Tuesday, December 30, 2008

N.O. releases tech worker report

NEW ORLEANS, La. - There are more than 37,000 technology workers in the metro New Orleans area. That's according to a report released by the Louisiana Technology Council. The workers account for more than 7 percent of the workforce, and most work in sectors not seen as traditional technology fields, like healthcare, transportation and government. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the University of New Orleans and Louisiana Economic Development. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 12/30/08) One large group of technology workers can be found at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in east New Orleans.

Monday, December 29, 2008

City to pay to lease airport land

MOBILE, Ala. - The city of Mobile will have to pay about $40,000 a year to lease land at Mobile Regional Airport to build a police and fire station. City and airport officials say the Federal Aviation Administration forbids airports to lease property for less than fair market value. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 12/29/08)

Friday, December 26, 2008

NASA contracts grease private sector

NASA has awarded $3.5 billion in cargo contracts to two companies in hopes of encouraging development of a private-sector commercial space industry capable of providing the rockets that can carry passengers to the International Space Station and beyond. Space Exploration Technologies of California and Orbital Sciences of Virginia will provide 20 flights to the space station. (Source: Florida Today, 12/25/08). The Gulf Coast is involved in space activities primarily through Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

FWB losing countermeasure hub

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - Northrop Grumman will move its Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system hub from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to the Warner Robins area in Georgia. It's the result of an agreement between the Air Force and Northrop Grumman signed Dec. 11. Northrop officials designed LAIRCM to counter the increasing threat that slow-moving cargo aircraft face from shoulder-fired missiles and missiles launched from vehicles. The system detects heat-seeking missiles and puts out a signal to confuse its path and direct it away from the aircraft. (Source: Air Force News Service, 12/24/08)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

UAV maritime team wins award

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration team was named Test Team of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2008 by the Navy's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20. The team won the award for achievements in the first half of the year. The team is, among other things, developing tactics and guidelines for Navy unmanned patrol systems. (Source: Globe Newswire, 12/23/08). Portions of Global Hawk are built in Moss Point, Miss.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ATK gets contract

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Alliant Techsystems received a $49 million contract from Orbital Sciences Corp. to provide at least nine flight sets of Orion solid rocket motors. The motors are used on a variety of launch vehicles, including Ground Based Missile Defense's Orbital Boost Vehicle, Minotaur, Pegasus and Taurus launch vehicles. Work will be performed by ATK in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/22/08). ATK has an operation in Shalimar, Fla.; Stennis Space Center, Miss., will test Taurus II AJ26 rocket engines for Orbital Sciences Corp. in 2009.

Stennis-made satellite item delivered

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - The Lockheed Martin-led team developing the Air Force's Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) delivered the remaining major spacecraft bus subsystem for the second geosynchronous orbit spacecraft. The GEO-2 spacecraft core structure and propulsion subsystem was recently completed and the high-performance communications subsystem for the spacecraft was delivered to Sunnyvale in early December. The propulsion subsystem, used to maneuver the satellite during transfer orbit and conducting on-orbit repositioning, was developed at Lockheed Martin's Mississippi Space & Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 12/22/08).

Northrop sectors win AIA awards

Northrop Grumman won two Worker Safety Excellence Awards from the Aerospace Industries Association. The company's Integrated Systems sector, which runs among other facilities Mississippi's Moss Point Unmanned Systems Center, was recognized for having the lowest injury and illness rate in the aircraft manufacturing category. The company's Electronics Systems sector was honored in the aerospace components category. The AIA cited Northrop Grumman's low workplace injury and illness rates as well as its positive safety program elements. (Source: Globe Newswire, 12/22/08). The Moss Point facility builds Global Hawks and Fire Scouts.

Monday, December 22, 2008

F-35 ground test unit rolls out

FORT WORTH, Texas - Lockheed Martin's second F-35 ground-test aircraft rolled out last week at the Fort Worth plant and in April will head to the BAE Systems Structures Laboratory in Brough, England for static testing. This F-35, AG-1, is a static test article for the conventional takeoff and landing version that will be flown by the Air Force and eight F-35 partner nations. The F-35 is being developed by Lockheed and principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two interchangeable F-35 engines are being developed by Pratt & Whitney and GE Rolls-Royce. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 12/19/08). Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Rolls-Royce have Gulf Coast operations; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home to the F-35 joint training center.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tanker fight: Low bid or best value?

Boeing and Northrop Grumman disagree over ground rules that should be used for the tanker competition expected next year. The companies discussed their views last week at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit. Boeing, which wants to build the planes in Washington State, wants the contract to go to the low bidder, while Northrop and partner EADS, which want to build the planes in Mobile, Ala., favor a "best value" approach. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/21/08)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Airport Hyatt franchise OKd

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Innisfree Hotels won approval Wednesday for a Hyatt Place Hotel to be built on land owned by Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport. The 127-room Hyatt Place would be the centerpiece of a $24 million development. The site is at the main entrance to the airport. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/17/08)

Land buy will help protect Whiting

The governor of Florida and cabinet approved the purchase of more than 200 acres in the Clear Creek/Whiting Field area as part of the Florida Forever project. The acquisition will protect the environmentally sensitive land and prevent encroachment at Whiting Field Naval Air Station. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/17/08). NAS Whiting, near Milton, Fla., is a training site for naval aviators.

Northrop unveils Navy UCAV

Northrop Grumman unveiled the first of the Navy's new unmanned combat aircraft at a ceremony in Palmdale, Calif. The X-47B is the first of two aircraft Northrop Grumman will produce for the Navy to demonstrate unmanned combat aircraft operations from the deck of an aircraft carrier. (Source: Globe Newswire, 12/16/08) Northrop Grumman has multiple operations on the Gulf Coast, including an unmanned systems center in Moss Point, Miss.

Airport passenger count down

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The sour economy has caused a dip in the passenger count at Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport. From January through November of this year, 97,791 fewer passengers passed through the airport than during the same period last year — a 6 percent drop. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/17/08)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Okaloosa gets $300,000 in grants

SHALIMAR, Fla. - Enterprise Florida presented Okaloosa County with two grants totaling some $300,000. One was a Defense Infrastructure Grant worth $200,000, the other a $99,000 Defense Reinvestment Grant. Money from these grants is used to improve the state's defense activities. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/16/08)

Mobile airport buying back bonds

MOBILE, Ala. - The Mobile Airport Authority will buy back $2.75 million in bonds whose interest rate jumped when the bond market succumbed to financial turmoil this fall. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 12/16/08)

Monday, December 15, 2008

50th Lakota delivery marked

COLUMBUS, Miss. - EADS North America is hosting a ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the delivery of the 50th UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter to the Army. The ceremony will culminate with the 50th and 51st helicopters leaving the production facility of EADS North America’s American Eurocopter business unit. The event is at 11 a.m. CST. (Source: EADS North America, 12/14/08). EADS also has operations on the Gulf Coast, including an EADS CASA maintenance facility and an Airbus Engineering Center in Mobile, Ala.

SSC to test Taurus II rocket

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - John C. Stennis Space Center test the engine for the Taurus II space launch vehicle being developed by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. The first engine will be delivered to Stennis next year and the first Taurus II mission will be flown in support of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services cargo demonstration to the International Space Station. The demonstration is planned for the end of 2010 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Taurus II uses a pair of Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines to provide first stage propulsion for the new launch vehicle. (Source: NASA, 12/15/08)

New engineering degree eyed

MOBILE, Ala. - Alabama's community colleges could be offering a new associate's degree next fall in an effort to boost the state's engineering workforce. Higher education officials say figures show the need for 1,100 new engineers a year to meet industry demand. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 12/15/08)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thunderbirds OK Keesler show

BILOXI, Miss. - The Thunderbirds will perform in April during Keesler Air Force Base's first air show since Hurricane Katrina. The lineup for the April 4 and 5 show also includes the Army's parachute team, The Golden Knights, a flight display by the Hurricane Hunters, a World War II-era B-25 Mitchell bomber, aircraft flown by the 81st Wing and more. (Source: The Sun Herald, 12/13/08)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Contract: Broadmoor, $8M

Broadmoor, LLC., Metairie, La., is being awarded $8,000,000 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract for design and construction of Calibration Laboratory at Naval Air Station JRB New Orleans. Work will be performed in New Orleans, La., and is expected to be completed by June 2010. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/12/08)

Contract: Raytheon, $15.6M

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $15,633,300 modification to a previously awarded contract for fiscal year 2009 technical support of AIM-9X missiles for the Navy and Air Force. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., (90 percent); Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., (5 percent), and China Lake, Calif., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Nov. 2009. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/12/08)

Rapiscan wins award

Rapiscan Systems, a California company with a manufacturing operation in Ocean Springs, Miss., has been named the 2008 North American Homeland Security Inspection and Screening Company of the Year by Frost & Sullivan. Rapiscan Systems was cited for its ability to develop and deploy products that enhance security at airports, seaports and border crossings worldwide. In Ocean Springs, Rapiscan Systems has a 10,000 square foot manufacturing facility to supplement manufacturing of cargo and vehicle inspection and people screening systems. (Source: Rapiscan, 12/12/08)

Keesler airfield work begins

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - The largest airfield ramp repair project in Keesler history got underway earlier this month. The 270-day project will improve the airfield's capabilities. Current airfield operations support the C-21 missions of the 45th Airlift Squadron, C-130s from the Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, support for Coast Guard's aircraft training and more. (Source: Keesler Air Force Base, 12/11/08)

Eglin AAC getting new chief

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Maj. Gen. David Eidsaune is leaving Eglin Air Force Base to become director of operations at headquarters Air Force Materiel Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He'll be replaced as commander of Eglin Air Force Base's Air Armament Center by Maj. Gen. Charles R. Davis, executive officer for the F-35 program office in Arlington, Va. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/11/08)

Letter urges quick tanker action

U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to move quickly with a plan to replace the Air Force's fleet of refueling tankers. The letter was sent Thursday, a day after U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said it could take at least two more years to restart the tanker competition. The Northrop Grumman/EADS team won the competition in February and the planes were to be assembled in Mobile, Ala., but the competition was scrapped in September in the wake of a Boeing protest. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/12/08)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Center groundbreaking delayed

GULFPORT, Miss. - The Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport rescheduled the groundbreaking of the Naval Meteorology Professional Development Center to Friday because of the threat of severe winter weather today. The $8.7 million center is designed to meet the current and future mission to advance, implement, and manage the education and advanced professional training of meteorology and oceanography officers, aerographer's mates and civilians. (Source: Sun Herald, 12/11/08)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Contract: Raytheon, $7.9M

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz. for $7,924,403. This action is for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Air Intercept Missile – Greece Offset Administration. This action is a modification to the Production Lot 21 contract. 695 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/10/08)

Contract: McDonnell, $110.2M

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., for $110,224,001. This action will exercise the Lot 5 Option for Small Diameter Bomb, Increment I Production for munitions, carriages, and technical and logistical support. 681 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/10/08)

Army to upgrade Raven UAV

The Army plans to bring a digital data link to its fleet of Raven UAVs so more aircraft can fly in a given combat area. The Army project manager says the service is buying 50 new Ravens and retrofitting 200 others. An executive with AeroVironment, a California company that makes the digital data link, says that with digitally compressed video more data can be put into smaller bandwidth. (Source: DefenseNews, 12/09/08). AeroVironment has a UAV training and support operation in Navarre, Fla.

Goodrich sees $3B in Airbus deal

Goodrich Corp.has been selected by Airbus to supply wheels and carbon brakes for all variants of the A350 XWB aircraft. The selection is expected to generate more than $3 billion in revenue over the life of the program. The equipment will be provided by Goodrich's Aircraft Wheels and Brakes team in Troy, Ohio. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/09/08) Goodrich also operates the Alabama Service Center in Foley, Ala.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Contract: Northrop, $18.2M

The Air Force is modifying a fixed price incentive firm contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif. not to exceed $18,222,000. This action will provide additional long lead associated with five Global Hawks, two ground segments, two EISS and two ASIP sensor payloads. 303 AESG/PK Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/09/08) Global Hawk fuselage work is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Contract: Raytheon, $16.3M

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz. for $16,298,964. This action will provide High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile Targeting Systems Contractor Logistics Support for one year with two one-year options. 693 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/05/08)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chromalloy to close FWB plant

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - Chromalloy Gas Turbine laid off 67 workers and plans to close its 30-year-old Fort Walton Beach plant next year. The layoffs are among 400 companywide at 25 locations. Chromalloy inspects and repairs commercial aircraft engines. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/05/08)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Northrop to stress commitment

MOBILE, Ala. - Northrop Grumman executive Wes Bush will be in Mobile Friday to discuss the company's commitment to Mobile and Alabama in moving ahead on the Air Force tanker project. The Northrop/EADS team won the contract, but Boeing's protest was upheld and the competition is on hold. Bush will talk to the media at the Battlehouse. (Source: FOX10 News, 12/04/08)

60th flying final sortie

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The 60th Fighter Squadron is flying its final sortie today after 37 years. The F-15 fighter squadron is part of the drawdown of the 33rd Fighter Wing. That wing is being replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program slated to arrive in 2010. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/04/08)

Gulf Breeze eyes space tourist training

GULF BREEZE, Fla. - A news conference today will announce formation of a unique personal spaceflight medical and training program for commercial space tourists. The program will be conducted at the Andrews Institute in partnership with Space Florida. A study by the University of West Florida cited the growing need for such a program. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/04/08)

NASA backers worry over budget

NASA supporters fear bailouts will make it hard for a new administration to maintain the current space budget, let alone deliver on a campaign promise to speed up the Constellation Program. (Source: Houston Chronicle, 12/02/08) Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are involved in space programs.

Fire Scout runs successful test

The Northrop Grumman Fire Scout, an unmanned helicopter, successfully transmitted video, electro-optical and infrared images simultaneously in a demonstration flight last month in Arizona. (Source: Global Newswire, 12/02/08) Finishing work on the Fire Scout is done in Moss Point, Miss. Fire Scouts have already been sold to the Army and Navy, and the company hopes to interest the Coast Guard.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

AirTran to end Gulfport service

GULFPORT, Miss. - AirTran will end service to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on Jan. 5. The company operated under a contract with casinos, but casinos opted not to continue the contract. The airline said the market is not viable without it. The airport said AirTran accounts for up about 25 percent of scheduled traffic. (Source: Sun Herald, 12/03/08)

EADS project gets local funding

MOBILE, Ala. - Local governments will spend $468,000 on a firefighting system to help EADS CASA with an expansion of its Mobile facility. The Mobile City Council voted Tuesday to contribute $234,000 to the fire suppression system, and the county commission will pay the other half. EADS CASA, a Spanish subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., has an aircraft maintenance and training center at the Mobile airport. It services planes flown by the U.S. Coast Guard. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/03/08) (EADS North America press release)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Contract: EADS, $208M

EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $208,375,756 firm fixed price contract for funding of the Army’s Light Utility Helicopter contract for thirty-nine Light Utility Helicopters. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., and Grand Prairie, Texas, with a completion date of Aug. 31, 2010. (Source: DoD, 12/02/08). EADS/Airbus and EADS CASA have also have operations in Mobile, Ala.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rolls engine testing booms at Stennis

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - A year after opening its doors, Rolls-Royce North America has already conducted tests on the Trent 900 and 1000, used on the Airbus A300 and Boeing 787, respectively, and is getting ready to take on more. The next engine due for testing is the BR725 for the Gulfstream G650. By 2010 and 2011, Rolls-Royce will be testing the Trent XWB for the Airbus A350 XWB and the RB282 engine, for a corporate jet developed by Dessault. Rolls-Royce has been conducting six engine-test series a year at Stennis. (Source: The Sun Herald, 11/30/08)