $2.75 billion. (Source: Bloomberg, 11/26/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

South Korea eyes 40 F-35s

South Korea's plan to buy 40 Lockheed Martin F-35s will save the U.S. military about $2 billion by driving down the per-plane cost. The decision will also help offset any move by the U.S. military to deal with mandatory budget cuts by postponing orders for up to 54 jets over the next five years. Seoul's decision must still be approved by a committee chaired by its defense minister. One analyst said Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand might follow suit and order F-35s. (Source: Reuters, 11/26/13) South Korea also plans to buy four Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned systems. Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center; Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. Previous: Things looking up for F-35; F-35 courts foreign customers

AJ26 tested on E1

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- An Aerojet AJ26 engine had a successful hot fire test at Stennis Space Center Nov. 21. The test on the E1 test stand lasted the full duration 54 seconds, officials said. The AJ26 provides the power for the first stage of 133-foot tall Antares launch vehicle, built by Orbital Sciences Corp. In October, the Antares launched Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft on a successful mission to the International Space Station. In another test earlier this month, J-2X engine E10003 had a successful 50-second test on the A-2 test stand at SSC. (Source: GCAC, 11/26/13)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Another MQ-8C delivered

Northrop Grumman has delivered the second MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter to the U.S. Navy after completing final assembly at the company's unmanned systems center in Moss Point, Miss. The aircraft is joining the first one delivered to Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., to conduct flight testing before using the system for operational missions in 2014. "Since 2006 we have conducted final assembly of the earlier MQ-8B Fire Scout aircraft from our Moss Point facility, so we have a lot of manufacturing experience there," said George Vardoulakis, vice president for medium range tactical systems, Northrop Grumman. "With the MQ-8C variant being assembled there as well, we can use the same expertise and quality processes already developed." The MQ-8C Fire Scout, based on a Bell 407 airframe, can fly twice as long and carry three times more payloads than the existing variant. (Source: Northrop Grumman via PRNewswire, 11/25/13) Previous

Last Phantom back in service

QF-4 lands at Tyndall last week. AF photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 82nd Aerial Target Squadron received the last of the "new" QF-4 aerial targets last week. The Vietnam-era Phantom, Aircraft 68-0599, spent more than 20 years in the Air Force "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. before being brought back to life for this new role. The supersonic, reusable QF-4 provides is a full-scale target for air-to-air weapons system evaluation, development and testing. It was converted to unmanned capability by BAE Systems. Since the QF-4 replaced the QF-106 in 1998, more than 300 idle planes have been converted.  Ultimately, 250 of the Phantoms succeeded in their missions and been successively destroyed over the Gulf of Mexico and the ranges near Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The QF-4s will eventually be replaced by QF-16s. The 82nd ATRS is part of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, which falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 11/22/13) Previous: QF-16 makes unmanned flight; Tyndall target drone crashes; Drone destroyed after malfunction;

RR gets contract for lift system

Rolls-Royce was awarded a $215 million contract to produce and support LiftSystems for the F-35B, the variant of the joint strike fighter that can take off and land vertically. The new agreement with Pratt and Whitney for the sixth production lot includes six LiftSystems, plus sustainment, program management, engineering and field support. Pratt and Whitney's F135 engine powers all three variants of the F35, but the STOVL version used by the Marine Corps also includes the lift system. Rolls-Royce has delivered 42 LiftSystems and has expanded field support to include five locations where F-35B aircraft are flown, including Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., center for F-35 training for all three variants of the F-35. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 11/25/13) Previous

Museum gets 4D simulator

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The National Naval Aviation Museum has a new motion simulator ride. It's the Blue Angels 4D simulator, with the 4D being the bucket seats that move. The simulator gives the rider a feeling of what it's like to fly with the Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornets. The ride opened Nov. 8, and while getting into the museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola is free, it costs $7 to go on the six-minute experience. Created by a California company, it cost more than $500,000 and used private donations and BP oil-spill-restoration grant money. It's the second flight simulator ride to open at the museum since July 2012. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/24/13)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kennedy's space legacy

President John F. Kennedy's commitment in the '60s to space exploration ended up turning parts of the rural South into science hotspots. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas all benefited when the federal government established NASA centers in Dixie with the task of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Areas like Huntsville, Ala., and Bay St. Louis, Miss., changed forever by being part of the “space crescent.” (Sources: Stateline, 11/20/13, Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2013-2014, Chapter III, June 2013)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oops. Wrong plane in ad

A group encouraging Washington state to keep up its fight to secure work on the new version of the Boeing 777 jetliner had an "oops" moment in an ad that appeared in Wednesday's edition of the Seattle Times. At the top of the full-page ad, under the all-caps text "The Future of Washington," is pictured not a Boeing jet, but rather an A320 built by rival Airbus. Washington state supporters are concerned that Boeing may place production of the plane in another state after a union rejected a contract with significant labor concessions. (Source: Reuters, 11/20/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala. Previous: Union rejects Boeing contract; 777X decision a blow to Seattle

Airport ponders growth plans

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- With passenger traffic projected to double in 20 years, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport officials examined growth concepts at a workshop Wednesday. Project manager Paul Puckli presented six concepts for terminal expansion that would remedy expected future deficiencies in concession space, public space, passenger screening areas and baggage areas. The concepts also map out two new terminal gates and reconfigure the seven existing gates to accommodate new airlines. Only four of the gates are currently utilized. The airport is in West Bay, northwest of Panama City. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 11/20/13)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Enterprise getting aviation jobs

ENTERPRISE, Ala. -- Enterprise will be getting 200 helicopter maintenance jobs in the next year-and a-half, thanks to a resolution approved by the city council Tuesday night for a new facility at the Enterprise Municipal Airport. Brightwater Aviation Lender LLC of Chicago, parent of Alabama Aircraft Support, was authorized a loan of $3.5 million from the city council for a $12 million project that would include a 60,000 square foot hangar. The city passed a bond issue in 2011 for $12 million, $7.5 million of which was allotted for economic development. The $3.5 million loan will come from that money. The company will refurbish helicopters. The airport is not far from Fort Rucker, home of Army helicopter training. (Source: Dothan Eagle, 11/20/13)

Airbus may increase A320 build rate

Airbus is considering an increasing in the production rate of its popular A320 single-aisle, medium-haul jetliner. That would take it beyond 42 planes per month, sales chief John Leahy told Reuters on Tuesday. But Leahy declined to say when a decision would be made. Boeing recently raised its production target for the competing 737 aircraft to 47 per month from a previous target of 42 per month. (Source: Reuters, 11/19/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. That plant at the Brookley Aeroplex is slated to assemble four aircraft per month, or 40 to 50 per year.

Crew program inches forward

WASHINGTON – NASA requested proposals from U.S. companies to complete development of crew transportation systems that meet NASA certification requirements. This phase of the Commercial Crew Program is the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap), designed to ensure a company's crew transportation system is safe, reliable and cost-effective. "NASA is committed to launching American astronauts from U.S. soil in the very near future, and we're taking a significant step toward achieving that goal today," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. The certification process will assess progress throughout the production and testing of one or more integrated space transportation systems, which include rockets, spacecraft and ground operations. Requirements under CCtCap also will include at least one crewed flight test to the space station before certification can be granted. NASA has not been able to launch astronauts in space from U.S. soil since the end of the Space Shuttle program. The crew program is part of the Space Launch System program. (Source: PRNewswire, 11/19/13) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, both are involved in NASA's SLS program, designed to take astronauts deeper in space than ever before.

NASA tests SLS autopilot

NASA completed the first tests with an F/A-18 research jet to evaluate the autonomous flight control system for the Space Launch System rocket. Called the Adaptive Augmenting Controller, the system will allow SLS to respond to vehicle and environmental variations such as winds or vehicle flexibility after it leaves the launch pad. It’s the first time a flight control system for a NASA rocket is being designed to adjust autonomously to unexpected conditions during actual flight rather than pre-flight predictions. Tests were Nov. 14-15 out of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. More than 40 tests were conducted using SLS-like trajectories. (Source: PRNewswire, 11/19/13) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, both are involved in NASA's SLS program, designed to take astronauts deeper in space than ever before.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PW: F-35 interest strong

Pratt and Whitney, which builds the F135 engine that powers the Lockheed Martin's F-35, said it's seeing strong interest in the radar-evading warplane, but it would likely be several years before exports to the Gulf region are approved. Carrol Chandler, a retired Air Force general who now serves as vice president of business development for PW, said the U.S. government would evaluate any requests from Gulf countries to buy the F-35, and then decide on a case-by-case basis. (Source: Reuters, 11/18/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Contract: Lockheed, $300M

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $300,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for development and production of multiple foreign military sales test vehicles and equipment, mission planning, mission operational flight program, test support, logistics support, sustainment, and non-recurring engineering. Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Troy, Ala., with an expected completion date of Nov. 19, 2018. This contract involves foreign military sales with Finland and Australia. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8682-13-D-0049). (Source: DoD, 11/19/13)

Monday, November 18, 2013

7th SFG soldier killed in action

A soldier from the 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., died when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device. He is the second soldier from the same unit to die within the past four days. The Department of Defense announced Monday that Staff Sgt. Alex A. Viola, 29, of Keller, Texas, died Nov. 17, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His unit was attacked while on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin. (Source: DoD, 11/18/13) Previous

New airline ops for Airbus

Newly launched Libyan Wings signed a memorandum of understanding to buy four A320neo jetliners and three A350-900s. The purchase was announced at the 2013 Dubai Airshow. Libyan Wings, based in Tripoli, will start operations for passenger charter and freight in 2014. The A320neo incorporates new more efficient engines and wing tip devices that together deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings. At the end of October 2013, firm orders for the NEO was 2,487 from 44 customers. (Source: Airbus, 11/18/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

GE-led engine venture gears up

CFM International, the General Electric engine venture with Safran SA, will increase output by more than 10 percent by 2019 to meet growing demand from Airbus, Boeing and China's Comac. Production, due to exceed 1,500 turbines this year, will hit 1,700 in six years, CFM Executive Vice President Chaker Chahrour said at the Dubai Air Show. CFM International is the exclusive engine provider for Boeing 737 and Comac C919 and competes for orders with the Pratt and Whitney-led International Aero Engines joint venture on the Airbus A320. Boeing announced plans to boost 737 output 24 percent to 47 jets per month by 2017, with Airbus considering a move beyond a build rate of 42 planes. (Source: Bloomberg, 11/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.; Safran has an operation in Mobile; GE Aviation has engine parts plants in Ellisville, Miss., Batesville, Miss., and Auburn, Ala. Previous: Mobile planes in Delta order; American picks up A319; Airbus to offer wider seats

Errant drone hits cruiser

Two sailors were treated for minor burns after the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville was struck by an errant BQM-74 target drone. The Northrop Grumman-built drone struck the left or port side of the ship Saturday while it was conducting tests of its radar system off the coast of Port Mugu in Southern California. The Ticonderoga class cruiser returned to its San Diego homeport on its own power Sunday. (Sources: multiple, including AP via CSMonitor, 11/18/13; Los Angeles Times, RT com, 11/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Chancellorsville (CG 62) was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.; Tyndall Air Force Base and Eglin AFB use BQM-74 drones for training over the Gulf of Mexico.

RR wins $5B engine order

Rolls-Royce won a $5 billion order from Etihad Airways for Trent XWB engines to power 50 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The national airline of the United Arab Emirates ordered 24 A350-900 Regional, 16 A350-900 and 10 A350-1000 aircraft. The order takes the total number of Etihad A350 aircraft on order to 62, all powered by the Trent XWB. The Trent XWB, specifically designed for the Airbus A350 XWB, powered the first test flight of the A350 XWB at Toulouse on 14 June this year. Etihad has also ordered Trent 700 engines to power one Airbus A330 freighter aircraft (Source: Rolls-Royce, 11/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Rolls-Royce tests XWB and other Trent series engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous: A350 XWB takes to the air; RR XWB takes to the skies; JAL orders 31 350 XWBs; New RR test stand opens

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Airbus, Boeing post sales

The battle for single-aisle dominance between Airbus and Boeing continued at the opening day of 2013 Dubai Airshow with both companies announcing sales. Etihad Airways, national airline of the United Arab Emirates, announced a firm order for 36 A320neo aircraft, 50 A350 XWBs and one A330-200F as part of its fleet modernization strategy. (Source: Airbus, 11/17/13) Boeing and flydubai announced a commitment for up to 100 737 MAX 8 airplanes and 11 next-generation 737-800s. The commitment from the airline of the emirate of Dubai is valued at $11.4 billion at list prices, the largest ever Boeing single-aisle airplane purchase in the Middle East. (Source: Boeing, 11/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Sales of A320 family aircraft are of interest to the Gulf Coast, where Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line. Both companies have operations in the region.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Missile motor hits milestone

Raytheon received the 1,000th AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile (AMRAAM) rocket motor from Nammo Group of Raufoss, Norway. The motor is scheduled to be installed in a production AIM-120C7 missile later this month. Following a lengthy qualification process in October 2012, Nammo was certified as an AMRAAM rocket motor supplier for Raytheon and has been delivering motors at the rate of about 90 motors per month. (Source: Raytheon via PRNewswire, 11/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is where aerial weapons systems are developed and tested. Previous

Science center to host launch events

STENNIS SPACE CENTER,  Miss. -- NASA's Infinity Science Center just outside Stennis Space Center is among five NASA centers that will host events and activities Nov. 18 for the public to view the launch of the agency's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft and learn about its mission. MAVEN is set to launch at 1:28 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. It will take measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet's history. For more information on the Infinity activities, call 228-533-9025, ext. 311. (Source: PRNewswire, 11/15/13)

IHMC scientist wins book award

PENSACOLA, Fla. – A scientist from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition has won an aerospace history literature award. Dr. William J. Clancey won the award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his book, "Working on Mars: Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers." The 2014 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award honors the best original contribution to the field of aeronautical or astronautical historical non-fiction literature. The book is being hailed as giving a new perspective on remote planetary exploration. science, technology and/or impact of aeronautics and astronautics on society. It details how scientists in the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) program conducted field science using mobile robotic laboratories, in the process conducting the first overland expeditions on another planet. Clancey will receive the award in January, in conjunction with the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition in National Harbor, Md. (Source: IHMC, Pensacola News Journal, 11/15/13)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Contract: Bell, $8.3M

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Hurst, Texas, is being awarded an $8,266,644 firm-fixed-price contract for the manufacturing and delivery of three Bell 407 analog helicopters in support of the endurance upgrade of the vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle MQ-8C Fire Scout. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; Mirabel, Canada; and Ozark, Ala., and is expected to be completed in June 2014. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-14-C-0022). (Source: DoD, 11/14/13) Gulf Coast note: Portions of the work on the larger Fire Scouts will eventually be done in Moss Point, Miss.

Contract: Raytheon, $18.8M

Raytheon Missile Systems Division, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded an $18,795,695 firm-fixed-price modification on an existing contract (FA8675-12-C-0001) for High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) Targeting System (HTS) contractor logistics support services. The contract modification provides for the final HTS CLS option to repair HTS pods beginning Dec. 1, 2013. Work will be performed at Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2014. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBAS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/15/13)

7th SFG soldier killed

A soldier from the 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., died after his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device. The Department of Defense announced Friday that Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez, 28, of Seguin, Texas, died Nov. 13 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His unit was attacked while on dismounted patrol in Panjwai, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin. (Source: DoD, 11/15/13)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lockheed consolidating sites

Lockheed Martin said Thursday that it will close and consolidate several of its U.S. facilities and reduce its workforce by 4,000 to cut costs in response to declines in U.S. government spending. Operations will be closed in Newtown, Pa.; Akron, Ohio; Goodyear, Ariz.; and Horizon City, Texas; and four buildings on the Sunnyvale, Calif., campus, also will be closed by mid-2015. The closures will eliminate 2,000 positions. Other initiatives will eliminate an additional 2,000 positions in the Information Systems and Global Solutions, Mission System and Training and Space Systems business areas by the end of 2014. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 11/14/13) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin has operations across the Gulf Coast, including Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans; Stennis Space Center, Miss.; and multiple offices of Lockheed Martin's Northwest Florida Operations, tied to the F-35, F-22 and other defense programs.

NASA has most satisfied workers

If you're a federal government worker, you're most satisfied if you work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. That's according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. In this year's survey, 376,577 federal employees provided their opinions on all aspects of their employment. There were twenty-nine items identified as strengths, and from 2012 to 2013, the highest increasing trend involved the commitment and respect of supervisors to their employees. But the 2013 responses demonstrate a significant drop in employee satisfaction and continue last year's declines across the majority of questions. (Source: GCAC, 11/14/13) Survey. Gulf Coast note: NASA has its rocket engine test facility at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous: NASA among best places to work; NASA best place to work

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Union rejects Boeing contract

SEATTLE -- Members of the Machinists union Wednesday voted 67 percent to reject a contract offer that would have assured the company builds the new 777X in Washington state. The proposed contract was for eight years and including benefit cuts, but members said they refused to be forced into a hasty decision under a management threat that they would lose future work. The vote leaves in limbo an incentive package with $8.7 billion in new tax breaks over 16 years. That was passed last weekend in a special session of the Legislature to comply with one of Boeing's conditions for the jet work. Boeing has said that if the International Association of Machinists rejected the contract, the company would seek other sites for the 777X project. Sources close to Boeing said this week its analysis of alternatives focused on Long Beach, Calif.; Salt Lake City; and Huntsville, Ala. Charleston, S.C., where Boeing has a 787 plant, has also been mentioned before. Looking for other locations for the 777 plant doesn't preclude further negotiation with the state and the union. (Source: Seattle Times, 11/13/13) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast region. Its rival, Airbus, is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. Background column 11/2/13

First A319 with ROPS delivered

Airbus has achieved Federal Aviation Administration certification of its Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) for the Airbus A320 family, allowing for Tuesday's delivery of the first A320 family member featuring ROPS – an A319 to American Airlines. American has elected to equip all of its A320 family fleet with Airbus' ROPS. This on-board cockpit technology increases pilots' situational awareness during landing, reduces exposure to runway excursion risk, and, if necessary, provides active protection. The European Aviation Safety Agency certified ROPS on the A320ceo family in August of this year. It was announced earlier this month that the Airbus team responsible for the design and implementation of ROPS has been nominated as a finalist for an Aviation Week Laureate Award, with the winner to be named in March 2014. (Source: Airbus, 11/12/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. It will build A319, A320 and A321 jetliners beginning in 2015. Previous: Airline ops for Airbus' ROPS; ROPS OK'd for A320ceo. Of note: Merger of interest to region

F-35 CNI team honored

The National Defense Industrial Association selected the F-35 communications, navigation and identification (CNI) team from Northrop Grumman for the 2013 Ferguson Systems Engineering Excellence Group Award. The award is given for outstanding achievement in the practical application of systems engineering principles. Northrop Grumman's integrated CNI system provides F-35 pilots with the capability of more than 27 avionics functions. The award, established in 2003, was presented last month at NDIA's 16th Annual Systems Engineering Conference in Arlington, Va. (Source: Northrop Grumman via PRNewswire, 11/13/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Commercial space success hailed

WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Wednesday hailed the success of the agency's public-private partnership with American companies to resupply the International Space Station, and announced the next phase of contracting with U.S. companies to transport astronauts is set to begin next week. The United States now has two space transportation systems capable of delivering science experiments and supplies from U.S. soil to the International Space Station. Commercial companies could begin ferrying NASA astronauts to ISS as soon as 2017. The Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program is now over. SpaceX and Orbital Sciences have successfully flown missions to ISS. Now the push is on for carrying astronauts. On Nov. 19, the agency will issue a final Request for Proposals for the new Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract. (Source: NASA via PRNewswire, 11/13/13) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in NASA and commercial space programs. Previous: SpaceX picks SSC for engine R&D; Crew abort test reviewed; Dream Chaser has landing snafu

Expedited screening expanded

A program to expedite screening of U.S. service members at domestic airports is being expanded to include the Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, beginning Dec. 20. The list of airports, which started with 10 when the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck was launched in October 2011, was expanded to 40 and is expanding again to 100. TSA Precheck allows service members to keep their footwear on as well as light outerwear, belts, laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry on in select screening lanes. More than 18 million passengers have experienced TSA Precheck since it launched. (Source: DoD, 11/13/13) Gulf Coast note: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Pensacola International Airport, Pensacola, Fla., are among the participating airports.

Merger of interest to region

The merger of American Airlines and US Airways is of high interest to the Gulf Coast region. With the exception of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport near Panama City, Fla., five other commercial airports along the Interstate 10 corridor have both American and US Airways. The airports are Northwest Florida Regional Airport, Valparaiso, Fla.; Pensacola International Airport, Pensacola, Fla.; Mobile Regional Airport, Mobile, Ala.; Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Gulfport, Miss.; and Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans. All five also have United and Delta. American and US Airways reached an antitrust settlement with the federal government to allow the $17 billion merger. The merged airline plans to use the American name. (Source: GCAC, 11/13/13) U.S. Department of Justice release

Airport parking lot OKd

Circling the road at Florida's Northwest Florida Regional Airport until your party leaves the terminal will be a thing of the past. Okaloosa County commissioners approved a new parking area where visitors can park while they wait. County Airports Director Sunil Harman said the lot, which will be free and have 40 spaces, will ease congestion and improve customer service. The lot will be adjacent to the existing credit card lot. Construction will begin after a 90-day design phase and should be completed by March 2014. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/12/13)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mississippi Raytheon expanding

FOREST, Miss. -- Raytheon plans to increase the size of its Forest manufacturing facility by more than 20,000 square feet and hire more than 150 new workers. That's according to an announcement today by Raytheon and state officials. The expansion is to support anticipated growth in airborne radar and electronic warfare markets. At 340,000 square feet, the plant already is one of the largest defense manufacturing plants in Mississippi. This year, the Forest plant ramped up its fighter jet radar production rates 10-fold. It also delivered more than 500 Active Electronically Scanned Array aircraft radars. In addition to fighter jet radars, the facility makes the Sentinel air defense radar, with 57 additional ones in production for the U.S. Army. (Source: Raytheon via PRNewswire, 11/11/13)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

X-47B tested on carrier Roosevelt

X-47B lands on Roosevelt. Navy photo
A third carrier has now conducted flight operations of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D). The tail-less robotic aircraft built by Northrop Grumman conducted flight operations aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Nov. 10. The aircraft performed touch-and-go maneuvers, flight deck handling drills, arrested landings and catapult launches. Carrier-based tests of the X-47B began in December 2012 with flight deck operations aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Carrier testing resumed in May 2013 aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), where the X-47B completed its first carrier-based catapult launch, followed by its first carrier-based arrested landing in July. (Source: NNS, 11/10/13) Gulf Coast note: Two other Northrop Grumman unmanned aerial systems, Fire Scout and Global Hawk, are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Friday, November 8, 2013

AF orders more Global Hawks

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a $114 million advance procurement contract in preparation to build three more RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems and associated sensors. The advance procurement of items associated with three Block 30 aircraft includes three enhanced integrated sensor suites, three airborne signals intelligence payload and two ASIP retrofit kits to be installed on previously purchased aircraft. Work under this contract is expected to be completed in 2015. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 11/08/13) Gulf Coast note: Central fuselage work on the Global Hawks is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Grant will help protect mission

NICEVILLE, Fla. -- The city was awarded a $25,000 grant to prevent future development from impeding missions at Eglin Air Force Base. The grant is from the Florida Defense Support Task Force. Niceville will use it to upgrade mapping software to track data on where the city should regulate development so as not to interfere with any base missions, especially regarding the F-35 fighter jets that fly over the city. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/07/13) Related

St. Joe sells most of land

WATERSOUND, Fla. – The St. Joe Co. announced an agreement Thursday to sell more than two-thirds of its Northwest Florida landholdings. Utah-based AgReserves Inc. will buy 382,834 acres of rural timberland for $565 million, leaving St. Joe with about 184,000 acres of land primarily between Tallahassee and Destin. The acreage being sold is in Bay, Calhoun, Frankly, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties. AgReserves intends to maintain timber and agricultural uses of the lands. (Sources: News Herald, St. Joe, 11/07/13) St. Joe, originally a paper company and second largest landowner in Florida, in recent years became a real estate developer. It donated land to establish Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport near Panama City. Previous: New Panama City airport set to open; Panama City airport gets Southwest

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Contract: CTC, $14.2M

CTC Enterprise Ventures Corp., Johnstown, Pa., is being awarded a $14,205,582 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract (N61331-12-C-0007) for the production of 10 carriage, stream, tow and recovery system kits in support of the MH-60S Airborne Mine Countermeasures program. Work will be done in Johnstown and is expected to be completed by October 2016. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/07/13)

Contract: Lockheed, $19.8M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $19,763,075 option exercise (P0050) to an existing cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (FA8611-08-C-2897) to retrofit fielded mission training centers with visual systems upgrade and night vision goggles capability. Effort includes upgrades for F-22 training systems at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Sheppard AFB, Texas, Langley AFB, Va.; Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Work will be performed at St. Louis, Mo., with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2016. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/07/12)

Pensacola gets cyber research grant

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Greater Pensacola Chamber was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Florida Defense Support Task Force to establish a research center for information dominance. "The Center of Excellence is the culmination of our on-going relationship and collaboration with our federal partners at Corry Station," said Craig Dalton, Vice President of Armed Services, Greater Pensacola Chamber. Statewide, the task force awarded more than $2 million in grant initiatives to local community organizations supporting Florida military installations, according to a Nov. 6 press release from Gov. Rick Scott's office. The grants are designed to protect Florida's military bases ahead of any potential realignment or closure actions. The bases have a $73 billion economic impact on Florida. Nearly 760,000 jobs in the state are due to the defense industry. (Source: GCAC, 11/07/13) Previous

FAA releases drone roadmap

The Federal Aviation Administration has developed a roadmap for allowing widespread use of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace, but it will take longer than Congress wants. The FAA said that for the next several years access of robotic aircraft will be limited to permits the FAA grants on a case-by-case basis to operators who agree to procedures to reduce safety risks. Congress last year directed the FAA to grant drones widespread access by September 2015. Six sites nationwide will be chosen by FAA as test sites for the integration process. (Sources: multiple, including FAA, Bloomberg, AP, 11/07/13) UAS Roadmap; UAS Comprehensive Plan. Gulf Coast note: The I-10 region is heavily involved in unmanned systems. Fire Scout and Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss., and the military uses drones in training, from hand-held types to full-scale target drones at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

States up R&D spending

A National Science Foundation study shows state government expenditures for research and development hit $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2011, up 11 percent from the previous year. Individual state government expenditures varied widely, with New York, Ohio, Florida, California and Pennsylvania accounting for 51 percent of all state government R&D. For states along the Gulf Coast, Florida spent $150.8 million, Texas spent $47.4 million, Alabama $19.7 million, Louisiana $9.2 million and Mississippi $7.4 million. (Source: GCAC, 11/07/13) Study

Blue Angels start new season

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron will perform a flyover of Naval Air Station Pensacola Saturday at 2 p.m., marking the end of the team’s truncated 2013 season and the beginning of the 2014 air show season. The 2013 season was canceled for the team, based at NAS Pensacola's Sherman Field, as a result of sequestration. (Source: GCAC, 11/07/13) Previous

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Contract: URS Group, $13M

URS Group Inc., Mobile, Ala. was awarded a $13,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract for architect-engineering services for the Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, to support the Air Force KC-46C aircraft beddown in the continental United States. Estimated completion date is Nov. 14, 2018. Work location and funding will be determined with each order. Bids were solicited via the internet with 57 received. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting agency (W91278-14-D-003). (Source: DoD, 11/05/13)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Triton wing durability tested

The wings on the Navy MQ-4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft are strong enough to descend from high altitudes, even in poor weather, Northrop Grumman said Monday. Based on the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, Triton's wings are made by Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division. Each wing, made of a single piece of composite material, was tested in Dallas by bending the wing to the point that it breaks. The process revealed that the wing is 22 percent stronger than the Navy’s requirement. The entire airframe will be fatigue tested in 2017. The Navy plans to buy 68 Tritons, plus two demonstrators. (Source: IHS Jane’s 360, 11/03/13) Gulf Coast note: Central fuselage work on the Triton is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Officer ousted over behavior

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The maintenance commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing was removed from the post Monday for allegedly engaging in inappropriate behavior with subordinate female officers on his staff. Navy Capt. Lance Massey II oversaw about 400 maintainers who work on the F-35s. He held the position since January. An initial investigation determined he engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behaviors, including initiating personal conversations with female officers and sending unsolicited, off-duty, personal text messages. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, Pensacola News Journal, 11/04/13)

Airbus posts HR job

MOBILE, Ala. – Airbus is seeking its second on-site human resources employee for the final assembly line it's building at Brookley Aeroplex. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor's degree in business, human resources or a related field plus at least five years’ experience in human resources. The successful candidate will manage all recruitment activities and new employee orientation. The A320 assembly line will eventually employ 1,000 workers (Source:, 11/05/13)

F-35A does first AMRAAM live fire

F-35 live fire test. Air Force photo
An F-35 executed its first live-fire launch of a guided air-to-air missile over a military test range off the California coast on Oct. 30. The AIM-120 advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) was fired from an F-35A conventional take-off and landing variant operating from the F-35 Integrated Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The test pilot employed the AIM-120 radar-seeking missile from the internal weapons bay against an aerial drone target in restricted military sea test range airspace. Moments before the missile was about to destroy the target, a self-destruct signal was sent to the AIM-120 in order to preserve the aerial drone for use in future tests. The test occurred the day after an F-35B variant successfully dropped and air-to-ground 500-pound Guided Bomb Unit-12 (GBU-12) Paveway II laser-guided bomb over a test range. (Source: AFNS, 10/30/13) Previous

1 SOAOS activates at Hurlburt

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The 1st Special Operations Air Operations Squadron stood up during a squadron activation ceremony Nov. 1. The 1st SOAOS mission is to integrate 1st Special Operations Wing assets into Special Operations Forces training events, support U.S. Special Operations Command-direct missions, and execute tactical-level command and control of all U.S aircraft and deploying 1st SOW aircraft. Col. William West, 1st SOW commander, presided over the ceremony and passed the 1st SOAOS guideon to Lt. Col. Phil Forbes, 1st SOAOS commander. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing, 11/01/13)

Monday, November 4, 2013

S. Korea Global Hawk buy nearing

South Korea plans to buy four Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned aircraft for about $848 million, an official at the country's defense acquisition agency confirmed Monday. The contract will be signed next year, officials said. The U.S. Congress approved the export of Global Hawks to South Korea earlier this year. (Source: Reuters, 11/03/13) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawk central fuselage works is done by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss. S. Korea buying Global Hawks; NG sees global sales opportunities

Two hurt in T-45 crash

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Two people were hurt today when a military training jet crashed during landing at Naval Air Station Pensacola's Sherman Field. It happened around 10:30 a.m. when a T-45C Goshawk jet from Training Squadron 86 was doing routine training. The two people on board were taken to Baptist Hospital, one by Lifeflight, the other by ambulance. The plane belongs to Training Air Wing 6. (Sources: Pensacola News Journal, WEAR-TV, Chief of Naval Air Training, 11/04/13)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Contract: Cubic, $25M

Cubic Defense Applications Inc., San Diego, Calif., has been awarded a $24,999,949 firm-fixed-price contract for foreign military sales P5Combat Training System (P5CTS), combined hardware buy. Contractor will provide (P5CTS) hardware to provide an instrumented training capability that increases, maintains, and assesses combat proficiency in the following mission areas: counter air, close air support, strategic attack, air interdiction, and electronic combat. Work will be performed at San Diego, Calif., and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and is expected to be complete by July 20, 2015. This award is a result of a sole-source acquisition. This award is for the governments of Singapore, Morocco, Oman and Saudi Arabia under the FMS program. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBYK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8678-14-C-0046). (Source: DoD, 11/01/13)