Friday, January 29, 2010

Contract: Kachemak, $9.8M

Kachemak Research Development, Inc., Logan, Utah, was awarded a $9,774,048 contract which will provide for robotics research in support of AutoScan 31G for robotic perimeter security applications. 325 CONS/LGCB, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/29/10)

Contract: Raytheon, $23.7M

Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $23,684,516 contract which will replace obsolete parts within the guidance section data processor module and modify the supporting missile hardware and software architecture as required to continue production of the existing missile systems. 695 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/29/10)

Budget has $11B for JSF, boosts SOF

The Pentagon's 2011 budget will seek nearly $11 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, boosts funds special operations forces and puts the Air Force on track to award a tanker contract in the summer of 2010, according to a draft overview obtained by Defense News. The budget is due to be sent to Congress Feb. 1. (Source: Defense News, 01/28/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base will be home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center; Northwest Florida and South Mississippi are home to several special operations organizations; if Northrop Grumman/EADS compete for and win the tanker contract, the planes will be assembled in Mobile, Ala.

Margin focus may play role in tanker

Northrop Grumman's threat to pull out of bidding for the tanker program, which would leave Boeing as the sole bidder, may resonate with investors who want new CEO Wes Bush to ensure profitability at the third largest U.S. defense contractor. Bloomberg writes about some of the factors, including profit margins, that will come into play for Northrop when the Pentagon releases final requirements for the $35 billion contract next month. (Source: Bloomberg, 01/29/10) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman and teammate EADS want to build the tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Goodrich 4Q report

Goodrich Corp. earned a $105 million profit in the fourth quarter, down 38 percent from $168.7 million in the last three months of 2008. Quarterly sales fell 3 percent to $1.64 billion. For the year, Goodrich earned $597.3 million, down 12.3 percent from $681.2 million in 2008. Goodrich, based in Charlotte, N.C., employs about 720 people at its service center in Foley, Ala. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/28/10)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Contract: Dyncorp, $6.7M

Dyncorp International, LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $6,745,095 contract for continued contractor logistics support for 12 U.S. Navy UC-35C/D aircraft. Seventeen percent of the work will be done at Naval Air Station New Orleans, La. Other work sites are Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan, MCAS Miramar, Calif., and MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. Work is expected to be completed in November 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/28/10)

Lockheed Martin 4Q report

Lockheed Martin Corp. reported fourth quarter 2009 net earnings of $827 million compared to $823 million in 2008. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $12.5 billion, a 13 percent increase over the $11.1 billion in 2008. For the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, net earnings were $3 billion compared to $3.2 billion in 2008. Net sales for 2009 were $45.2 billion, a 6 percent increase over the $42.7 billion in 2008. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 01/28/10) Gulf Coast note: Maryland-based Lockheed Martin has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast region.

Raytheon 4Q report

Raytheon Co. reported fourth quarter 2009 income from continuing operations of $517 million, up 21 percent compared to $428 million in the fourth quarter 2008. EPS from continuing operations for the fourth quarter 2009 was $1.30, up 29 percent compared to $1.01 in the fourth quarter 2008. (Source: Raytheon via PRNewswire, 01/28/10) Gulf Coast note: Massachusetts-based Raytheon has operations in the Gulf Coast region.

Teledyne 4Q report

Teledyne Technologies reported fourth quarter 2009 sales of $454.4 million, compared with sales of $464.8 million for the same period of 2008. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $32.2 million compared with net income of $19.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. (Source: Business Wire, 01/28/10) Gulf Coast note: Teledyne Continental Motors of Mobile, Ala., is a subsidiary of California-based Teledyne Technologies.

Return to moon dead?

Louisiana's U.S. senators are concerned about reports that President Barack Obama is planning to provide the space agency with no money in his 2011 budget for a NASA rocket program to replace the space shuttle. A Florida newspaper has reported that Obama is dropping plans by the Bush administration to return astronauts to the moon through the Constellation Program, and wants NASA to focus on earth science projects like research on global warming. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 01/27/10) Gulf Coast note: NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center, Miss., are both involved in the Constellation Program.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First UK service pilot flies F-35

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - A Royal Air Force officer on Tuesday became the first active-duty service pilot from the United Kingdom to fly an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. RAF Squadron Leader Steve Long piloted BF-2, the second short takeoff/vertical landing F-35B, over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., logging the aircraft's 18th mission. He flew to 20,000 feet before landing 1.3 hours later. Both the RAF and the Royal Navy plan to operate the F-35B. Long said he was pleased with the level of situational awareness. He was the third active-duty service member to fly the F-35. It's also been flown by U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps pilots. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 01/27/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home to the Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Michoud preps for Ares I work

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Work is well underway to prepare Michoud Assembly Facility for the work it will do on the Ares I upper stage and avionics. The Constellation Program's Ares I rocket is being developed to launch the next generation of astronauts into space. The rocket had a successful test Oct. 28 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., the first time in more than a generation that NASA tested a new rocket. Boeing is the production and design partner for the Ares I upper stage, also called the second stage, and instrument unit avionics, the "brains." Tooling to produce the upper stage requires a nearly three-story building, and work is underway to reinforce floors in the Boeing Ares areas. Once reinforced, a robotic weld tool and a machining center will be installed. Construction has begun on a Vertical Assembly Building where the upper stages will be assembled. Currently 15 Boeing employees work at Michoud but that number is expected to grow to 120 by the end of 2010. Boeing also built the first stage of the Saturn V at Michoud. (Source: Michoud Messenger, January 2010)

Pilot's remains recovered

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The body of Lt. Clinton Wermers, a Navy pilot whose training plane crashed Saturday in Lake Pontchartrain, has been recovered by divers. Wermers and a student aviator were in a T-34 assigned to Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., when they crashed on approach to the New Orleans Lakefront Airport. The student was rescued Saturday. Wermer's remains were recovered Wednesday around 1 a.m. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 01/27/10)

United Technologies 4Q report

United Technologies Corp. reported fourth quarter 2009 net income of $1.1 billion, down 6 percent over the year ago quarter. Results for the current quarter include an $0.08 per share charge for restructuring costs net of one time items. (Source: UTC via PRNewswire, 01/27/10) Gulf Coast note: Connecticut-based United Technologies has activities in the Gulf Coast region, in part through subsidiary Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

General Dynamics 4Q report

General Dynamics reported 2009 fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $618 million compared to 2008 fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $630 million. Full-year 2009 earnings from continuing operations were $2.41 billion compared to $2.48 billion for 2008. (Source: General Dynamics via PRNewswire, 01/27/10) Gulf Coast note: Virginia-based General Dynamics has activities in the Gulf Coast region.

Boeing 4Q report

The Boeing Co. reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.3 billion as revenue rose 42 percent to $17.9 billion. Current period results reflect solid performance across core businesses and represent a significant improvement over the year-ago quarter, which included a labor strike and a charge on the 747 program. Revenue for the full year reached a record $68.3 billion. (Source: Boeing via PRNewswire, 01/27/10) Gulf Coast note: Chicago-based Boeing has activities in the Gulf Coast region.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Contract: CSC, $29.5M

CSC Applied Technologies LLC of Fort Worth, Texas was awarded a $29,513,871 contract which will provide for base operating support service at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. 81 CONS, Keesler Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/26/10)

Cyber AF gets initial operating capability

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The commander of Air Force Space Command certified 24th Air Force for its initial operational capability Jan. 22. The 24th Air Force, activated in August 2009 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, is a component numbered Air Force subordinate to Air Force Space Command located at Peterson. "Cyberspace operations represent one of the critical and major areas of growth within the Air Force today," said Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, the 24th Air Force commander. (Source: AFNS, 01/25/10) Gulf Coast note: Air Force cyber training is done at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

Hurlburt works to save lives in Haiti

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - Medics from the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron have performed dozens of surgeries, evacuated scores of citizens and delivered tons of supplies as part of the ongoing relief effort in Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake. The squadron's special operations surgical teams, special operations critical care evacuation teams, and special operations forces medical elements arrived in Haiti Jan. 13. "Up until a few days ago, our medics were the only military surgical capability in the country and the only surgical presence at the embassy," said Lt. Col. Jeremy Kokenes, the 1st SOSS operations director, who is in frequent contact with his personnel in Haiti. (Source: AFNS, 01/26/10)

EU complains about WTO ruling gap

A 10-month gap between World Trade Organization rulings on cases involving government subsidies to Boeing and Airbus could hinder the ability of the EU and U.S. to arrive at a settlement. An EU spokeswoman said the two cases are so similar that the WTO appeals body should rule on both at the same time. The WTO in September said Airbus was receiving subsidies, but won’t rule on the alleged subsidies to Boeing until June. (Source: Business Week, 01/25/10) Gulf Coast note: Airbus parent EADS is teamed with Northrop Grumman and competing against Boeing to build tankers for the Air Force. EADS plans to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala.

Navy pilot presumed dead

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- A Navy pilot whose training airplane crashed Saturday into Lake Pontchartrain is presumed dead, and the search is now a recovery mission. The pilot has been identified as Navy Lt. Clinton Wermers, a native of South Dakota. He was the instructor aboard a T-34C that also carried a student aviator, who was rescued Saturday. They were assigned to Training Squadron 6 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, in Milton, Fla. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 01/25/10)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Search to continue for missing pilot

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The search will continue Monday for a missing pilot whose Navy trainer crashed into Lake Pontchartrain, just outside New Orleans, Saturday around 7 p.m. The T-34C Turbomentor training plane from Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., had two pilots on board. One pilot was rescued Saturday, reportedly with minor injuries. The plane was conducting a routine training mission. (Sources: CNN, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Pensacola News Journal, 01/24/10)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oceanographers help in Haiti

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Oceanographers from the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center are heavily involved in relief efforts in Haiti. Stennis-based personnel are conducting hydrographic surveys of ports of interest around Haiti to determine navigational hazards for ships bringing aid to Haiti. Personnel from the command’s Naval Oceanographic Office have conducted airborne lidar surveys of Port-au-Prince using the CHARTS system aboard a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft. Other NAVO personnel are aboard the naval oceanographic 329-foot survey ship USNS Henson. (Source: NNS, 01/22/10)

Taurus tests expected in April

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – First stage engine testing for the Taurus 2 rocket at Stennis Space Center is expected in April or May. Orbital Sciences is still hoping for a March 2011 debut of the company’s medium-lift Taurus 2 rocket, according to Frank Culbertson, Orbital senior vice president. Orbital is building the Taurus 2 to launch the company's Cygnus cargo freighter to the International Space Station. The Taurus 2 rocket first stage will use a pair of kerosene-fueled AJ26 main engines provided by Aerojet Corp. The first batch of AJ26 engines is slated to arrive at Stennis no earlier than March, nearly a year later than expected in schedules announced in late 2008. (Source: Spaceflight Now, 01/20/10)

Mayor urges split tanker buy

WASHINGTON - Mobile Mayor Sam Jones wants President Barack Obama to reverse the Pentagon's plan and buy aerial tankers both Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team as a major job creation program. Jones, in a letter to Obama, said that would create nearly 100,000 jobs nationwide and help retire the existing fleet seven years earlier. He delivered the letter Thursday during a meeting at the White House with other city mayors. (Source: Reuters, 01/22/10). The Northrop/EADS team wants to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Contract: Sikorsky, $7M

Sikorsky Support Services Inc., Pensacola, Fla., is being awarded a $7,035,212 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery requirements contract to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics support for the T-34C, as well as manage the aircraft's service life extension and service life maintenance management programs. Additionally, the contractor will provide all required support to enter T-6 aircraft flight data into the Training Information Management System and Organizational Optimized Maintenance Activity software systems. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas and NAS Whiting Field, Fla., and is expected to be completed in September 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/21/10)

F-35 testing, acquisition to slow

The Pentagon is slowing testing and acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Wednesday during a briefing with reporters in Washington. He said the path has been too aggressive, and there’s an effort underway to lengthen the test period, increase test assets and make the production rate less ambitious. The F-35 will be ready for initial operational capability with the Air Force in 2013, Schwartz said. (Source: Navy Times, 01/21/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to be home to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pentagon may budge on fixed-price

The Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, says changes to the request for proposals for the aerial tanker will “lessen the financial risk” for bidders. But he characterizes the changes as “modest.” Schwartz says the final RFP will be issued within a month of the fiscal 2011 budget release scheduled for Feb. 1. Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team are expected to bid for the work, though Northrop has threatened not to bid if the RFP is not changed. (Source: Aviation Week, 01/20/10) Gulf Coast note: The Northrop/EADS team wants to assemble tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Astronauts thank Stennis workers

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA astronauts were at Stennis Space Center Tuesday afternoon to thank employees for their work. Five of the six members of the Space Shuttle Crew Atlantis flew to Stennis, where space shuttle engines are tested. The Atlantis returned to earth in late November. The crew's 13 day mission included a trip to the International Space Station to deliver supplies and bring one of the astronauts back home. The trip also involved three successful space walks. (Source: WLOX-TV, 01/19/10)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lockheed lands contract extension

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA has awarded Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., a contract extension to continue the Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, or ODIN, services to support the agency. The extension has a value of about $230 million and will continue through Oct. 31, 2011. Agency-wide services under the ODIN master contract and center delivery orders include desktop hardware and software, personal digital assistants, telephone operations, network services, information technology security and other services. The contract will be managed by the NASA Shared Services Center at Stennis. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/19/10)

Boeing: France protectionist

PARIS - Boeing's representative in France on Tuesday accused the European nation of shielding its defense market behind a wall of "extreme protectionism." Yves Galland said Paris had few lessons to give America on opening up to foreign suppliers. Boeing is in a battle with Europe’s EADS/Airbus to supply tankers to the U.S. Air Force. Airbus and U.S. partner Northrop Grumman have called the draft request for proposal tilted in Boeing’s favor. But Galland, president of Boeing France, said the U.S. had ordered hundreds of helicopters from EADS’ Eurocopter, while it’s been 30 years since France bought any defense equipment from Boeing. (Source: Reuters, 01/19/10) Gulf Coast note: The Northrop Grumman/EADS team wants to assemble the aerial tankers in Mobile, Ala.; Eurocopter builds helicopters in Columbus, Miss.

NASA Global Hawks ready for GloPac

SAN DIEGO – The NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system completed 10.4 hours for pilot training and flight characterization in preparation for the Global Hawk Pacific Campaign set to start this spring. Five flights have been completed since the first flight of Air Vehicle Six (AV-6) on Oct. 23. Prior to this, the aircraft had not flown in more than 6 years. AV-6 is being modified to carry eleven earth science sensors in preparation for GloPac. (Source: Globe Newswire, 01/18/10) Gulf Coast note: Plans are still on track to use Global Hawks in August and September 2010 to track hurricanes for the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Process Experiment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flying Jennies back home

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – The Flying Jennies of the 403rd Wing at Keesler have returned home from four months in Southeast Asia. The Reservists of the 403rd's 815th Airlift Squadron set a record by airdropping 801 bundles in 24 missions over a one-week period. They logged 2,500 hours in just three months. Flying the C-130J-30 model aircraft, the 815th airdropped nearly 5,000 tons of cargo, including ammunition, medical supplies, food and water – and “care packages” with comfort items. They also flew more than 20,000 passengers and 500 aeromedical evacuation passengers during the deployment. (Source: Sun Herald, 01/17/10; 403rd Wing Public Affairs, 01/12/10)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Coast Guard Mobile sending aircraft

MOBILE, Ala. - The U.S. Coast Guard has assigned the new HU-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft based out of Mobile's Coast Guard Aviation Training Center to help with relief efforts in Haiti. The Ocean Sentry is the new medium-range fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, replacing the HU-25A Falcon jets that have been used by the Coast Guard for about 30 years. The Ocean Sentry is powered by two turboprop engines and has a longer range than the Falcon and normally carry a crew of five. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/15/10)

Friday, January 15, 2010

ADS-B operational in Gulf of Mexico

A next-generation air traffic system is now in place covering the Gulf of Mexico. Houston air traffic controllers are now using Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, a GPS-based technology, to separate and monitor aircraft flying over the Gulf of Mexico. The milestone announced this week by FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt came as the Coast Guard prepared to shut down the U.S. Loran-C chains that for decades provided long-range position-fixing capability to mariners and aviators. Previously, there was virtually no radar coverage over the Gulf, which required 120-mile in-trail separation of high-altitude IFR traffic. Similarly, individual helicopters flying under IFR at low altitudes to and from oil platforms were encased in 20x20-mile “boxes” to ensure safe separation from other helicopters. ADS-B now permits five-mile separation. Philadelphia will roll out its ADB-B system next month, and the system will be available nationwide by 2013. (Source: Aviation Week, 01/14/10; AIA, 01/14/10)

Eglin EOD school growing

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The demand for training in explosive ordnance disposal is on the rise. The Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Eglin will be at maximum capacity in fiscal 2010, with 1,786 students – up from 1,705 students in 2009 and 1,283 in 2008. The executive officer of the school said this year’s increase will be the last one until additional facilities are built. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 01/13/10)

Remote training with avatars

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Air Force officials are testing the waters to see if training with avatars in a virtual environment is effective. It would allow students who are assigned on temporary duty to Keesler to use computers at their home base for training. Keesler officials say if TDY students are able to complete the training from their home base, the savings to the military could be as high as $700,000 a year in housing, food, and transportation costs. Avatars are computer-generated figures that represent the computer user. (Source: WLOX-TV, 01/14/10)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

County OKs money for aviation park

MILTON, Fla. – Nearly a half-million dollars will be used to begin work on Whiting Aviation Park, a 269-acre facility near Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The Santa Rosa County Commission voted to seek bids for infrastructure work. The commission discussed having county road crews do the work for some $315,000, but decided to seek bids to see if a private contractor can do it for less. Commissioners also approved $175,000 for a consultant to develop a master plan. The park, which will have access to one of Whiting's runways, is intended to attract aviation-related businesses. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 01/14/10)

Spec ops deploy to Haiti

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - Two MC-130H Combat Talon IIs from the 15th Special Operations Squadron and multiple teams from the 720th Special Tactics Group deployed to Haiti in support of humanitarian operations. These teams bring an array of capabilities with them to the country devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12. In addition to opening up the airport at Port-au-Prince, combat controllers are trained to survey other areas to look for potential airdrop and landing zones so other cargo and personnel can be accepted into the country if required. (Source: AFNS, 01/14/10)

Drilling would hurt Eglin mission

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The commander of Eglin Air Force Base told lawmakers Wednesday that oil and gas drilling in Florida waters could threaten military operations. Col. Bruce McClintock told the House Military Affairs and Local Policy Committee that when Eglin fires missiles at drones, the drones and the spent missiles “have to fall somewhere.” Drilling supports say the entire Gulf is not a military training area, and exclusion zones can be set up. (Source: Florida Today, 01/13/10)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Army to end two robotic programs

The Army told Congress it’s terminating a robotic vehicle and unmanned aircraft program that were once part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems, according to The Hill. It comes as the Pentagon prepares its 2011 budget request, and highlights the need to focus on technologies military planners see as key to supporting soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. The terminated unmanned ground vehicle is the Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment Countermine and Transport, and the UAV is the Fire Scout. The Army said the Shadow UAV can meet the Army needs with some technology improvements. The Navy, however, is still involved in Fire Scout. (Source: The Hill, 01/12/10) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Ex NASA official faces fraud charges

GULFPORT, Miss. – A former high-ranking NASA official who’s on federal probation faces fraud charges over a $600,000 contract awarded to Mississippi State University by Stennis Space Center. Courtney A. Stadd pleaded not guilty Monday to a nine-count indictment that alleges he conspired to have MSU subcontract $450,000 of work on a remote-sensing study to his consulting business, Capitol Solutions. (Source: Sun Herald, 01/11/10)

Tanker specs won't improve technology

European Aeronautic Defense and Space said Tuesday that the Air Force’s latest specifications for an aerial tanker will not yield significant technological improvements over the current tanker fleet. Sean O’Keefe, head of EADS North America, says the current draft request for proposals is not a modernization program, just a replacement program. (Source: New York Times, 01/12/10) Meanwhile, the CEO of Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security Systems Division, said the company is well positioned to meet the demands of a fixed-price contract, even though the company doesn’t like a fixed-price contract. (Source: Defense News, 01/11/10) EADS and partner Northrop Grumman, which want to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., have threatened to withdraw from the contest if the RFP is not changed from the current version, which they say favors the smaller plane being offered by Boeing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guard gets Lakotas

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Two Alabama Army National Guard UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters were unveiled during a ceremony last week. The guard is getting four of the helicopters from EADS North America, which will be based at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Birmingham. The Alabama Army National Guard’s Lakotas are assigned to Detachment 1, Co. C, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment. The UH-72As will replace Detachment 1’s OH-58 Kiowas. EADS North America has delivered 93 Lakotas to the Army and five to the Navy. The UH-72As are built in Columbus, Miss., by the American Eurocopter business unit of EADS North America. (Source: EADS, 01/09/10)

Friday, January 8, 2010

STOVL F-35 has flight test

The short takeoff/vertical landing version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 engaged its STOVL propulsion system in flight for the first time this week during testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Tests to come include short takeoffs, hovers and vertical landings. The F-35 is powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine driving a Rolls-Royce LiftFan. In the test, the pilot from BAE Systems engaged the LiftFan propulsion system at 5,000 feet and 210 knots, then slowed to 180 knots with the system still engaged before accelerating to 210 knots and converting back to conventional-flight mode. The F135 system development and demonstration program has completed 164 hours of flight time, including cross-country flights to and from Edwards and Eglin Air Force Bases and Patuxent River Naval Air Station. (Sources: Pratt & Whitney, 01/08/10; Lockheed Martin, 01/07/10). Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base is scheduled to become home of the JSF training center; Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems all have operations in the Gulf Coast region.

Airbus picks Kansas for project

Airbus Americas said Thursday it will add 80 jobs to its 210-worker engineering facility in Wichita, Kan., a project that Wichita officials had said they were competing against Mobile to land. Airbus has a 150-worker engineering facility at the Brookley Field Industrial Complex. Airbus said the company's new engineering work is related to wings, already the primary focus in Wichita. Engineers in Mobile work on cabin interiors, cargo systems and escape systems. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/08/10)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gates wants delay of F-35 purchases

Bloomberg reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a delay in the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, cutting the Pentagon’s planned purchases by 10 aircraft in fiscal 2011 and a total of 122 through 2015, according to a budget document. More than $2.8 billion that was budgeted earlier to buy the military’s next-generation fighter would instead be used to continue its development. (Source: Bloomberg, 01/07/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to be home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center; Lockheed Martin has multiple operations in the Gulf Coast.

Airport has good year

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport topped its 2008 figures for departures and posted its third-highest count in the past eight years for incoming passengers. The airport averaged 758 passengers per month between January and April, outgoing traffic picked up, topping the 1,000 mark in May for the first time since August 2008. After that, outgoing traffic never fell below 1,145 in any of the following seven months. The airport finished 2009 with 12,365 boardings, a couple hundred departures more than 2008. (Source: Hattiesburg American, 01/07/10)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Guardrail moves toward certification

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Northrop Grumman and the Army recently completed electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic compatibility testing on the first RC-12X Guardrail, bringing the signals intelligence system one step closer to providing mission-critical capability to the warfighter this year. The RC-12X is the Army's airborne SIGINT sensor and ground processing system. The EMI/EMC testing validates operation of the aircraft's electronic systems in a large, electromagnetically shielded chamber. EMI/EMC testing is required before an airworthiness certificate can be issued. Delivery to the Army is scheduled for summer 2010. (Source: Global Newswire, 01/05/10)

PW delivers F-35 demo engine

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Pratt & Whitney has delivered its final conventional take off and landing/carrier variant F135 flight test engine to the F-35 Joint Program Office as the program transitions from development and demonstration to production. Pratt & Whitney has delivered 17 flight test engines and expects to deliver the final short take off and vertical landing flight test engine early this year. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company. (Source: PRNewswire, 01/05/09) Gulf Coast note: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training center will be at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Notice of intent for F-35 basing issued

Air Force officials at Langley Air Force Base, Va., published the notice of intent in the Federal Register to prepare an environmental impact statement to assess the impacts of establishing operational F-35 units at existing Air Force and Air National Guard installations. The candidate bases are Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; Hill AFB, Utah; Burlington Air Guard Station, Vt.; Shaw AFB/McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C.; and Jacksonville AGS, Fla. The analysis will examine issues relating to land use, airspace and safety, air and water quality, noise, socioeconomics, biological and cultural resources and cumulative actions. Air Force officials expect to complete the environmental impact analysis process in about one year. (Source: AFNS, 01/05/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home to the Joint Strike Fighter training center. The city of Valparaiso has raised concerns over the potential noise associated with the fighter.

Airport looks into security lapse

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport is looking into how a college student from Korea ended up spending the night at the airport undetected. The Pensacola Christian College student was found asleep at a Delta airlines gate at 4:15 a.m. Sunday when an agent of the airline arrived to open the gate for business. The student told airport officials he spent the night sleeping in the concourse waiting for friends, also college students, scheduled to arrive Sunday. The concourse is closed when the final flight arrives and several sweeps failed to find the student. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 01/05/10)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Northrop moving HQ to DC region

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman said it plans to move its headquarters from Los Angeles to the Washington D.C. area by 2011. It plans to identify a site by this spring and is looking at the District, Maryland and Virginia. The company plans to move about 300 people to the headquarters. Wes Bush, the company’s chief executive, says Northrop has a lot of customers in the Washington, D.C., region and the move will help the company better serve customers. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 01/04/10) Gulf Coast note: Northrop and partner EADS are competing against Boeing to build tankers for the Air Force. If the Northrop/EADS team wins the tankers will be assembled in Mobile, Ala.

Work continues on A-3 stand

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – This year will bring several milestones in the construction of the A-3 stand that will be used to test the next generation of rocket engines. Lonnie Dutreix, A-3 project manager, said some of the deadlines are tentative as the future direction of NASA’s exploration program is decided. A-3 will be used to test the J-2X engine, a key propulsion system for NASA’s Constellation Program. This year workers will install the stand’s test cell and diffuser, which let operators simulate altitudes of up to 100,000 feet using a series of chemical steam generators to create a vacuum. The test cell and diffuser is being manufactured by American Tank and Vessel Inc. at its facility in Lucedale, Miss. The stand is slated to be finished in late 2011. (Source: NASA, 01/04/10)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Airport expects good 2010

GULFPORT, Miss. – The head of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport predicts an 8 to 10 percent passenger growth in 2010 compared to the previous year. Bruce Frallic, the airport’s director, says the last two years have been tough on the industry, but he sees signs of recovery. AirTran returns Jan. 8 after a year’s absence from the airport, with flights to Atlanta and Tampa three days a week. Millions have been spent on improvements at the airport, and millions more will be spent this year. (Source: Sun Herald, 01/01/10)