Thursday, December 30, 2010

SSC, airports highlighted in newsletter

The January issue of Alliance Insight, a quarterly newsletter highlighting science and technology in South Mississippi, takes a look at what's in store for South Mississippi in 2011. The newsletter has a feature story about NASA's Stennis Space Center, the Infinity Science Center and South Mississippi’s airports. The newsletter is produced by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic Development. (Source: Alliance Insight, January 2011)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Navy trainer crashes, nobody hurt

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A training jet out of Naval Air Station Pensacola crashed during a training flight Wednesday morning, but both people aboard safely ejected. The T-45 Goshawk jet from Training Squadron 86 went down in a swamp about 20 miles east of Tallahassee, Fla. The Navy is investigating the cause of the crash. (Sources: WEAR-TV, Pensacola News Journal, 12/29/10)

Monday, December 27, 2010

NASA awards agency contract

NASA awarded a 10-year contract to HP Enterprise Services of Herndon, Va., for agency consolidated end-user services, or ACES, with a maximum value of $2.5 billion and four-year base period with two three-year option periods. The contract will be managed at the NASA Shared Services Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The ACES contract will develop a long-term outsourcing arrangement with the commercial sector to provide and manage most of NASA's personal computing hardware, software, mobile information technology services, peripherals and accessories, associated end-user services, and supporting infrastructure. HP Enterprise Services will provide, manage, secure and maintain these essential IT services for the agency. The NSSC is a partnership among NASA, Computer Sciences Corp. and the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. The NSSC performs selected business activities for all 10 NASA centers. (Source: NASA, 12/27/10)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Week in review column

More political maneuvering surrounding the Air Force aerial tanker issue, a milestone for a rocket engine that will be tested at Stennis Space Center, a lost service at one airport, and a decision of an aircraft manufacturer to stay put rather than move to Louisiana highlighted the aerospace activity for the Gulf Coast during the week. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, 12/25/10)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hearings on tanker slated

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings next month on the release of proprietary data in the $40 billion aerial tanker contest. The Air Force mistakenly sent material intended for Boeing to EADS North America and material for EADS to Boeing. Sen. Carl Levin also plans to hold hearings Feb. 1 to review the procurement process. (Source: Reuters, Wall Street Journal, 12/23/10)

Tanker bill causes clash

An 11th hour insertion of a provision that would force the Air Force to consider subsidies probably won't remain when the bill goes to the Senate. But it caused a clash between Boeing and EADS backers. Boeing backers want it to improve the chances for the company in the competition to build tankers for the Air Force. EADS backers say it's an underhanded attempt to tilt the contest. EADS plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if the company wins. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/22/10)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PW completes subassembly

CANOGA PARK, Calif. - Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne completed another major subassembly for NASA's first J-2X rocket engine. The turbopump assembly follows the successful assembly of the oxidizer turbopump, which delivers high-pressure liquid oxygen to the main injector. The engine’s first hot-fire tests are planned for early 2011 at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is headquartered in Canoga Park and has facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Stennis Space Center. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/21/10, NASA, 12/22/10) Previous story

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

RR gets Navy trainer support contract

Rolls-Royce was awarded an $89 million contract by the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md., to provide support for the F405 (Adour) engines that power the Navy's T-45 training aircraft. The modification exercises the second option, which includes support ranging from on-wing through intermediate and depot level maintenance. The contract provides services to more than 200 aircraft operating at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss., Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and Naval Air Station Patuxent River. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 12/16/10)

Hawker Beechcraft to stay put

Hawker Beechcraft will be remaining in Kansas rather than moving to Louisiana after accepting a $45 million incentives package from the state, city and county. The deal requires Hawker to maintain its current product lines, which includes propeller planes and jets, along with 4,000 jobs in Wichita over the next 10 years. (Source: Wichita Eagle, KansasReporter, 12/21/10)

Contract: Universal Technology, $9.9M

Universal Technology Corp., Dayton, Ohio, was awarded a $9,949,502 contract which will provide research and development of on-site support in the Airbase Sciences Branch at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. At this time, $462,740 has been obligated. 325 Contracting Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/21/10)

AirTran leaving Gulfport

GULFPORT, Miss. – AirTran next year will stop serving Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, the company announced. The service ends March 6, according to an AirTran spokesman. The airline offers flights from Gulfport to Atlanta and Tampa three times a week. Jeremiah Gerald, director of air service and business development at the airport, said there are a couple of prospects looking to step in and fill the void that AirTran will leave. Airport officials are looking forward to announcing a new carrier in the next few weeks, Gerald said. (Source: Sun Herald, 12/20/10)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Week in review column

Another test firing of the AJ26 rocket engine in Mississippi, the sale of a Mobile, Ala., aerospace company to the Chinese, a name change at a major aerospace parks and a controversy over the success of a new airport were some of the Gulf Coast aerospace stories during the past week. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, 12/18/10)

ST Aerospace picked to convert planes

MOBILE, Ala. - North American Airlines, which operates charter airplanes for the U.S. military and others, said Friday it had signed a letter of intent with the U.S. holding company for Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd., to convert 757s to carry 45 passengers and 10 cargo pallets. Holding company Vision Technologies Systems said that there isn't a number of planes or an agreed price for the work yet, but any work would be done in Mobile by ST Aerospace Mobile. The company has 1,200 employees at the Brookley Aeroplex. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/17/10)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Euro Hawk passes endurance test

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Euro Hawk, version of Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk unmanned aerial system built for the German air force, passed an endurance milestone with a 30.3-hour flight earlier this month. Northrop Grumman is partnered with EADS Deutschland GmbH, operating through Cassidian, the defense and security division of EADS. The test was Dec. 1 and 2, and the Euro Hawk flew at 60,000 feet. It has logged nearly 100 total flight hours since its maiden flight five months ago. (Source: Northrop Grumman via Globe Newswire, 12/17/10) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., did fuselage work on the Euro Hawk.

AJ26 performs second test fire

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA conducted a 55-second test fire Friday of the liquid-fuel AJ26 engine that will power the first stage of Orbital Sciences' Taurus II space launch vehicle. Taurus II uses a pair Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines to provide first stage propulsion. The test on the E-1 test stand involved a team of Orbital, Aerojet, and Stennis. The test was the second in a series of verification tests. A third hot-fire test also is planned to verify tuning of engine control valves. The AJ26 engine is designed to power the Taurus II space vehicle on flights to low Earth orbit. NASA's partnership with Orbital was formed under the agency's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services joint research and development project to enable commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station. The company is under contract with NASA to provide eight cargo missions to the space station through 2015. (Sources: PRNewswire, NASA, 12/17/10)

Contract: All Native, $22.7M

All Native Service Co., Bellevue, Neb., is being awarded a $22,741,962 contract for technology advancement support services to the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate at Fort Belvoir, Va. This effort provides the Army and Department of Defense with technology solutions for night vision and electronic sensors and sensor suites for target acquisition, engagement and defeat of enemy forces day or night, and under all battlefield and weather conditions. Eleven percent of the work will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/16/10)

Contract: CC Distributors, $9M

CC Distributors, Corpus Christi, Texas, was awarded a $9,000,000 contract to provide for authorized civil engineer personnel and self-help customers to purchase materials, equipment and supplies including but not limited to electrical, plumbing, sheet metal, welding, landscaping, heating/air conditioning. AAAC/PKOB, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/16/10)

Mobile complex changes name

MOBILE, Ala. - The Brookley Industrial Complex has changed its name to Brookley Aeroplex. Bill Sisson, the executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority, said the Brookley name was retained as a reminder of the former Air Force base that was closed in the 1960s. Aeroplex was used because it's a multi-modal operation. The complex is also called the downtown airport. (Source: Mobile Airport Authority, 12/17/10) Note: Brookley is where EADS wants to assemble tankers for the Air Force if it wins a contest against Boeing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inaugural flight set for Friday

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - Northwest Florida Regional Airport's newest airline will begin offering service Friday. Vision Airlines will offer direct flights to and from New York’s Niagara Falls International Airport and Miami International Airport on Fridays and Sundays. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/15/10)

Study: Airport impact is $292M

GULFPORT, Miss. – The total economic impact of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in 2009 was $291.7 million, according to the report released Wednesday. The impact is a combination of the direct impact from commercial and military flights, the indirect impact that comes from the money spent in the local economy by tourists and other passengers and the induced impact from airport employees and suppliers who use wages to buy local goods and services. A traffic leakage report shows the airport drawing passengers from Mobile, Ala., and Hattiesburg. (Source: Sun Herald, 12/16/10)

Fire Scout OKd for unrestricted flights

In preparation for deployment early next year, Northrop Grumman and the Navy verified that the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter is functionally compatible with communications systems on board the USS Halyburton. Known as integration verification, this process cleared the way for Fire Scout to conduct bluewater, unrestricted, operations from the Halyburton. In April 2010, Fire Scout concluded a military utility assessment on board the USS McInerney, a frigate similar to the Halyburton. While the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ships are Fire Scout's intended home, the system is being integrated with other ships to expand its utility. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 12/14/10) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

F-35 training center hosts visitors

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Okaloosa County commissioners were the latest visitors to get a preview of nation's first military Joint Strike Fighter integrated training center at the 33rd Fighter Wing's campus Dec. 14. Since the wing transitioned from its combat heritage to Air Education and Training Command, many visitors have asked to get a glimpse into the future DoD aviation and all things related to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from ground operations, to generating sorties to certifying pilots for flight. (Source: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 12/14/10)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Contract: EADS, $9.9M

EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $9,895,928 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for the retrofitting 28 ARC-231 airborne communication systems. Work will be completed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/15/10)

Contract: Broadmoor, $20.3M

Broadmoor Pittman, JV, Metairie, La., was awarded a $20,340,000 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for the construction of Building 449 redundant pump station at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility at New Orleans. Work will be complete in New Orleans with an estimated completion date of Dec. 19, 2012. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/15/10)

Contract: Signal/Keltec, $14.2M

Signal Technology Corp., Keltec Operations, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is being awarded a maximum $14,238,144 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for high voltage modules. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. The date of performance completion is June 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/15/10)

Contract: Jacobs, $10M

Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is being awarded $10,028,003 under previously awarded contract to provide technical support to the Marine Corps Systems Command, Information Systems and Infrastructure Product Group, Marine Corps Network and Infrastructure Services Program Office. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and is expected to be completed in December 2011. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/14/10)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fire-X has first flight

The unmanned Northrop Grumman/Bell Helicopter Fire-X demonstrator had its first flight Dec. 10 in Yuma, Ariz., according to the program team. Fire-X is designed to compete in the potentially lucrative market for unmanned rotorcraft to move cargo or gather intelligence. The aircraft, which retains the ability to be piloted, was ferried to Yuma from Bell's Xworx facility in Arlington, Texas. Fire-X, built on the commercial Bell 407 platform, was modified at Xworx with computers, actuators and other systems from Northrop's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. (Source: Aviation Week, 12/14/10) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Wyle gets JSF task order

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Wyle has been awarded a $318 million five-year task order to provide engineering and integration support services to the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office. Tasks will include strategic planning for technology programs and activities, concept development and requirements analysis, system design, engineering and integration, test and evaluation and more. Most of the work will be done in Arlington, Va. with field support at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and Fort Worth, Texas. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/14/10)

Teledyne Continental sold

Teledyne Continental Motors, headquartered in Mobile, Ala., is being sold to Technify Motors for $186 million. The sale was announced Tuesday by California-based Teledyne Technologies Inc. and China-based AVIC International. Teledyne Continental Motors makes piston engines, spare parts and components used in small propeller-driven general aviation aircraft. It has about 400 workers in Mobile, as well as service centers in Fairhope, Ala. and Mattituck, N.Y. The companies say the sale will enhance the ability of Continental Motors to compete in growing markets like China. AVIC plans to retain Continental Motors’ senior management and headquarters in Mobile. It also sets the stage for new hires of skilled workers in Mobile as international demand for piston-powered aircraft would result in increased engine manufacturing at Continental Motors. (Source: Business Wire, Mobile Press-Register, 12/14/10)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thunderbirds release show lineup

The Thunderbirds, the Air Force precision flying team, will perform at more than 70 shows across the United States and abroad in 2011. The team will kick off the season with a Feb. 20 flyover for the Daytona 500. Two shows are scheduled for Northwest Florida. One is March 26-27 at Tyndall Air Force Base and the other is April 14-15 at Eglin Air Force Base. (Source: Air Force Times, 12/13/10)

SLAMRAAM completes second firing

Raytheon's SLAMRAAM (Surface Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) system successfully participated in a second ballistic test vehicle firing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. SLAMRAAM can defeat current and emerging cruise missile threats, and this was the second test firing from a medium tactical vehicle. The vehicle was chosen as the new platform to provide improved crew and system survivability, particularly in light of lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The new platform provides additional armored capability and is more ruggedized to support the SLAMRAAM mission. (Source: Raytheon, 12/13/10)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Week in review column

An analyst's assessment that Boeing is losing the tanker competition, the flawless flight of a commercial space capsule and a possible reprieve given to the endangered Marine Corps version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter were just some of the aerospace news items of interest to the Gulf Coast region during the week. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, 12/11/10)

Friday, December 10, 2010

First production STOVL engine delivered

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Pratt & Whitney has delivered the first production F135 Short Take Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The engine has powered 509 flights and more than 740 flight test hours to date. The F135 has also completed more than 20,000 hours of testing, 3,600 test hours during the concept demonstration phase, 15,800 test hours during development and more than 700 hours powering the F-35 flight test program. The Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) / Carrier Variant (CV) engine received Initial Service Release in February 2010. The STOVL F135 engine is on track to receive ISR certification before the end of the year. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 12/09/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home of the JSF training center.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Commercial launch, recovery a success

The first attempt by a commercial company to launch a space capsule into orbit and bring it back is being praised as a milestone in the future of space travel. SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft left Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday atop a Falcon 9 rocket and entered orbit 10 minutes later. It circled Earth twice before splash-down in the Pacific. The next step is a fly-by of the International Space Station, then a cargo and crew mission to the ISS, both in 2011. NASA signed a contract with SpaceX in December 2008 under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program to provide 12 spacecraft to resupply the ISS through 2016. NASA also signed a contract with Orbital Space Corp. for eight launches of its Taurus II rocket starting in 2011. Wednesday's flight was important for the Obama administration's hopes to expand commercial space efforts as a way to free up NASA funds for missions to send astronauts much deeper into space and ultimately to Mars. (Sources: AFP via Space Travel, Washington Post, 12/08/10) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., is testing the AJ26 propulsion systems for the Orbital Space Corp. program.

Contract: Textron, $258M

Textron Systems Corp., Wilmington, Mass., was awarded a $257,737,338 contract which will provide for 512 sensor-fuzed weapons CBU-105 production units and 44 training units. This contract supports foreign military sales to India. At this time, $126,291,295 has been obligated. AAC/EBJK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/08/10)

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $76M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $76,041,000 fixed-price-incentive-firm modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract activity. This modification provides additional funding for long lead efforts and materials associated with the production and delivery of 42 low rate initial production Lot V F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for the Air Force (22 Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft); Marine Corps (13 Short Take Off and Vertical Landing aircraft); and the Navy (7 Carrier Variant aircraft). Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; El Segundo, Calif.; Warton, United Kingdom; Orlando, Fla.; Nashua, N.H.; and Baltimore, Md., and is expected to be completed in May 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/08/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

AF picks Meridian for C-27J

The Air Force on Wednesday said it has chosen Key Field Air National Guard Base in Meridian, Miss., as the preferred base for two C-27J training aircraft. The planes would arrive in the second half of fiscal year 2014. Selection is subject to completion of the environmental impact analysis process, the Air Force said. The Meridian Star reported that the training mission will bring about 50 full-time jobs. (Sources: DoD, Meridian Star, 12/08/10)

Marines may get more time for F-35

The defense secretary will recommend giving the Marines two additional years to develop its version of the F-35 to correct technical and manufacturing glitches. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told General James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, of the decision in a Dec. 3 meeting, according to officials who asked not to be identified. The president's debt commission has proposed terminating the Marine Corps version to save money. (Source: Bloomberg, 12/07/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to become home of the JSF training center.

EADS soliciting bids for Mobile center

MOBILE, Ala. - EADS North America on Wednesday said it's soliciting bids through its program management firm for design and construction of the Mobile Conversion Center where KC-45 aerial refueling tanker aircraft will be militarized for the Air Force. The conversion center is part of an aircraft production facility that EADS North America will construct in Mobile if it wins the tanker contest against rival Boeing. The KC-45 will create more than 1,500 direct positions in Mobile. EADS North America has also committed to build commercial A330 freighter aircraft at the same site. Earlier this year, the company began its transfer of the KC-45 program management team, nearly 200 employees, to new offices in Mobile. (Source: EADS North America, 12/08/10)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

PW completes key J-2X assembly

CANOGA PARK, Calif. - Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completed assembly of the oxidizer turbopump on NASA's J-2X rocket engine, moving the next-generation, human-rated rocket engine a step closer to testing at Stennis Space Center, Miss., in 2011. The oxidizer turbopump delivers high pressure liquid oxygen to the engine's main injector, pumping more than 80 percent of the propellant consumed by the engine. It's driven by a turbine that uses the products of the gas generator after it has driven the engine's fuel turbopump. The J-2X engine was developed with heavy-lift capabilities in mind, and could play an important role as a powerful upper-stage engine for future missions to low-Earth orbit, Mars or an asteroid. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/07/10)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Analyst: EADS will win tanker

EADS will beat Boeing in the competition to build tankers for the Air Force, according to a defense analyst who's been a Boeing advocate. The Mobile Press-Register reports that Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., said Boeing executives concluded EADS is ahead after getting a look at the Air Force's internal analysis of the two competing bids. The Air Force expects to announce a winner for the $40 billion competition early next year. If it wins, EADS plans to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/06/10; Follow-up reports appeared in the Seattle Times and Seattle PI)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Week in review column

Another delay in the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, the F-35 cost controversy, a new Boeing operation in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., praise for the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter and a secret Air Force unmanned space vehicle were just some of the aerospace news items of interest to the Gulf Coast region during the week. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, 12/04/10)

Friday, December 3, 2010

X-37B lands after 7 months

An unmanned spacecraft, the X-37B, landed early Friday after more than 7 months in orbit. The winged autonomous vehicle, built by Boeing originally for NASA before it became an Air Force project, landed at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. It launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 22. While it looks like the Space Shuttle, it's much smaller and can be launched from atop a Delta V rocket. (Sources: AP via Times-Picayune, Wired, 12/03/10) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast region has interests in unmanned systems and space-related activities.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Contract: Northrop Grumman, $9.5M

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $9,500,000 modification to previously awarded contract for continued post-delivery technical support for Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System units, a helicopter-mounted anti-mine system. This contract will be used to modify and/or repair delivered hardware; modify or build new RAMICS system components; provide maintenance of delivered hardware and more. The system is deployed from surface ships and aircraft carriers in a carrier strike group or amphibious strike group. Work will be performed in Melbourne and is expected to be completed by September 2011. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/02/10)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Admiral: Fire Scout a game-changer

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - During the course of one day last month, the Navy's Fire Scout unmanned helicopter operated in four different locations across the United States and took off for the first time from a Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom. The Navy and industry partner Northrop Grumman tested the aircraft at Webster Field, Md., Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., aboard the USS Halyburton (FFG-40) off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., and USS Freedom (LCS-1) at the sea range in Point Mugu, Calif. "Flying in four locations in one day, off two classes of ships … marks a major milestone for our program and for naval aviation,” said Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. He said it "sets the stage for the introduction of a game-changing capability to our warfighters." Fire Scout has surpassed more than 1,000 flight hours since the test program began in December 2006. (Source: NAVAIR, 12/01/10) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., builds a version of the LCS.

AF tries to fix tanker foul-up

When the Air Force mistakenly sent data to Boeing that was intended for EADS and vice versa, Boeing didn't open the computer files but EADS did. To rectify that situation, the Air Force took the unusual step of deliberately re-sending the data to ensure neither could claim bias. The odd step was taken to ensure a level playing field, according to an Air Force spokesman. (Sources: Seattle Times, New York Times, 11/30/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS North America hopes to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., if it wins the $40 billion competition.

Boeing shifting some jobs to FWB

Boeing's Defense, Space and Security division plans to open a technical publication organization in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and move jobs to the new location, according to the Wichita Eagle. It's not yet known how the change will impact the 700 employees who work in technical publications for Boeing's defense business, including 150 who work in Wichita, said Boeing Wichita spokesman Jarrod Bartlett. Decisions will be finalized next year with the site scheduled to open in 2012, he said. (Source: Wichita Eagle, 12/01/10)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eglin team wins AFRL challenge

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – An Eglin Air Force Base team emerged victorious in the 2010 Air Force Research Laboratory Commander's Challenge, a competition where each team designs, develops and demonstrates a solution to an urgent warfighter need. The challenge for this year's competition involved developing a perimeter surveillance and detection system for a forward operating base and combat outposts, primarily in the Afghanistan theatre of operations. Both teams had a limited time and budget to produce a system that could be transitioned to the warfighter with very little follow-on effort. (Source: 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs, 11/29/10)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aurora rolls out Orion UAV in Mississippi

Aurora Flight Sciences of Manassas, Va., rolled out the first of three planned Orion five-day-endurance unmanned aircraft demonstrators at its Columbus, Miss., plant Nov. 22. That's barely three months after being picked by the Air Force Research Laboratory for the first phase of the Medium-Altitude Global ISR and Communications (Magic) program. Aurora is in talks with potential system integrators to help put Orion into production if a U.S. Air Force-funded technology demonstration proves successful. Orion is designed to fly for 120 hours at 20,000 feet with a 1,000-pound multi-sensor payload. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker attended the roll-out ceremony. (Sources: Aurora Flight Sciences, 11/22/10; Aviation Week, 11/26/10)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1,000th P5 pod delivered

DRS Training and Combat Control Systems of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., a business unit of DRS Defense Solutions of Bethesda, Md., has delivered its 1,000th airborne pod for the P5 Combat Training System/Tactical Combat Training System. The P5 CTS/TCTS allows the Navy, Marines, and Air Force and allies to train together using a common air combat training platform. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., awarded the prime contract in 2003 to Cubic Defense Applications of San Diego, Calif., with DRS TCS as a principal contractor. DRS has received orders of more than $210 million for P5 pods. (Source: DRS, 11/22/10)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two canned in tanker blunder

The Air Force said Tuesday that it fired two officials over the accidental release of bidding details to competitors for the aerial refueling tanker contract. Gen. Norton Schwartz dismissed initial reports that the release included confidential pricing information. Boeing is competing against EADS North America for the $40 billion aerial tanker contract. EADS wants to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/23/10)

Airport: Feelings split on scanners

GULFPORT, Miss. - Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport gets as many comments from people who say they appreciate the enhanced safety of full body scanners as they do from those who feel it's intrusive, said Jeremiah Gerald, director of air service and business development. Air travelers at some U.S. airports are upset they must pass through full-body scannners or submit to a pat down. (Source: Sun Herald, 11/22/10) California-based Rapiscan is one of two companies making the scanners. Rapiscan has a production facility in Ocean Springs, Miss.

Goodrich ships XWB thrust reverser

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Goodrich Corp. has delivered its first thrust reversers for the Airbus A350 XWB twinjet. The thrust reversers will be installed on a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine to be used in the engine ground test program, scheduled to begin later this year. Goodrich shipped the thrust reversers from its facility in Chula Vista, Calif., which was also the site of final assembly. The reversers will be sent to the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby, England, for initial testing before being shipped to a Rolls-Royce ground testing site at John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Source: Goodrich, 11/23/10) Goodrich's Alabama Service Center is located in Foley, Ala.

Friday, November 19, 2010

EADS, Airbus to open sourcing office

EADS North America and Airbus Americas will open a joint U.S. Sourcing Office at Airbus Americas' headquarters in Herndon, Va., in January 2011. EADS and Airbus have spent over $11 billion annually in the U.S. and support more than 200,000 American jobs. Airbus procurement from U.S.- based suppliers represents over 40 percent of its total global aircraft-related purchases. The office will be responsible for mapping out a U.S. sourcing strategy and implementing an active procurement marketing effort. The office is part of the Global Sourcing Network, an EADS-wide organization dedicated to promote the globalization of the EADS procurement activities. It has offices in China and India. (Source: EADS North America, 11/19/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS and Airbus have operations in Mobile, Ala., where EADS also hopes to assemble tankers for the Air Force if it wins a multibillion-dollar contract; EADS has a helicopter production facility in Columbus, Miss.

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $3.5M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $3,485,385,767 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract that converts contract type from a cost-plus-incentive-fee to a fixed-price-incentive for the manufacture and delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter low rate initial production Lot 4 aircraft. It provides for procurement of 10 conventional take-off and landing aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, 16 short take-off vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) for the U.S. Marine Corps; 1 STOVL for the United Kingdom Royal Navy; and four carrier variant aircraft for the U.S. Navy. The modification provides for the procurement of associated ancillary mission equipment, flight test instrumentation, and manufacturing support equipment. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in March 2013. This modification combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and the United Kingdom. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/19/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to be home of the F-35 training center.

AF sent info to wrong tanker rivals

The Air Force earlier this month sent letters to rival planemakers about their bids for the multibillion-dollar tanker contest - but delivered its technical assessment of Boeing's bid to EADS and vice versa. Air Force spokesman Col. Les Kodlick said the service is analyzing the information that was inadvertently disclosed and has taken steps to ensure that both competitors have had equal access to the same information. The service is trying to find out how the mistake happened to ensure it's not repeated. The Air Force expects to award the contract early next year. (Source: Defense News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, HeraldNetMobile Press-Register, 11/19/10) Gulf Coast note: If EADS wins, the company plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Contract: Bell-Boeing, $10M

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $10,085,840 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for non-recurring efforts required to complete the fuel jettison mission management restriction removal engineering change proposal (ECP) for the Air Force CV-22. This ECP will remove the fuel jettison restriction allowing the aircrew to rapidly manage CV-22 aircraft mission gross weight. Two percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Other work sites are Ridley Park, Pa., Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and St. Louis, Mo. Work is expected to be completed in August 2013. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/19/10)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cracks found in F35B test craft

Lockheed Martin discovered cracks in the rear bulkhead of an F-35B joint strike fighter jet undergoing fatigue testing, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The cracks were found after the plane had been subjected to the equivalent of 1,500 hours of flight time. The B version is the Marine Corps variant of the stealth aircraft. (Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11/17/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to become home of the F-35 training center.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Contract: DTS, $6.7M

DTS Aviation Services Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $6,746,671 contract modification which will provide aircraft backshop maintenance, munitions, and equipment support services for the Air Armament Center and for Air Armament command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems testing for a 12-month period. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/PKOB, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/17/10)

NASA teams with high schools

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA will team with students at 17 high schools in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee to design and develop hardware and software products for use in America’s space program. Students will work with NASA engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and Stennis Space Center on eight projects identified by the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) initiative. One goal of the HUNCH initiative, launched in 2003 at Marshall, is to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science, technology or engineering fields. HUNCH teams include faculty leads and 10-15 student team members who will work with NASA mentors. Projects this year include, among other things, hardware mockup for use on the International Space Station, heavy lift space vehicle subsystems and a portable rocket engine test stand. (Source: NASA, 11/17/10)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lockheed gets SSC contract

NASA has awarded the test operations contract at Stennis Space Center, Miss., to Lockheed Martin Services Inc. of Houston. The test operations contract is a performance based, cost-plus-award-fee contract, valued at $95.7 million, with a five-year period of performance consisting of a base period of 30 months and one option period of 30 months. As the test operations contractor, Lockheed Martin will be responsible for providing test operations, core operations and maintenance activities to support test projects at Stennis. (Source: NASA, 11/16/10)

New name eyed for Brookley

MOBILE, Ala. - Mobile Airport Authority members are considering removing the name “Brookley” from the industrial complex in downtown Mobile. Authority members Matt Metcalfe and Bert Meisler said they would prefer to see the word "Brookley" replaced by "Mobile." The discussion came up during a Monday meeting when airport staff has suggested rebranding the Brookley Field Industrial Complex as Brookley Aeroplex. Metcalfe said he would like the complex to be renamed Mobile Aeroplex. Authority members tabled the issue for a future meeting. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/15/10)

NG pushes not to trim Global Hawk

Northrop Grumman launched an advertising campaign urging the public to lobby Congress not to cut budgets for Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. It comes as the government considers cutting the defense budget by about $100 billion over the next five years. The campaign includes ads in newspapers and a website that makes it easy for people to email comments to members of Congress. (Source: San Diego Union Tribune, 11/15/10) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

NASA selects Air Products

NASA chose Air Products and Chemicals Inc. of Allentown, Pa., for the follow-on contract for the agency-wide acquisition of liquid hydrogen. It has a one-year base performance period with a one-year option period. The maximum potential value of the contract is about $18 million. Air Products will supply about 10,860,000 pounds of liquid hydrogen to Stennis Space Center, Miss., Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.; and Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in support of the agency's Space Operations Mission Directorate and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. (Sources: Examiner, Spaceref, 11/15/10)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Marine F-35 variant need questioned

The co-chairmen of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform issued a series of draft proposals to cut government spending, including buying fewer F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force and Navy and eliminating the Marine Corps’ variant. The document is just a proposal, and it remains to be seen what gets into the final set of recommendations due Dec. 1. (Source: Project on Government Oversight, 11/10/10), citing DoD sources, reports that senior defense leaders are considering a restructuring of the F-35 program that would eliminate the Marine variant and accelerate the development of the Air Force and Navy variants. (Source: InsideDefense (subscription), 11/12/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be the home of a JSF training center.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cubic gets test range work

Cubic Defense Applications of San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $35 million contract as part of an industry team developing the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) for U.S. military test ranges. CRIIS, which will be operational at eight ranges, including Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., provides data to support weapon system testing for a variety of platforms, including aircraft, ships, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, ground vehicles and soldiers. Cubic is a subcontractor for Rockwell Collins, which was awarded a $140 million contract to develop the first phase of CRIIS. Cubic, known for its air combat training systems, is expanding into the test and evaluation instrumentation market. (Source: Cubic, 11/11/10) Previous Cubic story

Contract: Diligent, $24M

Diligent Consulting Inc., San Antonio, Texas, was awarded a $24,000,000 contract which will provide for Air Education and Training Command Department of Defense information assurance certification and accreditation process support services. AAC/PKO, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/11/10)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

AJ26 test fired at SSC

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center conducted a successful test firing Wednesday of the liquid-fuel AJ26 engine that will power the first stage of Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Taurus II space launch vehicle. Orbital and its engine supplier, Aerojet, test-fired the engine on Stennis' E-1 test stand. The test directly supports NASA's partnerships to enable commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station. The initial test, the first in a series of three firings, lasted 10 seconds and served as a short-duration readiness firing to verify AJ26 engine start and shutdown sequences, E-1 test stand operations, and ground-test engine controls. (Source: PRNewswire, NASA, 11/10/10; Business Wire, 11/11/10)

Contract: Raytheon, $16.1M

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $16,185,862 contract modification which will exercise the high-speed anti-radiation missile targeting system fiscal 2011 contractor logistics support option. At this time, $4,302,000 has been obligated. AAC/IBAS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/10/10)

Blue Angels wrap up season

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The Blue Angels will close the 2010 season with the annual Homecoming Air Show at Naval Air Station Pensacola Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Along with the flying, more than 50 military and civilian aircraft will be on display. (Source: WALA-TV, 11/10/10)

New airline service offered

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Vision Airlines will offer service out of Northwest Florida Regional Airport beginning next month. The company, started in 1994 primarily as a charter service, is based in Suwanee, Ga. It will offer non-stop service to Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Miami beginning Dec. 17. Plans for the new service were first mentioned last week during a chamber breakfast in Okaloosa County. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/08/10; Destin Log, 11/10/10)

Mississippi aviator honored

GULFPORT, Miss. - A life-size bronze bust of Mississippi aviator John C. Robinson will be unveiled and dedicated at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The bust by sculptor Edward Shumper was commissioned by the John C. Robinson Brown Condor Association in honor of the Gulfport aviation pioneer. The unveiling is the kick-off of an effort to build the Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum on the grounds of the airport. (Source: Sun Herald, 11/09/10)

ASI assets purchased

PENSACOLA, Fla. - LSI Inc. of Jacksonville plans to acquire the assets of Aviation Systems Inc. of Northwest Florida next month. The Pensacola company provides training device design, engineering, manufacturing and repair services. ASI's facility is 20,000 square feet and has 50 workers. LSI is an employee-owned training company and has more than 450 workers. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/09/10)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Navy F-35 arrives

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the Navy's stealth fighter, arrived over the weekend at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The aircraft left NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in Texas Saturday morning and achieved successful air refuels at a maximum load of 19,800 pounds during the flight. At Patuxent River, the F-35C will conduct air-to-air refueling and performance testing. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 11/09/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Delay in F-35 delivery to Eglin?

Lockheed Martin planned to delivery two F-35As to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., before the end of the year to begin training pilots. But according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram's airline, travel and aerospace blog, InsideDefense reported that the Pentagon wants the first low initial rate production F-35s off the assembly line outfitted with extra testing equipment for an additional six months of testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. That will delay pilot training until at least the late summer of 2011. (Source: Fort Worth Star Telegram, quoting InsideDefense (subscription), 11/04/10)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fire Scout part of LCS module package

Northrop Grumman won a $29 million Navy contract to begin production of three mission module packages for littoral combat ships, including an anti-mine warfare package that includes the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. The project also includes two surface warfare packages. The LCS modular design means the ship can go to the port where mission packages are staged, off load its current package and replace it with a new one in a few days. The first package is scheduled for early 2012 delivery and the others later that year. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 11/04/10) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., is one of two companies building LCS ships for the Navy; Northrop Grumman has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast.

Counties eye F-35 noise study

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - Three Northwest Florida counties and the Air Force have taken the first step to study ways to reduce the impact of noise from Joint Strike Fighters. Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties agreed Thursday to find a consultant to conduct a noise reduction study of homes, businesses and public buildings within areas that will be exposed to noise levels of 65 decibels or more after all 59 F-35s arrive at Eglin Air Force Base. The commander of the 96th Air Base Wing and other Air Force officials also will participate. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/04/10) Eglin Air Force Base will be home to a JSF training center.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Foley Goodrich gets more C-5 work

Goodrich received a contract from Lockheed Martin to supply 160 pylons for the Air Force C-5 airlifter Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program. Work on the pylons, which attach engines to the wings, will be done in Foley, Ala., and Chula Vista, Calif., the company said. The contract extends an earlier deal between the two companies to provide pylons and nacelles for three test aircraft as well as nine airplanes in the initial phases of the enhancement program. Pylons are scheduled for delivery beginning in early 2011 through the end of 2015, the company said. Goodrich has 700 workers in Foley. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, Goodrich, 11/03/10)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Microwave weapon contract awarded

Lockheed Martin won a $230,000 contract from the Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to define requirements for an airborne weapon using high-power microwave energy beams instead to take out enemy electronic systems. The Non-Kinetic Counter Electronics Capability contract will lead to development of a new weapon to destroy electronic equipment without explosives. Lockheed Martin will deliver its findings in the first quarter of 2011. The system would be aimed at structures containing electronic equipment that high-power microwave bursts would render useless. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 11/02/10)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Airport marks 75 years

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport marked 75 years of service Monday at an event attended by about 100 people. The airport started as a private development before being sold to the city of Pensacola in 1935. The city has spent $50 million over the past several years on renovations. Federal funds paid for $45 million in runway improvements. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/02/10) Other Central Gulf Coast cities served by commercial airports include New Orleans, Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., Mobile, Ala., Fort Walton Beach-Valparaiso-Crestview, Fla., and Panama City, Fla.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Contract: Boeing, $106.4M

Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $106,354,379 contract modification which provides for the exercise of the Lot 7 option for small diameter bomb production for munitions, carriages and technical support. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/EBMK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (Source: DoD, 11/01/10)

Contract: L-3 Vertex, $23.8M

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $23,798,929 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract to exercise an option for organizational, selected intermediate and limited depot-level maintenance for F-16, F-18, H-60, and E-2C aircraft operated by the adversary squadrons based at Naval Air Station, Fallon, Nev. Work will be performed in Fallon and is expected to be completed in October 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/0)

Science center topping out date set

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - A "topping out" ceremony has been scheduled for Nov. 17 for the Infinity Science Center being built near NASA's Stennis Space Center. The ceremony marks a milestone in construction of the multimillion-dollar education center, set to open in 2012. In addition to the placing of a tree at the highest part of the structure, there will be remarks by key officials. Infinity, located near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line and the Mississippi Welcome Center along Interstate 10, is designed to interest young people in science, technology, engineering and math, and to increase the public’s understanding of the earth, space and ocean science work done at Stennis Space Center. (Source: Tcp, 11/01/10)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Avalex breaks ground

GULF BREEZE, Fla. - Ground was broken here Friday on a $10 million headquarters building for Avalex Technologies, which specializes in aerial surveillance equipment for the military and law enforcement. The company currently uses two buildings in downtown Pensacola, just across the bay from Gulf Breeze. It has 55 technicians and researchers and needed room to grow. The 9.2-acre site in Gulf Breeze was once was occupied by a new car dealership. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 10/30/10) Previous story

Friday, October 29, 2010

Contract: L-3 Vertex, $8.6M

L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., was awarded an $8,648,945 contract which will acquire aircraft maintenance support services for wing and site training devices, ground instructional training aircraft, historical/static display aircraft, and maintenance of the 80th Flying Training Wing. AETC CONS/LGCK, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/29/10)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cubic books training equipment orders

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Cubic Defense Applications has received more than $16 million in new orders this year for air combat training systems and spares. The new bookings provide P5CTS/TCTS training equipment for Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Eielson AFB, Alaska, Nellis AFB, Nev., Naval Air Station China Lake, Calif., NAS Fallon, Nev., and NAS Oceana, Va. The system allows U.S. military and partner nations to train together using a common air combat training platform. Instrumentation pods are currently aboard A-10, F-5, F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. An embedded variant featuring an internal subsystem within the aircraft is being developed for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. (Source: Cubic, 10/27/10)

NASA scientists engage students

NEW ORLEANS - More than a dozen NASA and university scientists will visit schools in the New Orleans area Friday to encourage students to learn more about our Earth system and the importance of the view from space. The scientists are in New Orleans for the "A-Train Symposium," named after a fleet of NASA satellites orbiting the planet to collect data on a variety of aspects of the Earth system, including the atmosphere, land surface and oceans. The conference began monday and ends Thursday. (Source: PRNewswire, 10/27/10)

Museum welcomes 2 millionth visitor

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The two millionth visitor to the only museum in the world dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of Air Force armament passed through the doors Oct. 21. The 28,000 square-foot Air Force Armament Museum opened to the public in the spring of 1976. The museum gets about 400 visitors per day, and during fiscal year 2010, some 123,000 people walked through the front doors. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 10/26/10)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lakota marks milestone

The UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter built by EADS North America has surpassed the 40,000-flight hour milestone in operational service with the Army and Army National Guard. Built at the company’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss., a total of 138 Lakotas have been delivered to date for fielding to Army, Army National Guard and Navy. The production plant is adjacent to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. (Source: EADS North America, 10/26/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS North America also has operations in Mobile, Ala.

Eglin completes second alt fuel test

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Eglin conducted its second aircraft performance evaluation using a biomass-derived fuel, this time with an F-15 Eagle. The jet flew at a variety of flight conditions, achieved supersonic speeds, and landed with no issues. The biofuel blend used for the Eagle flight was comprised of fifty percent Hydro-Processed Renewable Jet blend mixed with 50 percent JP-8. The HRJ was derived from extracted animal fats and oils, and then refined into a kerosene using conventional processes. In March of this year, an A-10 flew on a 50/50 JP-8/HRJ blend derived from oil extracted from camelina seeds, a weed-like non-food source plant. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 10/25/10)

Scanner shown at airport

NEW ORLEANS – A full body scanner was shown at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Monday. The airport brought in the Transportation Safety Administration's regional director to vouch for the new system and the privacy protections that are in place. Ray White showed reporters how the images are captured and the measures TSA takes to ensure no one can ever see what a specific traveler looks like. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 10/25/10)

Friday, October 22, 2010

COBRA tested on Fire Scout

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. - The Navy successfully conducted the first flight test of the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) Block I system at Yuma Proving Ground Oct. 13 on an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. The system allows the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout to conduct reconnaissance in littoral areas, detecting minefields and obstacles to prepare for amphibious assaults. The Block I upgrade was designed to address the beach zone and inland areas. With the test complete, the COBRA Block I system will enter low-rate initial production with the first production unit scheduled for delivery in fiscal year 2012. (Source: NNS, 10/21/10) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

860-mile trek winds to close

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – An 860-mile walk that began at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, on Oct. 9 will end Thursday at Hurlburt Field, Fla. This is the second year for the walk, which honors special tactics airmen that have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Six teams of two to three walkers started from San Antonio carrying 50-pound packs and batons engraved with the names of the fallen airmen. The walk took them through five states. Last year's walk honored 12 special tactics airmen, but this year it's 14. The two most recent special tactics airmen to die in the line of duty are Senior Airman Mark Forester, who died Sept. 29, and Senior Airman Daniel Sanchez, who died Sept. 16. (Sources: Sun Herald, 10/19/10, AFNS, 10/09/10) (Last year's story)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NG: No regret about leaving tanker fight

Seven months after leaving the competition to build tankers for the Air Force, Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush says he has no regrets. Bush made the comment during an Oct. 19 forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The company backed out of a partnership with EADS North America because it felt the contest favored the smaller Boeing offering. Rebecca Grant, an industry consultant, said the tanker program is being miscast as a choice between buying a U.S.-made Boeing 767 versus a foreign-made Airbus 330. She said that ignores a fact of life in the aerospace industry: There are no purely American-made airliners. Grant said at an Oct. 19 news conference at the National Press Club that either company will create about the same number of jobs in the United States. She also said it's possible the number of tankers built will be well below original projection. (Source: National Defense Magazine, 10/19/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS wants to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Monday, October 18, 2010

P&W wins NASA award

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne won the 2010 Large Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The award recognizes excellence in support of the work of the Marshall Center and in sustaining NASA's mission. The company was recognized for exemplary support of the center's subcontracting programs under the J-2X upper-stage engine and Space Shuttle Main Engine contracts. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 10/18/10) Gulf Coast note: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne also has an operation at John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Third Australian MRTT takes flight

Australia's third mission-equipped A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport has completed a four-hour maiden flight and performed a series of tests. It reached an altitude of 41,000 feet. Airbus Military will begin deliveries of A330 MRTTs this year to its first operator, the Royal Australian Air Force. A total of 28 A330 MRTT will be produced for Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. EADS North America is offering an A330 MRTT-based tanker to the U.S. Air Force as the KC-45 in the competition with Boeing. EADS plans to assemble the aircraft in Mobile, Ala., if it wins the contract (Source: EADS, 10/18/10)

STOVL engine completes thermal test

The Pratt & Whitney F135 short takeoff/vertical landing variant propulsion system for the F-35 successfully completed one of the most demanding tests in the qualification program. The high temperature margin test which took place at Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee and involves intentionally running the engine to turbine temperatures beyond design conditions while simultaneously operating the turbomachinery at or above 100 percent of design conditions. (Source: Pratt & Whitney, 10/18/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home of the F-35 training center.

Cyberspace the newest domain

With the creation of the U.S. Cyber Command in May and last week's cybersecurity agreement between the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, DoD is ready to add cyberspace to sea, land, air and space as the latest domain of warfare, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said. "Information technology provides us with critical advantages in all of our warfighting domains, so we need to protect cyberspace to enable those advantages," Lynn said. Adversaries may be able to undermine the military's advantages in conventional areas by attacking the nation's military and commercial information technology infrastructure, Lynn said. This threat has "opened up a whole new asymmetry in future warfare," he said. (Source: AFNS, 10/18/10) Gulf Coast note: The Air Force trains cyberspace personnel at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Other cyberspace training is done at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and at the Navy’s Corry Station in Pensacola, Fla.

Mini bomber UAV concept to be tested

A mini remotely piloted aircraft with attack capabilities makes its debut next month during evaluation flights at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., conducted by the Air Force Air Armament Center and U.S. Special Operations Command. Written specifications call for the aircrat to weigh 3 to 5.5 pounds and fly up to 30 minutes. Besides a warhead, the payload will include a video camera and transmitter to relay images to ground forces. Troops will fly the bomber using a console the size of a laptop. How much of a punch the RPA will pack is still under wraps. In December the Air Force will select up to three firms to compete for the contract. (Source: Air Force Times, 10/18/10)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whiting hosts helicopter fly-in

The Naval Helicopter Association's multi-day Gulf Coast Fleet Fly-In will be held Tuesday through Friday at Naval Air Station Whiting Field near Milton, Fla. The event gives members of the naval helicopter community a chance to network with one another and with industry officials. Students at Whiting also get a chance to see some of the aircraft they’ll be flying. Whiting Field’s Training Wing 5 trains about 1,300 pilots a year. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 10/17/10)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vector to add jobs in Andalusia

ANDALUSIA, Ala. – Helicopter repair firm Vector Aerospace will add 100 jobs to its Andalusia operation, according to the mayor. Earl Johnson said local governments will spend around $3 million to build a 42,000-square-foot building for Vector at the South Alabama Regional Airport. Vector, of Canada, opened in Andalusia in 2008. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/12/10, Andalusia Star-News, 10/06/10) In another Vector development, the company plans to shed 30 jobs at its Almondbank facility in Scotland in a restructuring. (Sources: Multiple, including The Courier, Scotsman, 10/13/10)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Contract: Raytheon, $20.1M

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $20,133,837 contract which will provide for the next generation guidance section to design and build a new guidance section test position. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/EBAC, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/12/10)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Report highlights S. Mississippi military

The Harrison County Development Commission has released its second annual report on the military in South Mississippi. It highlights military activities at Harrison County's Keesler Air Force Base, Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, the National Guard at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and the Coast Guard. While focusing on Harrison County, the report also has stories about Navy activities at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County Miss., Hattiesburg's Camp Shelby and more. (Source: Tcp, 10/11/10) (The 20-page PDF can be downloaded at the HCDC Web site)

Infinity science center taking shape

HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. - The Infinity Science Center, an interactive facility begin built near Stennis Space Center along Interstate 10, is beginning to take shape. Work began May 3 near the Welcome Center in South Mississippi not far from the state line with Louisiana. The building is scheduled to be finished in August. About 90 percent of the steelwork is up and 80 percent of the concrete is done. A "topping off" will be celebrated in the next few weeks. Backers are still raising some $2 million for the $12 million interactive exhibits. Infinity will highlight ocean, space and earth science through fun exhibits at the center. It's expected to open in the spring of 2012. (Source: Sun Herald, 10/10/10)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Israel to buy 20 F-35s

Israel signed a $2.75 billion deal to buy 20 F-35s, with delivery between 2015 and 2017. Israel is the first buyer outside the aircraft's nine-nation development group. The agreement was signed after years of talks on aircraft price, Israeli industrial participation and integration of Israeli capabilities on its own F-35 fleet. The cost for the Lockheed Martin jets was put at about $96 million per aircraft. (Sources: Multiple, including Reuters, PRNewswire, 10/08/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home of a Joint Strike Fighter Training Center.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Would-be tanker bidder loses protest

A California company working with Ukrainian planemaker Antonov lost a protest over the U.S. Air Force's decision to reject its bid for the tanker program. The bid arrived five minutes late, but U.S. Aerospace claimed the Air Force conspired to prevent the bid from arriving in time. A protest was filed with the Government Accountability Office in August, and in mid-September the GAO rejected part of the claim. Wednesday's decision fully denied U.S. Aerospace's claim. (Source: Washington Post, Bloomberg, 10/06/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS, which hopes to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., and Boeing, which will build them in Washington, remain the only competitors for the $40 billion contract.

KC-45 supporters rally

LOS ANGELES - Aerospace workers, city and state officials rallied Tuesday in Southern California as part of an effort by EADS North America to showcase its candidate for the Air Force tanker contract: the KC-45 tanker. The rally counters similar efforts by Boeing, the other competitor in the tanker fight. This rally was hosted in Irvine by Parker Aerospace. Parker would be a major supplier on both the KC-45 and Boeing's proposed KC-767 program. (Source: Aviation Week, 10/06/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS plans to assemble the KC-45 in Mobile, Ala.

F-35 flight tests resume

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter resumed flight tests after fixes were made to a software flaw with the jet's fuel pumps. Test aircraft of the three variants were grounded Oct. 1 after lab tests revealed a fault in software that controls three fuel-boost pumps, raising concern they could shut down during flight and stall the engine. The U.S. plans to buy 2,473 of the Lockheed Martin F-35s, and eight international partners may buy 700 more. (Source: Bloomberg, 10/05/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Center chief to discuss SSC future

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Members of the media will be at John C. Stennis Space Center Wednesday for a roundtable discussion with the center's director about SSC's future. Director Patrick Scheuermann will talk about work under way at Stennis and its impact on the local community. SSC is where rocket engines are tested, but it's actually a diversified center with more than 30 tenants, the largest being the U.S. Navy. The media will also tour the construction site of the new A-3 test stand, which will be able to test rocket engines at simulated altitudes up to 100,000 feet, and the E-1 test stand that will be used to test Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines. Those engines will power Orbital Science Corp. commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station. Stennis Space Center, in South Mississippi, is not far from the Louisiana-Mississippi state line. (Source: Tcp, 10/06/10)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Contract: SES, $7M

SES Construction and Fuel Services LLC, Oak Ridge, Tenn., was awarded a $6,998,777 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for work that will be performed at the 81st Medical Support Group, Arnold Annex and Main Clinic, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Work is to be performed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 1, 2011. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, Little Rock, Ark., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/04/10)

Contract: L-3 Vertex, $91M

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $90,996,144 contract which will exercise fiscal 2010 options for logistics support of the T-1A aircraft at Vance, Columbus Randolph, and Laughlin Air Force Bases and Pensacola Naval Air Station. OC-ALC/GKSKA, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/04/10)

Japan considers buying Global Hawks

Japan is considering buying three Northrop Grumman Global Hawks to help monitor China and North Korea, according to Kyodo News, citing sources in the Defense Ministry and Self-Defense Forces. The unmanned high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft can fly at altitudes of 60,000 feet for more than 30 hours. Although the ministry has been conducting basic research on unmanned surveillance aircraft since fiscal 2003, Japan is now tilted toward first importing the Global Hawk. (Source: AFP, Kyodo News via Japan Times, 10/04/10) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Feature: Eglin's future

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Eglin Air Force Base remains one of the busiest in the Department of Defense. Tenants include the 46th Test Wing, Special Operations headquarters, and the country's only special operations reserve unit. It's also home of the Joint Strike Fighter training school and the Army 7th Special Forces, as well as the Air Armament Center, which develops aerial weaponry. A feature story about the northwest Florida base and its future. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/02/10)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Groups eye airline travel bank

GULFPORT, Miss. - Businesses and individuals are being asked to pledge support to keep AirTran flying and increase service at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Business Council and Chamber of Commerce are making the request and have been working for months to establish an Airline Travel Bank, said Jack Norris, president of the business council. He said the announcement that Southwest wants to buy AirTran accelerated the need for the program. The two groups are asking for non-binding pledges to gauge interest in an air bank, said Norris. (Source: Mississippi Press, 10/02/10)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Next chief of AAC announced

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Maj. Gen. Kenneth Merchant is scheduled to be the next Air Armament Center and Air Force program executive officer for weapons. Merchant will arrive from Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., where he's director of logistics. Two of his previous assignments were at Eglin. Maj. Gen. C. R. Davis, program executive officer for weapons and Air Armament Center commander, was nominated for appointment to lieutenant general. Once confirmed, he'll be reassigned to Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 09/30/10)

Congress settles on NASA future

Congress approved a plan for NASA that extends the space shuttle program for a year and backs the president's plan to use commercial carriers to bring humans into near-Earth space. The bill, passed by the House this week and by the Senate lasts month, ends the Constellation Program, which sought to return astronauts to the moon, and extends the life of the International Space Station to 2020. At Stennis Space Center, Miss., where propulsion systems are tested and certified, center director Patrick Scheuermann said he's confident Stennis will be fully utilized for future space exploration. (Source: Multiple, including AP via the Sun Herald, WLOX-TV, 09/30/10)

300 laid off at Michoud

NEW ORLEANS - About 300 workers were laid off at the Michoud Assembly Facility Thursday as production of the space shuttle external fuel tank came to an end. Lockheed Martin had about 1,500 people at the facility at the start of the year, but the number has slowly dropped as various stages of the external fuel tank production have ended. It’s down to about 600. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 09/30/10)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

First flight of MK-84 successful

Boeing successfully completed the first flight tests of the MK-84 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The first two of seven planned tests at Eglin demonstrated the 2,000-pound weapon's capability against fixed, relocatable and moving targets. During the tests in July, two inert MK-84 Laser JDAM weapons were released from an F-16 flying at 30,000 feet. Both weapons flew a series of preprogrammed maneuvers to verify maneuverability and aerodynamic performance. An existing JDAM becomes a Laser JDAM with the installation of the Precision Laser Guidance Set. (Source: Boeing, 09/28/10)

Contract: Mississippi Aerospace, $8.6M

Mississippi Aerospace Corp., Picayune, Miss., was awarded an $8,642,054 contract which will acquire loadmaster scanner crashworthy seats for the Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130H/W and EC 130J aircraft, and Air Combat Command and Air Force Reserve Command HC-130P aircraft. WR-ALC/GRUK, Special Forces Contracting Division, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 09/30/10)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Contract: Northrop Grumman, $99M

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Aerospace Battle Management and Engagement Systems Decision Support and Targeting, Hollywood, Md., was awarded a $99,000,000 contract which will procure weapons planning software. At this time, $1,000,000 has been obligated. AAC/EBSK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 09/29/10)

Contract: Kaman, $36M

Kaman Precision Products Inc., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $35,985,342 contract modification which will procure joint programmable fuze systems for four Foreign Military Sales countries at a total quantity of 10,518 units. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 09/29/10)