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) InsideDefense.com, 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)