Friday, August 31, 2012

Contract: DTS, $8M

DTS Aviation Services Inc. is being awarded an $8,015,039 contract modification for aircraft maintenance at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Location of performance is Columbus Air Force Base. Work is to be completed by Nov. 30, 2012. The contracting activity is 14 CON/LGC, Columbus Air Force Base. (Source: DoD, 08/31/12)

CV-22 crash blamed on crew

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Crew failure caused the CV-22 Osprey crash near Navarre that injured five airmen in June. An Air Force investigation cited no mechanical problems. The airmen, assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing, were injured when the aircraft went down June 13. The Osprey was flying in formation on a routine training mission over the Eglin reservation when it failed to keep clear of the leading aircraft’s wake, went into a roll, crashed and burned. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 08/30/12) Previous

Airbus gets big A320 order

China signed an agreement with Airbus for 50 A320 family aircraft, including 30 A320ceo and 20 A320neo aircraft. The deal between Airbus and ICBC Financial Leasing Co. is worth some $4 billion and came during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Beijing. "We decided to order more Airbus A320 Family aircraft … to enhance our portfolio in anticipation of increasing demand of the aviation markets in China, Asia Pacific region and the world as well," said Li Xiaopeng, Senior Executive Vice President of ICBC and Chairman of ICBC Leasing. Airbus and Chinese authorities also reached a $1.6 billion framework deal to extend an Airbus A320 assembly line at Tianjin near Beijing. (Sources: Reuters, Airbus, 08/30/12) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is also planning to build an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Orion chute tested again

NASA this week completed another test of the Orion spacecraft parachutes at the Yuma Army Proving Ground in southwestern Arizona. The test was to examine the maximum pressure that Orion's parachutes might face when returning to Earth. A C-130 dropped a dart-shaped test vehicle with a simulated Orion parachute compartment from 25,000 feet. Orion will be launched in 2017 by NASA's Space Launch System. (Source: NASA, 08/29/12) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., will test the engines for SLS; Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is building the Orion and will build the core stage of SLS.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tomassetti and the F-35

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Col. Arthur Tomassetti, vice commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, has been a part of the Joint Strike Fighter program since its inception. He knows about the industry's effort to create a plane that could perform short takeoffs and vertical landings while still being able to fly at speeds and be missile-capable. "Whatever you want to believe about the F-35 today, we finally built the STOVL airplane we've been trying to build for 60 years," he said. A feature story. (Source: Defense Professionals News, 08/30/12)

Gulfport airport reopens

GULFPORT, Miss. -- The first plane is expected to land at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport around 2 p.m. today as operations return to normal after Hurricane Isaac. Clay Williams, airport executive director, said the air traffic control tower has reopened and the runways are now open. (Source: Sun Herald, 08/30/12)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NAS Whiting to reopen Thursday

MILTON, Fla. -- With the threat posed by Hurricane Isaac ended, Naval Air Station Whiting Field will resume normal work hours beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday. NAS Whiting Field personnel should return to work at the normal work schedule. Active duty personnel, contractors, government civilians and other authorized persons assigned to tenant commands on the base should contact supervisors. (Source: NAS Whiting Field Public Affairs, 08/29/12) Whiting Field is one of the Navy’s two primary pilot training bases.

Contract: Harbert, $8.9M

B.L. Harbert International LLC, Birmingham, Ala., was awarded an $8,897,000 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for the construction of a Troop Medical Clinic at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work will be performed in Eglin with an estimated completion date of Aug. 29, 2014. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/29/12)

SSC remains closed

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA's Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi will remain closed through Thursday due to Hurricane Isaac. The center is currently planned to reopen Friday, Aug. 31, for normal business operations. Employees should call 228-688-3777 for updates on center status. (Source: NASA/SSC, 08/29/12)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $206.8M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Ft. Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $206,821,828 modification to a previously awarded cost-reimbursement contract. This modification provides for the System Development and Demonstration Phase I Increment 1, in support of F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) Air System for the Government of Israel under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This modification includes the development of the hardware and software for the Israel F-35A CTOL Air System from the initial requirements development to the Preliminary Design Review (PDR). In addition, the post PDR of hardware only, will continue through finalized requirements, layouts, and build to prints, including production planning data. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas (60 percent); Los Angeles, Calif. (20 percent); Nashua, N.H. (15 percent); and San Diego, Calif. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/28/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Contract: EADS-NA, $33.5M

EADS-NA, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $33,512,268 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the modification of an existing contract to procure Security and Support Mission Equipment Packages for the UH-72A Weapon System. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2014. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/28/12)

PAL places Airbus orders

Philippine Airlines has placed a firm order with Airbus covering 34 A321ceo, 10 A321neo and 10 A330-300s. The aircraft are being purchased under a fleet modernization program, with deliveries starting in 2013. To date, over 8,500 A320 family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,200 delivered to 365 customers and operators worldwide, according to Airbus. (Source: Airbus, 08/28/12) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala., at Brookley Aeroplex. The first customer of a plane from Mobile is already known. Previous Airbus post; previous post about Airbus purchases

Monday, August 27, 2012

SSC to close for Isaac

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA's Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi will close after normal business hours Monday due to the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac. The center plans to reopen Thursday for normal business operations. (Source: NASA/SSC, 08/27/12)

Eglin jets being moved

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Eglin pilots will move aircraft out of the local area ahead of Hurricane Isaac. Ten F-16's will be going to Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., and 9 F-15s will be headed to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N. C. The F-35 fighters will stay put because the fighters' hangars can withstand a Category 4 hurricane, according to the Air Force Times. Other military aircraft also have left or are also leaving the region. In a related matter, a building dedication that was scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled because of the weather threat. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 08/27/12)

Military aircraft flee Isaac

Military units in the Southeast are preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac, which may become a hurricane before it makes landfall along the Gulf Coast Tuesday. Aircraft from the 919th Special Operations Wing have relocated from Duke Field, Fla., to Fort Campbell, Ky.; the 325th Fighter Wing is sending its F-22 fighters from Tyndall Air Force base, Fla., to Sheppard Air Force Base, Kan.; the 403rd Wing is relocating its WC-130Js, including the Hurricane Hunters, from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., to Ellington Field, Texas. (Source: American Forces Press Service, 08/26/12) The Pensacola News Journal also reported planes from Naval Air Station Pensacola were being moved away from the region.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Eglin in Hurricane Condition 4

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Hurricane Condition Four has been declared at Eglin Air Force Base in Northwest Florida because of the possible threat posed by Tropical Storm Isaac. Condition Four means destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible by 1 p.m. Tuesday. The condition simply warns military and civilians at the base to monitor television or radio broadcasts for the National Hurricane Center's latest forecast. Nearby Hurlburt Field on Friday also declared Condition Four. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 08/24/12) Related

Engineers testing SLS

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Marshall Space Flight Center engineers and engineers at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are using wind tunnel tests to enhance NASA's Space Launch System. That's the heavy lift launch vehicle that will take astronauts into deep space aboard the Orion spacecraft. Engineers at MSFC's Trisonic Wind Tunnel have spent the past four months putting scale SLS models through more than 900 tests of different crew and cargo configurations. (Source: Science Daily, 08/23/12) Gulf Coast note: The SLS engines will be tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans builds the Orion and will build the core stage of SLS

Hotel on AF land OKd

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- A plan to build a hotel on Air Force property is inching forward. Okaloosa County approved a development order for Emerald Breeze Resort, a privately managed, $24 million dollar hotel to be built on Gulf front property owned by Eglin. Building permits will be withheld until a lease agreement is finalized between the Air Force and the manager of the Emerald Breeze Resort Group. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, WEAR-TV, 08/24/12) Previous

NAS keeps eye on Isaac

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Naval Air Station Pensacola officials are pondering the possibility of evacuating some assets, notably students and aircraft, if Tropical Storm Isaac threatens. Relocations would include up to 5,000 military students who would be evacuated to a Marine Corps base in Georgia. Some of the 100 or so planes at the base will be placed in hangars, but most will be flown to bases outside the threatened zone. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, WALA-TV, 08/23/12)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

FAA misses drone deadline

With the FAA under pressure to allow unmanned aerial vehicles in the national airspace, an advocacy group is complaining that the agency is behind schedule. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International wrote to the FAA that legislation passed earlier this year set a deadline of Aug. 12 to designate six test ranges where certification standards could be developed, but the deadline has passed. In May the FAA said it was making progress in its site selection process and expects to name the sites in December. (Source: AVWeb, 08/22/12) Gulf Coast note: The region is heavily involved in UAVs, including production and training, and efforts are under way to build an indoor unmanned systems center near Eglin Air Force Base. Previous: Test site selection starts; Drones in national airspace?; UAVs become college majors; Global Hawk gets airworthiness certificate

Building to be dedicated

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – There will be a building dedication Aug. 29 in memory of Tech Sgt. Daniel Douville, an airman assigned to the 96th Explosives Ordnance Disposal Flight. Douville was killed while on this third deployment June 26, 2011, from injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device on the border of the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Valor and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. (Source: 96th Test Wing Public Affairs, 08/23/12)

Marines ready to train

Marine pilots at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will soon begin training flights in F-35B jets. That's the variant of the plane that can take off and land vertically, according to unidentified sources cited by Reuters. Test pilots began preliminary orientation flights of the F-35B at the air base in May and have completed nearly 200 limited flights, none involving vertical landings. (Source: Reuters, 08/22/12) Previous

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recovery ship gets new home

A ship that for years has been a player in the space program will now serve the Merchant Marines. NASA signed an agreement with the Maritime Administration to transfer the recovery ship M/V Liberty Star to the National Defense Reserve Fleet. It will be used in training at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. The ship is best known for retrieving space shuttle boosters that splashed into the Atlantic, but in the past year was used to retrieve the Orion crew capsule being developed for NASA's Space Launch System. Liberty Star was a regular to the Gulf Coast. Shuttle external tanks built at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans were placed on barges and towed to Kennedy Space Center by Liberty Star and its sister ship, M/V Freedom Star. NASA is still working to identify a new use for Freedom Star. (Source: Space, NASA, 08/21/12) Previous item mentioning Freedom Star

Contract: Coastal Helicopter, $9M

Coastal Helicopter Inc., Panama City, Fla., is being awarded a $9,043,184 firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aircraft flight test support of programs such as the Advanced Littoral Reconnaissance Technologies, Office of Naval Research. Work will be done in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. (70 percent) and Panama City, Fla. (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by August 2017. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/22/12)

Contract: Raytheon, $81.8M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded $81,839,791 firm-fixed price contract for Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammers. Work is to be completed by Aug. 31, 2014. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBJM of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 08/22/12)

Group to hire base consultant

DOTHAN, Ala. -- Dothan will join other cities in southeast Alabama to pay for a consultant to protect Fort Rucker in a future base closure round. The city commission will spend $130,992 a year for three years. A spokesman for "Friends of Fort Rucker" said the idea is to take the offense on the next base closing round in order to capture additional missions. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the last one was in 2005, determines how to realign military resources. In the last round Fort Rucker was set to gain 2,000 jobs, but lost it at the last minute to Huntsville, Ala., and Redstone Arsenal. (Source: Dothan Eagle, 08/21/12) Fort Rucker is the primary training base for Army aviation.

AF begins using SBSS

The Air Force Space Command said it would begin operational use of a Boeing satellite built to monitor space debris. It's been nearly two years since the Space Based Surveillance Satellite was launched, and a problem with onboard electronics prevented its use until a fix  was made. The system is the only space-based sensor capable of monitoring debris without weather or atmospheric disruptions. (Source: Reuters, 08/20/12) Gulf Coast note: The 20th Space Control Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., tracks space debris with the world's most powerful radar.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Four AFSOC counties partner

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Two counties in Florida and two in New Mexico that host Air Force Special Operation Command bases officially joined as sister counties through a proclamation ceremony at 1st Special Operations Wing headquarters Aug. 15. Civic leaders from Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties in Florida and Curry and Roosevelt counties near Cannon Air Force Base, N. M., said the intent is to open lines of communication on key issues that affect the AFSOC communities. Topics that could be addressed included the preservation of ranges and means to help preserve the AFSOC mission. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs, 08/16/12)

A&D workforce study released

Aviation Week today released its 16th Annual Workforce Study, which analyzes current aerospace and defense workforce issues, trends and opportunities. Among other things, the study notes that A&D manufacturing has been the strong point of the American economy for the past four years, and this country is one of the hottest spots for off-shoring. The study says companies have landed new manufacturing facilities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The study is produced by Aviation Week in collaboration with the Aerospace Industries Association, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, NASA and National Defense Industrial Association. (Source: PRNewswire, 08/20/12)

Airbus and the workforce

The Mobile Press-Register poses the question, can a top-tier aerospace company co-exist with mid-wage companies in the same industry in the same area? That question came to the surface after giant Airbus said it was building an A320 assembly line in Mobile. The city is already home to a number of aerospace companies, and there's been some concern about whether those smaller companies will lose workers to Airbus. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 08/20/12)

Marine Aviation tower up

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The 30-foot tall Marine Aviation Memorial Tower is now standing at its new home at Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola, the cradle of naval aviation. The bell tower, funded by donations, was dedicated Sunday in a ceremony attended by about 400 people. The company that built it, the Verdin Co. of Cincinnati, hopes to build 100 similar towers and place them nationwide. (Sources: multiple, including WEAR-TV, 08/18/12, WALA-TV, 08/19/12, Pensacola News Journal, 08/18/12 and 08/19/12)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Land use to be discussed

The Tri-County Small Area Studies will be discussed at three public meetings in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties during the week. The study, a joint venture of three counties and Eglin Air Force Base commissioned in 2011, deals with encroachment issues affecting Northwest Florida's military bases. It's a supplement to the Eglin Joint Land Use Study, published in 2009, which noted that encroachment -- civilian development around bases -- remained a serious issue. The idea behind the study is to balance the needs of the military mission with civilian development. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 08/18/12)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Contract: EADS, $19.8M

EADS-NA, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,811,574 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for the modification of an existing contract to procure contractor logistic support for the UH-72A program. Work will be done in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/17/12)

Pilot flies 100th F-35 sortie

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron at the 33rd Fighter Wing, flew the 100th sortie of the F-35A variant at the base Thursday. The 90-miunute flight took Kloos over southern Alabama, Tyndall Air Force Base and Destin before he returned to Eglin about 10 a.m. He was accompanied on the flight by another F-35 piloted by Col. Andrew Toth. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 08/16/12) Eglin is home of the F-35 training center.

Refinancing OKd for parking

The State Bond Commission of Louisiana approved a request by officials of New Orleans International Airport to refinance existing bonds for additional parking. The panel approved the proposal to issue up to $40 million in bonds to refinance existing ones at a lower rate for an additional five years. The move will save airport officials about $500,000 a year in existing costs but tack another five years onto the life of the bonds, now set to mature in 2031. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 08/16/12)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

HVPW program moves forward

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Boeing Co. Defense, Space and Security segment in St. Louis will help the U.S. Air Force design a rocket-propelled bomb for the F-35 that can destroy enemy bunkers, tunnels and other deeply buried targets. Boeing won a $1.4 million contract earlier this month for concept development of the High Velocity Penetrating Weapon (HVPW) program to develop a 2,000-pound bomb with the punch of a 5,000-pound gravity bomb. Boeing joins a list of defense contractors working on the program, including Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md.; MBDA Missile Systems of Paris and Raytheon of Waltham, Mass. Boeing also is working on a separate bunker-busting munitions program called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. Previous on MOP (Source: Military and Aerospace Electronics, 08/16/12) Previous on HVPW

Indoor UAV center sparks interest

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Some companies have already said they want to lease space at a proposed indoor unmanned vehicle test center once it's built. Larry Sassano, president of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council, met with more than a dozen companies developing air and ground vehicles last week during the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International show in Las Vegas. The Autonomous Vehicle Center, a venture between the EDC and the University of Florida, will be 45,000 square feet and built at UF's Research and Engineering Education Facility. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 08/15/12) Previous

Airline swaps A380 for A320, 330

Hong Kong Airlines is canceling an order for 10 A380 aircraft and switching to the smaller A330 and A320 aircraft, according to Financial Times. That's because the airline canceled its all-business class service to London. Industry watchers were surprised when the relatively small carrier ordered the world's largest passenger jet. Now it's going back to focusing on short, regional routes. (Source: Financial Times, 08/15/12) Gulf Coast note: Mobile, Ala., will become the home of an Airbus A320 assembly line. Previous

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UT selling Goodrich assets soon

United Technologies will start taking bids soon on some Goodrich assets it has to sell as a condition of winning regulatory approval for its $16.5 billion takeover of Goodrich. UT closed its largest-ever acquisition last month, but has to sell assets like Goodrich's power generation and small-engine control units. Those assets could earn more than $500 million. The sale has attracted interest from rival aerospace companies. (Source: Reuters, 08/14/12) PreviousGulf Coast note: The Goodrich Alabama Service Center in Foley, is now part of UT Aerospace Systems; the former UT-owned Rocketdyne, which has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss., is being sold to GenCorp.

Range squadron changes command

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Lt. Col. Bruce Bunce assumed command of the 81st Range Control Squadron from Lt. Col. Ryan Frederick in an Aug. 10 ceremony. Bunce previously served as the deputy squadron commander, 960th Airborne Air Control Squadron; director of operations, 522nd Training Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Frederick will be assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 08/14/12)

First Mobile A320 customer known

What airline will be the first to get an A320 rolling off the assembly in Mobile, Ala.? According to Flightglobal, it will be Virgin America. The airline will take delivery of an A320neo from Mobile during the first quarter of 2016. The low-cost carrier will be the U.S. launch customer, and has 30 of the type on order. (Source: Flightglobal, 08/14/12) Airbus said in a July announcement that it's establishing a seven-building, 116-acre assembly line at Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex. It will be the first assembly line for Airbus in the United States. Airbus is part of EADS, which also has a helicopter manufacturing facility in Columbus, Miss.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eglin F-35 training accelerates

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Flight training on the F-35 continues to accelerate at the 33rd Fighter Wing. Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, commander of the wing’s 58th Fighter Squadron, said that in the first week of flying in March there were two flights scheduled. Now in August the plan is for sixteen F-35 sorties a week and in September it go up to 21. There are nine F-35As, nine U.S. F-35Bs and one UK F-35B at Eglin. (Source: Flightglobal, 08/13/12) Eglin is home of the F-35 training center. Luke Air Force Base has also been chosen as a training center.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Morpheus crashes in test

A small NASA lander being tested for missions to the moon and other destinations beyond Earth crashed and burned after veering off course during a trial run at the Kennedy Space Center last week. There were no injuries after the prototype, known as Morpheus, burst into flames near the runway formerly used by NASA's space shuttles. Designed and built by engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, it made several flights attached to a crane before the attempted free-flight. The engines appeared to ignite as planned, but a few seconds later Morpheus rolled over on its side and crashed. (Source: Reuters, 08/10/12) Gulf Coast note: The engine that powers the lander was tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Friday, August 10, 2012

325th preps for F-22

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In preparation for the arrival of a new operational F-22 Raptor squadron, Hangar 1 is undergoing renovations to support the new 325th mission. The 325th transition from Air Education and Training Command to Air Combat Command will require that the hangar be modified for the F-22. In the past, Hangar 1 was primarily used for the F-15C Eagle training squadron's mission, but will now be utilized for the 325th Maintenance Group in support of the 22 additional jets. The project is expected to be finished by the middle of September. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing, 08/09/12) Previous

NG readies for UAV refueling

Northrop Grumman has flown two Global Hawks in formation under its KQ-X program to develop the concept of air-to-air refueling for unmanned aerial systems. One aircraft in the exercise was equipped with a belly-mounted refueling system. The two aircraft did not make dry contacts or exchange fuel. Under a $33 million deal in 2010 with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Northrop agreed to demonstrate refueling with a pair of Global Hawks the company shares with NASA. (Source: Flightglobal, 08/09/12) Gulf Coast note: Unmanned systems, including Global Hawk, are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. Previous

325th changes commander

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Maj. Shawnn Martin assumed command of the 325th Maintenance Squadron during a change of command ceremony today. Martin was previously the commander of the 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. He is replacing Maj. Andre Lecours who is retiring. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing, 08/10/12)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guard pilot now an F-35 instructor

Spohn performs pre-flight check.
U.S. Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Florida Air National Guard Maj. Jay Spohn on Aug. 3 flew his final of six flights to become the first Guard pilot to qualify as an F-35A instructor pilot at the multi-service, multi-national Integrated Training Center. Spohn is assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing as the assistant director of operations for the 58th Fighter Squadron and the chief of standards and evaluation for the 33rd Operations Group. Spohn was selected in November of 2009 to be initial F-35A cadre and help pave the way by developing syllabus for flight training. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 08/09/12) Previous

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Contract: Sikorsky, $39.3M

Sikorsky Support Services Inc., Pensacola, Fla., is being awarded a $39,297,082 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, requirements contract for logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance to support 148 T-34, 54 T-44, and 178 T-6 aircraft based primarily at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; NAS Whiting Field, Fla.; and NAS Pensacola. Work will be done in Corpus Christi (50 percent), Whiting Field (39 percent), Pensacola (8 percent), and various sites within the continental United States (3 percent), including: NAS Lemoore, Calif.; NAS Oceana, Va.; Marine Corp Air Station Miramar, Calif.; Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; and NAS Fallon, Nev. Work is expected to be completed in December 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/08/12)

Company gets contract

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- The airport authority awarded the stormwater management system augmentation contract to Phoenix Construction of Lynn Haven. Phoenix submitted a bid of $3.219 million, lowest of five bids. The board and Phoenix spent two years fighting over who was responsible for problems at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport with sod, erosion, sand and filtration ponds during construction, and then a year more of litigation after the airport opened. Eventually, the two reached an agreement. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 08/07/12)

Mobile offers lesson

Mobile, Ala.'s successful recruitment of Airbus along with past efforts to attract foreign investments offers a playbook on how to create U.S. jobs. The United States is still the premier destination for international firms, but its lead is slipping. A decade ago it attracted more than 40 percent of global foreign investment, but today it’s 18 percent, according to the Organization for International Investment. OFII president Nancy McLernon said in an interview with the Mobile Press-Register that the Airbus deal is an example of how the U.S. can regain its competitive edge. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 08/08/12)

Bentley wants Airbus suppliers

MOBILE, Ala. -- Gov. Robert Bentley said courting Airbus suppliers is as important as winning the Airbus assembly line. "As important as bringing Airbus is," Bentley said in a phone interview with WPMI-TV, "the suppliers are just as important." Bentley said Florida and Mississippi are racing to grab companies that make up the jetliner's supply chain, and he has has been chatting with representatives since the Farnborough Airshow last month. (Source: WPMI-TV, 08/07/12) Previous

Contract: UTC, $9.5M

United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $9,557,346 modification to a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract. This modification is under the previously awarded low rate initial production Lot V modification contract. This modification is for two additional conventional take-off and landing engines; associated engineering assistance to production; a mock-up engine; slave modules for engine depot test cells; initial stand-up of a propulsion system repair capability at Hill Air Force Base; and additional contractor logistics support at Fort Worth, Texas, and Palmdale, Calif., production sites, and at Eglin, Yuma, Nellis, and Edwards Air Force bases. Work is expected to be completed in February 2014. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/07/12)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Airbus to double U.S. spending

WICHITA, Kan. -- European aerospace giant Airbus said it wants to double the $12 billion it spends with U.S. suppliers over the next 10 years. Airbus officials were at the Air Capital Supplier Summit Monday meeting with representatives from 114 companies. Airbus, which has an engineering center in Wichita, said it would hold a second summit somewhere in Kansas soon. The summit comes months after Airbus rival Boeing said it would close its Wichita plant. (Source: Wichita Eagle, 08/06/12) Gulf Coast note: Airbus announced last month that it would build a seven-building, 116-acre A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala., at Brookley Aeroplex. Airbus also has an engineering center in Mobile. Previous: Boeing leaving Wichita; Airbus eyes Washington suppliers

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $210M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $209,800,000 modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the manufacture and delivery of initial air vehicle spares in support of 32 F-35 low rate initial production Lot V air vehicles. Work will be performed in Texas, California, United Kingdom, Florida, New Hampshire and Maryland and is expected to be completed in June 2015. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 08/06/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Pemco deal halted

Vision Technologies Aerospace, the aerospace arm of Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd., halted its acquisition of Pemco's Tampa aerospace maintenance facility after some closing conditions could not be fulfilled by the seller before the closing deadline. ST Engineering is the parent company of Mobile's ST Aerospace in Mobile, Ala., and VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss.. ST Aerospace Mobile employs about 1,500 at Brookley Aeroplex, where it maintains and overhauls large airplanes. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 08/06/12) Previous

Friday, August 3, 2012

Boeing, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada win

NASA will provide $1.1 billion in contracts to Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada to develop spacecraft to ferry crews to and from the International Space Station. Boeing gets $460 million, SpaceX gets $440 million and Sierra Nevada will receive $212 million. The announcement was made Friday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The awards are part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development program, a potentially multibillion-dollar job of ferrying astronauts. While NASA works with industry partners to develop commercial spaceflight capabilities to low Earth orbit, it's also is developing the Orion crew vehicle and the Space Launch System for deep space exploration. (Sources: NASA, Los Angeles Times, BoeingSpaceX via PRNewswire, Sierra Nevada via PRNewswire, 08/03/12) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests rocket engines for NASA and commercial companies; Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans builds Orion and will build the core stage of the SLS.

Fuel farm gets USDA grant, loan

A $300,000 grant and $740,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be used by the Hancock County (Miss. ) Development Commission to buy an industrial site and build a fuel farm for a jet engine test facility, which Rolls Royce will lease at NASA's Stennis Space Center. The USDA program is designed to support job creation and strengthen economic growth in rural counties. Projects in 12 states are receiving money through Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, which provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which, in turn, provide funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. (Source: USDA, 08/02/12)

NCAM partnership renewed

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA and Louisiana leaders Thursday committed to a five-year extension of the partnership in the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which supports aerospace manufacturing research, development and innovation for the space agency. NCAM was formed in 1999 and includes NASA, NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility, the state of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans. This new agreement expands the partnership to include Louisiana State University, which has engineering and research capabilities that can assist NCAM in fulfilling the nation's aerospace technology needs. (Source: NASA via PRNewswire, 08/02/12)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Luke gets F-35 training center

Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., has been selected as an F-35 pilot training center, joining Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The base west of Phoenix was competing with bases in Tucson, Ariz., New Mexico and Idaho for the mission. Glendale officials said the base will get 72 F-35s to train U.S. and foreign pilots. Air Force officials said Luke was chosen because of facility and ramp capacity, range access, weather, as well as capacity for future growth. (Source: AP via Air Force Times, Arizona Republic, 08/01/12)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pensacola expects aero company

Reuters is reporting that Pensacola's mayor expects to announce a deal soon with an aerospace company to bring more than 300 jobs to Northwest Florida. The mayor declined to name the company, but said it involves an expansion of the company now operating in Mobile, Ala. The Mobile Press-Register reported in June that officials from Pensacola, some 60 miles to the east, went to Mobile to talk to ST Aerospace about a possible move of all or part of the 1,000-worker operation to Pensacola. Singapore-owned ST Aerospace, which repairs aircraft at Brookley Aeroplex, has operated for years in Mobile. (Source: Reuters, 08/01/12) Previous reports indicated the company is concerned about being able to keep workers once Airbus establishes its A320 assembly line at Brookley Aeroplex. Previous: Neighbor courts ST Aerospace, Ng: Just a meeting; Related: UPS leaves Mobile for Pensacola

Indoor UAV test site eyed

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – With the use of unmanned aerial vehicles expected to climb, Okaloosa County economic development leaders hope to develop an indoor UAV test site. The Economic Development Council is working to develop the 45,000-square-foot Autonomous Vehicle Center that will be used to test small unmanned air and ground vehicles. The $4.5 million Autonomous Vehicle Center will be built on the University of Florida's Research and Engineering Education Facility near Eglin Air Force Base. The vision is to have a diverse group use it, from high school students to private companies. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 07/31/12) The Gulf Coast region is heavily involved in UAVS. Fire Scout and Global Hawk UAVs are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; the military trains with UAVs at Stennis Space Center and Camp Shelby, Miss; the Coast Guard has developed a UAV training course in Mobile, Ala.; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is involved in navigation systems for micro unmanned systems.