Friday, January 30, 2009

Contract: L-3, $6.1M

The Air Force is awarding a contract to L3 Communications Corp., Integrated Systems Joint Operations of Lexington, Ky., for $6,156,863. The contract exercises the remaining option for the production and installation of dual rails to the MC-130P. The work will be performed in Crestview and Fort Walton Beach, Fla. WR-ALC/580th ACSSG/Contracting, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/30/09)

Satellite completes key test

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - The first Space-Based Infrared System geosynchronous orbit satellite, built by Lockheed Martin for the Air Force, has completed a key test using new flight software. The SBIRS program is designed to provide early warning of missile launches and support other missions, including technical intelligence and battlespace awareness. The spacecraft will be delivered to the Air Force in fiscal year 2010 and launched aboard an Atlas V. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 01/29/09) Gulf Coast note: SBIRS work locations include the SBIRS Wing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Sunnyvale, and Azusa, Calif.; Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs, Colo.; Gaithersburg, Md.; Valley Forge, Pa.; and Lockheed Martin Space & Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Navy holds meeting about trainer

SUMMERDALE, Ala. - The Navy held a public meeting in Summerdale Thursday to discuss how the Navy’s new training aircraft may impact residents who live near outlying fields used for touch-and-go training. About 200 people showed up at the Summerdale Community Center. The Navy is upgrading its trainer to a more powerful T-6B, and that will require more runway space at outlying fields. Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., which trains naval pilots, operates 13 outlying landing fields in the region. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/30/09)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cargo plane possibility impresses Murtha

MOBILE, Ala. - A Congressman who will play a key role in the battle between Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS over the Air Force tanker project said he was impressed to learn cargo planes would also be built in Mobile if Northrop/EADS wins the contract. Rep. John Murtha from Pennsylvania said after the visit to Mobile that the Pentagon is moving forward and expects to have a request for proposals in the spring. But he added that during the appropriations process his committee is looking at alternatives, though he did not provide specifics. But the Mobile Press-Register reports that during a luncheon, Murtha said the Air Force should buy aircraft from both Boeing and Northrop/EADS in order to break the stalemate. "I'm trying to work this problem out. Because I don't think it's going to work the way the Defense Department is trying to work it out," Murtha said. "I'm not going to say publicly a lot more because, obviously, I have to convince a lot of other people. But I have convinced myself." The Northrop/EADS team won the contract last February to build the tankers in Mobile, but a Boeing protest was upheld. The Pentagon later decided to let the new administration take on the issue. (Source: Tcp, 01/29/09)

Hurricane Hunters pull winter duty

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Keesler Air Force Base airmen and two WC-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft deployed to Anchorage, Alaska, earlier this month for a month-long mission in support of the 2009 Winter Storm Reconnaissance Program. The 403rd Wing team includes Reserve aircrews, operations, maintenance, aerial porters, and others to improve winter storm forecast models. Operations are directed by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. (Source: AFNS, 01/28/09)

Split tanker buy gaining traction?

As the Pentagon attempts to craft a way forward to replace the KC-135 aerial refueling fleet, the option of a split buy between Boeing and EADS/Northrop is gaining attention on Capitol Hill. The idea may be a topic of discussion as Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania visits Mobile, Ala., today, where Northrop Grumman and EADS want to assemble the planes. Murtha is expected to visit Boeing’s Washington state facility in the coming weeks. The Pentagon has opposed duel-sourcing, but some are beginning to think a split buy is the only politically palatable way to move forward. (Source: Aviation Week, 01/29/09)

Raytheon 4Q report

WALTHAM, Mass. - Raytheon Co. announced fourth quarter 2008 adjusted income from continuing operations of $466 million or $1.13 per diluted share, compared to $420 million or $0.96 per diluted share in the fourth quarter 2007. Reported fourth quarter2008 income from continuing operations was $421 million or $1.02 per dilutedshare compared to $634 million or $1.45 per diluted share in the fourth quarter 2007. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/29/09) Gulf Coast note: Raytheon has operations in Northwest Florida

Airbus won't bid on Air Force One

EADS, which still hopes to build aerial tankers in Mobile, Ala., said it will decline an invitation to bid on a contract to replace Air Force One. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. wants to remain focused on military contracts. EADS North America spokesman Tim Paynter said building the presidential jet won’t help the company meet its business objective in the United States. The decision likely makes Boeing the sole contender to build Air Force One. (Sources: multiple, including AFP, Mobile Press-Register, 01/29/09) Gulf Coast note: EADS also operates the American Eurocopter plant in Columbus, Miss., and an EADS CASA maintenance facility in Mobile, Ala.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Northrop gets new RQ-4 contract

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a contract valued at $276 million for operations and maintenance support of the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The contract calls for training and peacetime operations support for fiscal years 2009 and 2010. It will also provide operational assistance for new forward operating locations in Guam and Italy. Northrop Grumman's contract teammates are L-3 Communications, Raytheon and Rolls-Royce. (Source: Globe Newswire, 01/28/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

ATK to make fan cases for XWB engine

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Alliant Techsystems has agreed to a contract valued in excess of $200 million with Rolls-Royce to produce composite aft fan cases for the new Trent XWB engine. The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB will power the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. Rolls-Royce has received orders for over 1,000 XWB engines. ATK will also integrate additional components into the cases. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/28/09) Gulf Coast note: The Trent XWB engines will be tested at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi by 2010 or 2011; ATK has an operation in Northwest Florida; Goodrich was selected by Airbus to supply wheels and carbon brakes for the A350 XWB. It has a service center in Foley, Ala.

Tanker rematch reheating soon?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday in Washington that he's committed to launching a new competition for the Air Force's tanker contract as quickly as possible. Gates told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that he plans to meet with top Air Force officials in the next few weeks to begin planning for a rematch between Boeing and a team led by Northrop Grumman and EADS North America. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/28/09) Gulf Coast note: All three companies have operations in the Gulf Coast. If the Northrop Grumman/EADS team wins, it plans to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala.

General Dynamics Q4 report

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - General Dynamics reported that earnings from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2008 were $630 million, or $1.62 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to 2007 fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $578 million, or $1.42 per share fully diluted. Revenue increased to $7.9 billion in the quarter, compared to fourth-quarter 2007 revenue of $7.5 billion. Earnings from continuing operations for the full year of 2008 were $2.48 billion, or $6.22 per share on a fully diluted basis, an increase of 19.1 percent over 2007 full-year earnings from continuing operations of $2.1 billion, or $5.10 per share fully diluted. Revenue for the full year of 2008 was $29.3 billion, compared with $27.2 billion for 2007, an increase of 7.6 percent. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/28/09) Gulf Coast note: General Dynamics has operations in Northwest Florida and South Mississippi.

Boeing 4Q report

CHICAGO - Boeing will cut 10,000 jobs in the wake of a dismal fourth-quarter showing. Boeing said net income declined to a loss of $56 million, or $0.08 per share, reflecting the now-settled machinists' strike, a charge related to the 747 and a litigation-related reserve. Revenues for the quarter declined 27 percent to $12.7 billion, due primarily to the effects of the strike which reduced commercial airplane deliveries by about 70 units and revenues by an estimated $4.3 billion. For the full year of 2008, net income fell 34 percent to $2.7 billion, EPS was $3.71 per share and revenue fell 8 percent to $60.9 billion. Full-year results were impacted by the strike, the 747 charge, the litigation-related reserve, and higher costs for AEW&C announced in the second quarter, which reduced full-year EPS by an estimated $2.56 per share. The 10,000 jobs includes the 4,500 previously announced. (Source: Boeing, 01/28/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has operations in New Orleans and Northwest Florida.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Contract: Hensel, $121.1M

Hensel Phelps Construction Co., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $121,144,000 firm fixed price contract for construction of the FY09 Special Forces Complex at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work includes clearing, grubbing, earthwork and erosion control of some 350 acre containment site and 130 acre access road, construction of road system and electrical and communications distribution, water wells and elevated water storage tanks, water distribution, wastewater collection and storm drain systems. Buildings include group headquarters, 4-battalion headquarters/company operations facility, combat readiness training facility, group support battalion headquarters/company operations facility, dining facility and audio visual equipment purchase and installation. Estimated completion date is Aug. 1, 2011. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/27/09)

F-16 pilots picked as F-35 instructors

Two pilots from F-16 Fighting Falcon squadrons at Luke Air Force Base, Texas, are among the pilots tapped to form the initial cadre for the F-35 Lightning II. Both are instructor pilots for Air Education and Training Command. They'll be part of the initial group of 10 instructors in the F-35 training program at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and will be responsible for training subsequent instructors. (Source: Air Force Times, 01/26/09) The Marine Corps earlier this month selected six pilots for their version of the F-35 and will arrive at Eglin later this year or early next. (Story)

Lunar lander engine tested

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine successfully demonstrated capabilities required for NASA's Altair lunar lander. The engine performed with stable operation at the widest throttle range of any known high performance cryogenic engine during its third series of ground tests at the company's West Palm Beach, Fla., test facility. The CECE is a variant of the RL10 upper-stage engine that has helped place military, government and commercial satellites into orbit and powered space probe missions to planets in the solar system. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 01/26/09) Gulf Coast note: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Link between funding, job probed

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Charlie Crist asked for an inspector general's inquiry to see if the director of a new space-tourism medical program at the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Fla., got his job after setting up the $500,000 in state grants to create it. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 01/27/09)

Airbus picks Goodrich for service

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Airbus selected Goodrich deliver broad maintenance, repair and overhaul as well as asset management services as part of a package of support for Singapore Airlines' fleet of 19 leased Airbus A330 aircraft. The support agreement, which includes Goodrich evacuation, lighting, actuation, sensors, de-icing and power products, covers the aircraft for an initial period of five years. The maintenance work will be conducted at various Goodrich MRO facilities in Asia, Europe and North America. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/27/09) Gulf Coast note: Goodrich has its Alabama Service Center in Foley, Ala.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Orion integration building readied

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The High Bay Facility of the Operations & Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center is ready to begin preparations to build the new Orion crew exploration vehicle. Built in 1964, the O&C facility has been the final integration and checkout building for manned spacecraft beginning with the Apollo program. The State of Florida, Lockheed Martin and NASA invested $55 million renovate the facility for the Constellation Program. Flight hardware is being fabricated at locations nationwide for final integration at the O&C facility, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Virginia. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/26/09) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed will build large structures and composite parts for Orion at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans

Union defends 'Buy America' provision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Monday called on Congressional leaders to reject a campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to strip "Buy America" provisions from the pending $825 billion economic stimulus package. In a recent letter to House and Senate leaders, the chamber, business roundtable and 13 lobbying organizations warned Congressional leaders against any use or expansion of "Buy American" provisions. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/26/09)

Base has billion-dollar impact

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Naval Air Station Pensacola had a $1.15 billion economic impact on local communities, according to an impact report. The base employed more than 21,000 military, civilian and contract employees in 2008. The military's economic impact was almost $39 million higher than in 2007. The report combined salaries for military, civilian and contract personnel along with local contract spending to reach the total. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 01/26/09) Other bases in the region include NAS Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss. The Navy is also the largest tenant at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Military secretaries to stay put

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Each U.S. military service secretary has agreed to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' request to stay in office for at least several weeks to ensure the Defense Department's smooth transition under the President Barack Obama administration. (Source: AFNS, 01/23/09)

Mobile airport holding its own

MOBILE, Ala. - Higher fares may not seem like such a great thing, but it apparently is the reason Mobile Regional Airport is holding on to many of its flights - down just 4 percent in capacity. Data compiled for the airport authority shows the average fare to fly out of Mobile was seventh-highest among the nation’s 150 largest airports in the 12 months that ended June 2008, and that's likely causing airlines to stick around. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/25/09)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

NASA closing in on test of Ares I-X

HAMPTON, Va. - NASA is a step closer to the first flight test of the rocket that will send humans towards the moon as part of the Constellation Program. Rocket hardware was completed this week at Langley Research Center in Hampton. In late January the rocket elements will be shipped to Kennedy Space Center in Florida and integrated with the Ares I-X, an unpiloted test vehicle. Test lift off is scheduled for the summer of 2009. (Source: NASA, 01/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are involved in the Constellation Program.

F-35 ready for avionics testing

FORT WORTH, Texas - Lockheed Martin has completed the first F-35 Lightning II equipped with mission systems, and avionics testing is set to begin. The short takeoff/vertical landing F-35 variant is scheduled for delivery to the flight line by the end of January with the first flight expected this summer. Aircraft BF-4 will carry the Northrop Grumman radar and integrated communications, navigation and identification suite and the BAE Systems electronic warfare system. Five F-35s are already undergoing testing. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 01/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to be the location for the F-35 training center. All three companies have operations in the Gulf Coast.

Eglin partners with local business

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Engineers at Eglin's 693rd Armament Systems Squadron partnered with Joint Technology Engineering Inc. of Valparaiso, Fla., to improve mission planning test and training software for the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 01/22/09)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Contract: Northrop, $39.9M

Northrop Grumman, San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $39,987,905 modification to a previously awarded contract for procurement of three low rate initial production Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle units. The contract also provides for three ground control stations, three light Harpoon grids, three UCARS systems and six portable electronic display devices. Work is expected to be completed in March 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/23/09) Gulf Coast note: Final assembly work on the Fire Scout is done at the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.

Northrop to write off $3B

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Northrop Grumman Corp. will record a fourth quarter loss of $3 billion to $3.4 billion, due to a drop in the book value of its shipbuilding and space technology activities. The company determined that the book value exceeded the fair value. As a result of this charge, the company will report a net loss for the fourth quarter and 2008 when it issues its report Feb. 3. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 01/22/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop has a large presence in the Gulf Coast, including shipyards and an unmanned aerial systems plant.

Eglin eyes beachfront resort

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Eglin Air Force Base wants to use some of its 17-acre beachfront test site as a military resort. The proposed Emerald Breeze Resort could provide a revenue stream. Test Site A-5 is a mostly bare parcel that has a small storage building with antennae only occasionally used to support test missions. The military pictures a 250-room resort. The Air Force will accept public comments until March 12. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 01/22/09)

Teledyne 4Q report

Teledyne Technologies profits rose 24 percent for 2008 to $122.2 million, with fourth quarter profit up 16 percent to $30.8 million. The company's Mobile subsidiary, Teledyne Continental Motors, lost $2.8 million in the fourth quarter compared to a $3 million profit in the same three months of 2007. Teledyne Continental employs 440 at the Brookley Field Industrial Complex. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/23/09)

Mobile airport wins project money

The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded $1.4 million to the Mobile Regional Airport for upgrades, according to Sen. Richard Shelby. The money will be used to repair storm drainage systems, replace the beacon and tower and other projects. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/23/09)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Contract: Bell-Boeing, $581.4M

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a contract with an estimated value of $581,446,845 to provide Joint Performance Based Logistics support for the Marine Corps (MV-22), Air Force, and Special Forces Operations Command (CV-22) aircraft during the production and deployment phase of the V-22 Program. Just over 6 percent of the work will be performed in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Most work will be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas and Philadelphia, Pa., and is expected to be completed in November 2013. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/22/09)

Contract: AeroVironment, $17M

AeroVironment Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded a $17,060,507.76 contract to procure a digital data link upgrade for the Raven RQ-11B Unmanned Aircraft System and FY 09 engineering services and accounting for contract services. Work will be performed at Simi Valley, Ca. with an estimated completion date of Oct 30, 2010. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/22/09) AeroVironment has an operation at Navarre, Fla.

Lockheed Martin 4Q report

Lockheed Martin 4Q report
BETHESDA, Md. - Lockheed Martin reported fourth quarter 2008 net earnings of $823 million - $2.05 per diluted share - compared to $799 million in 2007. Net sales were $11.1 billion, compared to fourth quarter 2007 sales of $10.8 billion. Cash from operations for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $997 million, compared to $425 million in 2007. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 01/22/09)

Eurocopter seeking U.S. partners

PARIS - Eurocopter is looking for American partners on a proposed European heavy-lift helicopter and its bid for the U.S. Army's Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, according to CEO Lutz Bertling. The helicopter maker, an EADS subsidiary, is in early talks with Boeing and Sikorsky, a United Technologies company, as potential partners for a Future Transport Helicopter. (Source: Defense News, 01/20/09) Gulf Coast note: Eurocopter operates American Eurocopter manufacturing facility in Columbus, Miss.; Sikorsky has operations in Northwest Florida; Boeing is the rival of Eurocopter’s parent, EADS, in the bid for the U.S. Air Force aerial refueling tanker project.

Finalists chosen for cyber HQ

The Air Force announced this week finalists for headquarters of 24th Air Force, a new numbered Air Force focused on the cyber mission - protecting the nation from attacks on computers and other communications systems. The bases are Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; Lackland, Texas; Langley, Va.; Offutt, Neb.; Peterson, Colo.; and Scott, Ill. A final selection will be made in June. (Source: AFNS, 01/21/09) Original plans called for a Cyberspace Command, but last fall the Air Force opted to make it a numbered Air Force. Keesler Air Force Base, in Biloxi, Miss., was among the candidates for the command.

Murtha to visit proposed tanker site

MOBILE, Ala. - Rep. John Murtha, who could play a key role in the battle over the Air Force refueling tanker contract, will visit Mobile Jan. 29 and tour the proposed Northrop Grumman/EADS site assembly site. The Pennsylvania Democrat, who chairs the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, was invited by Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, and Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/22/09) The Northrop/EADS team was awarded the contract last year, but Boeing’s protest was upheld and the Pentagon later opted to cancel the contract and let the new administration decide.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

United Technologies 4Q report

HARTFORD, Conn. - Growth in aerospace activities of Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney boosted United Technologies' fourth quarter 2008 income by 8 percent to $1.15 billion. That compares with $1.1 billion a year earlier. Earnings per share were up 14 percent to $1.23. (Source: United Technologies, 01/21/09) UTC has Sikorsky operations in Northwest Florida and a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne operation at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Contract: EADS, $25.6M

EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $25,588,548 contract for funding of the Army's Light Utility Helicopter contract for five UH-72A and supporting mission kits and equipment packages. Work will be performed at Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of March 1, 2010. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/21/09) EADS North America also has operations in Mobile, Ala.

Marines pick F-35B instructors

The Marine Corps recently selected six pilots to become some of the first instructors for the Marine version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Marines will travel to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where the training detachment for the F-35B will be located, by the end of this year or beginning of next. The three variants of the JSF are the Air Force F-35A, Navy F-35C and Marine Corps F-35B. (Source: Desert Warrior, 01/15/09)

Monday, January 19, 2009

General sees clear skies for F-35

The officer who will become commander of Eglin Air Force Base’s Air Armament Center, Maj. Gen. Charles Davis, said the F-35 Lightning II is on track despite an earlier budget shortfall. At a roundtable discussion in Washington last week, the departing program chief for the F-35 Lightning II program also predicted that Israel, Singapore, Spain and Japan will soon join eight other international partners in the JSF program. (Source: Aviation Week, 01/16/09) At Eglin Davis is replacing Maj. Gen. David Eidsaune, who will become director of operations at headquarters Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Eglin is scheduled to become a JSF training center.

RS-68s part of spy satellite launch

A classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Saturday onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV powered by three Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68 engines and one upper-stage RL10B-2 engine. The National Reconnaissance Office is responsible for operating overhead reconnaissance missions for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/18/09) Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has an RS-68 operation at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Navy trainer will need more room

The switch to a more powerful Navy training aircraft will require an expansion of runways and safety zones in outlying fields. Starting this year Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., which does preliminary training for military pilots, will begin a four-year switch from the T-34C to the T-6B trainer. Whiting runs 13 outlying fields in the region, where pilots do touch-and-go landings, maneuvers and other exercises. Four of those fields are in Baldwin County, Ala., between Pensacola, Fla., and Mobile, Ala. The number of training flights will also increase. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/17/09)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Budget puts aviation college on hold

MOBILE, Ala. – Budget cuts have grounded plans for a stand-alone aviation college with a branch in Mobile, according to the chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. Bradley Byrne first announced plans for the Alabama Aviation College in October 2007. Byrne said he remains committed to the idea, but wants to delay it now because of budget considerations. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/16/09)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

NASA unveils earth science drone

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center has unveiled the first Global Hawk unmanned system that will be dedicated to earth science research. NASA plans to use them to support its Science Mission Directorate and the Earth science community, which require high-altitude, long-endurance, long-distance airborne capability. The initial mission will be Global Hawk Pacific 2009, six long-duration missions over the Pacific and Arctic in the late spring and early summer of 2009. Twelve NASA and NOAA scientific instruments integrated into one of the drones will collect atmospheric data while flying through the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. (Source: NASA via PRNewswire, 01/15/09) John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi is home to a large earth science community, including NASA’s Science and Technology Division.

NATO Global Hawk pact seen soon

An announcement is expected soon that NATO will buy eight Global Hawks from Northrop Grumman in a deal worth more than $1.3 billion. NATO is targeting a 2012 entry-into-service for the airborne alliance ground surveillance fleet (AGS). NATO originally planned a mix of Airbus manned aircraft and Global Hawks, but opted for an all-unmanned system using Global Hawks. (Sources: Florida Today, 01/14/08; FlightGlobal, 01/15/09) Portions of the Global Hawk fuselage are built at the Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss. The program is managed in Melbourne, Fla.

Gulfport airport has record 2008

GULFPORT, Miss. - More people flew into and out of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in 2008 than ever before, with a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year. The next best year was in 2000, before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when 949,000 total passengers came through Gulfport. In 2008, the airport saw 974,861 passengers, an increase of 50,000 over 2000 and 63,598 over 2007. (Source: The Sun Herald, 01/15/09)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AF eyes robot ground refueler

Air Force Research Laboratory's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio is developing an automated aircraft refueling system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Researchers at the directorate's Airbase Technologies Division at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., received a request for an automated system to refuel the F-35 while on the ground and developed the robot. (Source: AFNS, 01/12/09)

Shuttle crew members visit Stennis

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Two crew members of the STS-126 shuttle mission visited staff at Stennis Space Center Tuesday to share highlights of their November delivery of equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. (Source: Sun Herald, 01/14/09)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Contract: Raytheon, $16.3M

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee with performance incentives to Raytheon Co., of Tucson, Ariz. for $16,298,964. This contract will provide a High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile Targeting Systems Software Upgrade Program. 693 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/13/09)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Contract: Raytheon, $6.7M

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Raytheon Co., of Tucson Ariz., for $6,736,211. This contract is a modification to the AMRAAM Production Lot 22 contract. 695ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/12/09)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Will Boeing, Airbus fight over AF1?

The Air Force last week officially launched the search for a new widebody presidential jet when it issued a request for information. The competition could pit Boeing's 747 against the Airbus 380. Airbus told Flight International the company received the RFI and is "taking a look." Boeing, which has provided AF1 for more than 50 years, has said keeping the contract is a top priority. (Sources: Flight International, Wired, 01/09/09) The other high-profile Boeing/Airbus battle is over the Air Force tanker. The Northrop Grumman/EADS (Airbus) team won and planned to build them in Mobile, Ala. But Boeing's protest was upheld and the Pentagon cancelled the contest – opting to let the new administration decide where to go from here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Airport hopes to land WestJet

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - Northwest Florida Regional Airport officials chose the eighth annual Senior Snowbird Expo Friday to roll out plans to lure a Canadian airline to the area. Local airport officials have set up a Web site and are asking people to show their interest. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 01/09/09)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Boeing to cut commercial plane workforce

SEATTLE, Wash. - Boeing said today that employment at its Commercial Airplanes business unit is expected to decline by about 4,500 positions in 2009 as part of an effort to control costs. The reduction will bring Commercial Airplanes' employment to about 63,500, about the level it was at the start of 2008. Most of the cuts are expected in Washington state in the second quarter of the year. (Source: Boeing, 01/09/09) Boeing's operations in New Orleans and Northwest Florida are not in the commercial airplanes sector.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Contract: Northrop, $13.4M

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus award fee contract to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., for $13,474,949. This contract is for engineering, manufacturing and development activities in support of the Global Hawk Program. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/08/09) Global Hawks are built in part at the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.

Ground broken on high-tech office

SLIDELL, La. - Northrop Grumman's 3001 International broke ground Wednesday on a new facility. Northrop in October 2008 bought 3001, a provider of geospatial data production and analysis, including airborne imaging, surveying, mapping and geographic information systems. The new office combines the existing Slidell 3001 office with the one at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The new 20,000 square-foot facility brings 85 jobs, including 50 new positions to St. Tammany Parish. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 01/07/09)

Northrop streamlines units

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Northrop Grumman has combined seven units into five to lower costs. The Integrated Systems group was combined with Space Technology to form the Aerospace Systems unit, led by Gary Ervin. The Information Technology and Mission Systems groups have combined as Information Systems, led by Linda Mills. Northrop Grumman last year streamlined its shipbuilding business. (Source: Los Angeles Times, 01/08/09) The new aerospace unit includes the Moss Point, Miss., and other operations involved in building the Global Hawk and Fire Scout unmanned aerial systems.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NASA leader plans to step down

Like the other political appointees of the Bush administration, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is planning to step down Jan. 20. Griffin does not expect to be offered an opportunity to stay on after President-elect Barack Obama takes office. A small list of potential appointees has already emerged. (Source: Florida Today, 01/07/09) NASA has operations at Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Boeing gets JDAM, SDB contracts

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Boeing Co. received two Defense Department contracts totaling $217.1 million for continued production of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits and Small Diameter Bombs (SDB). The JDAM contract includes more than 4,000 tail kits for the Air Force and Navy. The SDB contract includes more than 2,500 weapons and associated carriages for the Air Force. Deliveries are scheduled for 2010. (Source: Boeing, 01/07/09). Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is where the Air Force develops airborne conventional weapons.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

DAGR tested at Eglin

ORLANDO, Fla. - Lockheed Martin successfully conducted the first live warhead ground launch test of the DAGR guidance kit for the 2.75-inch rocket. Conducted at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the test demonstrated DAGR's vehicle penetration and time-delayed fuzing feature. Lockheed Martin engineers fired a DAGR-equipped rocket armed with a live warhead at a stationary vehicle. It penetrated the side of the vehicle before detonating inside. The system is designed for rotary-wing Hellfire platforms, including the Cobra, Apache, Seahawk, Kiowa and Tiger. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 01/06/09)

Eglin building renamed for engineer

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Building 22 at Eglin Air Force Base has been renamed the Register Physical Sciences Center, in honor of the late Henry I. Register. Register spent more than 50 years at Eglin and was one of the pioneers of laser-guided smart weapons. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 01/05/09)

Monday, January 5, 2009

NASA issues RFP for Ares V

WASHINGTON, D.C. - NASA issued a request for proposals for the Ares V rocket Monday. The rocket will perform heavy lift and cargo functions as part of the next generation of spacecraft that will return humans to the moon - the Constellation Program. Proposals are due to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 9. Selections will be made in the spring of 2009. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/05/09) Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are involved in the Constellation Program.

Contract: Raytheon, $12.2M

The Air Force modified a contract with Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., for $12,247,290. This contract action will provide a miniature air launched decoy jammer Block II program contract for a 14-month concept refinement study for data link and increased effective radiated power. 692 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/05/09)

Stennis names deputy director

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA named Patrick Scheuermann as the deputy director of John C. Stennis Space Center, NASA's primary testing ground for propulsion systems. The promotion of Scheuermann, the center's associate director since August 2006, became effective Dec. 21. Scheuermann previously was chief operating officer of Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. (Source: NASA, 01/05/08)

Option exercised for Deepwater aircraft

ROSSLYN, Va. - Lockheed Martin and the Coast Guard exercised contract options valued at $13.25 million to install mission systems aboard two additional HC-130J aircraft used in the Deepwater Program. The new system uses the technology developed for the HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 01/05/09) Support for the HC-144A, based on the EADS CASA CN-235, is provided at EADS North America’s facility at Mobile Regional Airport in Mobile, Ala.

Stennis kicks off robotics competition

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - This past weekend 27 high school teams from Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana gathered at Stennis Space Center's StenniSphere for the regional kickoff of the 18th annual For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competition. It's the first step towards the national and international competition. Teams will participate in the Bayou Regional, March 19-21 at the University of New Orleans, to qualify for a place in April at the FIRST Championship in Atlanta. (Source: The Sun Herald, 01/03/09)

F-35 production on schedule

FORT WORTH, Texas - Lockheed Martin's F-35 production is on schedule and nearing its goal of a 2010 delivery to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Last month Lockheed rolled out two more F-35s that are ready to be tested (story). The AF-1 is a flight test aircraft and AG-1 a ground test unit. Six F-35s are now complete and 17 are in production. The test aircrafts have completed 83 flights. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 01/04/09)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

CV-22 to get all-quadrant weapon

Special Operations Command is on track to install all-quadrant 7.62mm Gatling guns underneath seven Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Ospreys in 2009. The 413th Flight Test Squadron is testing the turret-mounted gun at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It's passed a series of tests including firing from a hover, said Dave Adamiak, a BAE Systems official. Critics had complained that the craft had no all-quadrant weapons, but in 2007 a contract was awarded to BAE Systems to deliver seven Remote Guardian Systems and install them onto CV-22 Ospreys for AFSOC deployments. (Source: Air Force Times, 01/04/08)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Contract: McDonnell, $13.8M

The Air Force awarded a firm fixed-price contract to the McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., for $13,835,952. This will authorize McDonnell to provide various test assets in support of The Small Diameter Bomb I program for aircraft/weapon integration for threshold and follow-on aircraft. 681 ARSS/PK, Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/02/09)

Goodrich, Rolls enter joint venture

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Goodrich and Rolls-Royce announced today that they've formed a joint venture company to develop and supply engine controls for Rolls-Royce aero engines. The joint venture company, Rolls-Royce Goodrich Engine Control Systems Limited, operates as Aero Engine Controls. Each of the contributing companies owns 50 per cent of Aero Engine Controls. Goodrich will retain the aftermarket products and services business associated with the joint venture's products. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/02/08) Both companies have Gulf Coast operations. Rolls-Royce has a foundry in Pascagoula and tests jet engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss; Goodrich has a service center in Foley, Ala.