Friday, July 30, 2010

Keesler wing changes leaders Monday

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Brig. Gen. Andrew Mueller assumes command of the 81st Training Wing from Brig. Gen. Ian Dickinson, 9 a.m. Monday on the parade field. Mueller comes to Keesler from Eskisehir, Turkey, where he served as the deputy commander for NATO's Combined Air Operations Center 6, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe. Dickinson, who came to Keesler in May 2009 and pinned on the rank of brigadier general a year ago, has been chosen as Director, Communications and Information, and Chief Information Officer, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo. (Source: 81st TW Public Affairs, 07/29/10)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tyndall getting F-22 squadron

Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., will be getting an additional squadron of F-22 Raptors being relocated from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Another squadron of F-22s from Holloman is being distributed among three other bases. The announcement was made by the Air Force Thursday as part of a consolidation plan for the F-22 fleet. Tyndall is getting 21 aircraft, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, will get six, Langley Air Force Base, Va., will get six, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., will get two of the F-22s. (Source: DoD, 07/29/10)

Luke, Hill, Burlington to get F-35s

A day after announcing that Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will get 59 F-35s for its joint strike fighter training center, the Air Force announced additional basings for the next-generation plane. The Air Force chose Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and Burlington Air Guard Station, Vt., to get F-35s. The Luke planes will be used for training, while Hill's and Burlington's will be for operations. The previously announced candidates for operations aircraft were, in addition to Hill and Burlington, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Shaw Air Force Base/McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., and Jacksonville Air Guard Station, Fla. The other training base candidates, in addition to Luke, were Boise AGS, Idaho, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M, and Tucson Air Guard Station, Ariz. Eglin was also a candidate for additional training jets. The current scope of this basing action includes 250 to 300 F-35 aircraft. (Source: DoD, 07/29/10)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

AF leaves Eglin with 59 F-35s

The Air Force said today that it will base 59 F-35 aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., contingent upon the result of a draft supplemental environmental impact statement expected to be released this fall. The planes will be based at Eglin with flight operations also occurring at Duke and Choctaw fields. The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission established the F-35 Initial Joint Training Center at Eglin, with the expectation of 107 planes. The number was set at 59 last year, but expection was Eglin would get 48 more. The announcement today ends that. "This is not a final basing decision; it is the alternative we believe will fulfill our mission responsibilities while considering economic, environmental, and technical factors," said Kathleen Ferguson, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations. In a news conference this afternoon at Eglin, Maj. Gen. C.R. Davis, Air Armament Center Commander, said the additional aircraft would interfere with other air missions at the base. (Source: AFNS, Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/28/10)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Contract: Anderson Drace, $14.4M

Anderson Drace, JV, Gulfport, Miss., is being awarded a $14,380,420 firm-fixed-price contract which provides for the design and construction of a bachelor enlisted quarters for the Corry "A" School students training at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The work to be performed provides 80 2-plus-2 modules for 320 Corry "A" School students training at the Center for Information Dominance. The contract contains one unexercised option which, if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $14,391,620. Work will be performed in Pensacola, Fla., and is expected to be completed by August 2012. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/26/10)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Contract: Bates, $5M

Bates Engineers/Contractors Inc., Bainbridge, Ga., was awarded a $5,023,576 contract to construct a new 1,400 square meter addition to an existing simulator facility. Construction will consist of structural steel, concrete masonry unit, exterior and a standing seam metal roof. Heating ventilation, air condition, fire detection suppression and access control/intrusion detection systems are required. A bridge crane, emergency generator, unlimited power supply, furnishing all utilities and parking are included. Construction phasing and leadership energy environmental design certification are required. Unexercised options in the amount of $200,000 are available for future execution by the government. Work is to be performed in Hulbert Field, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 18, 2011. Corps of Engineers-Mobile Regional Contracting Center, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/23/10)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Contract: Tybrin, $11.4M

Tybrin Corp., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded an $11,446,277 contract modification which will add 70 man-years of software engineering support for guided weapons systems evaluations, simulations and other services supporting research and development for the principals and customers of the Air Armament Center. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/PKET, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/22/10)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Panel trims commercial space dollars

The House Committee on Science and Technology wants to devote $750 million to developing a commercial space industry, well under the $6 billion requested by the Obama administration and the $1.3 billion a Senate panel approved last week. The House authorization bill would also instruct NASA to continue developing its own rocket, which the administration wants to kill. (Source: New York Times, 07/20/10)

Airstrip expansion decision nears

BAY MINETTE, Ala. - A decision should be made soon on which Baldwin County airstrips will be expanded to handle new Navy training aircraft. Jay Cope, spokesman for Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., said at a Baldwin County Commission meeting that studies are continuing on which two Baldwin outlying fields will get between 500 and 1,500 additional feet of runway. Whiting, which trains military pilots, has eight outlying fields in the region. The Navy is switching from T-34 Turbo Mentors to T-6B Texan aircraft, which need longer runways to operate. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 07/21/10)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $819.6M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded an $819,647,920 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract for special tools/test equipment required in support of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter air system low-rate initial production Lot IV production. Work will be performed in California, Texas, the United Kingdom, Illinois, Maryland, Colorado and other locations. Work is expected to be completed in January 2013. This modification combines purchases for the Navy, Air Force and international partners. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/19/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mississippi has air show pavilion

The state of Mississippi will have its own pavilion at London's Farnborough International Airshow this year. It will show the range of Mississippi aerospace activities, including the substantial work done in South Mississippi. The week-long air show gets under way next week. A group of which Mississippi is a member, the four-state Aerospace Alliance, is also hosting a reception for about 500 aerospace executives and prospects at London's Kensington Palace Sunday evening. (Source: Tcp, 07/17/10)

Alabama officials visit EADS

Although EADS is still competing for an Air Force contract, Alabama business and education leaders spent three days in Spain and France this week meeting with EADS to gain insight into the company's training needs for its proposed 1,500-worker factory. The delegation arrived Tuesday in Madrid and toured EADS operations. On Friday, the group was at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, and left Saturday for London to attend the Farnborough International Airshow. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 07/17/10)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fire Scout passes extreme tests

ABU DHABI, UAE – The Fire Scout passed a series of flight demonstrations over 10 days earlier this month in the United Arab Emirates. The MQ-8B demonstrations included takeoffs and landings in hot, windy and sandy conditions in temperatures as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit and altitudes of up to 9,842 feet. The Navy will conduct operational evaluation of the system later this year aboard the USS Halyburton. (Source: Northrop Grumman via Globe Newswire, 07/14/10) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Canada selects F-35

The Government of Canada today announced plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as its next-generation fighter aircraft. It will replace Canada's fleet of CF-18 Hornets that entered service in the early 1980s. The stealth fighter is being developed and funded by a consortium of nine countries, including Canada, which plans to acquire 65 F-35s. Delivery of Canada's F-35s will begin in 2016. (Source: PRNewswire, 07/16/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the joint strike fighter training center.

Aerojet engine arrives

An Aerojet AJ26 rocket engine was delivered to NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center on Thursday. It's the first of a series of Taurus II engines that will be tested at SSC to include acceptance testing of flight engines. Stennis will provide propulsion system acceptance testing for the Taurus II space launch vehicle being developed by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. The first Taurus II mission will be flown in support of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services cargo demonstration to the International Space Station. Orbital's Taurus II design uses a pair of Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines to provide first stage propulsion for the new launch vehicle. (Source: NASA, 07/15/10)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Contract: SAIC, $9.5M

Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va., is being awarded a $9,513,837 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price and/or firm-fixed-price level-of-effort task orders for information technology ashore operations support services for the Navy's Military Sealift Command. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $49,846,901. Work will be performed primarily in Washington, D.C., and other sites in Norfolk, Va., Pensacola, Fla., and San Diego, Calif. Work is expected to be completed by July 31, 2011. If all options are exercised, work could continue until July 31, 2015. The Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/15/10)

Contract: Simplex, $11.8M

Simplex Corp., Hallandale, Fla., was awarded an $11,774,400 contract which will lease four Mi-8/17 aircraft with the period of performance from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011. At this time, $11,774,400 has been obligated. HQ AFSOC/A7KQ, Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/15/10)

New flight announced

NEW ORLEANS, La. - For the second time in less than a week, an international air carrier has announced new service between New Orleans and Toronto. Air Canada, which operated out of New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, said Wednesday that it will resume flights from the city Oct. 30. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 07/15/10)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Contract: Boeing, $7M

Boeing Co., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $7,000,000 contract which will support the 40mm gun requirement for the AC-130 Plus Four program. At this time, $1,173,207 has been obligated. 782 CBSG/GBKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/13/10)

Farnborough starts next week

The Gulf Coast will be represented next week's Farnborough International Airshow. The July 19-25 show is held every other year. There will be about 70 delegations from 38 countries. The nearly week-long event will include 132,000 trade visitors, 153,000 public visitors, 1,393 exhibitors from 40 countries, 29 international pavilions and 165 aircraft on display, and it will be covered by 1,800 media personnel. (Source: Tcp, 07/13/10)

Pep rally held to support EADS

MOBILE, Ala. - About 300 people showed up for a pep rally supporting EADS' bid to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. The celebration was also the formal announcement that EADS is bringing together its 150-member tanker team in Mobile to manage the company's bid during the Air Force's evaluation period. EADS, which plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile, and rival Boeing are competing for the $35 billion contract. A third team, US Aerospace and Antonov, is also in the competition. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 07/13/10)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Boeing files tanker bid

Boeing submitted its 8,000-page proposal Friday to build tankers for the Air Force, and said it was changing the production line of its 767 jets to cut costs and better compete. The Boeing bid was submitted a day after competitor EADS, parent of Airbus, submitted its bid. Also on Friday, latecomer US Aerospace and partner Antonov submitted a bid. A press release said the planes each will cost $150 million. The $35 billion contract is to build 179 planes to replace Eisenhower-era KC-135s. The Air Force has a tanker fleet of over 400. Boeing wants to build tankers in Everett, Wash., and EADS wants to assemble its modified A330 in Mobile, Ala. The US Aerospace-Antonov planes, AN-112KC jets, would be built in the Ukraine and modified at an unspecified site in the United States. (Sources: Multiple, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Business Wire via MarketWatch, 07/09/10)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bill would roll back NASA changes

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is moving toward an authorization bill that would reverse much of the president's proposed changes to NASA's human space flight program. The bill lays out the direction of the space program for the next three years. It would add another space shuttle flight, speed development of a heavy-lift rocket and move ahead with building a spacecraft to venture beyond low-Earth orbit. It would also require companies to demonstrate their capabilities before receiving large contracts for delivering astronauts to the International Space Station. (Source: New York Times, 07/08/10)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shuttle tank gets sendoff

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Over 1,000 people were on hand Thursday at NASA's Michoud Assembly Center to send off the last external fuel tank for the space shuttle program. The ceremony offered plant workers a chance to celebrate their involvement in the space program even as fears loom about the facility's future. Work on the last tank began in 2003, although Katrina temporarily put construction on hold. The last space shuttle flight is scheduled for February of next year, leaving many workers at Michoud fearing for their jobs. A spare tank is still in production. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 07/08/10) Previous story

WTO to delay Boeing ruling

BRUSSELS – The World Trade Organization will delay until mid-September a ruling on a complaint accusing the U.S. of providing illegal public subsidies to Boeing. The WTO ruled last week that Boeing's European rival, EADs-owned Airbus, had received billions of dollars in illegal government aid. Boeing and EADS are competing for a $35 billion contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. Boeing is offering a modified 767 that would be built in Everett, Wash., and EADS is offering a modified A330 that would be assembled in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Wall Street Journal, 07/08/10)

EADS submits bid

The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company submitted an 8,800-page bid on Thursday for a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, according to the New York Times. Boeing, based in Chicago, plans to file its bid Friday. (Source: New York Times, 07/08/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS plans to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., if it wins.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Contract: United Technologies, $57.6M

United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $57,594,777 modification to convert a previously awarded advance acquisition contract to an undefinitized contract action. This modification further provides for the procurement of 32 low-rate initial production F-135 propulsion systems for F-35 Joint Strike Fighters: 10 conventional take off and landing for the Air Force; 16 short take-off and vertical landing for the Marine Corps; four carrier variant for the Navy; one STOVL for the United Kingdom; and one CTOL for the Netherlands. Modification provides for associated and sustainment and production non-recurring activities for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Conn., Bristol, U.K., and Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in January 2013. Contract combines purchases for the U.S. Marine Corp, Air Force, and Navy; and the governments of the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Australia. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/07/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 joint training center.

Tanker bids due Friday

Boeing and EADS are expected to submit bids Friday for the $40 billion contract to build tankers for the Air Force. Latecomer US Aerospace and partner Antonov also plan to bid. It's the third contest to build the planes. Boeing was awarded a contract in 2003, but that was scuttled by a scandal. EADS and its then-partner Northrop Grumman won in February 2008, but that was killed by a Boeing protest upheld by the Government Accountability Office. Northrop dropped out of this round, saying the request for proposals favors the smaller tanker offered by Boeing. EADS wants to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala., and Boeing wants to build them in Washington State. (Source: Tcp, 07/07/10) Detailed stories: The Hill, Defense News, AFP.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $522.2M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded an advance acquisition contract with an estimated value of $522,200,000 to provide 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. This contract provides for 22 conventional take off and landing aircraft for the Air Force; 13 short take off and vertical landing aircraft for the Marine Corps; and seven carrier variant aircraft for the Navy. Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland and the United Kingdom. Work is expected to be completed in May 2011. This contract combines purchases for the Navy, 63 percent, and Air Force, 37 percent. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/06/10) Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home to the F-35 joint training center.

Monday, July 5, 2010

General aviation building going up

GULFPORT, Miss. – Ground has been broken on a new general aviation building at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The building on the southwest side of the airport is scheduled to be finished in December. Fixed-base operator Million Air will provide general airport services, including aircraft refueling and airplane rentals. The new building will have more than 52,000 square feet of combined terminal, office and hangar space, executive conference rooms and a business center along with a U.S. Customs facility. (Source: Sun Herald, 07/03/10)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Team plans to offer Antonov tanker

Ukranian aircraft manufacturer Antonov and partner U.S. Aerospace Inc. of California plan to bid on the Air Force tanker project. Boeing and EADS are the other two bidders for the $40 billion project. Executives of the companies signed a pact July 1 spelling out the terms of a partnership. The American company will act as the prime contractor of a team that will enter up to three Antonov aircraft into contest to build up to 179 tankers for the Air Force. Bids are due July 9. (Sources: Multiple, including Mobile Press Register, Reuters, Defense News, 07/02/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS plans to assemble its tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Robot tanker project funded

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, DARPA, has awarded a $33 million contract to Northrop Grumman to demonstrate aerial refueling of a NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle by a sister ship. The program is designated KQ-X. Northrop Grumman will retrofit two of the UAVs, one aircraft pumping fuel into the other in flight through a hose-and-drogue refueling system. The refueling will be completely autonomous. The Global Hawks are high-altitude UAVs, and the refueling will take place at a much higher altitude than has been previously demonstrated with manned aircraft. It will also be the first time that high-altitude UAVs have flown in formation. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 07/01/10) "We're still a long way from unmanned aircraft refueling bombers," said Scott Hamilton, an aviation industry consultant in Issaquah, Wash. "But I wouldn't be surprised to see it go into service in 10 or more years." (Source: Los Angeles Times, 07/02/10) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shuttle missions rescheduled

NASA is targeting Nov. 1 for the launch of space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 mission and Feb. 26, 2011, for the liftoff of shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 flight from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The target dates were adjusted because critical payload hardware for STS-133 will not be ready in time to support the previously planned Sept. 16 launch. With STS-133 moving to November, STS-134 cannot fly as planned, so the next available launch window is in February. All target launch dates are subject to change. (Source: NASA, 07/01/10) Previous story

Last external tank completed

NEW ORLEANS, La. - NASA and Lockheed Martin Space Systems will hold a ceremony at 9 a.m. CDT on July 8 to commemorate 37 years of tank deliveries and the final external tank's rollout. The last shuttle flight, STS 134, is scheduled for February 2011. The tank was completed June 25 by Lockheed Martin workers at Michoud Assembly Facility. It will travel by barge to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, 900 miles away. (Source: NASA, 06/30/10)

Contract: L-3 Vertex, $51.3M

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $51,295,003 firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable requirements contract to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics life cycle support for 54 Navy and 11 Marine Corps C-12 aircraft. Works is at a variety of locations, including NAS New Orleans. Work is expected to be completed in August 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/01/10)

Airbus ups Mobile workforce

MOBILE, Ala. - The Airbus Engineering Center at Mobile's Brookley Industrial Complex will be getting another 90 engineers. The center currently has 150 engineers. Airbus opened the 48,000-square-foot building in 2007. The employees at the center work on cabin interiors, cargo systems and escape systems on a wide range of Airbus jets. Airbus owner EADS also hopes to win an Air Force contract to assemble tankers at Brookley. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/30/10)

Flight academy gets check

PENSACOLA, Fla. - St. Joe, a Florida real estate development company, provided a $1.25 million donation to the National Flight Academy at the National Aviation Museum, located at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The academy, which will provide week-long sessions to students in 7th through 12th grades, is set to open in 2012. Its purpose is to motivate students to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math in what's called a "learning adventure." (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 07/01/10)

Hurricane Hunters saw Alex grow

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - An aircrew from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron found that a storm that had been upgraded from tropical storm to hurricane status hours before they took off had reached Category 2 status by the time they returned home. They had been in the storm more than seven hours. Alex came ashore late in the evening of June 29 on an unpopulated stretch of coast in northern Mexico. (Source: AFNS, 07/01/10)

Euro Hawk has first flight

The Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft built by Northrop Grumman successfully completed its first flight June 29. It took off from the company's Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility and climbed to 32,000 feet before landing nearly two hours later at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. It's the first international configuration of the Global Hawk. The UAV will be equipped with a signals intelligence mission system developed by EADS Defense and Security. The German Ministry of Defense awarded a contract in January 2007 to EuroHawk GmbH – a Northrop Grumman and EADS joint venture – for the development, test and support of the surveillance and reconnaissance system. (Source: Globe Newswire, 06/30/10) Gulf Coast note: Central fuselage work on the Euro Hawk is done in Moss Point, Miss.