Friday, May 29, 2015

Contract: Odyssey, $212.4M

Odyssey Systems Consulting Group LTD, Wakefield, Mass., has been awarded a $212,402,709 cost reimbursable contract for advisory and assistance services (A&AS). Contractor will provide A&AS for the Armament Munitions Directorate in support of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2020. This contract involves foreign military sales. This award is the result of a competitive small business set-aside acquisition with six offers received. Fiscal 2015 missile procurement, other procurement, operations and maintenance and Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $7,239,242 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8622-15-F-8120). (Source: 05/29/15)

First shipment leaves Hamburg

A JetBlue tail section is loaded on the BBC Fuji.
Airbus photo
The historic shipment of the first major aircraft sections that will be assembled into the first U.S.-built Airbus jetliner has left Hamburg, Germany. The ship, BBC Fuji, left today and it will take about 20 days for the voyage to the Port of Mobile. The major parts include fuselage sections, wings and other sections that were built at plants in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain made from parts from an international supply chain. They'll be assembled into an A321 jetliner at the Airbus plant that will open soon at the Mobile Aeroplex. The A321ceo will be delivered to customer JetBlue in 2016. "This is a day of celebration as we reach another important milestone in aircraft production in the U.S.," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus president and CEO. About 200 employees, including some from Mobile who are training in Hamburg, celebrated the milestone. (Source: GCAC, 05/29/15)

Boeing picks MSU

The Boeing Co. chose Mississippi State University as the host for a research center that will lead development on composites the company will eventually use to build aircraft. The Stitched Resin Infused Composite Research Center will be housed at MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory. The school in Starkville was selected through a competition. Boeing would provide $3 million in equipment and fund two full-time engineers. The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg will serve as a technology incubator of next-generation composite material systems. Southern Miss has entered into a new master agreement with the company to accelerate research and development of next generation materials, including polymers and polymer matrix composites. The new agreement builds on an existing relationship between Southern Miss and Boeing, which currently has a research contract to utilize the assets of the Accelerator, the university's business incubator. (Sources: Jackson Clarion Ledger, WMC-5, 05/28/15) Previous

Airbus hints at production hike

BLAGNAC, France -- Airbus may be producing as many as 60 A320 family passenger jets per month as early as 2018, an increase of some 26 percent over the current number. Airbus sales chief John Leahy said "we aren't committed to anything yet," but said the company’s backlog of more than 6,000 A320-family orders could be the driver for such a large increase in production. Currently, Airbus produces 42 of the single-aisle A320s per month. Airbus Chief Operating Officer Tom Williams said Airbus could ramp up to 60 planes per month as soon as 2018. A formal decision by the company is expected by the year's end. The remarks came during an annual press conference at the company's Toulouse-Blagnac headquarters in southwestern France on Thursday. A key issue is whether the supply chain could keep up. Boeing also has said it's eyeing production increases of its 737. A new A320 family assembly line will be opening this summer in Mobile, Ala., joining plants in Hamburg, Toulouse and China that are already producting A320s. (Sources: USA Today, Wall Street Journal, 05/28/15)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

NASA conducts RS-25 test

RS-25 test at Stennis Space Center.
NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – An RS-25 rocket engine had a successful 450-second test Thursday at NASA's Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. The hotfire test was at the historic A-1 test stand, where Apollo rocket stages and Space Shuttle main engines, RS-25s, also were tested. One of the objectives being evaluated in this test is the new engine controller, or "brain" of the engine. The controller monitors the engine conditions and communicates the performance needs. RS-25 engines tested on the stand will power the core stage of NASA's new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which is being developed to carry humans deeper into space than ever before. A cluster of four RS-25 engines will power the core stage of the SLS. NASA engineers conducted an initial RS-25 engine test on the A-1 stand Jan. 9. RS-25 testing now is set to continue through the summer. (Source: NASA/SSC, 05/28/15)

Contract: Raytheon, $12M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded an $11,999,540 firm-fixed-price contract to procure Griffin missiles. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be complete by Jan. 31, 2016. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8656-15-C-0101). (Source: DoD, 05/28/15)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Contract: Sunshine Aero, $12.4M

Sunshine Aero Industries Inc., Florala, Ala., has been awarded a maximum $12,354,139 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for jet-A with additives fuel. This was a competitive acquisition with one response received. This is a four-year base contract. Location of performance is Alabama with a March 31, 2019, performance completion date. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-15-D-0102). (Source: DoD, 05/27/15)

Contract: Multiple, $45M

MES Group Inc., Tampa, Fla. (W91278-15-D-0034); Tetra Tech/Mason & Hanger JV, Michigan (W91278-15-D-0035); Patriot Design LLC, Montgomery, Ala. (W91278-15-D-0037); Prime AE Group Inc., Owings Mills, Md. (W91278-15-D-0039); CH2M Hill Inc., Englewood, Colo. (W91278-15-D-0042); Knight Architects Inc., Atlanta (W91278-15-D-0041); Hernandez Calhoun Design International P.A., Pensacola, Fla. (W91278-15-D-0043); BTA-TLC JV LLC, Pensacola, Fla. (W91278-15-D-0044); Burns & McDonnell Inc., Kansas City, Mo. (W91278-15-D-0040); and Bullock Tice Associates Inc., Pensacola, Fla. (W91278-15-D-0038), were awarded a $45,000,000 firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery contract for architect and engineering design services with the Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, South Atlantic Division, to support the Mobile District and South Atlantic Division military construction design program. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with a completion date of May 26, 2020. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 81 received. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/27/15)

AF certifies SpaceX to bid

The U.S. Air Force has certified SpaceX to launch military satellites, opening the door to a lucrative market previously held solely by a Lockheed and Boeing joint venture. With the clearance, SpaceX can compete for military space contracts valued at $9.5 billion over the next five years. Founded in 2002, SpaceX has become a leader in commercial space launches. SpaceX has made cargo flights to resupply the International Space Station and is preparing for a manned flight. (Source: Space Daily, 05/27/15) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX is using facilities at Stennis Space Center, Miss., for R&D on its next generation rocket engine.

QF-4 performs final mission

QF-4 prepped for final mission
Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Tyndall Air Force Base's QF-4 aerial target drone operations came to an end in mid-May following Combat Archer, an air-to-air targeting mission for the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard. The unmanned QF-4, a modified Phantom jet of the Vietnam era, provided full-scale targets for the pilots. The 82nd Aerial Target Squadron (ATRS) is transitioning to the QF-16 Viper, a modified Fighting Falcon. Six Vipers are scheduled for delivery to Tyndall by the close of 2015. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 05/25/15)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Space Florida, UWF sign MoU

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Space Florida and the University of West Florida signed a three-year memorandum of understanding to further develop cybersecurity technologies for commercial uses. Space Florida, the state's aerospace development authority, and UWF's Center for Research and Economic Opportunity will work together to determine opportunities to further develop and cybersecurity technologies to the commercial sector. In Pensacola, the Navy's Corry Station is home to the Center for Information Dominance and a Department of Homeland Security Computer Emergency Readiness Team. (Source: UWF, 05/26/15) The region has a keen interest in cybersecurity. Air Force cybersecurity personnel receive initial training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. Hurlburt Field, Fla., provides advanced training in cybersecurity.

Byrne: Sections arrive June 21

MOBILE, Ala. – The first large sections from Europe for the very first Airbus jetliner to be built in Alabama will arrive June 21. That's what U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne said at a Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday. But a spokeswoman from Airbus could not confirm the exact date, only that the shipment will arrive in June. (Source:, 05/26/15) Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor newsletter reported in February that the sections would arrive in June, but did not specify a date. The first plane that will be delivered in 2016 will be for JetBlue.

Contract: L-3 Vertex, $56.2M

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $56,182,753 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery requirements contract (N00019-13-D-0007) to exercise an option for logistics and depot level services for 119 TH-57 aircraft in support of the Naval Air Training Command's Undergraduate Helicopter Pilot Training Program. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Fla., and is expected to be completed in May 2016. Funds will be obligated against individual delivery orders as they are issued. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/26/15)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Three companies opt for Aeroplex

MOBILE, Ala. -- Three new engineering companies set up shop recently at the Mobile Aeroplex, joining Safran Engineering and Airbus Engineering to form a new engineering cluster. Sonovision and AKKA Technologies, both of France, and Inter-Informatics of the Czech Republic currently share some 3,500 square feet of space. They have a total of five people between them, but are expected to grow over time and move to a larger location at the complex. The 14,000 square-foot buildings other two tenants are Hoar Program Management and Dunn Building Co. All of this is a result of the Airbus passenger jet assembly line that is nearing completion. The assembly line will build A320 family aircraft beginning this summer. (Source:, 05/22/15)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Contract: Lockheed, $735.5M

Lockheed Martin Space System Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., has been awarded a $735,514,938 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for satellite sustainment. Contractor will provide sustainment of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF), Milstar, and Defense Satellite Communications System III. Work will be performed at Sunnyvale, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., and is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2015. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity (FA8823-15-C-0001). (Source: DoD, 05/21/15) Gulf Coast note: Core propulsion subsystem work the AEHF is done by Lockheed Martin at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Contract: Lockheed, $12.5M

Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems Inc., Bethesda, Md., was awarded a $12,506,746 modification (P00018) to contract W912DY-14-F-0423 for an extension of the Next Generation Technical Services (NGTS) III requirement. The scope of this effort contains the management and technical support necessary to advance high performance computing services, capabilities, infrastructure, and technology. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; Stennis Space Center, Miss.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and Lorton, Va., with an estimated completion date of July 19, 2015. Fiscal 2013, 2014 and 2015 research, development, testing, and evaluation, operations and maintenance (Army) and other procurement funds in the amount of $8,586,123 were obligated at the time of the award. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/20/15)

Work underway on SSC's B-2

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA began work a week ago in preparation for testing the core stage of its new Space Launch System (SLS). One million pounds of structural steel is being added to the B-2 stand to handle the large SLS stage. A major step in the modification involves repositioning and extension of the test stand's Main Propulsion Test Article (MPTA) framework, which supports the rocket stage for testing. It was repositioned last summer, now it’s being heightened. The existing MPTA is 61 feet high and has 1.2 million pounds of fabricated steel. Three sections of structural steel will be hoisted in upcoming weeks and the MPTA will extend 100 feet higher – a new look to the SSC skyline. When testing begins, all four RS-25 will be tested simultaneously. NASA’s SLS is being developed to return humans to deep-space missions. (Source: Space Daily, 05/20/15) Boeing is building the core stage at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Related

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

F-35Bs aboard Wasp for testing

Six Marine Corps F-35B fighters landed aboard the amphibious warship USS Wasp off the East Coast Monday for two weeks of operational tests. The tests are required before the Marines can declare its first squadron of 10 F-35s ready for combat in July. The ability of the jets to integrate with flight and deck operations will be closely monitored. (Source: Reuters, 05/18/15) Gulf Coast note: The jets are assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 of Beaufort, S.C., which transferred to Beaufort last year from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

SSC seeks interest in test stands

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA is looking for companies interested in underutilized federal facilities at its rocket engine test site in South Mississippi, including the 300-foot tall, $350 million A-3 test stand. NASA issued a request for information May 13. In addition to four test stands, NASA is looking for parties interested in utilizing portions of the Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant, which occupies a large tract in the north of Stennis Space Center. SSC will make all facilities available during the week of June 22-26 for site visits. (Source: GCAC, 05/16/15)

NASA, state note partnership

BATON ROUGE, La. -- NASA, its Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and the State of Louisiana celebrated their long partnership during the 2015 NASA Louisiana Aerospace Day Thursday. Patrick Scheuermann, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., which manages Michoud, astronaut Rick Mastracchio and other NASA and Michoud officials met with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and other state leaders. NASA's economic, educational and cultural contributions to the state were recognized by proclamations in the House and Senate, while displays in the rotunda and on the lawn gave visitors a look at work underway on the Space Launch System, Orion and other NASA projects. (Source: SpaceRef, 05/15/15)

CV-22s get more armor

It was 18 months ago that four Navy SEALS were wounded when their Air Force Special Operations CV-22 was hit with rounds of AK-47 and .50 caliber fire. It happened when three CV-22s tried to land in South Sudan to evacuate U.S. citizens from a civil war. That incident prompted the military to seek a solution. Now a Florida company is providing composite armor that can be installed in the back cabin to protect passengers. The Protective Group came up with a kit of 66 armor plates sized to fit along the Osprey’s interior bulkheads and deck. Developed in 179 days, the kits can be installed or taken out as needed. Sixteen of the $270,000 Advanced Ballistic Stopping System kits have been delivered to the Air Force. (Source: Breaking Defense, 05/15/15)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Contract: Leebcor, $7.8M

Leebcor Services LLC, Williamsburg, Va., is being awarded $7,100,622 for firm-fixed-price task order 0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N69450-14-D-0759) for renovation and repairs to buildings 3701 and 3706 at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. Building 3701 is an existing three story bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQ) structure and 3706 is an existing one story laundry facility and mechanical room. The renovations will provide the 2+0 Unit configuration to building 3701 to allow 49 units for a total of 98 berths and will upgrade the laundry facility in Building 3706 to a commercial laundry facility for BEQ housekeeping staff. The contract also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $7,788,880. Work will be performed in Pensacola and is expected to be completed by May 2017. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/14/15)

Contract: M7 Aerospace, $13.4M

M7 Aerospace LLC, San Antonio, Texas, is being awarded a $13,354,491 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery requirements contract (N00019-11-D-0002) to exercise an option for logistics support for 12 Navy/Marine Corps UC-35 aircraft and seven Navy C-26 aircraft at nine global locations. Services to be provided include organizational and depot level maintenance, parts, support equipment maintenance, and engineering support. Work will be performed at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Hawaii (15 percent); Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, Japan (15 percent); Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (10 percent); Fleet Marine Reserve Detachment, Belle Chase, La. (10 percent); Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy (10 percent); Naval Support Activity, Naples, Italy (10 percent); MCAS Miramar, Calif. (10 percent); MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. (5 percent); San Antonio, Texas (5 percent); Al Udeid, Qatar (5 percent); and Moron, Spain (5 percent), and is expected to be completed by February 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/14/15)

Contract: Multiple, $634M

Alion Science and Technology Corp., Burr Ridge, Ill. (W56HZV-15-D-RD01); Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-RD02); DCS Corp., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-RD03); Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (W56HZV-15-D-RD04); Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas (W56HZV-15-D-RD05); SAIC, McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-RD06); VSE Corp., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-RD07); CDQ JV, Goleta, Calif. (W56HZV-15-D-RD08); FEDITC LLC, Rockville, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-RD09); Hodges Transportation Inc., Silver Springs, Nev. (W56HZV-15-D-RD10); Loc Performance Products Inc., Plymouth, Mich. (W56HZV-15-D-RD11); Middle Bay Solutions LLC, Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-RD12); Northwind-Jacobs JV, Shelocta, Pa., (W56HZV-15-D-RD13); PD Systems Inc., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-RD14); Quantum Research International Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-RD15); Select Engineering Services, doing business as Mark. G. Miller Inc., Layton, Utah (W56HZV-15-D-RD16); The Service Engineering Co. LLC, Belcamp, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-RD17); Waltonen Engineering Inc., Warren, Mich. (W56HZV-15-D-RD18); WestWind Aerospace Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-RD19) were awarded a $634,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for research and development services to include services for the purpose of creating and developing new processes or products. Only for task order requirements to directly perform work that is an integral part of R&D services for the creation of new processes or products. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with an estimated completion date of May 13, 2023. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 22 received. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/14/15)

Contract: Multiple, $1.1B

Army Fleet Support LLC, Fort Rucker, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-ER01); BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP, York, Pa. (W56HZV-15-D-ER02); Baum, Romstedt Technology Research Corp., Vienna, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-ER03); Booz Allen Hamilton Engineering Services LLC, Linthicum, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-ER04); DUCOM Inc., Silver Spring, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-ER05); DynCorp International LLC, McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-ER06); Vectrus Systems Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo. (W56HZV-15-D-ER07); Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc., Columbia, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-ER08); Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (W56HZV-15-D-ER09); Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla. (W56HZV-15-D-ER10); Mantech Advanced Systems International Inc., Fairfax, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-ER11); PD Systems Inc., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-ER12); Qualis Corp., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-ER13); SAIC, McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-ER14); Strategic Resources Inc., McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-ER15); Systems Products and Solutions Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-ER16URS Federal Services Inc. Germantown, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-ER17); VSE Corp., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-ER18); Integrated Logistics Solutions Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-ER19); and SFS Global/Tiburon JV, Susanville, Calif. (W56HZV-15-D-ER20) were awarded a $1,100,000,000 order-dependent multiple award task order contract indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for equipment related services. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with an estimated completion date of May 13, 2023. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 24 received. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/14/15)

Contract: Multiple, $1.8B

BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP, York, Pa. (W56HZV-15-D-KB01); Baum, Romstedt Technology Research Corp., Vienna, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB02); Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB03); CALIBRE Systems Inc., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB04); Camber Corp., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-KB05); D & S Consultants Inc., Eatontown, N.J. (W56HZV-15-D-KB06); DCS Corp., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB07); IBM, Reston, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB09); Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (W56HZV-15-D-KB10); Mantech Advanced Systems International Inc., Fairfax, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB11); PD Systems Inc., Alexandria, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB12); SAIC, McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB13); Strategic Resources Inc., McLean, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB14); URS Federal Services Inc., Germantown, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-KB15); Vencore Services and Solutions Inc., Reston, Va. (W56HZV-15-D-KB16); Wyle Laboratories Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-KB17); Accent Controls Inc., Riverside, Mo. (W56HZV-15-D-KB18); C2D JV, Goleta, Calif. (W56HZV-15-D-KB19); DS3 Solutions LLC, Layton, Utah (W56HZV-15-D-KB20); DUCOM Inc., Silver Spring, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-KB21); FEDITC LLC, Rockville, Md. (W56HZV-15-D-KB22); Middle Bay Solutions LLC, Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-KB23); Northwind-Jacobs JV, Shelocta, Pa. (W56HZV-15-D-KB24); Tecmasters Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (W56HZV-15-D-KB25); United Support Services LLC, Lawrence, Mass. (W56HZV-15-D-KB26); and WS3 LLC, Warren, Mich. (W56HZV-15-D-KB27) were awarded a $1,800,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, order dependent contract for knowledge based service-type requirements. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with an estimated completion date of May 13, 2023. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 35 received. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/14/15)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Welding begins on Orion pathfinder

NEW ORLEANS -- Engineers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility began welding together the first pieces of the structure of the Orion crew module pathfinder. This pathfinder is a full-scale version of the current spacecraft design. It's used to demonstrate the manufacturing and assembly procedures that will be used to produce the actual flight hardware. Using a pathfinder allows engineers to make sure those procedures work correctly and to improve the process before producing the flight article. This pathfinder will help NASA prepare for Orion's next mission to deep space atop the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. (Source: SpaceDaily, 05/12/15)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hurricane Hunters hit skies early

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters flew WC-130J Hercules aircraft to check out the first storm of the 2015 hurricane season, Tropical Storm Ana. Ana made landfall May 11 near Myrtle Beach, S.C., and was quickly downgraded to a tropical depression. The Hurricane Hunters flew six sorties into the storm. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. It's not uncommon for a storm to form before the season begins, according to Maj. Douglas Gautrau, a 53rd WRS aerial reconnaissance weather officer. (Source: AFNS, 05/11/15)

Friday, May 8, 2015

NASA picks proposals

NASA has selected research and technology proposals from 254 small businesses and 39 research institutions in the United States for grants to develop new technologies that will further NASA's journey to Mars. Proposals were solicited through NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Proposals that lead to the successful development of ideas and products could result in contracts with a combined approximate value of $47.7 million. NASA is funding proposals that will enable space transportation for human and robotic missions, new ways to protect astronauts in space, and innovative ways to keep spacecraft systems operational. A dozen selected proposals involve technology being administered by the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, Miss., each worth up to $125,000 in the Phase 1 period. (Source: NASA, 05/08/15)

Contract: General Atomics, $38M

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a not-to-exceed $37,962,062 undefinitized contract action modification (0140) to previously awarded contract FA8620-10-G-3038. Contractor will provide 64 MQ-9 Electrical Safety Improvement Program retrofit kits on 64 Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, and Air National Guard Block 1 aircraft. Work will be performed at Poway and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2017. Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/08/15)

MSU team named COE UAS

The Federal Aviation Administration has chosen the Mississippi State University team as the FAA's Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (COE UAS). The center will focus on research, education and training in areas critical to integration of unmanned systems into the nation's airspace. The team includes 15 leading UAS and aviation universities. The research areas will include detect and avoid technology, low-altitude operations safety, control and communications, spectrum management, human factors, compatibility with air traffic control operations, and training and certification. In addition to MSU, other team members are Drexel University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Kansas State University, Kansas University, Montana State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of North Dakota, and Wichita State University. The COE will be able to begin research by September 2015 and be fully operational by January 2016. Once the team develops detailed research plans, the FAA will determine the relationship between the new COE and the six UAS sites the FAA announced last year. The FAA expects COE flight testing to occur at one or more of the existing test sites. (Source: FAA, 05/08/15) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast region is heavily involved in unmanned systems, including work on the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout and Global Hawk systems.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Contract: Airbus D&S, $24M

Airbus Defense and Space Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $24,012,980 modification (P00878) to multi-year contract W58RGZ-06-C-0194 for mission equipment packages to be cut into the Lakota Helicopter production line as part of the Army Aviation Restructure Initiative for training aircraft. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2017. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/07/15)

Female F-35 pilots begins training

Lt. Col. Mau readies for sortie.
Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The first female F-35 pilot has started training. Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group deputy commander, completed her first training flight in the single-seat fifth-generation fighter following 14 virtual training missions in the full mission simulator at the F-35 Academic Training Center. She's formerly an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot. She joins 87 other F-35A pilots trained over the last four years here. (Source: 33rd Fighter Wing, 05/06/15)

Contract: UTC, $7.6M

United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $7,643,131 fixed-price-incentive firm target modification to a previously awarded F135 advanced acquisition contract (N00019-13-C-0016) for long-lead items for low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot X. The long-lead items include group hardware supporting the LRIP Lot X delivery of conventional take off and landing (CTOL) propulsion systems for the Air Force, group hardware supporting the LRIP Lot X delivery of CTOL, carrier variant propulsion systems for the Navy/Marine Corps, and group hardware supporting the LRIP Lot X delivery of short take-off and vertical landing propulsion systems for the Marine Corps. Work will be performed in East Hartford (67 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (26.5 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (6.5 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2017. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (97.4 percent), and the Air Force (2.6 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 05/06/15) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Emerald Warrior concludes

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - More than 2,100 personnel from across the Gulf Cost and New Mexico on May 1 completed the two-week-long Air Force Special Operations Command training exercise Emerald Warrior 2015. The exercise was designed to provide realistic and relevant pre-deployment training encompassing multiple joint operating areas. Among the training sites were Hurlburt Field, Eglin Air Force Base and Apalachicola in Florida; Camp Shelby and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi; Pelham Range in Alabama; and Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico. (Source: Air Force Special Operations Command, 05/05/15)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Contract: Applied Research, $18.8M

Applied Research Associates Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., has been awarded an $18,845,422 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide research and development for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center in the development and evaluation of enhanced and emerging technologies under robotics and automation. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2020. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with seven offers received. Fiscal 2015 research and development funds in the amount of $450,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The 325th Contracting Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, is the contracting activity (FA4819-15-C-0002). (Source: DoD, 05/05/15)

Blue Angels name new CO

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The Navy's Blue Angels announced a new commanding officer for the precision flying team's 2016-17 season. Navy Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi, a California native and experience F/A-18 pilot, will take command after the final show of the 2014-15 season in November at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Bernacchi will succeed Capt. Tom Frosch. A change-of-command is scheduled for Nov. 8 at the National Naval Aviation Museum aboard NAS Pensacola. (Source: NNS, 05/05/15)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Aero academy ribbon cut

FAIRHOPE, Ala. -- Educators, politicians, students and residents gathered here Saturday to dedicate a new aviation training academy at H.L. "Sonny" Callahan Airport. Gov. Robert Bentley was joined by officials with the Fairhope Airport Authority, Baldwin County Public Schools, the two-year college system and others to cut the ribbon outside the academy. It first opened to students in January and teaches aviation, industrial maintenance and welding to adult and high school students for college credit. (Source:, 05/02/15)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Walton County site certified

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. -- DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport has become the first certified industrial park in Walton County through Gulf Power's Florida First Sites program. Florida First Sites was created in 2013 to help communities prepare sites to attract new industries and new jobs to the region. This is the seventh site to be certified in Northwest Florida under the program. This industrial park, owned by the city of DeFuniak Springs, has two parcels within the airport property that have become certified, one 22.32 acres and one 34 acres. (Source: Gulf Power, 05/01/15) Previous

Friday, May 1, 2015

Aero workers furloughed

CANTONMENT, Fla. – Defense company Marianna Airmotive on Friday furloughed a large part of its workforce because of a slowdown in work for the government. The company, which overhauls and fabricates parts for Air Force C-5 aircraft, has not closed and some staffers are still working. The company expects to bring workers back when the situation changes. The company, established in 1968 in Marianna, moved to its current location in 1989. (Source: North, 05/01/15) In the most recent figures available, the company had 125 workers. Background story

Union OKs agreement

MILTON, Fla. -- Union members of local 2777 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) who work at Naval Air Station Whiting Field ratified a three-year agreement with L-3 Vertex Aerospace. The agreement includes a three percent general wage increase for each year of the contract, increases employer pension contributions and raises safety standards. L-3 Vertex Aerospace in May 2014 was awarded a modified $55 million logistics and maintenance support contract for TH-57 aircraft at Whiting Field. (Source: IAM, 04/30/15)