Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Contract: Kaman, $53M

Kaman Precision Products, Inc., Orlando, Fla., is being awarded a $52,970,557 firm-fixed contract for joint programmable fuze systems, including the FMU-152 fuze and FZU-55 initiator, of five FMS countries for a quantity of 458 and the Air Force for a quantity of 14,601 each. 679th Armament Systems Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/30/09)

Land-configured Fire Scout tested

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - A Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout successfully completed first flight operations at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. Unlike current Navy configured Fire Scouts, this one, designated P7, was built for land-based operations and is the first MQ-8B to fly without flight test instrumentation usually installed for developmental flights. The P7's tests will continue throughout the summer. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 06/30/09) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Taxiway nears completion

MOSS POINT, Miss. – A taxiway linking the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center to the Trent Lott International Airport should be operational soon. Right now is just needs lighting. Northrop Grumman does finishing work on the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter at the center, and wants to do product flight testing in South Mississippi. Jackson County Economic Development Director George Freeland said the addition of the taxiway could create at least 16 more jobs at the center. (Source: Sun Herald, 06/28/09)

GE, USM study composite engine parts

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A $2.4 million state grant will be used by a GE Aviation and the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Polymers and High Performance Materials for research on composite materials for an GEnx engine that will power the Boeing 787 and 747-8 aircraft. The grant is from the Mississippi Development Authority. GE Aviation, which has a plant in Batesville producing composite-material parts for jet engines, will spend $2.5 million on the research. The project is for one year. (Source: Hattiesburg American, 06/30/09)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Goodrich opens new China operation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Goodrich Corp. opened a new facility in China’s Tianjin Airport Industrial Park to support nacelle and thrust reverser original equipment as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul activities. Part of Goodrich's Aerostructures business, the 50,000 square foot facility will perform work for customers in the region. It also will support engine buildup and podding work for the new Airbus A320 family aircraft final assembly line in Tianjin. (Source: Goodrich, 06/25/09) Gulf Coast note: Goodrich's Aerostructures business runs the Alabama Service Center in Foley, Ala., which provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services on nacelles, doors, fairings, flight controls, pneumatic ducting and wire harnesses.

Northwest region assess Paris

EVERETT, Wash. – Companies and organizations are taking inventory of leads developed at the Paris Air Show. The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Washington Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development and Aerospace Futures Alliance organized a state aerospace pavilion at the show. Eleven Northwest aerospace companies participated. Organizers estimate there were about 80 meetings. (Source: Everett Herald, 06/29/09) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast region also had representatives at the show. A common tie between the Northwest and Gulf Coast is competition between Boeing and Northrop Grumman for the Air Force tanker project. Boeing wants to build the planes in Washington, and Northrop and partner EADS want to build them in Mobile, Ala.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rolls-Royce BR725 EASA certified

Rolls-Royce received type certification for the new BR725 engine that will power the first flight of the Gulfstream G650 business jet later in the year. Type certification was from the European Aviation Safety Agency. Testing was done at various Rolls-Royce locations in Europe and the United States, including the outdoor jet engine testing facility at NASA’s John C Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Source: Rolls Royce, 06/24/09)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hurlburt unit transfers to Cannon

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. - Officials from the 16th Special Operations Squadron held a squadron flag-transfer ceremony last week to mark the official transfer of the squadron from Hurlburt Field, Fla. The 16th SOS flies the AC-130H gunship and conducts missions such as close-air support, air interdiction and force protection. The AC-130H is armed with 40 mm and 105 mm cannons. Det. 1 of the 16th SOS stood up at Cannon in July 2008 to prepare the way for the arrival of eight aircraft and nearly 500 people. (Source: AFNS, 06/26/09)

Tyndall faces cut of 600 positions

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Air Force plans to cut some 600 military positions and four civilian positions from Tyndall Air Force Base as part of the 2010 restructuring. The base is home to about 3,500 active-duty military and 2,000 civilian jobs. By contrast, Hurlburt Field will see an increase of 435 military positions and 79 civilian positions, and Eglin Air Force Base will see an increase of 123 military and 302 civilian positions. The changes, if approved by Congress, would take effect Oct. 1. (Sources: Panama City News Herald, Eglin AFB, 06/26/09)

Aviation board consolidates parcels

NEW ORLEANS, La. - To make dozens of scattered acres of vacant airport-buyout land more attractive to developers, the New Orleans Aviation Board has consolidated it into eight parcels. Officials from Kenner, where most of the land is located, and Louis Armstrong International Airport are drafting a request for proposals for potential developers. The airport bought the land and razed houses beginning in the mid-1990s as part of a noise-mitigation lawsuit, but it has remained vacant. Now the Federal Aviation Administration, which paid for the property, has directed the airport to submit a plan by October for using the land. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 06/26/09)

Mexico flight will encourage ties

NEW ORLEANS, La. - The AeroMexico nonstop flight between New Orleans and Mexico City that begins next month will encourage business ties between Louisiana and Mexico, experts said at a forum sponsored by the World Trade Center. The direct flight lasts two hours and 20 minutes and begins service from New Orleans on July 7. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 06/27/09)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Contract: Raytheon, $9.7M

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $9,734,960 modification to a firm-fixed-price contract providing a follow-on test and evaluation and captive carry reliability program and will provide support in the performance of Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile Intercept Missile (AIM)-120D program. 695 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (Source: DoD, 06/26/09)

Munitions gets new chief

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Col. Kenneth Echternacht was installed Thursday as the new chief of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Munitions Directorate. He’ll be in charge of more than 500 personnel. The directorate performs research on precision guidance, missile guidance and control, computational mechanics, smart sub-munitions, warheads and explosives. Echternacht, who worked at the lab from 1996 to 2000, was most recently chief of the Air Force Science and Technology Division under the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/24/09)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hubble astronauts visit Stennis

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Astronauts from the STS-125 mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope shared accounts of their mission during a visit Wednesday to the StenniSphere, the visitor center at John C. Stennis Space Center. The crewmembers thanked Stennis employees for their contributions to the mission. The astronauts spent five days conducting five spacewalks to provide upgrades to the telescope as part of their 14-day mission aboard space shuttle Atlantis. (Source: NASA, 06/24/09)

Latest Global Hawk rolls out

PALMDALE, Calif. - Northrop Grumman and the Air Force unveiled the next-generation Global Hawk Thursday. The RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk uses the MP-RTIP sensor, the first time the active electronic scanned array technology has been used on a high-altitude unmanned aircraft. AESA technology provides all-weather, day-night synthetic aperture radar mapping and ground moving target indicator capability. Designated AF-18, it’s scheduled to begin flight testing next month. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 06/25/09) Gulf Coast note: Fuselage work on AF-18 was done in Moss Point, Miss.

Airport takes on project backlog

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has launched the first of what will be $350 million in improvements to modernize the facility and create about 7,000 construction jobs. Construction should be mostly finished before Super Bowl 2013. The most expensive project is a $114 million rental-car facility with 1,800 parking spaces. The aviation board is using tax-exempt Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds for the garage. (Source: New Orleans Times Picayune, 06/25/09)

53rd gets new commander

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Col. Michael Gantt on Wednesday assumed command of the 53rd Wing from Brig. Gen. (select) Steve DePalmer, who became vice commander of the 14th Air Force in May. Gantt previously served as vice commander of the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The 53rd reports to the Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/24/09)

American Eagle adds Mobile flight

MOBILE, Ala. - American Eagle will resume a fourth daily round trip between Mobile and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport starting Aug. 1. Traffic has picked up in Mobile. May saw 2 percent more passengers through the airport than in May 2008, the first time since February 2008 that traffic grew year over year. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/25/09)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Contract: Northrop, $276.3M

The Air Force awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for $276,281,235 to provide the rapid fielding and support of a communications network for military drones – the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System. The system will be installed on three Bombardier BD-700 Global Express and two Global Hawk Block 20 aircraft. 653d ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/24/09) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Contract: Jacobs, $17.3M

The Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Jacobs Technology, Inc., of Tullahoma, Tenn., for $17,280,405.89. This action will provide technical, engineering and acquisition support at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and various other tenant organizations. This contract increases the work requirement. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/24/09)

Panel to visit Michoud

The commission reviewing NASA’s human space flight plans is visiting Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Decatur’s United Launch Alliance rocket plant in Alabama this week. The commission also plans to visit Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which has been chosen to manufacture the Ares I upper stage in the Constellation Program. (Source: Huntsville Times, 06/19/09)

Murtha: Pentagon eyes tanker split

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon may yet consider buying aerial tankers from both Boeing and Northrop Grumman, according to Rep. John Murtha. The head of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee said new acquisition chief Ashton Carter said the Pentagon is examining data on a split buy. "He said, 'We're looking at it. We're going to see what can be done,'" Murtha told reporters. Murtha remains convinced a split is the only way to avoid protests or delays. (Source: Reuters, 06/24/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman and partner EADS plan to build the tanker in Mobile, Ala., if they win.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Contract: BAE, $9.8M

BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $9,763,980 modification to a previously awarded contract for the procurement and installation of a 55 civil global positioning system with electronic flight bag for the C-130T aircraft. This modification also provides for the procurement of 45 install kits, 23 instrument display systems and 45 engine instrument display systems. Ninety percent of the work will be performed in Crestview, Fla., and is expected to be completed in September 2011. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/23/09)

Monday, June 22, 2009

High-powered laser fired in flight

KIRKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. - A high-powered laser was successfully fired for the first time from the Advanced Tactical Laser aircraft during a test conducted by the 413th Flight Test Squadron of Hurlburt Field, Fla., and Boeing. The ATL is the 46th Test Wing's modified NC-130H. The laser was fired over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., and hit a ground target. ATL is equipped with a chemical laser, a beam control system, sensors and weapon-system consoles. The system is designed to damage, disable or destroy targets with little to no collateral damage. It’s intended for use on the battlefield and in urban operations. The ATL program is managed by the 687th Armament Systems Squadron, part of the 308th Armament Systems Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: AFNS, 06/19/09)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Contract: Jacobs, $25M

The Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Jacobs Technology, Inc., of Tullahoma, Tenn., for $25,083,864. This contract will provide technical, engineering and acquisition support at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and various other tenant organizations. This modification is to increase work requirement. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/19/09)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tanker contest structure decision soon

Reuters reports that the Pentagon will decide in a few days how to structure the multi-billion-dollar contest to replace the Air Force's tanker fleet. Said Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “I’m probably within a few days of making a decision on the structure … and who will be the acquisition authority.” He hopes to get a request for proposal out by mid-summer. Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team will compete for the contract. (Source: Reuters, 06/18/09) Gulf Coast note: If it wins, EADS wants to assemble the tankers, based on the A330, in Mobile, Ala. Boeing, which may offer the 777 or the 767, will build them in Washington state.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Technology sees tunnels

Three companies are marketing an airborne system designed to detect underground tunnels and caves. The INSITE VI system resulted from a partnership between AeroTec, NVision Solutions and EnTech Engineering. The system uses a helicopter fitted with a sensor able to detect changes in terrain and ground temperature. Experts can see up to 80 feet deep into the earth to find caves, tunnels, pipes, and leaks in levees not visible from the ground. NVision is based in Bay St. Louis, Miss., AeroTec in Birmingham, Ala., and EnTech in St. Louis, Mo. AeroTec also has an office in Picayune, Miss. (Source: Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions, 06/17/09)

DRS FWB to build pods

PARSIPPANY, N.J. - DRS Technologies announced the receipt of follow-on orders of $43.9 million for the P5 Combat Training System/Tactical Combat Training System. DRS will be responsible for the production, testing, and fielding of the pods flown on a variety of aircraft. Under contracts were awarded by the 689th Armament Systems Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The pods will be manufactured at the DRS Technologies facility in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., and deliveries will begin in mid-2010. (Source: MarketWatch, 06/17/09)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Global Hawk rollout next week

The newest version of the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk will be unveiled at a rollout next week in California. The Block 40 RQ-4 version of the UAV has improved sensors and radar for tracking ground targets. The roll-out of AF-18, the 27th Global Hawk built, is June 25 at the Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale. The Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., did fuselage work on the AF-18. (Source: Tcp, 06/16/09)

F-35, Eglin project get funding

Rockwell Collins and Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems said their joint venture, Vision Systems International LLC, received several contracts from Lockheed Martin totaling more than $54.1 million for 52 helmet-mounted displays for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and 30 additional systems. Rockwell Collins also received initial financing for the pilot facility standup at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for the displays. The joint venture will start delivering the items this year, with deliveries running through 2012. (Sources: Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, 06/16/09)

Northrop, EADS affirm commitment

PARIS - Ronald D. Sugar, chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman, and Louis Gallois, CEO of EADS, issued a joint statement today at the Paris Air Show affirming their commitment to the Air Force tanker project. They said the KC-45 was previously selected and they look forward to working the with Department of Defense. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/16/09) Gulf Coast note: The Northrop/EADS team plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if they win the $40 billion contract. Boeing hopes to win and build them in Washington.

Nelson: Drilling threat to military mission

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida is opposing a measure now in Congress, fearing it threatens the military mission in Northwest Florida. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a proposal to change a 2006 law that opened 8.3 million new acres for drilling lease in exchange for a prohibition of drilling in the eastern gulf’s military testing range. Nelson says it’s not worth the sacrifice to national security. The military uses the Gulf of Mexico for pilot and weapons training. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 06/15/09)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lockheed starts labor loan program

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Lockheed Martin Space Systems' New Orleans facility will begin a loaned labor program to keep workers as NASA shuts down its space shuttle program. Lockheed, which has about 2,000 workers in its eastern New Orleans facility, has built external fuel tanks for the space shuttle for decades. By loaning out its employees, the company hopes to hang on to them until they are needed when new space projects ramp up. (Source: New Orleans Times Picayune, 06/14/09)

Boeing to pitch 777 for tanker

Boeing will offer a 777 as well as a 767 in the competition against the Northrop Grumman/EADS team to provide aerial tankers for the Air Force. Jim Albaugh, Boeing’s defense chief, made the comment in a briefing at the Paris Air Show. The larger aircraft would offer maximum fuel capacity and the 767’s selling point is its flexibility, he said. (Source: Bloomberg, 06/15/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman and partner EADS plan to build the tanker in Mobile, Ala., if they win the competition.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Airbus: Win would mean U.S. jobs

PARIS – The U.S. industrial base will be increased if the Airbus A330 beats Boeing's 767 for the U.S. Air Force tanker contract, top executives of Airbus parent company EADS said in Paris Saturday. EADS chief executive Louis Gallois said Boeing outsources much of its parts manufacturing overseas, while the tanker proposed by Airbus and Northrop Grumman would create jobs at a new assembly line in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Seattle Times, 06/14/09)

Davis sure F-35 accord will be found

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – The head of the Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., had a wide ranging discussion with the editorial board of the Northwest Florida Daily News Friday. Among other things, Maj. Gen. Charles R. Davis discussed the noise controversy over establishing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Training Center at Eglin. He said he feels confident all 107 F-35s will eventually be placed within the Eglin range. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/13/09)

Flight academy groundbreak set

PENSACOLA, Fla. - There will be a groundbreaking Tuesday for the National Flight Academy, a $26.5 million construction project at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Station Pensacola, Fla. The academy will be a weeklong educational camp for seventh to 12th grad students. The academy will teach science, math and technology, with a focus on naval aviation. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 06/14/09)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Governors plan Paris airshow trip

Political heavyweights from Mississippi and Alabama will be attending the Paris Air Show that begins Monday. Gov. Haley Barbour and Sen. Thad Cochran from Mississippi will be going, as will Gov. Bob Riley, Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Joe Bonner of Alabama. Barbour told the AP he and Riley will meet with officials from EADS, which with Northrop Grumman is competing against Boeing to build tankers for the Air Force. EADS wants to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala. Representatives from the Gulf Coast aerospace region, which includes Mobile, also plan to attend the show and meet with prospects they hope to lure to the Gulf Coast region. (Source: Tcp, 06/12/09)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Group to push for Boeing tanker

The state of Washington has a group designed to attract aerospace jobs to the state and push for Boeing to win the Air Force tanker contract. The group, Washington Aerospace Partnership, plans to work with the Council on Aerospace and Aerospace Futures Alliance. Boeing is competing against Northrop/EADS for the contract. Boeing would build them in Washington and Northrop/EADS would build them in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Gulf Coast note: Mobile, Ala., has a group called Keep Our Tanker that promotes the Northrop/EADS effort.

Paris air show set to begin

Organizers of the Paris Air Show expect 300,000 visitors during the multi-day event that begins Monday. There will be 2,000 big and small exhibitors at Le Bourget, traditional home for the show. The event takes place on the eve of a restart of the competition pitting Boeing against Northrop Grumman and European teammate EADS to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. EADS hopes to build the planes in Mobile, Ala., at the center of the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor. Also expected to be a big topic at the show is the emergence of unmanned aerial vehicles, a hot field still filled with small players. That’s a topic of high interest to South Mississippi, a build sites for Global Hawk and Fire Scout unmanned systems. Representatives from the Gulf Coast aerospace region plan to attend the show and hold a series of meetings with prospects they hope to lure to the Gulf Coast region. (Source: Tcp, 06/11/09)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lockheed moves forward on GEO-2

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – The Lockheed Martin team developing the Air Force's Space-Based Infrared System mated the spacecraft bus with the infrared sensor payload for the second geosynchronous (GEO-2) SBIRS spacecraft. The SBIRS satellite and ground system will provide early warning of ballistic missile launches and support other operations. (Source: Lockheed Martin via PRNewswire, 06/10/09) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space & Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss., makes the integrated propulsion system for the spacecraft.

Eglin buying big Boeing bombs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., said it will buy 20 massive bombs designed to destroy hard targets or targets deep underground. The 30,000-pound bombs - Massive Ordnance Penetrator – were developed by the Air Force and Boeing. Five bombs will be used for tests. (Source: Air Force Times, 06/10/09)

Eglin named historic site

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics named Eglin Air Force Base a historic aerospace site for 2009. It was among four international locations getting the honor. The selection is to recognize noteworthy cultural and technological contributions made in both aeronautics and astronautics. A bronze plaque will be mounted at the Air Force Armament Museum at a ceremony in September. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 06/09/2009)

Whiting gets larger buffer

Nearly 1,400 acres near Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., are now protected from further development. Florida's Cabinet on Tuesday approved the $5.1 million acquisition of the land in Santa Rosa County. It's part of a larger Florida Forever project to fill in protected land between Whiting and the Blackwater River State Forest. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 06/10/09)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fisherman hooks missile

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. – A commercial fisherman caught an 8-foot missile while out in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base late last month. He kept it on his boat for the rest of his 14-day trip until he returned to Madeira Beach, near Tampa. That’s when he learned it was a live air-to-air missile. The Gulf Coast region where he found the missile is used by the military for training. Target drones have also washed ashore. (Source: St. Petersburg Times, 06/09/09) Note: Later reports showed the missile was not live and did not have explosives.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Inouye keeps split tanker buy option

The chairman of the Appropriations Committee hasn’t ruled out directing the Pentagon to buy tankers from both Boeing and Northrop Grumman. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said he’s received industry reports suggesting a split contract would achieve savings of as much as $42 billion when buying at least 360 aircraft over 30 years. He says he can’t ignore that. (Source: Bloomberg via Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 06/08/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing wants to build the planes in Washington State and Northrop and partner EADS want to build them in Mobile, Ala.

Commentaries urge split buy

Congressman Jeff Miller of Florida and former Navy secretary John Lehmann wrote separate commentaries in Politico and Defense News, respectively, pointing out that buying tankers from Northrop Grumman and Boeing may be less expensive. Lehmann argues that annual competition used to be the norm. He cites examples that show making companies compete every year tends to drive down prices. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates strongly opposes a split tanker buy. If Boeing wins it will build the planes in Washington State, and if Northrop wins the planes will be built in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Politico, 06/07/09; Defense News, 06/08/09)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Park's use of runway moves forward

MILTON, Fla. – A proposed aviation park’s hope to get access to a military base’s taxiway and runway has moved a step closer. The Office of the Assistant Under Secretary of the Navy gave approval to Naval Air Station Whiting Field to negotiate with Santa Rosa County for a limited use agreement. It would allow tenants of the proposed Whiting Aviation Park to use a 6,000 foot runway to bring in aircraft requiring maintenance. Crestview’s Bob Sikes Industrial Air Park has a similar joint use agreement with the Air Force. (Source: Santa Rosa County, 06/04/09)

GBU-53/B datalink ready to fly

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Raytheon completed a series of hardware-in-the-loop lab tests on the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II's datalink, a key step to clearing the datalink for flight tests later this month. Engineers verified the Rockwell Collins datalink worked as anticipated. Raytheon is competing for a GBU-53/B engineering and manufacturing development contract, scheduled to be awarded in late 2009 with delivery of production rounds beginning in late 2013. (Source: Raytheon, 06/05/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin is home of the Air Armament Center, which develops and tests aerial weaponry.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Northrop: Split tanker buy less costly

A report prepared by Northrop Grumman says buying aerial tankers from Boeing and Northrop could offer significant long-term savings. That’s different than what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says. He says a split buy would add $7 billion to $14 billion to the price tag. Northrop points out that it’s not advocating a split buy, just providing the information. (Source: Reuters, 06/04/09) Gulf Coast note: Northrop and partner EADS want to build the tankers in Mobile, Ala. Boeing wants to build its planes in Washington State.

Resolution possible in F-35 fight

VALPARAISO, Fla. – A break may be looming in the dispute between the city of Valparaiso and the Air Force over the F-35. WEAR-TV reports the city and Air Force filed a joint motion to put Valparaiso's suit against the Air Force on hold 90 days so they can work towards a settlement. The suit seeks to prevent the Air Force from establishing the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center at Eglin Air Force Base. Valparaiso, concerned about the noise, also has a suit over public records. (Source: WEAR-TV, 06/04/09)

ACCA a game-changer for plane makers?

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin had a demonstration flight of the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft June 2 at Palmdale, Calif. The ACCA is a modified Dornier 328J with the fuselage aft of the crew station and the vertical tail removed and replaced with new structural designs made of advanced composite materials fabricated using out-of-autoclave curing. The ACCA program manager said the program has the potential of changing aircraft manufacturing. (Source: AFNS, 06/03/09) Gulf Coast note: South Mississippi is known national for its advanced materials research; the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing is located in New Orleans; unmanned aerial systems are built in Moss Point, Miss.; EADS hopes to assemble tankers and cargo planes in Mobile, Ala.

Tanker tests underwing pods

The aircraft Northrop Grumman and partner EADS hope to use as an Air Force tanker, the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport, conducted successful in-flight contacts using its new generation hose and drogue refueling pod. The tests of the underwing pods were performed with a Royal Australian Air Force A330 and F/A-18A fighter. The tanker also has a fuselage hose and drogue. (Source: EADS, 06/04/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing and Northrop Grumman are competing for the Air Force contract. Northrop and partner EADS will assemble the planes, called a KC-45, in Mobile, Ala., if they win.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lockheed gets $1.5B for SBIRS

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.5 billion contract for the third highly elliptical orbit (HEO-3) payload, the third geosynchronous orbit (GEO-3) satellite and associated ground modifications for the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) constellation. The SBIRS program provides early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously supports other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/02/09) 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.

Airbus not expecting big sales at show

Tom Enders, the chief executive of Airbus, says he doesn’t expect big orders at this month’s Paris Air Show. Enders said Airbus must keep expanding abroad to stay competitive and leave national sentiment behind. “Airbus will only remain competitive in the long term if it develops resources and markets globally and becomes a genuinely international company, with development and production also in the U.S., China, India and elsewhere.” Airbus has already set up an aircraft assembly line in China, and India has pressed Airbus for a production line there as well. But Airbus has been busy in domestic restructuring, aircraft production delays and union opposition to offshoring. (Source: Liverpool Daily Post, 06/03/09) Gulf Coast note: Airbus parent EADS hopes to win an Air Force contract for tankers and assemble them in Mobile, Ala. It also plans to build cargo aircraft in Mobile if it wins.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Contract: Lockheed, $2.1B

Lockheed Martin is being awarded a $2,106,525,040 modification of a previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter air system low rate initial production Lot III advance acquisition contract to a cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract. This modification provides for the procurement of seven Air Force conventional take off and landing and one CTOL for the Netherlands; seven Marine Corps short take-off and vertical landing and two STOVLs for the United Kingdom. Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in December 2011. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and the governments of the Netherlands and United Kingdom. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will become home of the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center.

Space review panel named

An independent 10-member panel that will review the nation’s human space flight program will hold its first meeting June 17 in Washington. Recommendations will be made by the end of August. The administration last month announced formation of the panel and named former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine to head the panel. The remaining nine members were announced Monday. (Source: New York Times, 06/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are involved in the space program.

Gulfports gets another new flight

GULFPORT, Miss. - Grand Casino Biloxi and IP Casino Resort teamed with Southern Skyways to offer nonstop flights between Atlanta and Gulfport three days a week at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Flights on a 117-seat Boeing 717 operated by AirTran Airways will begin July 8. This is the third announcement of new service to Gulfport in the past three months. (Source: Sun Herald, 06/01/09)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bonner, Davis weigh in on tanker fight

The Washington Times published a commentary by Reps. Jo Bonner and Artur Davis of Alabama, urging the Pentagon to build on the original Request for Proposal rather than go back to square one in the tanker competition. Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team are competing for the $40 billion contract to replace the fleet of KC-135s. Northrop won the contract but it was overturned following a Boeing protest. The competition is scheduled to get underway again this summer. (Source: Washington Times, 06/02/09) Gulf Coast note: Boeing wants to build the tankers in Washington State and Northrop wants to build them in Mobile, Ala.

Contract: AeroVironment, $7M

Aerovironment Inc. of Monrovia, Calif., is being awarded a $7 million modification to an existing contract increasing the contract maximum to $10 million for updated DDL compliant Raven B small unmanned aerial vehicle spares and retrofit kits in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command program executive office - fixed wing. The work will be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., and is expected to be completed by August 2011. (Source: DoD, 06/01/09) Gulf Coast note: AeroVironment has an operation in Navarre, Fla.

Rockwell buys DataPath

Iowa-based Rockwell Collins has completed the acquisition of satellite-based communication network developer DataPath Inc. Rockwell Collins acquired all outstanding shares of DataPath in a cash transaction worth some $130 million. (Source: Business Wire, 06/01/09) Gulf Coast note: Rockwell Collins has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss.