Saturday, June 30, 2012

Record four Fire Scouts deploy

The guided missile frigate USS Klakring left Mayport, Fla., on Friday with a record four Fire Scout unmanned helicopters for a six-month deployment. The drones will operate up to 12 hours per day, testing their ability to linger in the air for long periods to provide real-time surveillance. Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 will operate the drones in support of operations off the Horn of Africa. HSL-42 has worked with the MQ-8B since 2008 when the USS McInerney was retrofitted for the Fire Scout's first deployment. Last year HSL-42 deployed with two Fire Scouts and an H-60 helicopter aboard USS Halyburton. Three Fire Scouts are also operating in Afghanistan. (Sources: Naval Air Systems Command, UT San Diego, 06/29/12) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss., at the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Contract: Raytheon, $8.8M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded an $8,796,079 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to procure hardware in the loop facility upgrade and study. The location of the performance is Tucson, Ariz. Work is to be completed by June 30, 2013. AAC/EBAD, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/29/12)

Contract: Sierra Nevada, $45M

Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., is being awarded a $45,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-no-fee contract to procure products and services in support of the Precision Strike Package Program. The location of the performance is Englewood, Colo. Work is to be completed by Oct. 29, 2012. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/29/12)

Plant would be watershed event

A320. Airbus photo
There will be no official announcement until Monday regarding the reports that Airbus will build an A320 assembly plant in Mobile, Ala. But there's little doubt the addition of an airliner assembly plant would provide the already active Gulf Coast aerospace region with an entirely new capability that could mark a watershed event for the region. (Source: GCAC, 06/29/12)

Neighbor courts ST Aerospace

MOBILE, Ala. -- As Mobile chased new aerospace projects this spring, officials from nearby Pensacola, Fla., were in town courting ST Aerospace Mobile. Win Hallett, president and chief executive officer of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Press-Register that a Pensacola delegation visited with ST Aerospace executives this spring to lure part or all of the 1,000-employee airplane repair company's operations. It's not clear which side initiated the contact. ST Aerospace Mobile President Joseph Ng did not immediately return calls requesting comment. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, through a spokesman, declined to comment. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/28/12) Previous post of Mobile operation moving to Pensacola.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reports: Airbus to build Mobile plant

Airbus will build its first assembly line in the United States in Mobile, Ala., according to the New York Times, Bloomberg and the Mobile Press-Register. The plan calls for an investment of several hundred million dollars in a plant that could eventually assemble dozens of 150-seat A320 jets each year. The Mobile Press-Register reported the announcement will be made Monday in Mobile that Airbus plans to build A320neo aircraft at Brookley Aeroplex. Multiple company, state and local officials confirmed to the paper that an agreement was in place and that company president Fabrice Bregier was scheduled to announce the project at a 10 a.m. news conference at the Mobile Convention Center. (Source: New York Times, Bloomberg via Seattle Times, Mobile Press-Register, 06/27/12) Airbus parent EADS had planned to build a plant at Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex to assemble tankers for the Air Force, but Boeing won the contract and is building the planes in Washington state. Mobile officials continued to maintain a close relationship EADS/Airbus after the tanker loss. Mobile is also the home of an Airbus Engineering Center and military aircraft maintenance facility.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Contract: Raytheon, $34M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $34,064,647 cost-plus-fixed-fee with performance incentives contract to procure electronic protection improvement program. The location of the performance is Tucson, Ariz. Work is to be completed by Oct. 31, 2015. AAC/EBAD, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/26/12)

Major awarded DFC

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A weapons flight commander with the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action May 2, 2011 when deployed to Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. Maj. John Caldwell, at the time a captain piloting an F-16, responded to an ambush on a special operations team that was taking casualties. His award citation said the pilot employed an immediate, nonstandard, danger close strafe run into the rugged, midnight black valley as the enemy continued to fire with rounds impacting inches from the trapped allies. Caldwell then re-attacked with an expertly placed, danger close Joint Direct Attack Munition, completely neutralizing the ambush. The DFC narration said the presence of Caldwell prevented a catastrophic loss of American lives and directly turned the tide of this engagement. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 06/25/12)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Machinists to vote Thursday

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Machinists will vote Thursday on a tentative agreement reached by Lockheed Martin and the union to end a nine-week strike at a fighter jet plant in Fort Worth and two other sites. About 3,600 workers went on strike in April over proposed changes in health benefits and a Lockheed plan to stop offering a traditional pension to newly hired workers. The plant in Fort Worth builds F-35s and F-16s. (Source: multiple, including Reuters, 06/25/12, New York Times, 06/24/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Eglin seeks drone control software

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- An industry day will be held June 28 in advance of a Request For Proposals for systems engineering and software engineering support for custom software to operate unmanned aircraft. The revised pre-solicitation notice says the software is for the automated control of full-scale and sub-scale aerial targets of the Gulf Range Drone Control System (GRDCS). It covers system programming, drone control software, calibration, graphics and more. (Source: Defense Systems, 06/25/12) The GRDCS is used to control drones, ground vehicles, collect and display time space position information data for aircraft and surface vehicles, and control aircraft instrumentation. GRDCS support will be provided by the contractor at the Central Control Facility at Eglin, but support may be required at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., White Sands Missile Range, N.M., or the Utah Test and Training Range or other locations. The Air Force anticipates issuing an RFP for a single, three-year and 45-day contract and two, one-year option periods. Solicitation

Florida wants drone test site

Count Florida among the states interested in landing one of six unmanned aerial system test sites. Space Florida's board recently approved spending up to $1.4 million to try to win one of the sites Congress has directed the Federal Aviation Administration to establish by the end of the year. The test sites will have the goal of finding ways to let unmanned systems operate in the same space as piloted aircraft. (Source: Florida Today, 06/23/12) Right now, drones can only fly in military airspace and locations that have received FAA Certificates of Authorization. Previous posts: Test site selection starts; Shelby picked for UAV center; Mississippi player in growth field

Hotel on AF land raises issues

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Questions have been raised about whether the developer of a hotel on land owned by Eglin Air Force Base will have to pay property taxes. The Emerald Breeze Resort Group signed a 50-year deal with the Air Force under the enhanced use leasing program to build and manage a resort on Okaloosa Island. The island is home to a number of hotels that pay the tax since they are not on Air Force land. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/19/12)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The next Austin?

PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. -- The two-year-old Gulf Coast Patent Association held its summer meeting at Pensacola Beach Friday to explore "the economic development wheel." The meeting attracted about 30 participants from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, including patent attorneys, technology transfer professionals, angel investors and others who discussed bringing innovations to the marketplace. At least one patent attorney said he thinks there's a big future for the Gulf Coast region, pointing out how Austin, Texas, changed over the years into a booming technology center. He and others think the same thing can happen in this region. The Gulf Coast has research and development activities in a host of fields, including aerospace, marine science, advanced materials and more. The Patent Association was launched at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and has expanded to draw in members from across the Gulf Coast region. (Source: GCAC, 06/23/12)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Squadron leader dismissed

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The commander of the Osprey squadron that lost an aircraft in a crash last week has been dismissed. According to reports, the Air Force lost confidence in Lt. Col. Matt Glover, who headed Hurlburt Field's 8th Special Operations Squadron since May 2011. The CV-22 tiltrotor crashed June 13 at Eglin Air Force Base, injuring five airmen. The cause is being investigated, but mechanical failure is not considered a factor. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, AOL Defense, 06/21/12)

SLS core passes review

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The core stage of the Space Launch System has passed a major technical review. The core of the heavy-lift launch vehicle will be more than 200 feet tall. Engineers from NASA and Boeing of Huntsville presented a full set of system requirements, design concepts and production approaches to technical reviewers and the independent review board. The core is being designed and developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and built at the agency's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/21/12) Stennis Space Center, Miss., is testing engines for the Space Launch System.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Airman released from hospital

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- A Hurlburt Field airman was released from the hospital, and two remain hospitalized for injuries received when their tilt-rotor aircraft crashed during a routine training mission north of Navarre, Fla. on the Eglin Range June 13. Capt. Brett Cassidy was discharged from Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola on June 19. Tech. Sgt. Edilberto Malave was moved to West Florida Rehab. Staff Sgt. Sean McMahon remains hospitalized at Sacred Heart in stable condition. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing, 06/20/12) Previous

Congress balks at BRAC

WASHINGTON -- Both the House and Senate Armed Services committees have produced spending bills that deny Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's request to set up a Base Realignment and Closure Commission next year. Panetta has said he needs to close bases and small installations to help him achieve $487 billion in congressionally mandated spending cuts over 10 years. (Source: Washington Times, 06/20/12)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Michoud team recognized

NEW ORLEANS -- NASA's Orion Program hosted an employee recognition event for the Michoud Assembly Facility Orion team members to coincide with a milestone. The NASA team has been putting the finishing touches on the first space-bound Orion capsule. They completed the Orion pathfinder weld, essentially a practice operation, in preparation for the final weld. Then the team will do final inspections before preparing the capsule for its move to Florida's Kennedy Space Center at the end of June for final assembly and checkout. NASA's unmanned Exploration Flight Test-1 is scheduled for 2014. The first Orion spacecraft will be launched atop a Delta IV rocket operated by United Launch Alliance. The mission will take Orion to an altitude of more than 3,600 miles, more than 15 times farther away from Earth than the International Space Station. (Source: NASA, 06/20/12) Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests the engines that will be used in the Space Launch System, the rocket that will be used for future Orion missions.

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $20M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $20,103,000 advance acquisition contract to provide long lead-time parts, material and components required for the delivery of two Low Rate Initial Production Lot VII F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Takeoff and Landing aircraft for the government of Norway. Work will be performed in Texas, California, the United Kingdom, Florida, New Hampshire and Maryland. Work is expected to be completed in June 2013. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/20/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Khobar Towers ceremony set

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 33d Fighter Wing community is hosting the annual Khobar Towers Memorial Ceremony June 25 at 8 a.m. at the Nomad Memorial. Members of the tri-service F-35 Joint Strike Fighter team will honor the 12 Nomads and seven other airmen killed in the Khobar Towers terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996. This year's keynote speaker is Air Force retired Chief Master Sgt. Troy A. Lowe, who was the senior enlisted advisor to the wing during the bombing. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base Public Affairs, 06/20/12)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Contract: Alfab, $96.5M

Alfab, Inc., Enterprise, Ala., was awarded a contract with a maximum $96,507,000 for pallets and matting. Using services are Air Force and Army. The date of performance completion is June 19, 2017. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/19/12)

Contract: Raytheon, $40.3M

Raytheon Technical Services Co., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded $40,333,510 under a previously issued basic ordering agreement for the repair of 35 weapons repairable assemblies and shop replaceable assemblies of the APG 65/73 Radar System used in support of the F/A-18 aircraft. Work will be done performed in Indianapolis, Ind. (56.93 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (33.79 percent); Forest, Miss. (7.25 percent); and Andover, Mass. (2.03 percent). Work is expected to be completed by June 30, 2014. NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/19/12)

Command readies for transition

The reduction of the Air Force Materiel Command from 12 to five centers is fast approaching. Centers will be activated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., in the coming weeks. At Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the Air Force Flight Test Center will become the Air Force Test Center to reflect an expanded mission, and Wright-Patterson will activate the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center July 9. At Eglin, the dual mission of test and air armament development at the Air Armament Center will fall under the Air Force Test Center at Edwards, which will oversee the command's test mission maintained at Eglin, Edwards and Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. The air armament development portion of Eglin’s AAC will become part of AFLCMC on July 18. The same day, the 96th Air Base Wing will be redesignated the 96th TW. The people and mission of Eglin's current 46th TW will transition to the newly designated 96th TW. Both the Eglin and Edwards AFBs' test wings will then align to the AFTC. The consolidations were announced in November 2011. (Source: Air Force Materiel Command, 06/18/12, Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/16/12)

Monday, June 18, 2012

FAA, NASA agree on standards

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Aviation Administration and NASA signed an agreement to coordinate standards for commercial space travel of government and non-government astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station. The agencies will collaborate to provide a stable framework for the U.S. space industry, avoid conflicting requirements and multiple sets of standards, and advance both public and crew safety. (Source: NASA, 06/18/12) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests rocket engines for commercial space flight companies.

Pemco deal nears

MOBILE, Ala. -- Vision Technologies Aerospace Inc. received approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Court to acquire the Tampa aerospace maintenance facility and certain assets of Pemco World Air Services Inc., according to the Mobile Press-Register. It will be held under a newly incorporated entity owned by VT Aerospace, which operates ST Aerospace Mobile. The acquisition is expected to close in July. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/18/12) Previous

RR breaks ground on test facility

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Rolls-Royce today broke ground on a new $50 million jet engine test facility at the company’s outdoor testing site at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. When fully operational, the facility is expected to create 35 highly-skilled jobs. The Mississippi Development Authority is helping to support construction and workforce training with additional support from Hancock County. It's the company's second outdoor jet engine test facility to be built-from-the-ground-up in the U.S., and will be used to conduct research, development, crosswind, thrust reverse, cyclic and endurance tests on all Rolls-Royce civil aerospace engines. The outdoor test facility opened in October 2007 and is one of only three of its kind in the world. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 06/18/12)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $489.5M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $489,528,000 advance acquisition contract to provide long lead-time parts, material and components required for the delivery of 35 low rate initial production Lot VII F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. It includes 19 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft for the U.S. Air Force; three CTOLs for the government of Italy; 2 CTOLs for the government of Turkey; six short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the Marine Corps; one STOVL for the United Kingdom; and four carrier variant aircraft for the Navy. In addition, this contract provides long lead-time efforts required for the incorporation of a drag chute in CTOL air systems for the government of Norway. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, El Segundo, Calif., Warton, United Kingdom, Orlando, Fla., Nashua, N.H., and Baltimore, Md. Work is expected to be completed in June 2013. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/15/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Eglin FD best in AF

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For the past four years, Eglin's Fire Department was the best large department in Air Force Materiel Command. Now for the first time it's the best in Air Force. Eight fire stations protect more than 724 square miles and support 18 local communities through mutual aid agreements. The next step is for Eglin's fire department is to compete at the Department of Defense level. That award will be announced Aug. 3 at the fire chiefs' convention in Denver, Colo. (Source: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 06/14/12)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

X-47B finishes first test series

X-47B at Edwards. Northrop Grumman photo
The first major phase of flight tests of the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator aircraft concluded May 15 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The airworthiness test phase included 23 flights by two air vehicles and showed the X-47B performed properly at all speeds, weights and altitudes needed for the Navy's UCAS Carrier Demonstration program. Flights of the tailless, pilotless plane included tests of maneuvers required in the carrier environment. The aircraft reached altitudes exceeding 15,000 feet and maneuvers included extending and retracting a tail hook and completing an autonomous touch-and-go landing. The second of the two X-47Bs was moved to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., where carrier suitability testing will begin later this summer. (Source: Globe Newswire, 06/14/12) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast region is heavily involved in military aviator training.

Crew injuries not life-threatening

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- None of the five crew members injured when a CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft crashed at the Eglin Air Force Base Range Wednesday has life-threatening injuries. The crew members have been identified as Maj. Brian Luce, a pilot, in stable condition at Eglin Air Force Base hospital; Capt. Brett Cassidy, a pilot, in stable condition at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola; Staff Sgt. Sean McMahon, flight engineer, in guarded condition at Sacred Heart Hospital; Tech. Sgt. Christopher Dawson, flight engineer, in stable condition at the Eglin hospital; and Tech. Sgt. Edilberto Malave, flight engineer, who is in stable condition at Sacred Heart. The 1st Special Operations Wing CV-22, which can hover like a helicopter, crashed north of Navarre around 6:45 p.m. during a routine training mission. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs, 06/14/12) Previous

F-22 pilot vest scrutinized

Published reports say a potentially faulty pressure vest is the latest clue in the mystery over why pilots of F-22 Raptors get dizzy and disoriented. Pilots of the Lockeed Martin-built plane have been told to stop using the vest for routine flights until a fix is worked out. The vest may make it hard for pilots to breath under some circumstances. (Sources: multiple, including Bloomberg, NBC News, 06/14/12) Gulf Coast note: F-22s are located at six bases, including Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., near Panama City in Northwest Florida. The base also trains F-22 pilots. Previous: F-22 mishap probed; Report puts focus on F-22

Global Hawk Triton unveiled

PALMDALE, Calif. -- The U.S. Navy's MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft was unveiled during a ceremony Thursday at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., plant. Called the Triton, the MQ-4C's unveiling caps more than four years of development with Northrop Grumman for the surveillance aircraft, a Global Hawk configured for the Navy's maritime needs. The Triton's new features include the AN/ZPY-3 multi-function active-sensor radar system, the primary sensor on the Triton. The aircraft will be an adjunct to the P-8A Poseidon as part of the Navy's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force family of systems. (Source: NNS, 06/14/12) One of the Navy's BAMS demonstrator aircraft crashed Monday in a marsh in southern Maryland. (Post) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks fuselage work is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

AF CV-22 crashes; five aboard

Special Operations CV-22. File photo
HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- An Air Force CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing crashed at about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday on the Eglin Range north of Navarre, Fla. The accident occurred during a routine training mission. Five aircrew members on board were taken to area hospitals. Two were taken by ambulance and three by air. A board of officials will investigate. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs, 06/13/12) Release update

Wing activated at Hurlburt

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The 24th Special Operations Wing was activated during a ceremony Tuesday at Hurlburt Field's Freedom Hangar. The wing's missions will include airfield reconnaissance and personnel recovery. It's the third active duty special operations wing presently headquartered at Hurlburt Field. In addition, Col. Kurt W. Buller took over the 720th Special Tactics Group during a change of command. The 720th is the major operational unit under the 24th wing. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/12/12)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Navy Global Hawk crashes

WASHINGTON -- A Navy Global Hawk unmanned aircraft crashed in a marsh in southern Maryland on Monday after the ground pilot lost contact with the aircraft. There were no injuries and no property damage at the crash site near Salisbury. The RQ-4A Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator (BAMS-D) was on a test mission from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., when contact was lost. The Navy's version of the Northrop Grumman-built Global Hawk, which can fly 11 miles up for 30 hours, is for maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission. (Sources: multiple, including Los Angeles Times, CNN, 06/11/12) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawk central fuselages are built by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss. Previous Global Hawk post.

Monday, June 11, 2012

RR buying joint venture

Rolls-Royce is buying out Goodrich in its engine controls joint venture for full ownership of the fuel pumps and metering units business. The two companies combined their controls businesses in 2009 to form Aero Engine Controls. United Technologies, which is in the process of buying aircraft components maker Goodrich, agreed to the deal. (Source: Reuters, 06/08/12) Meanwhile, UT has offered to sell assets to secure European Union approval of the Goodrich purchase. UT has already said it plans to sell portions of its business, including Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. (Source: Reuters, 06/11/12) Gulf Coast note: Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss; Goodrich has an operation in Foley, Ala.; Rolls-Royce tests engines at Stennis Space Center and has a propeller foundry in Pascagoula, Miss.

Drone control switching to Linux

The Navy awarded a $27.9 million contract to Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, Dulles, Va., to complete the installation of Linux ground control software for its fleet of unmanned helicopters. The Navy currently uses the Northrop Grumman-built MQ-8B Fire Scout, but it's also acquiring the larger MQ-8C variant. Both are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. Work on the ground control system will be done at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in February 2014, according to a DoD Wednesday release. (Source: GCAC, 06/10/12)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Legal action considered

Okaloosa County may take legal action against Vision Airlines to collect passenger facilities charges owed to Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The airline owes some $144,000, and agreed to a payment plan, but has reportedly failed to make consistent payments. Vision started offering flights from the airport in December 2010 and expanded to serve 17 cities. Flights were cut in half the following year and service to the airport ended earlier this year. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/09/12) Meanwhile, the airport is trying to attract new airlines. The deputy director recently attended a three-day conference in Sacramento, Calif., which offers airport officials and opportunity to meet airline executives. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/09/12)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

ST Mobile parent eyes purchase

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd., parent of Mobile's ST Aerospace, said ST Engineering's aerospace arm -- Vision Technologies Aerospace Inc. -- made a $49.7 million bid for the Tampa aerospace maintenance facility Pemco World Air Services Inc., at a bankruptcy auction. The facility will be held under wholly owned VT Aerospace, which operates ST Aerospace Mobile and ST Aerospace San Antonio. ST Aerospace Mobile employs 1,500 people at Brookley Aeroplex, where it maintains and overhauls large airplanes. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/08/12)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Powerpack test sets record

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA's Stennis Space Center broke its own record Friday when it conducted a test on the new J-2X powerpack that lasted for 1,150 seconds, surpassing the previous record by more than a minute. For NASA the test marked a milestone step in development of a next-generation rocket engine to carry humans deeper into space than ever before. For SSC, the 19-minute, 10-second test represented the longest duration firing ever conducted in the center's A Test Complex. The powerpack is on the top of the J-2X engine and includes the gas generator, oxygen, fuel turbopumps and related ducts and valves. (Source: SSC/NASA, 06/08/12) Previous

Special Forces group growing

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Army 7th Special Forces Group will stand up a fourth combat battalion this fall, bringing the total number of soldiers at the cantonment to 2,200. The new battalion will have 400 soldiers, and about 100 already have arrived. With the addition, there will be four combat battalions and one general support battalion at the cantonment on Eglin Air Force Base’s reservation south of Crestview. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/07/12)

Eglin to keep two-star

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Force said that Maj. Gen. Kenneth Merchant, commander of the Air Armament Center, will remain at Eglin Air Force Base as its Program Executive Officer for Weapons. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., hailed the announcement as significant, but Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., remains leery. Last fall the Air Force announced changes for the Materiel Command, which included shrinking the command from 12 to five centers. Under the consolidation, Merchant's job would have been eliminated along with the Air Armament Center. Merchant himself said he's pleased to remain in charge of the weapons programs. "I look forward to continuing my role in weapons development, production and sustainment, and leading this group of men and women who are so dedicated to our nation's defense," he said. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, Pensacola News Journal, 06/07/12, DoD, 06/08/12) Previous

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

F-22 mishap probed

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The military is looking into a “ground incident” last week involving an F-22 Raptor. The plane was in a “touch and go” session when it was put out of commission, according to the Panama City News Herald. The plane was sidelined and the pilot benched. Tyndall is the home of the 325th Fighter Wing, whose primary mission is to provide air training for F-22 Raptor pilots, as well as maintenance personnel and air battle managers. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 06/05/12)

Technology and the F-35

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Northwest Florida Daily News has a feature story about some of the technology being used to prepare pilots to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 training center, and among the cutting-edge items being used is a scanner that reads the contour of a pilot's face and skull to come up with a custom-designed helmet that provides on the visor all the information usually found in a heads-up display. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/05/12)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $19.2M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $19,154,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for automatic backup oxygen supply in the F-22 Life Support System. Effort includes 40 retrofit kits, plus non-recurring engineering and 10 spares. The location of performance is Marietta, Ga. Work is to be completed April 30, 2013. ASC/WWUK, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/05/12) Gulf Coast note: Tyndall Air Force Base is home of an F-22 squadron and the location where aviators train to fly the aircraft. Previous

Northrop honored for safety

Northrop Grumman's Moss Point, Miss., plant is among nine of the company's facilities to receive the Aerospace Industries Association Excellence in Aircraft Manufacturing 2012 Worker Safety Award. Northrop Grumman earned top honors in the aircraft manufacturing category. This is the second such award for the company in as many years, and the third in the past five years. (Source: Globe Newswire, 06/04/12)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $111.6M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded an $111,612,964 cost reimbursement modification to a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract. This modification provides additional funding for recurring support activities such as initial training, aircraft maintenance operations, stand-up of sustainment capability at specified locations, technical data management, and sustaining engineering for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Sixty percent of the work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The remainder will be done in Fort Worth, Texas, El Segundo, Calif., Warton, United Kingdom, Orlando, Fla., Nashua, N.H., and Baltimore, Md. (5 percent). Work is expected to be completed in October 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/04/12)

Three bases want tanker

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Hurlburt Field, Eglin Air Force Base and Tyndall Air Force Base are among nearly 60 installations being considered as operating bases for the KC-46A tanker, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News. Three bases will be selected initially by December, but 10 will eventually receive the Boeing-built planes, which replace the KC-135 tankers. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/02/12)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

1st non-test pilot F-35 certified

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The first non-test pilot of the F-35 in the armed services was approved Thursday after flying his sixth and final cadre checkout. Air Force Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron at the 33rd Fighter Wing, also earned certification as a flight instructor for the Joint Strike Fighter program. Kloos has been certified for the Air Force "A" variant. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/01/12)