Thursday, June 30, 2011

Contract: MI Support Services, $13.9M

MI Support Services, Denton, Texas, is being awarded a $13,926,048 fixed-price-award-fee contract with cost reimbursable line items for program management, organizational and intermediate maintenance services for T-38 aircraft for the Companion Trainer Program for aircraft assigned to five locations. The locations of performance are Beale Air Force Base, Calif.; Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; Langley Air Force Base, Va.; Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.; and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The Air Combat Command AMIC/PKCA, Newport News, Va., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/30/11)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Contract: Raytheon, $10.6M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems Division, is being awarded a $10,573,352 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for the Processor Replacement Program Foreign Military Sales software extension probability of weapon effectiveness. The location of performance is Tucson, Ariz. AAC/EBAC, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/29/11)

Near collision being probed

GULFPORT, Miss. - The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Board are investigating an incident this month over Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport where a single-engine plane and airliner were at the same altitude and just 300 feet apart. The near-miss happened June 19 between a Continental Express jet carrying 50 passengers and three crew and a Cessna 172 with a student pilot and instructor. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the controller who was working with the aircraft when the incident occurred has been restricted from working air traffic until the FAA investigation is complete. (Source: Sun Herald, 06/28/11)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vision drops five cities

Vision Airlines is dropping service to five of the two dozen cities it serves, citing lower than expected demand. Service is ending July 17 to Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C., Columbia, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., Huntsville, Ala., and Baton Rouge, La. Vision’s hub is at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: Multiple, including USA Today, Cheapflights, Huntsville Times)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

AFSOC gets new leader

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel took over leadership of the Air Force Special Operations Command on Friday from the retiring Lt. Gen. Donald Wurster. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presided over the ceremony at the Freedom Hangar. Wurster took command of AFSOC in November 2007. Fiel comes to Hurlburt after serving as vice commander at the U.S. Special Operations Command in Washington, D.C. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/24/11)

Eglin remembers Khobar

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – More than 100 people gathered Friday at the 33rd Fighter Wing Memorial at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to honor those killed in the 1996 attack at Khobar Towers at Dharan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. The attack was on the evening of June 25, 1996. Just before 10 p.m., a car bomb exploded at the tower were members of Eglin's 33rd Fighter Wing were wrapping up a three-month deployment. The blast killed 19 airmen and wounded 105. Twelve of the men who died were members of the 33rd. A total of seven airmen from Patrick, Offutt and Wright-Patterson air force bases also were killed. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/24/11)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crash victims identified

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The two victims of that plane crash today at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., have been identified. They are Col. (ret.) David A. Miles of Shalimar, Fla., and Thomas E. Lewis of Apalachicola, Fla. The Aero Club Beechcraft crashed around 4:30 a.m. into a grassy area next to the 46th Test Wing side of the runway at Eglin. The plane was owned by Eglin Air Force Base and rented to pilot through the base's Aero Club. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 06/23/11)

Fire damaged engine

An Aerojet AJ26 engine that will power the Orbital Sciences Corp. Taurus II launch vehicle was badly damaged in a fuel fire June 9 at Stennis Space Center, Miss. NASA is counting on the Taurus II/Cygnus and the Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9/Dragon combinations to help resupply the International Space Station when the space shuttle fleet retires after the upcoming final flight of shuttle Atlantis. The AJ26 engine shut down prematurely after a fuel leak developed during a hot-fire acceptance test, and the leaking kerosene fuel ignited. The test stand at Stennis Space Center suffered only minor damage. A team of experts from Aerojet, Orbital and NASA is investigating the cause of the mishap and the extent of the damage to the engine. (Source: Aviation Week, 06/23/11) Previous story

Two killed in Eglin crash

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - An Aero Club Beechcraft crashed around 4:30 a.m. into a grassy area next to the 46th Test Wing side of the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. A civilian pilot and civilian passenger were killed, according to Eglin Air Force Base. The plane was owned by Eglin Air Force Base and rented to the civilian pilot through the base's Aero Club. The names of the victims have not been released. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/23/11)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eglin gets first F135 spare engine

Pratt and Whitney has delivered the first F135 spare engine to the U.S. Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to support F-35 Lightning II training operations to begin this summer. Eglin's 33rd Fighter Wing is a joint unit with Air Force, Navy and Marine squadrons that will conduct F-35 training for their respective services as well as the eight F-35 program international partners. Lockheed Martin is scheduled to deliver the first F-35A aircraft to Eglin in the coming weeks. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/20/11)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fire Scout lost over Libya

A Northrop Grumman-built Fire Scout was lost over the central coastal area of Libya while conducting surveillance operations, according to NATO officials. The MQ-8B lost contact with ground controllers Tuesday. The Fire Scout, built in part in Moss Point, Miss., is equipped with cameras and sensors and was monitoring pro-Kadafi forces when it went dow. The cause of the crash is not known. Last year Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., lost contract with a Fire Scout and it wandered into restricted airspace. Operators regained control. It was later blamed on a software problem. (Source: Multiple, including AFP via Space War, CNN, Los Angeles Times, 06/21/11)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Contract: Raytheon, $7.3M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $7,318,143 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the High Speed Anti Radiation Missile Targeting System software upgrade two risk reduction study. Work will be performed at Tucson, Ariz. AAC/EBAS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/20/11)

Contract: Raytheon, $36M

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $36,087,425 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. The award will provide for M982 Excalibur 155mm precision engagement projectiles. Work will be performed in Niceville, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Healdsburg, Calif.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Baltimore, Md.; Joplin, Mo.; McKinney, Texas; and the United Kingdom, with an estimated completion date of March 15, 2012. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny, N.J. is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/20/11)

U.S. to keep robotic edge despite cuts

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn said the U.S. will maintain its lead in unmanned robotic technology in the face of a $400 billion reduction in defense spending. Lynn said during the Paris Air Show that robotics and unmanned technology "is a key future" for the U.S. military. The U.S. will also seek to maintain a lead in cyber security and the capability to strike long-range targets, he said in a briefing. (Source: Bloomberg, 06/19/11) Gulf Coast note: The region is involved in both unmanned systems and cyber security.

Ceremony shifted back one day

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate change of command ceremony has been pushed back one day to Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Air Armament Museum. Col. Kenneth L. Echternacht, Jr., will relinquish his position as commander to Dr. John Wilcox. Maj. Gen.William McCasland, Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, will officiate. AFRL Munitions Directorate performs research on precision guidance, missile guidance and control, computational mechanics, smart sub-munitions, warheads, and explosives. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 06/20/11)

Lockheed launches new F-35 Web site

Lockheed Martin announced a new website for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft at the Paris Air Show Monday. The site provides the most up-to-date information on the F-35 program, including history, program updates, news, photos and videos. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Pratt and Whitney's F135 propulsion system powers all F-35 variants. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 06/20/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blue Angels performing again

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Nearly a month after the unsafe performance of a maneuver led to the grounding of the Navy's Blue Angels and a change in command, the team performs again this weekend at the Quad-City Air Show in Davenport, Iowa. The grounding was prompted by a maneuver where the F/A 18 Hornets passed too close to the ground. The team is now under the command of Capt. Greg McWherter, who commanded the group from November 2008 to November 2010. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 06/17/11)

Hot air balloons gather in Foley

FOLEY, Ala. - The Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival is underway this weekend in Foley. It's the event's seventh year. The festival is held at the Foley Soccer Field on U.S. 98, and includes arts and crafts vendors, food tents, music and other attractions. The festival attracts about 60,000 visitors a year, according to organizers. Counts for the 2011 celebration were not available. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/18/11)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Contract: BAE Systems, $33M

BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $33,286,477 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to exercise an option for engineering and technical services and supplies for the design, development, integration, test and evaluation, maintenance and logistics support of communication-electronic platform, equipment, systems and subsystems in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's Special Communications Requirements Division. Two percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Other work locations are Chesapeake, Va. (41 percent); Spring Lake, N.C. (22 percent); California, Md. (11 percent); San Diego, Calif. (10 percent); St. Inigoes, Md. (7 percent); Afghanistan (2.3 percent); Iraq (2.2 percent); Hollywood, Md. (1 percent); Fort Bragg, N.C. (1 percent); and Panzer Kaserne, Germany (0.5 percent). Work is expected to be completed in June 2012. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/17/11)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Contract: EADS, $74M

EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $74,390,932 firm-fixed-price contract to provide 14 light utility helicopters and 14 airborne radio communication systems. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. The U.S. Army Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/16/11)

Airport traffic up dramatically

Fort Walton Beach's Northwest Florida Regional Airport reported a record-setting May passenger count. The total number of commercial passengers topped 111,550, far exceeding any previous monthly traffic level, according to airport Director Greg Donovan. The increase, 57.2 percent over May 2010, was due largely to the new air service by Vision Airlines, Donovan noted. The airport is located at Eglin Air Force Base. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 06/15/11)

Weapons lab getting new commander

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate will have a change of command ceremony June 20 at 2 p.m. at the Air Armament Museum. Col. Kenneth L. Echternacht, Jr., will relinquish his position as commander to Dr. John Wilcox. Maj. Gen.William McCasland, Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, will officiate. AFRL Munitions Directorate performs research on precision guidance, missile guidance and control, computational mechanics, smart sub-munitions, warheads, and explosives. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 06/16/11)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Company to relocate to Crestview

CRESTVIEW, Fla. – A satellite office for Capital Avionics will open at Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview this week, the first step in moving the entire business to Okaloosa County from Tallahassee. Capital Avionics employs 15 people, but Larry Sassano, president of the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County, said it is an important one for the area. Capital Avionics creates custom-designed testing equipment for companies in the aviation field, and the company already has clients in Okaloosa County. Owner Al Ingle said he expects to hire four employees for the Okaloosa County branch. He then plans to build a new 15,500-square-foot hangar and 12,000-square-foot component repair and equipment testing facility at Bob Sikes and move the remaining Capital Avionics employees once that is completed. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/13/11)

Upper stage engine ready for SSC testing

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA's new J-2X rocket engine, which could power the upper stage of a future heavy-lift launch vehicle, is ready for its first round of testing. The fully assembled engine was installed Saturday in Stennis' A-2 Test Stand, originally used to test Saturn V rockets for the Apollo Program. Beginning in mid-June, the engine will undergo a series of 10 test firings that will last several months. The test stand, which supported the space shuttle main engine project, has been modified for the J-2X's different shape. In addition to the structural, electrical and plumbing modifications, a new engine start system was installed and control systems were upgraded on the stand. The liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen transfer lines that dated back to the 1960s were replaced. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne designed and built the J-2X for NASA. (Source: NASA, 06/13/11)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $100M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $100,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide technical support for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. Delivery orders under this basic contract may be firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, or cost-plus-incentive-fee contract types. Air Armament Center/EBJK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/13/11)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

AJ26 shuts down early in test

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - An Aerojet AJ26 engine, the propulsion system for one of NASA's commercial space-cargo haulers, shut down early in a test firing at the Stennis Space Center. The test was conducted Thursday on the E-1 Test Stand. The AJ26 is the main engine for Orbital Science Corp.'s Taurus 2 rocket, which will launch the company's Cygnus capsule for commercial resupply missions to the international space station. Orbital and Aerojet are investigating the cause, and Stennis will perform checkouts to the facility to ensure its operational integrity. "This is the reason we test engines here at Stennis before they are installed on launch vehicles," said David Liberto, AJ26 engine project manager at Stennis. Three AJ26 have been successfully test fired to date. (Source: NASA, Space News, 06/10/11)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First F-35 to arrive soon

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics says it's days away from sending Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the first of 59 Joint Strike Fighters. Mike Rein, a spokesman for the company, said he believes it will happen in June. The arrival of the first F-35 will start a string of deliveries. Six jets are slated for delivery by the end of the fiscal year, Rein said. The base will receive the majority of the jets within the next three years. Eglin is home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center. The first pilots who will train on the F-35 will be instructors. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/07/11)

LM demos seeker against sea targets

Lockheed Martin's Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) tri-mode seeker successfully acquired and tracked multiple moving maritime vessels during recent high-speed, captive flight tests. The tests were in the Gulf of Mexico off the shore of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., against multiple maritime targets, including a Revenge Advanced Composites (RAC), low-signature, high-speed patrol craft. The RAC performed a series of evasive maneuvers against the JAGM mounted in the nose section of a Sabreliner Series 60 jet aircraft. JAGM is the next-generation air-to-surface guided missile that is being competed as the replacement for the currently fielded Airborne TOW, Maverick and HELLFIRE missiles for the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/07/11)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Squadron saves lives, money

BILOXI, Miss. - When the five-member "Hurricane Hunter" crews of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron out of Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., head into the heart of storms, they're not only working to save lives, but also millions of dollars. A feature story. (Source: Mississippi Press, 06/05/11)

Shuttle work gone, Orion remains

NEW ORLEANS, La. - The launch of the 135th and final space shuttle mission, now slated for July 8, will mean the elimination of most of the 300 remaining Michoud Assembly Facility jobs connected to work on the project's external tanks. But the announcement two weeks ago that NASA is moving forward with the Orion project means continued space-related work at Michoud, though a small fraction of the numbers employed for the space shuttle program. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 06/04/11)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Airport to get money for improvements

MOBILE, Ala. - The federal government is sending nearly $3.2 million to three southwest Alabama airports, including Mobile Regional Airport. The money for safety and infrastructure improvements was announced Wednesday by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Mobile's airport is slated to receive $1.8 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 06/01/11)

Vector expands in Covington County

ANDALUSIA, Ala. - Vector Aerospace held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a new facility that will bring an estimated 125 jobs to Covington County. Gov. Robert Bentley and ADO Director Seth Hammett were among those attending the event. Vector, a Canadian-based helicopter repair company, currently employs 150 people. The expansion will allow the company to nearly double the number of employees and the amount of workspace at the South Alabama Regional Airport. (Source: Andalusia Star News, 06/02/11)