Wednesday, February 29, 2012

F/A-18 practing in region

PENSACOLA, Fla. - F/A-18 Hornets from Carrier Air Wing Seven are temporarily calling Naval Air Station Pensacola home while repairs are made to a landing field at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. The Hornets will do field carrier landing practice at the Navy's Outlying Field Choctaw in nearby Santa Rosa County through March 10. Several carrier air wings are expected to use NAS Pensacola until repairs to Navy Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress are finished later this year. The initial group is from Fighter/Attack Squadrons 143, 103, 83 and 131. (Sources: WEAR-TV, Pensacola News Journal, WKRG-TV, Navarre Press, various dates, including 02/29/12)

Schwartz: Eglin losing nothing

The Air Force is not migrating anything from Eglin Air Force Base, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. Plans to merge Eglin's 96th Wing and 46th Test Wing and put the new super wing under the command of a general at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., has caused concerns that the wing will eventually be moved to California, bringing with it millions of dollars worth of research, development, test and evaluation work. But Schwartz told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, in response to a question by Rep. Jeff Miller, that "Nothing is migrating from Eglin with respect to the proposal for the Air Force Materiel Command reorganization," Schwartz said. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/28/12)

Search continues for crew

MOBILE, Ala. -- The search continues today for three crewmembers missing in the Tuesday crash of a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65C helicopter in Mobile Bay. A fourth crewmember's body has been recovered from the crash site about three miles from Point Clear. The Coast Guard initially said one person was rescued, but later said the crewmember was unresponsive and pronounced dead. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 02/29/12)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CG helicopter crashes in bay

MOBILE, Ala. -- A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter with four people aboard crashed in Mobile Bay Tuesday evening. One person was being taken to shore and three are missing, spokesman Lt. J.G. Timothy Williams told the Mobile Press-Register. The helicopter was on a training mission out of the Aviation Training Center at Mobile Regional Airport. The crash, about three miles southwest of Point Clear, was reported about 8:30 p.m. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 02/28/12)

A-29 contract canceled

The Air Force is canceling a $355 million contract to Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nev., and Brazil's Embraer to build 20 Super Tucano A-29 light support aircraft, citing problems with documentation. The Air Force said it will investigate the December award for the planes to be used in Afghanistan. A stop-work order was issued in January after Hawker Beechcraft of Wichita, Kansas, filed suit when its AT-6 was kept out of the competition. (Sources: multiple, including Reuters, Dayton Daily News, Wall Street Journal, 02/28/12) Sierra Nevada and Embraer planned to assemble the planes in Jacksonville, Fla. Previous post

Eglin F-35A OKd to fly

The F-35As at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., have been cleared to fly. Officials at the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, issued a Military Flight Release Tuesday to allow the F-35A to begin initial operations at Eglin, home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center. The decision was made after an airworthiness board conducted an assessment that evaluated potential risks and the mitigation actions for unmonitored flights. Flying the Air Force variant of the F-35 will increase pilot and maintainer familiarity with the aircraft, exercise the logistics infrastructure and continue to develop aircraft maturity. These initial F-35A flights will be limited, scripted, conducted within the restrictions and stipulations of the MFR and flown by qualified pilots, officials said. Eglin also has three F-35B aircraft, the Marine Corps variant. (Source: AFNS, 02/28/12)

Termination fee still unsettled

Four years after Northrop Grumman and EADS won a contract to build tankers for the Air Force -- a contract canceled 11 days later -- a termination fee is still unsettled, according to Air Force Times. Under the 2008 award, EADS planned to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala. It also started work on the airframes. But the contract was overturned and Boeing eventually won the new competition. The Air Force still partly owns two Airbus A330 airframes built as part of the original contract. One is in storage in Spain and the other in France. Air Force officials said they expect the contract termination issues to be settled soon. (Source: Air Force Times, 02/28/12)

Airport plans facelift

MOBILE, Ala. -- Mobile Regional Airport is getting a $2.9 million facelift. The Airport Authority plans to install canopies along the front of the building made from the same pipe-and-plastic-covering material used in front of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in downtown Mobile. The canopies will have LED lights so they can be highlighted with different colors, as is the case with the downtown RSA Tower and RSA-BankTrust Building. The facelift should take about seven months to complete. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 02/27/12)

Monday, February 27, 2012

BAMS marks milestones

BAMS in Palmdale. Northrop Grumman photo
Flight tests have begun for the first developmental multifunction active sensor (MFAS) radar destined for the Navy's MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System -- BAMS. The sensor has been integrated a Gulfstream II testbed aircraft at the Northrop Grumman facility in Palmdale, Calif. The system finished ground station testing in late November. In addition, the wings and landing gear were installed on the first BAMS at the company's Palmdale Manufacturing Center. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 02/27/12) Gulf Coast note: BAMS central fuselage work is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Second AEHF delivered

Lockheed Martin delivered the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where it will be readied for an April 2012 liftoff aboard an Atlas V. The AEHF system will replace the five-satellite Milstar constellation. One AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar system. Individual user data rates will be five times improved, providing transmission of tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data. (Source: Lockheed Martin via PR Newswire, 02/27/12) Gulf Coast note: Core propulsion work for the AEHF is done at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Contract: Industria Paschen, $48M

Industria Paschen Group J.V., Chicago, Ill., is being awarded a $48,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity with economic price adjustment contract for simplified acquisition of base engineering requirements, such as minor, noncomplex construction projects, maintenance, alternation, or repair of real property at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and its associated sites. Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 26, 2017. The 325th CONS/LGCC, Tyndall Air Force Base is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/27/12)

Orion drop test Wednesday

The Orion Parachute Test Vehicle is slated for a drop test Wednesday in at the Army Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz. The vehicle will be dropped from a C-17 aircraft for the test of the parachute system. Elsewhere, the Exploration Flight Test Orion is continuing construction in New Orleans, while the Ground Test Article is undergoing vibration testing in Denver. (Source: Spaceflight, 02/26/12) Previous post on earlier parachute test.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hurlburt officer among two shot

One of the two U.S. officers shot in the head at a ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, has been identified as an officer with the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Lt. Col. John Darin Loftis, 866th Air Expeditionary Squadron, died Saturday. Loftis, 44, of Paducah, Ky., and a major were found shot inside the heavily guarded Afghan Ministry of the Interior building. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said the killings were in retaliation for the burning of Korans. Loftis was the chief plans advisor and part of a cadre of specially trained U.S. service members skilled in Afghan and Pakistani culture and language. (Sources: from combined reports, including AFNS, 02/26/12)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

F-35B rollout marked

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Marine Corps on Friday hosted a rollout ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the F-35B, the short takeoff-vertical landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. Hundreds attended the event at Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida. Officials said military training flights could be approved by late March or early April. There are three F-35Bs at Eglin, along with six Air Force F-35A versions. The first Marine Corps versions arrived in early January. The F-35B is slated to replace the Marine Corps' F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and EA-6B Prowler. Eglin is home of the JSF training center, which will train pilots and maintainers for all branches of the military and foreign allies. (Sources: Reuters, Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/24/12)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Contract: Composite Eng., $32.7M

Composite Engineering Inc., Sacramento, Calif., is being awarded a $32,701,017 firm-fixed-price contract to procure a quantity of 35 BQM-167As, also known as the Air Force Subscale Aerial Target. The location of the performances is Sacramento, Calif. Work is expected to be completed by April 30, 2014. AAC/EBYK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/24/12)

Eglin F-35s to fly soon

The F-35s at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., could begin flying in a matter of weeks, the Air Force's top training officer said. Gen. Edward Rice, commander of Air Education and Training Command, made the comment during a news conference at the Air Force Association's winter conference in Orlando, Fla. But it could be much longer before student pilots begin flying. (Source: DoD Buzz, 02/23/12) In another F-35 story, Turkey still plans to buy 100 F-35 fighter jets for $16 billion, with an initial order of two planes for delivery in 2015, according to Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz. (Source: Reuters, 02/23/12) Lockheed Martin opened a new 57,000 square-foot facility in Pinellas Park, Fla., to produce canopy components for the F-35. The facility is an annex to Lockheed Martin’s existing 197,000 square-foot building. (Source: SpaceWar, 02/24/12)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dempsey visits NAS Pensacola

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saw joint training in action and spoke with students, staff and family members during a Feb. 22 visit to several commands at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Dempsey visited the Naval Education and Training Command, Training Air Wing 6, the Air Force 479th Flying Training Group and the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Dempsey also held a town hall meeting in the museum atrium. Topics included military transition, the defense budget, leadership, training and building the force of the future. (Source: NNS, 02/22/12)

RAF marks first with F-35

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- A Royal Air Force squadron leader became United Kingdom's first military test pilot to fly the F-35C, the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. Jim Schofield, RAF squadron leader, said the F-35 is the best handling of any jet he's flown. Schofield's Feb. 21 flight is the latest in a series of milestones for the UK's program, which included the first F-35C launch on the test electromagnetic aircraft launch system Nov. 18 and the rollout of the first UK F-35 from the production line four days later. EMALS is the launching system of record for the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, currently under construction. (Source: Naval Air Systems Command, 02/22/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Garver visits SSC

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver was at Stennis Space Center today, and said the proposed NASA budget "will keep us on the cutting edge of the space program, the very best space program in the world." She said the $17.7 billion budget, $70 million less than the previous year, allows NASA to continue to utilize the International Space Station and develop the space vehicles -- the Space Launch System and Orion crew vehicle -- that will allow NASA to explore further into space than ever before. Stennis Space Center tests the rocket engines for the Space Launch System and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is involved in building both Orion and the SLS. Garver also visited Michoud Thursday. (Source: Tcp, 02/23/12)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Orleans' VAW-77 targeted

NEW ORLEANS -- The Navy proposes to decommission a squadron at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, eliminating a flying unit that focuses on stemming the flow of drugs to the United States. Under the 2013 spending plan released this week, the Navy Reserve's Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 77 would cease to exist Sept. 30. VAW-77 has about 100 active duty and reserve Navy personnel and about 55 civilian contractors. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 02/20/12)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

RR XWB takes to skies

 XWB at SSC. Rolls-Royce photo
The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine took to the skies for the first time, powering an Airbus A380 test aircraft in Toulouse, France. The aircraft flew with one of its four Trent 900 engines replaced by a Trent XWB. The Trent XWB will power the new Airbus A350 XWB. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 02/18/12, Aviation Week, 02/21/12) Gulf Coast note: The Trent XWB engine type has been tested at Stennis Space Center.

Monday, February 20, 2012

F-35 has external weapons test

F-35 with weapons. Lockheed Martin photo
The first external weapons test mission was flown by an F-35A last week during a mission at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The Feb. 16 test involved the Air Force version of the F-35 carrying two air-to-air AIM-9X missiles on the outboard wings stations, as well as two GBU-31 guided bombs and two AIM-120 air-to-air missiles carried inside the weapons bays. The jet also had mounted four external pylons that can carry 2,000-pound air-to-ground weapons. No weapons were fired in the test. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 02/20/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Unmanned A-10 in works

Raytheon picked Aurora Flight Sciences to join the team that will create an unmanned version of the battle-tested A-10. The Persistent Close Air Support program is funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. Other members of the team include Rockwell Collins and GE Aviation. (Source: Aurora Flight Sciences, 02/16/12) Gulf Coast note: Aurora Flight Sciences has a UAV manufacturing center in Columbus, Miss.; Raytheon has multiple activities along the Gulf Coast; GE Aviation is building engine parts plants near Hattiesburg, Miss., and Auburn, Ala., and also operates a parts plant in Batesville, Miss.

Four Hurlburt airmen die

U-28A surveillance aircraft. Air Force photo
Four airmen from Hurlburt Field, Fla., died Saturday in an accident near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti involving their U-28. Killed were Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo., assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt; Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Ga., assigned to the 34th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt; 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Ore., also with the 34th; and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md., assigned to the 25th Intelligence Squadron. The U-28 is a single engine aircraft that provides intelligence and surveillance for special operations forces. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Hurlburt Field is home of the Air Force Special Operations. (Sources: DoD, 1st Special Operations Wing, Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/20/12)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Two states team on megasite

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- Four economic development groups in two states are working together on a megasite along the Interstate 10 corridor on a road linking Dothan, Ala., to Panama City, Fla. The organizations are the Bay County Economic Development Alliance, Alabama Development Office, Enterprise Florida and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. Neal Wade, executive director of the Bay EDA, told the Panama City News Herald that representatives have been meeting for more than six months to prepare for the project along State 77 and I-10. Wade described the megasite as an industrial manufacturing center. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 02/16/12)

ET-1 tested at Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command successfully completed a test flight of the new Economical Target-1, Feb. 15 at Eglin Air Force Base. The Economical Target-1 missile was launched from the Santa Rosa Test Site with the support of the 46th Test Wing on Eglin into the ocean area within the test range. The target missile's flight was tracked by several range sensors and preliminary indications are that all data collection objectives were met. (Source: Army, 02/15/12)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NASA tests J-2X powerpack

J-2X powerpack test. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Engineers conducted an initial test of the J-2X engine powerpack Feb. 15, launching a series of tests in development of the rocket engine that will help power the Space Launch System. This test is the first of about a dozen that will be conducted throughout the year at SSC. The first test was the first time cryogenic fuels were introduced into the powerpack to ensure the integrity of the facility and the test article in preparation for full power, longer duration testing. The powerpack is on the top portion of the J-2X and includes the gas generator, oxygen and fuel turbopumps along with related ducts and valves. (Source: NASA, Pratt and Whitney, 02/15/12)

Marines roll out F-35B

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 will host the Marine Corps' official F-35B Lightning II rollout ceremony Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. at its Eglin hangar. Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, is scheduled to be the presiding officer. U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller and Robert Stevens, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin, will also be speaking. The F-35B is slated to replace the Marine Corps' F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and EA-6B Prowler. Eglin Air Force Base is home to the F-35 training center, which will be used by all branches of the military and allied nations. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 02/16/12)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eglin needs to prep for inflow

DESTIN, Fla. -- The commander of the 96th Air Base Wing said Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., isn't worried about hits Eglin might take in any Base Realignment and Closure round. Instead, Col. Sal Nodjomian wants to base to take steps to ensure it can take in new missions. Nodjomian, speaking at Tuesday's Leaders in Business Lunch organized by the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, played down the Air Force Material Command's decision announced in November to close the Air Armament Center and merge the 96th mission into the 46th Test Wing. He said the only impact for Eglin was the elimination of management positions. He said the 46th and 96th will be combined into a "super wing" that would now report to the Air Force Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Source: Destin Log, 02/14/12) Previous related post

New flight added

GULFPORT, Miss. -- A new direct flight will be offered between the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and the Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Fla., beginning in June. The 90-minute flight will be offered three times a week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. A special promotional fare of $99 is being offered through Feb. 22. (Source: Sun Herald, 02/15/12)

Airbus, ST Aerospace team

SINGAPORE -- Airbus, ST Aerospace and EADS EFW will work together on a program to convert A330 passenger jets into cargo freighters. A memorandum of understanding was signed at the Singapore Airshow. The P2F program will cover the conversion of A330-200 and A330-300 jets. ST Aerospace will lead the engineering development and EADS EFW will carry out most of the conversions in Dresden, Germany. About 2,700 freighters will be required over the next 20 years, and about half will be in the mid-sized freighter segment, including 900 conversions. EADS-EFW chief executive Andreas Sperl said that once the program is up and running, Dresden would be capable of converting 15-18 A330s a year. EADS EFW will become the European center for ST Aerospace's global maintenance, repair and overhaul operations. (Source: Wall Street Journal, Channel News Asia, ST Aerospace, Flightglobal, 02/15/12) Gulf Coast note: EADS, Airbus and ST Aerospace have operations in Mobile, Ala.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Contract: Boeing, $111.4M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded an $111,397,676 predominantly firm-fixed-price contract for procurement of 4,844 joint direct attack munitions. The location of the performance is St. Charles, Mo. Work is expected to be completed by May 2014. AAC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/14/12)

AT-6 has a first at Eglin

Hawker Beechcraft said its AT-6 light attack aircraft successfully fired laser-guided rockets during tests last month at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., making the AT-6 the first fixed-wing aircraft to launch a laser-guided rocket. The 2.75" laser-guided rocket testing included BAE Systems' Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System and Raytheon's TALON. The weapons were fired from about three nautical miles and guided to their targets using either an airborne laser from the AT-6 or a ground laser from the Eglin range. Both rockets were scored as hits on their respective targets. Hawker is fighting a decision by the Air Force to award a contract for light attach aircraft to Sierra Nevada and Embraer. A stop work order on the contract as issued after Hawker took the matter to federal court. (Source: Wichita Business Journal, Hawker Beechcraft, 02/13/12)

Eglin gets new lab

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The new High Pressure Particulate Physics Facility has opened at Eglin Air Force Base in Northwest Florida. The facility was built to enhance the role of science and technology in smart munitions development, and contains a 60-mm smooth bore gun, complemented with high-resolution, high-precision, time-resolved diagnostics for use with various imaging technologies. The gun will be able to launch a few kilogram mass at high speed and will address basic questions on material behavior, as it relates to munition weapon systems and weapon effects. (Source: Air Force Materiel Command, 02/14/12)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Contract: Jacobs, $36M

Jacobs Technology, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $36,097,935 firm-fixed-price and level-of-effort contract. The award will provide for the technical and administrative services in support of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle. Work will be performed in Kuwait; Warren, Mich.; Stafford, Va.; Aberdeen, Md.; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Benning, Ga.; Afghanistan; Camp Atterbury, Ind.; and Red River Army Depot, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 6, 2013. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/13/12)

Contract: Jacobs, $157.2M

Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $157,209,880 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide for the systems engineering and technical assistance support services. Work will be performed in Fort Belvoir, Va.; Natick, Mass.; Eatontown, N.J.; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; Springfield, Va.; Fort Lewis, Wash.; Fort Knox, Ky.; and Fort Benning, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2015. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/13/12)

Budget wants two BRAC rounds

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon's 2013 budget calls for two rounds of base closings, according to documents released Monday. The last Base Realignment and Closure round was in 2005. All BRACS have pit communities and states against each other because bases are major employers. The budget asks for BRAC rounds in 2013 and 2015. (Source: USA Today, 02/13/12) Gulf Coast note: This region is home to a heavy concentration of military bases, as well as military activities at non-DoD facilities. Previous on BRAC

GE Aviation growth

GE Aviation's production rates are expected to grow from about 3,000 commercial and military engine deliveries in 2011 to 3,400 in 2012 and 3,800 in 2013, according to the company. "We're firing on all cylinders," said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. The company, which has about 25,000 workers in the U.S., is investing some $580 million in plant, equipment, and tooling across 55 U.S. operations. It will add more than 400 employees over the next three years. By the end of the year GE Aviation will complete construction of a 300,000-square-foot factory in Ellisville, Miss., to make composite components for jet engines, and another 300,000 square-foot facility in Auburn, Ala., that will make machined parts for commercial and military engines. Construction is also under way on GE's new electric power integrated systems R&D center in Dayton, Ohio. (Source: GE Aviation via Business Wire, 02/13/12)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mississippi player in growth field

Mississippi is a key player in the growing unmanned aerial systems field. In addition to the Global Hawks and Fire Scouts built in Moss Point, Mississippi has two other companies building four types of UAVs, as well as airspace where UAV flights are permitted and companies that work on sensors and advanced materials, both important to the industry. A feature story. (Source: Sun Herald, 02/12/12)

Airbus to build in Mobile?

SEATTLE -- There was speculation at the aerospace suppliers' conference this past week that Airbus could announce this summer that it will build commercial jets in the United States. The heavy favorite is Mobile, Ala., where Airbus parent EADS had planned to build aerial tankers until it lost the competition to Boeing. Two people who have contact with Airbus and its suppliers said they believe Mobile will build up to 10 A320 jets a month. Last month, the chief financial officer of EADS raised the possibility that Airbus will soon resurrect the idea of building jets in the U.S. (Source: Seattle Times, 02/11/12) Previous related post

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Carroll: Committed to Eglin

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll told fellow task force members she's committed to work with them to help preserve the Air Armament Center and 46th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base. State Sen. Don Gaetz, who sponsored the bill to create and fund the task force, had been critical of Carroll, saying he thought she was hesitant to engage in effective lobbying in Washington. He said he welcomed her "change of view" on the Eglin issue. The task force is hoping to prevent the Air Force from placing Eglin's 46th Test Wing under the command of a two-star general at California's Edwards Air Force Base. They fear it's a first step toward moving the wing's research, development, test and evaluation function to California. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/11/12) Previous post

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bill has NATO Global Hawk funds

Bloomberg reports that the Pentagon proposes in its new budget spending $1.2 billion for the first three NATO variant Global Hawk unmanned aircraft and three more Navy variants, according to an official. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said this month it planned to buy five Alliance Ground System through 2017. The Navy already has two demonstration versions of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance System. Congress will get the budget Feb. 13. (Source: Bloomberg, 02/09/12) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds the Global Hawk fuselages in Moss Point, Miss. Previous related posts: NATO getting Global Hawks; Global Hawk variant to be cutNATO to ink AGS deal in May

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Drone foreign sales discussed

Navy leaders are considering selling Scan Eagle unmanned drones to Kuwait, Pakistan and the Netherlands, according to a presentation by Marine Corp. Col. James Rector of the Naval Air Systems Command. He made the comment during the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International's annual program in Washington. There are also informal talks involving Australia and Japan to buy Global Hawk fixed-wing reconnaissance drones built by Northrop Grumman. (Source: AOL Defense, 02/09/12) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. Correction note: AOL Defense initially reported the drone being considered for sale was Fire Scout, rather than Scan Eagle.

UT eyeing sale

United Technologies is studying the sale of a pump- and compressor-making division to raise cash for the planned purchase of aerospace supplier Goodrich Corp., according to Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Also under way is an effort to find a buyer for Pratt and Whiteny Rocketdyne, which makes engines for civilian and military rockets, the same sources said. (Source: Bloomberg, 02/09/12) Gulf Coast note: Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; Goodrich owns the Alabama Service Center in Foley, Ala.

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $14.8M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $14,800,000 modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract to procure long lead items for F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter low rate initial production Lot 6 short take-off vertical landing aircraft for the Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is necessary to protect the delivery schedules of STOVL aircraft planned for delivery through December 2014. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/09/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Contracts: 2020, Oasis, COLSA

2020 Co. LLC., Falls Church, Va.; Oasis Systems LLC., Lexington, Mass.; and COLSA Corp., Huntsville, Ala. are each being awarded a $53,511,834 firm-fixed price, labor-hour, cost-reimbursement contract for the Technical and Acquisition Management Support Program. This program provides a wide range of diverse non-engineering, technical, and acquisition management support required in the acquisition, development, production, and support of various equipment and weapon systems within the Air Armament Center and other organizations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The location of the performance is Eglin. Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2013. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/08/12)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gaetz wants more base advocacy

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- State Sen. Don Gaetz is critical of how Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll is handling her role as the state's advocate for the Defense Support Task Force. "I think the lieutenant governor has been hesitant to engage in effective lobbying in Washington on Eglin issues," Gaetz told the Northwest Florida Daily News. The task force was created to preserve Florida's military bases and missions in an age of Pentagon cuts. Members decided the first priority should be lobbying to prevent the Air Force from placing Eglin’s 46th Test Wing under the command of a two-star general at California's Edwards Air Force Base. They fear it's a first step toward moving the wing's research, development, test and evaluation function to California. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/06/12)

Contract: Boeing, $18.3M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded an $18,300,000 cost-plus-incentive-fee and firm-fixed-priced items contract for an acceleration effort, regression testing, and a fuze risk reduction effort. The location of the performance is Saint Louis, Mo. Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2013. AAC/EDBK/EDBJ, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/07/12)

Group to take base fight to D.C.

MILTON, Fla. -- The Santa Rosa County Commission was given an update Monday on local plans to protect area bases from a possible Base Realignment and Closure round and other military cuts. Pete Gandy, a consultant with TEAM Santa Rosa, praised the work that Santa Rosa County commissioners have done for nearly 10 years to purchase and preserve the land around Naval Air Station Whiting Field, which trains military aviators. He said a five-county delegation supporting the military bases will go to Washington at the end of February to meet with congressional leaders to discuss issues facing Northwest Florida military bases. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/06/12)

Old airport to transfer this week

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- The final transfer of the old airport in Panama City to its new owners will take place Wednesday or Thursday, officials said. The sale will help the airport pay off a number of debts and eliminate some $120,000 per month in costs at the old site. St. Andrew Bay Land Co. plans a village-type development at the 700-acre site. Air operations transferred to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport near West Bay on May 23, 2010. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 02/06/12)

Drones in national airspace?

The House passed a bill Monday that starts the clock on safely integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into the national airspace, with full integration by the Sept. 30, 2015. The bill, previously passed by the Senate and now awaiting President Obama's signature, provides a number of deadlines for the Federal Aviation Administration. One is to establish six UAV test sites within six months. (Source: Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, USA Today, 02/06/12) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawk and Fire Scout UAVs are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; several companies at Stennis Space Center, Miss., work with UAV sensors; the Coast Guard Aviation Center is involved in UAV training in Mobile, Ala.; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is involved in UAV navigation systems.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Contract: Sikorsky, $26M

Sikorsky Support Services Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $26,063,162 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery requirements contract to exercise an option for logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance to support 161 T-34, 54 T-44, and 172 T-6 aircraft based primarily at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; NAS Whiting Field, Fla.; and NAS Pensacola, Fla. Work will be performed in Corpus Christi (50 percent); Whiting Field (39 percent); Pensacola (8 percent); and various sites within the continental United States. Work is expected to be completed in April 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/06/12)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tyndall to get new F-22 squadron

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- A new combat F-22 squadron will be coming to Tyndall Air Force Base in Northwest Florida beginning this summer, bringing up to 1,000 additional personnel. That's according to Brig. Gen. John K. McMullen, commander of the 325th Fighter Wing. He provided an assessment of Tyndall during the Bay County Chamber First Friday meeting. McMullen said the first personnel will begin arriving in July and aircraft in January 2013. McMullen also said 20 T-38s will be coming to the base over the next year. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 02/03/12)

NATO getting Global Hawks

NATO broke a nearly two decade logjam and agreed to jointly fund operations of an airborne ground- surveillance system that includes five Northrop Grumman Block 40 Global Hawks. The 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization approved a plan this week for all members to pay for support and operations, according to a statement Friday. The Alliance Ground Surveillance project, which is scheduled to come into use from 2015, will have its main base at Sigonella, Italy, and several associated command-and-control base stations. Virginia-based Northrop is the prime contractor. The drone is powered by Rolls-Royce engines. (Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, 02/03/12) Previous post

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cuts hit Keesler AFB

The proposed 2013 military budget designed to save the Air Force $8.7 billion over five years will eliminate hundreds of fighters, cargo planes, surveillance drones and surveillance planes from bases nationwide, according to details released Friday. Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., best known for its electronics training and home of the 403rd Reserve Wing, will lose 10 C-130Js in fiscal year 2014, half its total. The wing transports personnel and equipment and was a major player in combat operations in Southwest Asia. Another Mississippi base, Key Field Air National Guard in Meridian, will lose six C-27J in FY13 and one RC-26 in FY14. They'll be replaced by between nine and 11 MC-12s in FY14. Also of interest to the Gulf Coast region is the FY13 retirement of 18 Block 30 Global Hawks stationed at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. Fuselage work on Global Hawks is done in Moss Point, Miss. The force structure changes also affirms the Air Force's commitment to the F-35. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the joint training center. (Source: Tcp, 02/03/12) Details

Becoming astronaut still popular

More than 6,300 people applied between Nov. 15, 2011 and Jan. 27 to become a NASA astronaut, the second highest number of applications ever received by the agency. The highest response occurred in 1978 with 8,000 applicants. After a thorough selection process, which includes interviews and medical examinations, nine to 15 people will be selected to become part of the 21st astronaut class. NASA expects to announce a final selection in the spring of 2013. The new astronauts will be the first to launch aboard a commercial rocket to the space station, said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. (Source: NASA, 02/03/12) Gulf Coast note: This region is involved in space programs through NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Contract: SRI, $13.2M

SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., is being awarded a $13,200,000 cost-plus-award-fee, firm-fixed-price contract for the acquisition of a five-year research and development program. The Digital Video Laboratory (DVL) provides highly specialized hardware/software for data /video transmission, video compression, video data manipulation, image sensors, data/video storage, data/video retrieval and data/video searches. This contract will be used to acquire hardware, software, prototype systems, spiral software enhancements, installation and training support to support the 46 Test Wing's requirement to improve and modernize potential capabilities using digital data. The location of the performance is on an as required basis by delivery order. Work is expected to be completed by March 12, 2014. AAC/PKET, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/02/12)

Squadron changes command

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 will have a change of command ceremony Friday at 10 a.m. Lt. Col. David R. Berke will take command from Lt. Col. James B. Wellons in a ceremony at the Department of Navy and Marine Corps Hangar at Eglin Air Force Base. Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 is the first Marine Corps squadron to receive F-35B aircraft for pilot and maintainer training at the 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 Integrated Training Center. (Source: Marine Corps PAO, 02/02/12)

Eglin to get 17 F-35s this year

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Eglin Air Force Base is scheduled to get another 17 F-35 jets this year, according to a Lockheed Martin official. Stephen O’Bryan, vice president of Lockheed’s F-35 program integration, provided the local media with an update of the program Wednesday. Eglin, where pilots and maintainers from all branches of the military will be trained, already has nine of the jets, three of them are the Marine Corps' F-35B and the other six Air Force F-35As. The jets to arrive this year will include the first Navy version, the F-35C. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/01/12)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Contract: EADS, $10.1M

EADS - NA, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $10,128,500 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the modification of an existing contract for contract logistic support services. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2013. Five bids were solicited, with three bids received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/01/12)

Tyndall to test ceramic coating

Two test buildings at Tyndall. Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Air Force engineers and researchers are hoping to find out whether a ceramic coating can help the military reach energy savings goals. Engineers at the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency will test the coating in April using two nearly identical buildings. The ceramic coating product, which is flexible, has been around for 20 years, but was never mass marketed. It performs well in a lab setting, and if it does the same in the field it could have multiple applications in warm climates, possibly even in an expeditionary setting. (Source: AFCESA, 01/31/12)