Friday, November 30, 2012

F-35C hits weapons milestone

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The F-35 integrated test force aboard Naval Air Station Patuxent River completed a weapons ejection milestone for the F-35 carrier variant Wednesday. CF-2, the second F-35C test aircraft, ejected a 2,000-pound inert GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and a 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb from an internal weapons bay into a foam-covered concrete pit, completing the series of first-ever ground weapons ejections for the F-35C. The team also successfully ejected the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). Overall, the team completed eleven weapon releases, split between the left and right weapon bays, earlier than planned. (Source: NNS, 11/30/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 training center, that will train pilots and maintainers for the three F-35 variants. Previous related

Airport director leaving

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Melinda Crawford is leaving her post as director of Pensacola International Airport to take a similar job in Charlottesville, Va., according to the Pensacola News Journal. Named director in December 2009, Crawford will remain airport director in Pensacola until mid-February. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/30/12)

Contract: CCI, $10M

CCI Group LLC, Shalimar, Fla., is being awarded a $10,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for simplified acquisition of base engineering requirements-maintenance, repair and minor construction efforts. The location of the performance is Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2013. The contracting activity is AFTC/PZIO, Eglin Air Force Base. (Source: DoD, 11/30/12)

Contract: BAE Systems, $76.6M

BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $76,599,316 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for organizational, intermediate, depot level maintenance to support to support T-34 and T-44 aircraft. In addition this contract provides logistics support including labor, services, facilities, equipment, tools, related support equipment, and direct and indirect material to support 124 T-34, 55 T-44, 42 T-6A, and 141 T-6B aircraft based primarily at Naval Air Station (NAS) 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 U. S. (3 percent) including: NAS Lemoore, Calif.; Strike Fighter Weapons School, 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 September 2013. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/30/12)

Test stand contract awarded

NORWALK, Conn. -- EMCOR Group Inc., announced that its subsidiary, Harry Pepper and Associates, has been awarded a task order by NASA under a previously awarded contract. The task order is for restoration of the B-2 Rocket Test Stand at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss. Harry Pepper and Associates will be responsible for all repairs and alterations necessary to restore the original functionality of the B-2 test stand. Work includes demolishing one of the major levels/decks of the test stand, reconstructing it with stainless steel structural framing and deck plate, and restoring its various areas of fixed deck by replacing the carbon steel, galvanized grating, and structural steel. (Source: Business Wire, 11/28/12)

Museum opening space exhibit

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is opening a new space-themed exhibit to mark the 40th anniversary of the last walk on the moon. Former astronauts John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, James Lovell, Gene Krantz, Fred Haise, Eugene Cernan and more are all scheduled to attend the Dec. 15 opening of the exhibit, which will feature a full-scale replica of an Apollo Lunar Excursion Module. (Source:, link, 11/29/12)

UNO gets NASA grant

NEW ORLEANS -- The University of New Orleans is getting a three-year, $1.5 million grant from NASA to develop improvements to the nation's air traffic control system. The research is for the federal government project called "NextGen," a comprehensive overhaul of the air traffic system to increase capacity and safety. UNO researchers will be joined on the project by colleagues from LSU and Southern University. (Source: UNO, 11/29/12)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

X-47B launched by catapult

Preparing for first catpult launc of X-47B
Northrop Grumman photo
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- Northrop Grumman and the Navy conducted the Navy's first catapult launch of an unmanned system. The test of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator was conducted Thursday at a shore-based catapult facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. It marks the first of several shore-based catapult-to-flight tests that will be performed before the Navy's UCAS Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program catapult launches the X-47B from a ship. Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the UCAS-D program. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 11/29/12) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of two other UAVs, Global Hawk and Fire Scout, in Moss Point, Miss. Previous

NASA evaluating Orion cracks

NASA is evaluating options to repairing the first Orion crew capsule set to fly in space after it developed cracks during pressure tests at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The test was designed to demonstrate weld strength and structural performance at maximum flight operation pressures. The damage is not expected to delay a 2014 test flight, where the capsule without a crew will be launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV to a distance 3,600 miles above the Earth. Orion is being developed to fly astronauts on deep space exploration missions. (Source: Florida Today, 11/28/12) The olive green aluminum alloy core of the Orion was built at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Bentley touts workforce

HAMBURG, Germany -- In a speech at the Aviation Forum 2012, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley touted the state's workforce and training programs as benefits for suppliers. Bentley is in Germany this week with a delegation of economic developers and elected officials trying to lure business related to Airbus' planned $600 million A320 assembly plant in Mobile. He said suppliers can benefit from the same positive business climate that helped attract Airbus. (Source:, link, 11/28/12)

Airline may be sued

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Northwest Florida Regional Airport officials say they've tried to work with Vision Airlines to settle its debt, but that may change soon. Vision owes the airport $146,973, and is no longer communicating. Okaloosa County Airports Director Greg Donovan plans to ask the county commission at its second meeting in December for permission to send the airline a notice that legal action will be filed if it doesn’t repay the debt. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/28/12) The airline no longer serves the airport.

Groundbreaking scheduled

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal will host a ground breaking ceremony at 9 a.m. Dec. 5 for the future site of the Ground Ordnance Division and Tools and Methods Division's building. The hour-long ceremony will take place directly behind the Kauffman Training Complex, Building 8840, Range Road, Niceville, Fla. (Source: NAVSCOLEOD public affairs, 11/29/12)

Keesler finalist for award

The Pentagon has selected Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., as one of two top finalists in the U.S. Air Force for the Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award. Keesler, in Biloxi, will compete against McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., for the award. The final selection board will visit both bases in January. The winner will receive a $1 million award to invest in a quality-of-life element of the base. (Source: Sun Herald, 11/28/12)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Contract: Sikorsky, $12.5M

Sikorsky Support Services Inc., Pensacola, Fla., is being awarded a $12,522,539 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, requirements contract for additional logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance to support 179 T-34, 54 T-44 and 192 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 (3 percent) including NAS Lemoore, Calif.; NAS Patuxent River, Md.; 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 January 2013. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/28/12)

Alabama pushes for suppliers

A contingent led by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has met with nine companies in Germany about a possible move to the state, Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said from Hamburg. That's according to The group is at the Aviation Forum, a supplier conference that has drawn more than 300 people representing about 150 companies. Alabama economic developers and elected officials are working to lure suppliers tied to Airbus' planned $600 million A320 assembly line at Brookley Aeroplex, which will begin producing planes in 2015. (Source:, link, 11/27/12)

J-2X test conducted

J-2X test at Stennis Space Center, Miss.
NASA/SSC photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- A J-2X power pack assembly had a hot fire test Nov. 27 at NASA's Stennis Space Center. Engineers pulled the assembly from the test stand in September to install additional instrumentation in the fuel turbopump. The test, which ran for 278 seconds, verified the newly installed strain gauges designed to measure the turbine structural strain when the turbopump is spinning at high speeds that vary between 25,000 and 30,000 rotations-per-minute. The J-2X engine, built by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif., will power the upper stage of NASA's Space Launch System, managed at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The new heavy-lift rocket system will launch the Orion spacecraft and enable humans to explore new destinations beyond low Earth orbit. (Source: NASA/SSC, 11/27/12)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

X-47B makes history on carrier

X-47B hoisted aboard USS Harry S. Truman
Navy photo
NORFOLK, Va. -- The Navy hoisted an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator on board aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Monday in preparation for the unmanned aircraft's first carrier-based testing. The X-47B, built by Northrop Grumman, has a wingspan of more than 62 feet, wider than an F/A-18 Super Hornet. It will undergo a variety of tests and will be controlled remotely via a hand-held unit. Truman will be the first modern aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. Capt. Jaime Engdahl, N-UCAS program manager, said the X-47B's delivery aboard Truman was among the most historic moments in the program's history. "The moment the aircraft set down on Truman's deck was the moment it officially met the fleet," said Engdahl. The test will be conducted over three weeks and will include in-port and underway demonstrations. (Source: NNS, 11/27/12) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of two other UAVs, Global Hawk and Fire Scout, in Moss Point, Miss.

Test complex has busy week

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- The E Test Complex at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center was busy the week of Nov. 5. Twenty seven tests were conducted over three days on three different rocket engines/components and on three E Complex test stands. These included tests on the three stands during a 24-hour period Nov. 6-7 and during a nine-hour-plus period on Nov. 8. Test managers characterized the convergence of tests as historic. (Source: Lagniappe, November issue)

Contract: Boeing, $178.6M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $178,575,114 cost-plus-incentive fee contract for Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase 1 of the B61-12 Tailkit Assembly. This contract also includes a priced option for (EMD) Phase 2 and price goals for the production phase. The location of the performance is St. Louis, Mo. Work is expected to be completed by October 2015. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBBC, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 11/27/12)

Monday, November 26, 2012

UAV site contest shelved

The Federal Aviation Administration has indefinitely shelved competition to select six test sites to assess whether unmanned aerial vehicles can be integrated into manned airspace. The agency was to have named the six sites by next month, but missed a July deadline for requesting applications. Now the FAA says it needs to delay the competition because it needs to first address privacy concerns raised by the use of drone aircraft in the nation's airspace. The goal of the test sites is to determine whether UAVs can safely be operated alongside manned aircraft by 2015. (Source: Defense Communities, 11/26/12) Gulf Coast note: The region is involved in UAV activities.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

UK pilots begin training

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Last week, the first two United Kingdom pilots started training with the F-35. Royal Air Force squadron leader Franki Buchler and Royal Navy Lt. Cdr. Ian Tidball have joined the U.S. Marines Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which is conducting initial training and instruction on the F-35B at Eglin Air Force Base. The U.K. pilots will take academic courses for about six weeks before they go on their first flights. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/23/12)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

QF-16 drone arrives

QF-16 arrives. Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group marked an important milestone with the Monday arrival of the first QF-16 drone for developmental testing. It will enable the Air Force to transition from a 3rd generation, Vietnam-era aerial target performance to 4th generation threat replication, said Lt. Col. Lance Wilkins, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron commander. The QF-16 is a supersonic reusable full-scale aerial target drone modified from an F-16 Fighting Falcon. At this time, the 53rd WEG uses QF-4s, made from 1960s F-4 Phantom, to conduct their full-scale aerial target missions. The targets allow the Air Force and allied nations to have a realistic understanding of what they could face on the battlefield. Boeing Global Services and Support will conduct testing on the QF-16. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 11/20/12)

F-22s back to normal ops

F-22 takes to the skies Monday.
U.S. Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- The 325th Fighter Wing resumed normal flight operations with the wing commander, Col. David Graff, flying one of the first F-22 Raptor missions Monday. The colonel stood the wing flying operations down following last week's F-22 crash at Tyndall. The pilot ejected safely and nobody was injured on the ground. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 11/19/12) Previous

Op F-35 squadron forms

The first operational squadron of F-35s began forming this week at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., with the redesignation of a Hornet F/A-18 squadron as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121. The squadron has received two F-35Bs, which can take off and land like a helicopter, and 14 more will arrive over the next year. (Source: Defense Communities, 11/21/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center. It will train pilots and maintainers on all three F-35 variants.

Resource for suppliers

MOBILE, Ala. -- Suppliers interested in working with Airbus now have a tool at their disposal. The company's website has a tab "Airbus for Suppliers," which allows companies to register to become a supplier, either for the company's global operations or specifically for the $600 million assembly facility that will be built in Mobile, Ala., at Brookley Aeroplex. (Source: Mobile Press Register, 11/20/12)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Report: EADS accord near

France and Germany are discussing a compromise in the ownership split of Airbus parent EADS. According to Reuters, each country would hold around 12 percent of the aircraft maker, people familiar with the matter said. Spain would retain 5.5 percent. Problems in the complex ownership structure came to light during the failed attempt to merge EADS and the UK's BAE Systems, a $45 billion merger that would have created the world's largest aerospace and defense conglomerate. (Source: Reuters, 11/20/12) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building a $600 million A320 assembly line at Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala., that will employ about 1,000 people.

Fort Rucker's solar array

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A photovoltaic array being installed at Fort Rucker is expected to save the Army thousands and help the installation take a step toward achieving net zero status. The 51-kilowatt array is connected to Alabama Power's electrical grid, so any energy that is generated at Hatch Stage Field that isn't used can be fed back to the grid. (Source: Army, 11/15/12) Fort Rucker is the primary flight training base for Army aviation. It's near Dothan, Ala.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Contract: Raytheon, $6.4M

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $6,417,221 cost-plus fixed-fee contract to provide flight support for the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missile. The location of the performance is Tucson, Ariz. Work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2013. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBAD, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 11/19/12)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Architect for facility picked

MOBILE, Ala. -- Watermark Design Group of Mobile will design the first structure associated with Airbus' planned $600 million assembly plant at Brookley Aeroplex. The 35,000-square-foot training facility for the Alabama Industrial Development Training program will house labs and classrooms to train potential Airbus employees. The assembly line, announced in July, will employ 1,000. The first plane will be delivered in 2016. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/14/12)

Hallett announces retirement

MOBILE, Ala. -- Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce President Win Hallett announced his retirement during the annual board of directors meeting Friday. Hallett, who has been president since 1991, will retire sometime in 2013 when a successor is on board. The chamber is the lead industry recruiter for the Mobile area, and has played a prominent role in a string of Mobile job recruitment wins, most notably the recent decision of Airbus to build an A320 assembly plant at Brookley Aeroplex. "It has been an exhilarating ride. I have had the opportunity to travel literally all over the world meeting people and making friends in pursuit of having them come to Mobile and invest in our area to create jobs,” he said in a chamber release. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, 11/16/12) Press release

Holiday Inn to go on AF beach

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- A $25 million hotel to be built on Eglin Air Force Base property on Okaloosa Island will be a Holiday Inn. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians are partnering with Innfree on the project. A groundbreaking for the 152-room Holiday Inn Resort, Destin West, was held Friday. For years after the announcement that a hotel would be built on 17 acres at Eglin's A-5 test site was referred to as the Emerald Breeze Resort. The hotel will have two towers, and the Air Force will have radar stations on the roofs of the buildings. The Air Force will collect rent from the developers. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/15/12) Release

L-3 Crestview Aerospace expanding

CRESTVIEW, Fla. -- L-3 Crestview Aerospace has announced its intention to expand the company's aircraft manufacturing operations in Okaloosa County. L-3 CA is investing more than $7 million in facilities upgrades, including the retrofit of hangar space, at the Bob Sikes airport. As part of the expansion, L-3 CA has increased its workforce at the Crestview facility by 158 full-time equivalent jobs in Florida. The company conducted six recruiting activities between June 2011 and October 2012. (Source: L-3 CA, 11/13/12)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Contract: Raytheon, $18.4M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems Division, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded an $18,391,146 contract modification for the high-speed, anti-radiation Missile Targeting System R7 contractor logistics support services. The location of the performance is Tucson, Ariz. Work is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2013. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBAK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 11/15/12)

F-22 crashes; no injuries

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- An F-22 on a routine training mission crashed inside the perimeter of the base Thursday around 3:30 p.m., but the pilot safely ejected. The pilot had an unspecified problem about five miles southeast of Tyndall while returning to base. F-22 fighters were grounded for five months last year after some pilots complained of dizziness. The Air Force blamed a shortage of oxygen related to the vest. Col. David Graff, commander of the 325th Fighter Wing said there is nothing to indicate the crash is related to that issue, according to the Panama City News Herald. (Sources: multiple, including Panama City News Herald, Reuters, 11/15/12)

Tyndall command changes

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Col. David Graff, previous 325th Fighter Wing vice commander, took command of the 325th Fighter Wing from Brig. Gen. John K. McMullen in a change of command ceremony Wednesday. McMullen will head for Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to become Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Headquarters Allied Air Command. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing, 11/14/12)

Money OKd for road work

MOBILE, Ala. -- Some $12 million could be spent to repave or restore roads near Brookley Aeroplex in preparation for the 2015 beginning of Airbus' Mobile operations. The City Council approved an engineering portion on one of those contracts Tuesday: $105,000 with Geotechnical Engineering-Testing Inc., for soil and concrete testing along the deteriorated Broad Street between 15th Street and Interstate 10. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/14/12) Airbus plans to build a $600 million assembly line for the A320 family of passenger jets.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

EADS NA gets Lakota option

The U.S. Army awarded EADS North America a $181.8 million contract option for 34 more UH-72A Lakota helicopters, bringing the total aircraft ordered to 312. Army plans call for buying 347 Lakotas through 2016. EADS North America has delivered 243 Lakotas from its American Eurocopter plant in Columbus, Miss., where up to five per month are produced. (Source: EADS North America, 11/14/12) Gulf Coast note: American Eurocopter is part of EADS North America, the U.S. subsidiary of EADS. Another EADS company, Airbus Americas, plans to build a $600 million A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

F-35 eval completed

F-35 piloted by Lt. Co. Brian O'Neill
Air Force photo by Maj. Karen Roganov
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The last of 24 sorties of the Operational Utility Evaluation of the F-35A was completed Wednesday afternoon, a major step to opening the F-35 training pipeline. Eglin officials said Lt. Col. Brian O'Neill, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron director of operations and a "student" in the OUE at Eglin, was at the controls. The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Kirkland Air Force Base, N.M., will certify the OUE is complete in the near future. Air Force officials started the F-35A OUE Sept. 10. In the evaluation, data is collected from all facets of F-35 training, including maintenance, classroom, simulator and flights as a precursor for the Air Force to train other services and allies. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, 11/14/12) Previous

Sassano reflects on future

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – Larry Sassano, long-time head of Okaloosa County economic development who will head up the 16-county Florida's Great Northwest, reflected on the future in an interview with the Northwest Florida Daily News. Sassano said his first duties with Florida's Great Northwest will be to meet with representatives from the 16 counties and their economic development groups to determine the best way for them to work together. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/13/12)

Monday, November 12, 2012

McMullen takes fini flight

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Brig. Gen. John K. McMullen, 325th Fighter Wing commander, took his final flight at Tyndall in an F-22 Raptor Nov. 9. The final sortie, called a 'fini flight,' marks the end of a pilot's flying time at a unit. McMullen will permanently change stations to Ramstein Air Base, Germany at the end of this month. Command will be relinquished to Col. David Graff, current 325th FW vice commander, during a change of command ceremony Wednesday. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 11/09/12)

More F-35 certifications expected

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The F-35 training program took a big step forward last week when Maj. Joseph Scholtz became the first outside pilot to fully complete his training. Three more pilots are expected to be fully certified by Tuesday. Scholtz is one of two operational evaluators who have been assessing the training system. Reports will be provided to the Air Education and Training Command. If approved, training will begin in earnest at Eglin in January. (Source: Defense News, 11/12/12)

Incoming LM CEO resigns

The incoming chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, Christopher E. Kubasik, resigned Friday at the request of the company board of directors for having an affair with a subordinate. Kubasik, 51, who was to become chief executive officer in January, is being replaced by Marillyn Hewson, 58. (Sources: multiple, including Wall Street Journal, 11/09/12, Bloomberg, Panama City News Herald, 11/11/12) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin has operations throughout the Gulf Coast region, including Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and Stennis Space Center, Miss. The company builds the F-35 and F-22 fighters that are based at Eglin Air Force Base and Tyndall, both in Northwest Florida.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Airbus spillover discussed

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Airbus assembly line in Mobile will have an impact across Alabama and the Southeast through new suppliers, new jobs and new business for the state's existing industrial base. That’s according to Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas Inc., who was keynote speaker Friday at a Birmingham Business Alliance luncheon. McArtor said Birmingham is well within the supply-chain radius for the plant. Airbus will build a $600 million, 1,000-job aircraft assembly plant in Mobile that will produce the A320 family of jets. McArtor also said there's potential for Airbus to collaborate with Alabama's universities. (Sources:, link, Birmingham Business Journal, 11/09/10)

Camp Shelby and UAVs

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- This huge training center south of Hattiesburg has become a key center for training with unmanned aerial systems, thanks, in part, to the fact that the base controls its own air space. National Guard, reserve and active duty soldiers come to the flight center, which opened in the spring, for training with small unmanned systems like Puma, Raven and Shadow, before returning to their units to perform their missions. (Source: Hattiesburg American, 11/10/12) Camp Shelby Joint Training Center is 137,000 acres and has about 3,000 personnel. It's the nation's largest state-owned mobilization center. Previous

Friday, November 9, 2012

Contract: Raytheon, $12.3M

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $12,278,400 contract modification for the delivery of modified control sections for the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (AGM-88). The location of the performance is Tucson, Ariz. Work is expected to be completed by Sep. 9, 2014. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBAS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 11/09/12)

First ad for Mobile Airbus job posted

MOBILE, Ala. -- Airbus posted its first ad for a job at the plant it will build at Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex. It's for a director of human resources. The $600 million plant will eventually employ 1,000 people at full production. Construction will begin in summer 2013, with aircraft assembly is planned to start in 2015. The first delivery will be in 2016. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/08/12)

Report: Boeing outselling Airbus

Boeing reported it has secured more than 1,000 net new orders so far this year, putting it on course to sell more aircraft than rival Airbus for the first time since 2006. Boeing recorded 1,009 net orders through Nov. 6, the planemaker said on its website, driven by demand for 737 narrow-body jets. Boeing sales are running at more than double those of Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (Source: Reuters, 11/09/12) Gulf Coast note: Airbus will assemble the A320 family of aircraft in Mobile, Ala., beginning in 2016.

A320neo to highlight China show

Airbus will show off the A380 and its best selling single aisle aircraft the A320neo at the 9th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition. The Zhuhai Airshow is Nov. 13-18 in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai. A 1:20 scale cutaway A380 model and a 1:20 scale A320neo model will be displayed at the EADS stand. It's the first time for Airbus to showcase an A320neo model in China. The A320neo is a new engine option for the A320 family, which will enter into service in 2015. The A320neo incorporates latest generation engines and large "sharklet" wing tip devices, which together will deliver 15 percent in fuel savings. (Source: Airbus, 11/06/12) Gulf Coast note: Airbus will assemble the A320 family of aircraft in Mobile, Ala., beginning in 2016.

Boeing restructuring

Boeing is restructuring its defense, space and security businesses with plans to reduce management positions 30 percent and close and consolidate several facilities in California. It's an effort to cut $1.6 billion in costs by the end of 2015 and stay competitive. The company says the change is not directly related to sequestration or the presidential election. (Source: Reuters, 11/07/12) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has operations along the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Triton production begins

MOSS POINT, Miss. -- Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Center next week begins production of the Triton unmanned system, a variant of the Global Hawk being built for the Navy for maritime surveillance. The 101,000 square-foot plant will work on the central fuselage of the first three of what will eventually be 68 Navy Tritons. (Source: Sun Herald, 11/06/12) The MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance aircraft has a different sensor payload than the Air Force, German or NASA versions of the Global Hawk. The Moss Point plant does central fuselages work for all variants of the Global Hawk. It also does finishing work on the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. Previous: Australia eyes TritonGlobal Hawk Triton unveiled.

F-35 marks 500th sortie

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The F-35 surpassed its 500th sortie 16 days after reaching the 400 mark and only 238 days from the beginning of the program. Maj. Matthew Johnston of the 58th Fighter Squadron completed the 500th combined sortie for both the F-35A and F-35B at the 33rd Fighter Wing Nov. 2. The wing started flight operations March 6. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 11/06/12)

F-35 early performance praised

Initial feedback about the F-35 from Air Force pilots and maintainers at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., indicate it performs better than its predecessors did at a similar stage of development. The F-35 is proving to be relatively stable from a maintenance standpoint, said Col Andrew Toth, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing. In the air there are "very limited" issues. The aircraft's hardware, software and Pratt & Whitney F135 engine all perform well, he said. (Source: Flightglobal, 11/06/12)

Memorial service held

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A memorial service was held Monday on Eglin's flightline for Maj. Garrett Knowlan. He died Oct. 11 while participating in Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The memorial service brought family, friends and co-workers together to say their final good-byes. At the time of his death, Knowlan was serving as the executive officer for Brig. Gen. David Harris, the 96th Test Wing commander. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 11/06/12)

Sassano moving to FGNW

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Larry Sassano has resigned as head of Okaloosa County's economic development group to take the top spot at Florida's Great Northwest. His last day with the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County is Nov. 30. He joins Florida’s Great Northwest Dec. 1. Kay Rasmussen, vice president of community and economic development for the Okaloosa County EDC, was named interim director of the organization. Florida's Great Northwest was founded in 2000 to market the 16-county Northwest Florida region. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 11/05/12)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Contract: L-3 Vertex, $28.4M

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace L.L.C., Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $28,363,341 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract to exercise an option for organizational, selected intermediate and limited depot level maintenance for F-16, F-18, H-60 and E-2C aircraft operated by the adversary squadrons based at Naval Air Station, Fallon, Nev. Work will be performed in Fallon, Nev., and is expected to be completed in October 2013. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/05/12)

Blue Angels change commanders

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Capt. Greg McWherter, who has led the Blue Angels for the past four years, turned over command during a ceremony Sunday, the day after their final show of the season. The new leader is Cmdr. Tom Frosch, who's been in the Navy for 20 years. The team is based at Naval Air Station Pensacola. (Source: WALA-TV, 11/04/12)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NASA at Wal-Mart

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- John C. Stennis Space Center is holding an event on space travel and the center's role in space at the Picayune Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Activities include learning about how people live and work in space, hands-on educational activities and facts about the International Space Station. More than 5,000 people are employed at SSC, which has a $682 million in economic impact. (Source: Picayune Item, 11/03/12)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Contract: Raytheon, $18.3M

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded an $18,306,962 cost plus incentive fee and firm fixed price contract for integration and weapon verification support. The location of the performance is Tucson, Ariz. Work is expected to be completed by December 2016. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The contract involves foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia. (Source: DoD, 11/01/12)

State land to be used to train

The Air Force will be able to conduct training exercises on state forest lands in Northwest Florida. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service signed an agreement late last month that allows the Air Force to use some areas in the Blackwater River State Forest and Tate's Hell State Forest near Apalachicola. Air space has been used for years, but this is the first time the military can use the state forest. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/31/12)