Friday, February 28, 2014

Contract: PRIDE, $13.8M

PRIDE Industries, Roseville, Calif., was awarded a $13,844,609 modification (P00014) to multi-year contract W9124G-13-C-0002 for the Department of Public Works-Base Operations, Fort Rucker, Ala. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $1,071,008 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is Feb. 28, 2015. Work will be performed at Fort Rucker. Army Contracting Command, Fort Rucker, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/28/14)

Southeast now hot for aerospace

Aerospace supply chains are morphing. In the past decade it appeared the future of original equipment manufacturing was in low-cost countries. But labor costs increased in those countries, and new technologies made it all less labor-intensive. Today the hottest new aerospace cluster is not in China, but the U.S. Southeast. Boeing, Embraer, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Airbus Helicopters have or will have established final assembly facilities in the region, and dozens of sub-tier suppliers are following suit. An opinion piece. (Source: Aviation Week and Space Technology, 02/24/14)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Final JSF SEIS released

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Force has released a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that analyzes the environmental impacts associated with where the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft will beddown on the Eglin Reservation and how they might be operated. The Final SEIS contains analyses of operational alternatives and presents mitigations for the F-35 aircraft at Eglin under the February 2009 Record of Decision. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 02/27/14) Documents pagePDF of SEIS

Air Warfare Center gets new leader

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- Col. David Tabor is the new commander of the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center. He took over in a ceremony Thursday, earlier than planned. The center, which has about 1,000 employees, trains and equips all special operations airmen. The center is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, but has units at Duke, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., and Robins Air Force Base, Ga. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jon Weeks, the previous commander, was fired last month amid allegations that he had an inappropriate personal relationship. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/27/14) Previous

Lockheed expands in Troy

TROY, Ala. -- Lockheed Martin broke ground today for its Pike County Operations' Long Range Strike Systems cruise missile production annex in Troy. The planned 62,000 square-foot annex will expand the existing 92,000-square-foot manufacturing facility where the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) is produced. The facility also produced test missiles for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) development program. Construction is set for completion by first quarter 2015. The expansion, a response to an increased demand, is expected to increase employment by about 10 percent over the next few years. The facility employs some 300 full-time employees and over 100 contractors. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 02/27/14) Troy is between Montgomery and Dothan, Ala.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Contract: Lockheed, $10.2M

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., has been awarded a $10,185,912 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (P00017) for an existing contract (FA8682-12-C-0006) for Joint Air-to-Surface Strategic Missile anti-jam GPS receiver - Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module Version 3 (JAGR-S V3) for development of the JAGR-S V3 and options for V3 Qualification Failure Review Board (FRB), V3 Flight Test FRB, and for the Transit Case Assembly. Work will be performed at Orlando, Fla., and Troy, Ala., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2016. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBJK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/26/14)

Airbus to raise A320 rate

Airbus will increase production of its best-selling single-aisle aircraft family to 46 a month in Q2 2016, up from the current rate 42. The new higher production rate will be achieved gradually, with an intermediate step at 44 aircraft per month in Q1 2016. Over the past five years, Airbus has steadily increased A320 family production, going from rate 36 at the end of 2010 to rate 38 in August 2011, then up to rate 40 in Q1 2012 to reach 42 per month in Q4 of the same year. (Source: Airbus, 02/26/14) Previous: Plant ups A320 output; Airbus ups demand forecast. Gulf Coast note: Airbus will produce A320s in its Mobile, Ala., final assembly line beginning in 2016. It will be the company's fourth A320 assembly line.

Okaloosa EDC gets grant

The Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County received a $195,000 grant from the Florida Defense Support Task Force to research, support and expand partnerships between Eglin Air Force Base and local governments in the tri-county area. The grant's 12-month scope of work will be overseen by a newly created Community Partnership Initiative committee. As military installations plan for the fiscal impact of a shrinking Department of Defense budget, bases are being encouraged to engage in innovative community partnerships designed to lessen operational costs while also benefiting the installation’s host community. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/25/14)

Most at meeting favor project

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Despite some mild concerns about noise, for the most part the conversations at a public meeting Tuesday were all about jobs and the positive economic impact ST Aerospace would have on the local economy. Pensacola is hammering out details with the Singapore-based company to bring a 300-employee maintenance facility to Pensacola International Airport. ST executives attended the meeting, including Joseph Ng, president of ST’s operation in Mobile, Ala. Ng said he hoped ST could begin servicing commercial jetliners by the first quarter of 2016. He said most jobs would be paying in a range between $30,000 and $58,000 annually. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 02/25/14) Previous

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Exelis gets MK-105 contract

Exelis has received a contract valued at more than $13 million to provide the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., with depot level repair, maintenance and modifications for two mine defense systems currently fielded with the U.S. Navy. The Exelis MK-105 Minesweeping System and Airborne Mine Neutralization System is used for high-speed airborne mine countermeasures. The MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter tows the MK-105 through the water to detonate mines. Work under this contract will be performed in Panama City, Fla., and is expected to be completed by December 2014. (Source: BusinessWire, 02/24/14)

Monday, February 24, 2014

BAE gets space radar extension

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force Space Command awarded BAE Systems a three-year contract extension to continue maintaining space radars used for missile warning and space surveillance operations. The company provides a range of services, including around-the-clock operations and maintenance. The award is a continuation of work that BAE Systems has been done since 2007, and raises the cumulative value of the contract to about $540 million. The Solid State Phased Array Radar System (SSPARS) is a network of radars that tracks more than 16,000 objects orbiting Earth. The radar system identifies various man-made objects in space, and also tracks objects that may enter the atmosphere, information vital to air missile defense operations and to protecting against submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSPARS is capable of about 40,000 space observations daily. (Source: BusinessWire, 02/24/14)

Budget a win for special ops, cyber

The nearly half-trillion dollar defense budget proposed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calls for a smaller Army and elimination of the A-10 attack jets, but it strengthens Special Operations and cyberwarfare capabilities. The special operations force would increase nearly 6 percent. The budget does sustains money for the F-35 fighter and retires the U-2 spy plane in favor of the unmanned Global Hawks. The propsed budget, which has the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is subject to Congressional approval. (Sources: multiple, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, 02/24/14) Gulf Coast note: Hurlburt Field, Fla., is home of Air Force Special Operations, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the 7th Special Forces Group and Navy Special Warfare personnel, including SEALS, train at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and Hurlburt Field both have cybersecurity training. Corry Station in Pensacola, Fla., is home of the Navy's Center for Information Dominance; Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; Eglin AFB is home of the F-35 training center.

Contract: Raytheon, $20M

Raytheon Co. Missile Systems, Tucson Ariz., has been awarded a $20,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for support of requirements associated with performance of the AMRAAM Aircraft Integration, aircraft operational testing related activities and flight test support. The primary objective of this effort is to provide the necessary aircraft lab, flight test, flight clearance and simulation support during all aircraft integration efforts. Additionally, it covers the required effort to maintain or repair assets or support equipment needed for direct support to aircraft integration related efforts. This effort includes all necessary troubleshooting, failure analysis or other activities required to understand anomalies or failures that occur during aircraft or AMRAAM missile OT related activities as well as provide needed support during these OT related activities. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.,; Hill AFB, Utah; Edwards AFB, Calif.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; White Sands Missile Range, N.M.: China Lake/Point Mugu, Calif.; St. Louis, Mo.; Seattle, Wash.: Baltimore, Md., and Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by September 2019. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 research and development funds totaling $3,062,736 will be obligated for five task orders (TO 0001 Simulation Support, TO 0002 Integration Support, TO 0003 Flight Clearances, TO 0004 Tech Support and TO 0005 Management/Financial Support) at time of award. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBA, Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8675-14-D-0009). (Source: DoD, 02/24/14)

Plant ups A320 output

TIANJIN, China -- The Airbus A320 final assembly line in China delivered 46 aircraft last year, an increase of about 25 percent over 2012. The plant’s general manager said the company is evaluating the possibility of producing two more aircraft this year. The facility in Tianjin, which is the third Airbus final assembly line in the world after Toulouse in France and Hamburg in Germany, assembled its first aircraft in May 2009. The produces the A319 and A320 for the Chinese market. Each plane takes 45 to 50 days to assemble. (Source: The Star, 02/24/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building its fourth A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

ST Aerospace topic of meeting

PENSACOLA, Fla. – A public meeting will be held Tuesday about a project that promises to bring 300 aerospace jobs to Pensacola. The meeting about the project to establish an ST Aerospace maintenance facility at Pensacola International Airport will gauge public reaction to the project. Talks with the Singapore-based company are continuing and the city and county are hammering out details on their share of incentives. What remains is getting a sense of what residents who live nearby think of the project. The company already has a major operation at Mobile Aeroplex in Brookley, Ala., not far from where Airbus is building a final assembly line. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 02/23/14) Previous

Airbus' humanoid robots

A two-armed humanoid robot helps worker.
Airbus photo
The Airbus Puerto Real plant in Cádiz, Spain, is leading a project to expand the automation of its assembly processes with the use of two-arm humanoid robots for repetitive tasks. The project, called FUTURASSY, could be used across other Airbus sites. One of the research areas is called the "Collaborative Robots" project, which explores the use of two-arm humanoid robots designed to work in the same environment as human operators, sharing tools and production resources. The first robotic unit acquired by Airbus arrived in Puerto Real from its manufacturers, Kawada in Japan, last week and will be integrated at the A380 rudder spar assembly station, where riveting will be shared between human assemblers and the robot. (Source: Airbus, 02/20/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building its newest assembly plant in Mobile, Ala.

Orion test hits snag

The first full joint testing between NASA and the Navy of Orion recovery procedures off the coast of California was suspended last week after the team experienced issues with handling lines securing a test version of Orion inside the well deck of the USS San Diego. Orion, part of NASA's ambitious Space Launch System project, will take astronauts deeper into space than ever before. An unmanned test from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., is set for September 2014. (Source: NASA, 02/21/14) Gulf Coast note: Orion is built at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans; rocket engines for the Space Launch System, the primary launch vehicle, will be tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; the launch vehicle for Exploration Flight Test-1 will be a Delta IV, built by United Launch Alliance, which uses Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 engines tested at Stennis Space Center.

Kuwait Airways firms up order

The national airline of Kuwait has ordered 25 aircraft including 10 A350-900 and 15 A320neo family aircraft as part of the airlines’ fleet renewal strategy. Kuwait Airways already operates three A320, three A310, five A300 and four A340 Family aircraft. The A320neo is offered as an option for the A320 family and incorporates more efficient engines and large "sharklet" wing tip devices, which together will deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings. (Source: Airbus, 02/20/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Union eyes organizing Airbus plant

A major aerospace union said it isn't put off by the UAW's failure to organize Volkswagen in Tennessee, according to The Street. Indeed, the International Association of Machinists will seek to organize the Airbus final assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala., and also plans to try again at the Boeing plant in Charleston, S.C. Tom Buffenbarger, president of the IAM, said in an interview with The Street that he thinks the union has a fair chance at pulling it off. No timetable has been set to organize in Mobile, but Airbus spokeswoman Maryann Greczyn said the company "continues to stand by the philosophy that our current and future employees have and will have the right to choose representation if they desire to do so." The A320 plant at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley will open in 2015 and deliver its first aircraft in 2016. It will eventually have 1,000 workers. (Source: TheStreet, 02/21/14) The U.S. average for union membership is 11.3 percent. In Alabama it's 10.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Alabama's rate is higher than any of its neighboring states.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Souping up a supercomputer

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- The U.S. Navy DoD Supercomputing Resource Center, one of the top 20 supercomputing sites in the world, is adding more computer power. Starting in August, the new $21.8-million computers from Cray Inc. will be put to work performing large-scale scientific calculations for Department of Defense researchers around the county. The Navy DSRC is one of five supercomputing centers established by the DoD and has 55 employees. A portion of its workload is running mathematical models of the world’s oceans each day to keep the Navy's fleet operating safely. (Source: Mississippi Business Journal, 02/21/14)

RR test stands go nonstop

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Engine testing at the Rolls-Royce Outdoor Jet Engine Testing Facility has been going nearly nonstop since the ceremonial ribbon was cut in October. The test stand, the company's second at this South Mississippi NASA facility, represents a $50 million investment, and Rolls-Royce is still filling the last of the 35 jobs the new test stand created. "Ever since the grand opening we've had one or two engines running pretty much nonstop," said Anthony Woodard, the facility's general manager. The site here is the company's only outdoor engine test site. The first stand opened in 2007. (Source: Mississippi Business Journal, 02/21/14)

Project to result in STEM roadmap

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- With high-tech science and technology jobs expected to grow at a faster pace nationwide than other occupations, South Mississippi is embarking on a key project that should help ensure it can satisfy the growing need. The Mississippi Enterprise for Technology is conducting a unique project that will result in a "roadmap" of STEM employment in South Mississippi, starting with a survey of Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. (Source: MSET, 02/20/14) Stennis Space Center is a NASA facility that tests large rocket engines for NASA and commercial companies.

RR to support AF C-130J fleet

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a contract for $182.7 million by the U.S. Air Force to expand the company's support of the C-130J transport fleet. The contract covers sustainment services for the Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engines as well as nacelles and propellers on the C-130J fleet. The work includes logistics and program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data support. The Air Force increased its order for spares and spare parts, as well as adding Rolls-Royce Field Service Representatives at two new bases. Rolls-Royce now provides C-130J support at 12 U.S. Air Force bases, with 10 in the U.S. and two overseas. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 02/21/14)

Sikorsky to maintain training aircraft

STRATFORD, Conn. -- Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. on Thursday announced the award of a $110 million maintenance and support services contract for more than 360 aircraft operated by the Chief of Naval Air Training. The work is expected to be completed in October 2014. Aircraft covered by the contract include the single-engine T-34, twin engine T-44A and T-44C, and single-engine T-6A and T-6B. Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; NAS Pensacola, Fla., NAS Whiting Field, Fla., and seven satellite locations throughout the United States. The contract was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies. (Source: Sikorsky via PRNewswire, 02/20/14)

Medical Center wins award

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Keesler Medical Center earned its second consecutive Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Award. Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Kory Cornum, 81st Medical Group commander, presented the 2013 award to facility manager Michael Chatham, 81st Medical Support Squadron, at a Feb. 11 executive staff meeting. The general commended Chatham's foresight for incorporating many energy-conservation elements during reconstruction of the facility following the August 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastation. (Source: 81st Medical Group Public Affairs, 2/20/14)

Roadwork contract OK'd

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile City Council this week approved the last city-related road contracts associated with the redevelopment of the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. Under the $1.4 million deal, Gulf Equipment Corp. will make improvements to Baker Street, a link between the Alabama state docks and the $600 million Airbus A320 final assembly line being built at the Aeroplex. Some $20 million in taxpayer investment has been spent improving Aeroplex roads ahead of the Airbus plant's 2015 opening. (Source:, 02/20/14)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Orbital completes mission

DULLES, Va. -- The first of eight Cygnus operational cargo logistics spacecraft missions to the International Space Station has been successfully completed, according to Orbital Sciences. The Cygnus spacecraft unberthed from the ISS, completing a 37-day stay at the orbiting laboratory. Cygnus reentered Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean today. Orbital has a $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. (Source: BusinessWire, 02/19/14) Previous. Gulf Coast note: The company's Antares launch vehicles is powered by engines tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Contract: Lockheed, $9.5M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $9,515,086 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightning II Low Rate Initial Production Lot VI contract (N00019-11-C-0083). This modification provides for Netherlands-specific, non-recurring sustainment activities to include procurement of Autonomic Logistics Information Systems equipment and logistics support for non-recurring engineering activities. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; El Segundo, Calif.; Warton, United Kingdom; Orlando, Fla.; Nashua, N.H.; and Baltimore, Md., and is expected to be completed in April 2015. International Partner funds in the amount of $4,757,543 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/20/14) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Pitt launches Hurlburt lab

PITTSBURGH -- The University of Pittsburgh recently launched a Warrior Human Performance Research Center at Hurlburt Field, Fla., to conduct performance-optimization and injury-prevention research. The new site with the Air Force Special Operations Command brings this 8-year-old program to a third military branch. It already has sites at three Naval Special Warfare SEALs operations -- Little Creek, Va., Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Coronado, Calif., and at one Army Special Operations post at Fort Bragg, N.C. The Warrior Human Performance Research Centers help to design physical-training programs to improve individual performance and reduce injury, said Timothy Sell, Ph.D, the principal investigator on the AFSOC research with the Department of Defense. (Source: Gant Daily, 02/20/14)

Spring eyes $3B A320 order

Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines is ready to order up to 30 Airbus A320 aircraft worth $3 billion at list prices, the company's chairman told Reuters. The airline hopes to divide the order between the current model of the Airbus A320 and the A320neo (new engine option), Wang Zhenghua said in an interview on the sidelines of a regional low-cost airlines conference in Singapore. Shanghai-based Spring, which has a fleet of 40 A320s, is the largest dedicated budget carrier in China. (Source: Reuters, 02/19/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building a $600 million A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

F-35s fly in STOVL formation

Two F-35Bs fly in STOVAL formation
Lockheed Martin photo
NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- Two F-35Bs flew in close formation while in short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) mode for the first time last week. The pilots flew the test jets in STOVL mode, also known as Mode 4, with the F-35B LiftFan engaged and engine rotated downward. The mission measured the effects the aircraft had on each other while in Mode 4 to ensure they can operate in formation safely in an operational environment. The U.S. Marine Corps plans to declare Initial Operating Capability with the F-35B next year. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 02/19/14) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 training center.

ABM class graduates

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Twelve airmen graduated from the Undergraduate Air Battle Manager training program in a ceremony Feb.19. The students completed a nine-month course to prepare for duty aboard the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and the E-8 Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS) aircraft. Air battle managers provide command and control and ensure aircraft find, identify and destroy targets. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 02/19/14)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

County wants better ST deal

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- City and county officials will go back to the negotiating table to decide how to divide $8 million in local incentives needed to finalize a deal on an aircraft maintenance facility for Pensacola International Airport. Both parties last week agreed to a framework where the county would contribute $4.8 million and loan the city another $3.2 million to be repaid by 2020. Now, commissioners are asking whether the city could contribute more. The city has a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with ST Aerospace, which already has a major operation in Mobile, Ala., to establish a facility at the airport on 18.66 acres of city-owned land. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 02/19/14) Previous

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Frozen pipe, curiosity led to accident

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – A contractor who died in an accident on base last month entered the foam-filled airplane hangar against the advice of emergency personnel, according to an Air Force report released Tuesday. 31-year-old J.D. Lord and three co-workers wanted to see the foam that filled the massive King Hangar during an accidental activation of the fire-suppression system, the report said. Cold temperatures caused a water line to burst, flooding sensors in the hangar's fire-suppression system and accidentally triggering the release of the high-expansion foam, according to the report. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, WEAR-TV, 02/18/14) Previous

Contract: EADS-NA, $22.9M

EADS-NA, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $22,856,085 modification (P00766) to contract W58RGZ-06-C-0194 to acquire four UH-72A Lakota helicopters with engine inlet barrier filters and ARC-231 radios. Fiscal 2014 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $22,856,085 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is March 31, 2015. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/18/14)

General officer announcement

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced today that the president has nominated Army Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as deputy commanding general/chief of staff, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Mangum is currently serving as the commanding general, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Fort Rucker, Ala. (Source: DoD, 02/18/14)

MAA board welcomes new leaders

MOBILE, Ala. -- Herbert Meisler has been elected chairman of the Mobile Airport Authority's board of directors. Meisler, who has served as the board's treasurer, succeeds Richard Davis, who retired after serving in that position for 14 years. The MAA, which overseas Mobile Regional Airport and Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, also appointed W. Lance Covan and Michael Pierce to the board. (Source:, 02/18/14)

Boeing wing site announced

EVERETT, Wash. – Boeing today officially announced, as expected, the selection of its Everett, Wash., site as the location for a new composite wing center for the 777X program. Boeing selected the site for 777X final assembly following the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751 approval of an eight-year contract extension earlier this year. As part of the contract extension, the company agreed to fabricate the parts for, and assemble, the 777X composite wings in the Puget Sound region. The union vote came after Boeing started looking elsewhere for sites to build the plane. (Source: Boeing, 02/18/14) PreviousGulf Coast note: Alabama hoped to get the plant in Huntsville. The state already is home of an Airbus plant being built in Mobile, Ala.

USM project picked for ISS

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – A University of Southern Mississippi project hopes to get a step closer to seeing if an Earth-born organism can live on Mars. USM Professor Scott Milroy recently learned that his NASA-funded “Pioneering Mars” project was selected for payload integration aboard the International Space Station. Milroy’s project is one of two chosen from the NASA ISS National Laboratory Education Project for transport to the ISS sometime in 2015. Milroy notes that while many of the physical, chemical, and climatic conditions of Mars can be simulated in an Earth-bound laboratory, the capability to maintain living cultures, like the blue-green algae in this experiment, in reduced gravity conditions can only be explored on the ISS. Milroy is an associate professor of marine science. (Source: Hattiesburg American, 02/17/14)

737 fuselage donated for training

MOBILE, Ala. – While much of the attention in this city has been on the Airbus jetliners that will eventually be built here, it was a Boeing 737 that took center stage for a time Monday. A 300-foot long fuselage of a retired 737 was hauled from Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley to the Mobile Fire-Rescue Training Center. The fuselage was donated by CAVU Aerospace, which specializes in breaking down aircraft, to be used as a classroom for specialized training in aircraft rescue and fire fighting, medial and mass casualty situations. (Sources: WPMI-TV,, 02/17/14)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Airport getting renovations

MOBILE, Ala. – Improvements are coming to Mobile Regional Airport in the coming months. The most immediate changes will be upgraded signage in the rental car lot, but the big shift begins in mid-April when all of the airport's rental car and airline ticket counters will be remodeled. Jennifer Shearer, director of aviation for the Mobile Airport Authority, said it's going to take at least 90 days. (Source:, 02/14/14)

Airbus buying bank to aid sales

Airbus Group plans to create an in-house bank by taking over a regional lender. Airbus will purchase Salzburg Muenchen Bank from the Raiffeisenverband Salzburg cooperative for an undisclosed sum, the Toulouse, France-based company said in a statement Friday. Airbus Group is seeking to close the deal as early as possible this year, pending German regulatory approvals. Providing financial services to customers is the same path that's been taken by companies from Daimler to Siemens. A banking license would give Airbus direct access to European Central Bank money supply. The company has explored the move more than a year. The new organization will be renamed Airbus Group Bank, and could provide Airbus flexibility to aid suppliers, some of whom have struggled to finance investments to keep pace as the planemaker increases output to record levels. (Source: Bloomberg, 02/14/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Test set, then canceled

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Duke Field and several roads were slated to close Saturday due to Eglin's test mission. But the test was canceled due to mechanical problems with the plane that was scheduled to participate in the test. The closure was originally scheduled for Friday. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/14/14)

Contract: Oasis Systems, $55.7M

Oasis Systems, LLC, Lexington, Mass., has been awarded a $55,705,947 modification (22) for an existing firm-fixed-price contract (FA9200-10-D-0173) for technical and acquisition management support services. This modification is for the exercise of an option for additional diverse non-engineering, technical and acquisition management support services being provided under the basic contract. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2015. The current action relates to 100 percent unclassified foreign military sales only and countries include Australia, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. Air Force Test Center/PZZ is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/14/14)

Contract: COLSA, $55.7M

COLSA Corp., Huntsville, Ala., has been awarded a $55,705,947 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification (19) on an existing firm-fixed-price contract (FA9200-10-D-0166) for technical and acquisition management support services. This modification is for the exercise of an option for additional diverse non-engineering, technical and acquisition management support services being provided under the basic contract. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2015. The current action relates to unclassified foreign military sales only and countries include Australia, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. Air Force Test Center/PZZ, Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/14/14)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2nd MQ-8C completes 1st flight

MQ-8C on first flight Feb. 12, 2014
Northrop Grumman photo
Northrop Grumman and the Navy successfully flew the second MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter for the first time. Conducted at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., the flight will allow the team to ramp up testing efforts to prepare the system for operations. Current tests are focused on validating the flight capabilities of the MQ-8C before ship-based flights take place this summer. The MQ-8C upgrade, based on a Bell 407 airframe, will eventually replace the MQ-8B, based on a Schweizer airframe (now Sikorsky). The MQ-8C is larger, has a range of 150 nautical miles and a payload capacity of more than 700 pounds. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 02/13/14) Previous. Gulf Coast note: The MQ-8B is built in part in Moss Point, Miss., where work also will be done on the MQ-8C.

SSC global impact nears $1B

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA's Stennis Space Center in 2013 had a global impact of $940 million, up from last year's $882 million. It also had a direct impact of $619 million on the local economy in a 50-mile radius, down from the $682 million in 2012. SSC, best known for rocket engine testing, now has 41 resident agencies and 5,000 total employees at its sprawling site near the Mississippi/Louisiana state line. SSC Director Rick Gilbrech said Thursday at his annual community breakfast briefing that he expects 2014 to be as good or better than last. (Source: Sun Herald, 02/13/14)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

IHMC to double research space

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition will more than double its downtown research space with a three-story, 30,000-square-foot addition and renovation of the existing building. IHMC currently uses space in four buildings downtown. Construction for the $8 million project is expected to begin in April, with the building to open in 2015. The first floor of the addition will consist of research labs, including an expanded Robotics Lab and a multi-sensory interfaces lab focused on sensory displays and human-machine interfaces. The second floor will feature a glass-walled observation area for public tour groups, and the third floor will hold additional offices, conference rooms and research space. IHMC is involved in R&D that includes artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber security and more. (Source: WEAR-TV, WUWF, 02/12/14, IHMC website)

Contract: Lockheed, $16.8M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $16,814,091 bilateral modification (P00171) for an existing firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (FA8611-08-C-2897) for engineering change proposal (ECP) 0533, follow-on agile sustainment for the F-22 Raptor, Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program Project AF100 Acceleration Plan. This effort is to procure retrofit kits that will provide a more durable material for the actuated doors on the bottom of the aircraft to improve availability of the aircraft. ECP 0533 is the first of two phases to incorporate the new material on the doors and panels of the aircraft. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be complete by September 2016. Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $16,814,091 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WWUK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/12/14) Gulf Coast note: F-22 pilots are trained at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., which is also home to an operational F-22 squadron.

Contract: L-3 Vertex, $6.5M

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $6,530,626 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for maintenance and logistics services in support of the KC-130J aircraft for the government of Kuwait under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed at Al Mubarak Airbase, Kuwait, and is expected to be completed in August 2015. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $6,530,626 are being obligated on this award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; four offers were received. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-14-D-0015). (Source: DoD, 02/12/14)

UK F-35 order next month

Britain is expected to order 14 F-35 fighters in a $5 billion deal that may not be finalized until next month, sources told Reuters on Tuesday. The deal includes fuel, hangars, training and operational support for the jets and was initially expected this week. Meanwhile, the United States had been expected to order 42 jets in fiscal 2015, up from 29 in fiscal 2014. But budget cuts will force the Pentagon to scale back, according to the sources. The expectation is that the fiscal 2015 budget request will call for three to six fewer F-35s than expected. (Source: Reuters, 02/11/14) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

RS-25 preps for new life

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- The RS-25 engine, the propulsion system that was highly successful as the Space Shuttle Main Engine, is preparing for a new life with the Space Launch System. Testing at SSC will initially focus on a new Main Engine Controller (MEC) and the ability to accommodate the full range of propellant conditions in its new configuration with the SLS launch vehicle.. SSC engineers have been installing a 7,755-pound thrust frame adapter for the A-1 test stand in order to testing the RS-25s. The first engine on the stand will be 0525. The engine never flew in space, as it was one of two development engines used for component testing on Stand A-2 to support shuttle flights. The other was 0528. (Source: Spaceflight, 02/11/14) Background article

Camber awarded contract

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Camber Corp. has been awarded a $22.2 million 15-month contract by Battelle to provide program management and systems engineering and technical assistance to the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers' Engineering Research Development Center –Topographic Engineering Center will benefit from the work. A news release said Camber will also procure, test and install four linear sensor systems and displays. Most of the work will be done in Colorado Springs, Colo., Fort Belvoir, Va., and Edgewood, Md. Other work locations will be Stanford, Fla., Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Huachuca, Ariz. (Source:, 02/12/14)

RR, Lockheed sign engine deal

Rolls-Royce completed a long-term agreement with Lockheed Martin worth up to $1 billion to deliver about 600 engines to power future C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. The agreement secures the Rolls-Royce AE 2100 as the engine for all variants of the C-130J to 2025. The engine agreement will service U.S. government and international contract requirements between 2014 and 2018. The AE 2100 powers all C-130Js, while the Rolls-Royce T56 engines power the legacy C-130 fleet. The global C-130J fleet has surpassed 1 million flight hours, and Lockheed Martin recently announced its intent to obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for a new civil variant, the LM-100J. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 02/12/14) Previous C-130J related. Gulf Coast note: Rolls-Royce and Lockheed Martin both have operations in the region; C-130 in all its versions are a common sight at military bases in the region.

VietJet finalizes A320 deal

As expected, Airbus said Tuesday it has finalized a deal with Vietnamese low-cost airline VietJetAir for a fleet of its single aisle A320 aircraft. It involves firm orders for 63 aircraft and purchase rights for another 30. The Vietnamese airline will also lease eight more A320 family aircraft from third-party leasers. The first privately owned airline in Vietnam to operate domestic and international flights, VietJetAir currently operates 11 leased A320s. (Sources: Multiple, including MarketWatch, AP via Washington Post, International TravelMagazine, 02/11/14) Previous Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Component repair shop unveiled

MOBILE, Ala. – A new 7,500-square-foot component repair facility at Mobile Regional Airport was unveiled Tuesday by Airbus Group's North American military aircraft unit. It's in addition to the existing 30,000-square-foot, 45-employee maintenance, repair and overhaul delivery center. It's not expected to alter the size of the workforce. The military aircraft unit started in Virginia in 1984 and relocated to Mobile in 2005 to be closer to its U.S. Coast Guard customer. It provides operators of the C212 and CN235 tactical transports with a certified Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency repair station as well as direct support from the manufacturer. The facility in 2009 became Airbus Group's military aircraft MRO delivery center for the United States. (Source:, 02/11/14)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ST Aero deal inches forward

PENSACOLA, Fla. – City and county staff reached a tentative agreement on how to split the $8 million cost for bringing an ST Aerospace aircraft maintenance facility to Pensacola International Airport. The county would pay $4.8 million and would loan $3.2 million to the city. Details still need to be hammered out. The City Council and Escambia County Commission are slated to discuss the issue Thursday. In December Mayor Ashton Hayward announced a tentative agreement with ST Aerospace, which also has a 1,500-employee operation in Mobile, Ala. The city would build a hangar and other facilities on 18.66 acres of city-owned land at the airport, using a combination of federal, state, local and private funds. Construction would take more than $37 million and 18 months to complete. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 02/11/14) Previous

Airbus supplier hits milestone

TULSA, Okla. -- Airbus supplier NORDAM has shipped the 70,000th cabin window assembly for the Airbus A320. "This notable production milestone for NORDAM also highlights the impressive build rate of the A320 family," said NORDAM CEO Meredith Siegfried. Since 2012 NORDAM has been the original equipment manufacturer of cabin window assemblies for the A320, including the A318, A319, A320 and A321, as well as the ACJ business jet. Each assembly includes an acrylic outer and inner pane with a rubber-molded seal to hold the two panes together, and is integrated into the airframe during its manufacture. (Source: NORDAM, 02/10/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Orion adapter aces test

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A test article of the stage adapter that will connect the Orion spacecraft to a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket for Exploration Flight Test-1 aced structural loads testing last month. "The loads put on the adapter are similar to the conditions it will experience in flight," said Brent Gaddes, Spacecraft and Payload Integration Adapter Subsystem manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where the test was conducted. The adapter will be shipped in mid-March to ULA's facility in Decatur, Ala., where the Delta IV is being built. It will then travel by ship to Cape Canaveral, Fla., ahead of Orion's inaugural flight in September. During the mission, Orion will travel some 3,600 miles above Earth's surface before re-entering the atmosphere at almost 20,000 mph. The uncrewed flight will provide engineers with important data about Orion's heat shield and other elements before it is flown in 2017 as part of the first mission to include the Space Launch System. (Source: SpaceTravel, 02/11/14) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, both are participating in the SLS program.

Airbus posts first blue-collar jobs

MOBILE, Ala. -- Airbus is hiring for the first wave of hourly manufacturing jobs at its A320 final assembly line being built at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. Positions include aircraft structure/installation mechanics, installers for aircraft cabin furnishings and aircraft electricians. Starting pay for all of the positions is from $13 to $22 per hour plus benefits. All positions require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED and at least five years' experience in aircraft maintenance. The $600 million plant will come online in 2015 and eventually employ 1,000 workers. (Source:, 02/11/14)

Aerospace Systems exec named

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Northrop Grumman appointed Thomas P. Mendez, Jr., vice president and controller of its Aerospace Systems sector. Mendez will be responsible for financial planning and analysis; financial reporting and accounting; budgets, rates and overhead management; government relations and compliance; resource management; and property administration for the sector. (Source: Northrop Grumman via PRNewswire, 02/10/14) Gulf Coast note: The Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center, Moss Point, Miss., is in the Aerospace Systems sector.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Wobbling satellites find new use

Air Force crews flew MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., using repurposed commercial satellites during missions in November and December. A team with the 53rd Test Management Group successfully demonstrated inclined orbit satellite capability for MQ-1 and MQ-9 unmanned systems. The aircraft used inclined orbit satellite communications, satellites that lack the fuel to maintain a fixed geostationary location and are allowed to drift into slightly wobbling orbits. To use wobbling satellites, the dish must be able to move, unlike the fixed dish of satellite television providers. MQ-1 and MQ-9 programs have integrated the satellite tracking software and the 53rd Wing developed procedures for continuously updating the satellite tracking data needed. Using inclined orbit satellites is a cost savings. Air Combat Command's latest lease for continental United States commercial SATCOM includes four inclined orbit SATCOM lines at about 50 percent savings over a typical lease. The 53rd TMG falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Capabilities Office, 02/10/14)

Eglin issues boat ops notice

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – It may be noisy when the 96th Operations Group conducts boat operations in Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico Thursday and again Feb. 18-21. And there may be some surprising sights as well – like boats with fake deck guns and rocket launcher tubes. The operations are part of the 53rd Wing's Weapon System Evaluation Program. Fighter aircraft will release munitions in the morning around 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. about 20 nautical miles out in the Gulf. In the afternoon around 1 to 5 p.m. about 30 boats will be used by A-10s and F-15s as visual targets; no weapons or ammunition will be involved in the testing. The boats will transverse between the Mid-Bay Bridge and the Highway 331 Bridge or 5 to 20 miles South of Destin in the Gulf of Mexico. The boat operators will be dressed in various military uniforms and white costumes and will carry simulated, rubber rifles, painted in high visible colors which will be kept out of view when transiting to and from the mission area. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base Public Affairs, 02/10/14)

Reserve F-22s arrive

F-22s move from Holloman to Tyndall.
Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Air Force Reserve Command's 44th Fighter Group and Air Combat Command's 49th Fighter Wing, both from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., delivered five F-22 Raptors to Tyndall AFB on Wednesday. The Raptors are now assigned to Tyndall to be operated by the integrated 301st Fighter Squadron and 95th FS. The 301st FS is a detachment of the 44th FG. The transfer of the jets is part of the 24 Raptors that are anticipated to be here by April and become combat ready in the summer. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 02/06/14)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

United, union reach accord

United Airlines reached an agreement with the Association of Flight Attendants union Friday that avoids involuntary furlough through improved voluntary options. Without the deal, 688 flight attendants would have faced furloughs in April. The job loss threat was a result of the 2010 merger of United and Continental Airlines. The union represents about 25,000 workers. (Source: CNBC, PRNewswire, 02/07/14) Gulf Coast note: In the Gulf Coast I-10 region, United serves New Orleans, La., Gulfport/Biloxi, Miss., Mobile, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., and Eglin/Valparaiso, Fla.

Holloman QF-4 drone crashes

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – A QF-4 drone crashed on White Sands National Monument Friday morning while on a routine training mission. The cause of the crash, four to five miles west of Runway 22, is unknown. The monument west of Alamogordo was closed in advance of the test mission and will remain closed until further notice. The drone was assigned to Detachment 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, a tenant unit at Holloman assigned to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group. The 82nd ATRS is part of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, which falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: 49th Wing Public Affairs, 02/07/14) Background story on QF-4, QF-16 drones

Friday, February 7, 2014

New AC-130J has first test flight

An AC-130J Ghostrider begins first flight
U.S. Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- After more than a year of modification maintenance, the newly created AC-130J Ghostrider took to the skies for the first time as a gunship Jan. 31. In early January 2013, the Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130J arrived here to begin the modification. The end result became a "hybrid" C-130 with the advanced avionics, targeting systems and engines of the MC-130J and the cannon and bombs of the AC-130. Converting a mobility aircraft into a strike aircraft meant adding the Precision Strike Package to support ground forces. The Precision Strike Package includes dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30-mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar and GBU-39 small diameter bomb capabilities. The sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets at any time, even in adverse weather. A total of 32 MC-130J aircraft will be modified for AFSOC as part of a $2.4 billion AC-130J program. (Source: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 02/07/14)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Space Florida, others eye tech park

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Space Florida, the state's aerospace economic development agency, is talking to Pensacola officials about establishing an operation at the now-vacant nine-acre downtown Technology Park. Plans are for a multi-tenant building for four tenants that would require some 65,000 to 75,000 square feet of space. The proposed anchor tenant would be a leading aerospace company from the region. Other tenants would be academic and economic development service providers. Space Florida and the park's owner, the Pensacola Industrial Development Corp., have a memorandum of understanding. The internationally known research organization, the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, is located two blocks south of the Technology Park. (Source: Multiple, including WEAR-TV, Rick's Blog, 02/06/14)

F-35 tailhook passes test

The Navy version of the F-35 has passed the first round of tests of its tail hook, the part of the plane that makes traditional carrier arrested landings possible. Joe DellaVedova, F-35 program spokesman, said all flight test objectives were met. CF-3, the first F-35C to be fitted with the redesigned Arresting Hook System, had 36 successful arrested landing tests on land. For the next few months it will undergo field-based ship suitability tests. Carrier flight trials will be in October aboard the USS Nimitz (Source: Breaking Defense, 02/05/14) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base is home of the F-35 training center; naval aviators' initial training is at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and Naval Air Station Whiting Field, in Milton, Fla.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

F-22 students deploy for training

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 43rd Fighter Squadron sent more than 200 Airmen, 14 F-22 Raptors and the 325th Training Support Squadron sent 25 Airmen and seven T-38 Talons to Savannah, Ga., Feb. 1. The 43rd FS will train at the Georgia Combat Readiness Training Center in a large-scale aerial scenario against multiple aircraft. "The main goal is to accomplish as much student pilot training as we can," said Maj. John Hensz, 43rd FS assistant director of operations. Team Tyndall will work with F-15 Eagles from Jacksonville Air National Guard, F-16 Falcons from D.C. ANG, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. and Vermont ANG. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing, 02/04/14)

Airport eyes $14M from state

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The governor's 2014-2015 budget provides Pensacola International Airport with $14 million in funding from the state to support efforts to establish an ST Aerospace facility at the airport. Gov. Rick Scott made the announcement Tuesday night. The budget includes $325 million for aviation improvements, including the one in Pensacola. ST Aerospace, a maintenance, repair and overhaul provider, already has a large operation in Mobile, Ala. The Pensacola operation would create 300 jobs. (Source: GCAC, press release, 02/05/14) Previous

SSC honors contractors

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi presented its highest honor for quality and performance, the Contractor Excellence Award, to A2Research and Jacobs Technology Inc. for outstanding contributions to the missions of the center. A2Research, which has managed a laboratory services contract at SSC since 2010, received the small business award. Jacobs, which has performed the Facility Operating Services Contract at SSC since 2007, received the large business award. The awards were presented to the companies at a ceremony today. The awards were established in 2008. (Source: NASA/SSC, 02/05/14)

Duke, roads close for test

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Duke Field and several roads will be closed Feb. 14 due to Eglin's test mission. Duke Field will be closed and personnel will be evacuated prior to 8:30 a.m. on the day of the aerial weapons test. The base and highways 85 and 285 and surrounding roadways to include range roads will be closed from 8:30 to 10 a.m. The 7th Special Forces Group facilities will remain open, but access limited. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 02/05/14)

Airbus posts supply, IT jobs

MOBILE, Ala. -- Airbus has posted new job positions for its A320 final assembly line in Mobile. It's looking for a supply chain surveillance coordinator, an information technology manager and multiple information technology specialists to form the team establishing and supporting the computer systems and networks for the assembly line. The plant is currently being built at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, and aircraft production is expected to begin in 2015. The FAL will eventually have 1,000 workers. (Source: WALA-TV, 02/04/14)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

AJ-26 testing continues

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- An Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ-26 engine tested at NASA's E-1 test stand Jan. 17 is undergoing post-test inspections and flight prep activities. When that work is done, it will be shipped to NASA's Wallops Fight Test Center in Virginia for integration with Orbital Sciences' Antares medium-class space launch vehicle. Even before that test, two AJ-26 engines tested at SSC lifted an Antares that launched a Cygnus spacecraft. That event made Orbital Science the second commercial company to perform a resupply mission to the International Space Station. "Each test of an AJ26 engine is exciting and affirming because it is in direct support of NASA's commercial space flight efforts, as well as a continuation of a very successful Stennis partnership with Orbital and Aerojet Rocketdyne," Stennis Director Rick Gilbrech said. NASA has tested AJ-26 engines at SSC since November 2010. (Source: NASA/SSC, 02/03/14)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Airport traffic levels off

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport reported its first gain in passenger traffic in more than a year at a board meeting last week. Passenger traffic increased 2.74 percent over the previous year, the first traffic gain since August 2012. Airport Director Parker McClellan said he sees the passenger gain as the beginning of a leveling out process for the airport, due to a significant reduction in flights that took about 400 seats out of the market in the fall of 2012. The airport is in West Bay, northwest of Panama City. (Source: News Herald, 02/02/14)

Plans move forward for airport

LIVINGSTON, La. -- Plans for a proposed general aviation airport in Livingston Parish are progressing with state and federal authorities signing off on the project and parish officials moving toward site selection. A 2011 study suggested the airport would require at least 200 acres, but said 500 acres would be ideal. The proposed airfield would include a single runway of 5,000 feet to 5,400 feet and would accommodate small, private planes and corporate jets but not large jets, Parish President Layton Ricks said. Livingston Parish is east of Baton Rouge. (Source: Baton Rouge Advocate, 02/03/14)

General officer announcements

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced today that the president nominated Marine Corps Reserve Brig. Gen. William T. Collins for appointment to the rank of major general. Collins is currently serving as commanding general, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, New Orleans, La. The president also nominated Marine Corps Reserve Brig. Gen. James S. Hartsell for appointment to the rank of major general. Hartsell is currently serving as commanding general, 4th Marine Division, New Orleans. (Source: DoD, 02/03/14)