Monday, December 31, 2012

Contract: MacAulay-Brown, $30.9M

MacAulay-Brown Inc., Dayton, Ohio, is being awarded a $30,913,181 contract modification that exercises the first option year of the original contract. The option modification provides the same intelligence services to process, exploit and disseminate support services for Headquarters, Air Force Special Operations Command. The location of the performance is Hurlburt Field, Fla. Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 15, 2014. The contracting activity is AFSOC/A7KQ, Hulburt Field. (Source: DoD, 12/31/12)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The year in review

No doubt the headline-grabber for the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor in 2012 was the decision of Europe's Airbus to build a $600 million A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala. It will forever change the face of the already considerable aerospace activity in this region. But there were other significant aerospace stories for the region, including major steps in development of NASA's Space Launch System, progress in establishing the F-35 training center, an uptick in unmanned systems activities and corporate moves that over the long-run will have an impact on the region. (Source: Gulf Coast Perspectives, 12/29/12)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Contracts: Lockheed Martin, $5B

Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded five contracts related to the F-35 with a total value of some $5 billion. The first is a not-to-exceed $3,677,916,910 undefinitized modification to the previously awarded low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract for the procurement of 18 conventional take-off and landing aircraft for the Air Force; six short take-off vertical landing aircraft for the Marine Corps; and seven carrier variant aircraft for the Navy. The modification provides for all associated ancillary mission equipment. Work will be completed in February 2015. The second is a not-to-exceed $753,420,000 undefinitized modification to the previously awarded F-35 low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract to provide non-recurring sustainment and logistics support for delivered and projected air systems. This modification includes site stand-up and depot activation activities and the procurement of Autonomic Logistics Information System hardware and software; training systems; support equipment and spares. Work will be completed December 2015. The third is a not-to-exceed $374,495,232 undefinitized modification to the previously awarded low rate initial production lot 6 advance acquisition contract the manufacture and delivery of initial air vehicle spares in support of 60 low rate initial production lot VI and VII air vehicles (37 Air Force conventional; 12 Marine Corps short take-off aircraft; and 11 Navy carrier variants. Work will be completed November 2015. The fourth is a $48,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to perform engineering, programmatic, and logistics tasks supporting investigations or studies to determine the feasibility, practicality, desirability, or supportability of various F-35 air systems. Work will be completed December 2015. The fifth is a not-to-exceed $17,106,385 undefinitized modification to the previously awarded low rate initial production lot 5 contract. This modification provides for the manufacture and delivery of initial air vehicle spares in support of LRIP lot 5 air vehicles for the Air Force. Work will be completed in November 2015. Work on all five contracts will be done in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland and the United Kingdom. The Naval Air Systems Comman, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/28/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Contract: Bell-Boeing, $1.4B

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $1,405,744,559 modification to the previously awarded V-22 lot 17 advance acquisition contract for 17 fiscal 2013 MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft for the Marine Corps and four fiscal 2013 CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft for the Air Force. In addition, this modification provides funding for long lead components required for the manufacture and delivery of 19 fiscal 2014 lot 18 MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft for the Marine Corps and three fiscal 2014 lot 18 CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft for the Air Force. Work will be performed in a wide range of locations and is expected to be completed in September 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/28/12) Gulf Coast note: Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla., uses CV-22 tiltrotors.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New exec has F-35 background

PASCAGOULA, Miss. -- A retired rear admiral and former Lockheed Martin F-35 executive has been appointed executive vice president of shipbuilder VT Halter Marine. John J. Prendergast III, who spent more than 30 years in the Navy, will be responsible for a range of activities, including government contracts. After retiring from the Navy, Prendergast was named director of sustainment business operations for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter with Lockheed Martin. VT Halter Marine, with operations in Pascagoula and Moss Point, designs, builds and repairs a variety of ocean vessels. (Source: Mississippi Press, 12/26/12)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Contract: Composites Eng, $32.8M

Composite Engineering Inc., Sacramento, Calif., modification number P00007 is being awarded a $32,834,295 contract modification for the Lot 9 Sustainment and Lot 10 Production in support of the Air Force sub-scale aerial target program. The location of the performance is Sacramento, Calif. Work is expected to be completed by Apr. 30, 2014. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBYA, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 12/26/12)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

S. Korea buying Global Hawks

The Defense Department has proposed selling South Korea four Global Hawk surveillance drones in an order valued at $1.2 billion. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said it notified Congress of the proposed sale, which includes infrared and electro-optical sensors, imagery analysis systems and moving target indicators on board the Block 30 Global Hawks. The sale would be the first order in the Asia-Pacific region. Australia has expressed interest in buying the aircraft but has yet to place an order. (Source: Bloomberg, 12/24/12) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Work to begin on SLS core

NEW ORLEANS -- Construction is set to begin at Michoud Assembly Facility on the major components of NASA’s Space Launch System, which will transport astronauts to deep space. The work is expected to bring hundreds of high-paying jobs to the Michoud when construction reaches its peak, starting next year and leveling off in 2015. The rocket's core stage will be built at Michoud, and the engines that will power the vehicle will be test-fired at Stennis Space Center, Miss. In Huntsville, Ala., a technical review of the core stage, called a preliminary design review, was successfully completed at Marshall Space Flight Center Thursday. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, NASA, 12/21/12)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Contract: Boeing, $118M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $118,049,122 firm-fixed-price contract to procure Lot 17 Guided Vehicle kits for the Joint Direct Attack Munition weapon system. The location of the performance is St. Charles, Mo. Work is expected to be completed by March 31, 2015. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 12/21/12)

Orion backup chute tested

NASA completed the latest in a series of parachute tests for its Orion spacecraft Thursday at the Army Yuma Proving Ground in southwestern Arizona, a step toward a first flight test in 2014. The test verified Orion can land safely even if one of its two drogue parachutes does not open during descent. Orion, which will take humans further into space than ever before, uses five parachutes. The 21,000-pound capsule needs only two main parachutes and one drogue. The extra two provide a backup in case one of the primary parachutes fails. The next Orion parachute test is scheduled for February and will simulate a failure of one of the three main parachutes. (Source: NASA, 12/20/12) Gulf Coast note: The Orion capsules are built in New Orleans; Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests the rocket engines for the Space Launch System.

OFP awarded for test program

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force was recently recognized with the Ferguson Award for Engineering for developing F-15 aircraft modernization system, Suite 7E. Suite 7E included software for the newly developed F-15 missile capability, the AIM 120D. The system has been approved by Air Combat Command to be operational on all 219 F-15s nationwide. The F-15 OFP CTF at Eglin is part of the 53rd Test Management Group and 46th Operations Group and is responsible for testing F-15 software upgrades to enhance air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. With the continued development of the F-22 and F-35, the plan is for the F-15 to be around for a while. OFP CTF is the first organization from Eglin to win the award since its inception in 2003. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 12/20/12)

GE buying Avio aerospace

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- GE has agreed to purchase the aviation business of Avio S.p.A., an Italy-based manufacturer of aviation propulsion components and systems for civil and military aircraft, for $4.3 billion. GE will acquire Avio's aviation business from Cinven, a European private equity firm that has owned Avio since 2006, and Finmeccanica, the Italian aerospace group. The transaction is subject to regulatory and governmental approvals. GE will not be purchasing Avio's space unit. (Source: Business Wire, 12/21/12) Gulf Coast note: GE Aviation is building an aircraft parts plant near Hattiesburg, Miss.; Finmeccanica owns Selex Galileo in Kiln, Miss.

County OKs incentives

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile County Commission approved contributing $24,000 toward a compensation package to bring Airbus supplier Labinal Engineering Inc. to Mobile. The contribution is part of $106,000 in incentives made to the engineering company by the city, county and state in recent weeks. Labinal is a subsidiary of Safran Engineering Services of France. The company plans to build a $2 million engineering center at Brookley Aeroplex. Airbus is building an A320 assembly line in the city. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/20/12)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SSC deputy director named

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Jerry Cook has been selected as the deputy director of NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, the agency's primary testing ground for rocket engines and propulsion systems, and its systems engineering center for applied science activities. Cook served as the associate program manager of the Space Launch System (SLS) Program Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. He has served in a dual role as manager of the SLS Program Planning and Control Office. (Source: NASA/SSC, 12/20/12)

Contracts: Northrop, $52.5M

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of San Diego, Calif., was awarded two contracts related to the MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing unmanned system. One was a $19,166,627 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for logistics services, and the other a $33,270,000 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the development, production, integration, and testing of nine radar systems. Work on both contracts will be done in San Diego, Calif., and Patuxent River, Md., with the first expected to be completed in November 2013 and the second in June 2014. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/20/12) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lockheed Martin marks 100 years

BETHESDA, Md. -- Lockheed Martin is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Lockheed Company, incorporated Dec. 19, 1912, in San Francisco, Calif. Brothers Allan and Malcolm Lockheed founded the company out of a garage, where they built their Model G seaplane. Their second plane, the F-1 Flying Boat, earned the company its first military contract. In 1995, Lockheed merged with Martin Marietta, also founded in 1912 as the Glenn L. Martin Co., to form Lockheed Martin. The Martin anniversary was celebrated in August. Lockheed Martin employs about 120,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. It had net sales in 2011 of $46.5 billion. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 12/19/12) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin has operations in the Gulf Coast region, including the Space and Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss. It's the builder of the F-35, which has a training center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

AF can use more state land

The Air Force will be allowed to conduct non-hazardous missions on additional state-owned land. The state Department of Environmental Protection agreed last week to let the Air Force us pockets of land across the region. The agreement is part of an effort to ease competition for range space on Eglin Air Force Base’s 450,000-acre reservation. In October, the Air Force signed its first agreement to use Florida Forest Service land. The Air Force plans to sign a similar agreement with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in the near future. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/18/12) Previous

Scott lauds L-3 expansion

CRESTVIEW, Fla. -- L-3 Crestview Aerospace and Gov. Rick Scott said the company will create 340 jobs within two years through the expansion of the company's manufacturing operation in Okaloosa County. The project is an investment of more than $13.7 million, including $7 million in facilities upgrades and the retrofit of hangar space at Bob Sikes Airport in 2013 and 2014. L-3 first announced the $7 million upgrade in November. (Source: Governor’s office, 12/18/12) Previous; Related column

County gives nod to sue Vision

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Okaloosa County commissioners voted to sue Vision Airlines to get more than $146,000 in unpaid fees. Airports Director Greg Donovan was authorized to work with county attorneys to take Vision to court if it doesn’t pay by Dec. 31. Vision Airlines, which began offering flights at Northwest Florida Regional Airport in 2010, stopped service locally in February. Most of the money is for unpaid passenger facility charges, and the rest is unpaid utility, rent and fuel expenses. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/18/12) Previous

Contract: Boeing, $8.9M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $8,916,113 firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for procurement of Laser Small Diameter Bombs (LSDB) retrofits, LSDB guided test vehicles, production, engineering, integration and test support and storage/shipping containers. The location of the performance is St. Louis, Mo. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/PZJ, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 12/18/12)

Contract: UT, $85.3M

United Technologies Corp., East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded an $85,282,562 contract modification for the F119 Engine Sustainment. Among locations of performance is Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Other locations are East Hartford; Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.; Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; Langley Air Force Base, Va.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas; and Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/WWUK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (Source: DoD, 12/18/12)

Pegasus getting 100 A320neos

Pegasus Airlines, second largest airline in Turkey, signed for up to 100 A320neo aircraft - 58 A320neo and 17 A321neo models - of which 75 are firm orders. Pegasus becomes a new Airbus customer and the first Turkish airline to order the A320neo. This is the largest single commercial aircraft order ever placed by an airline in Turkey. Last week AirAsia ordered 100 A320s. (Source: Airbus, 12/18/12) Previous. Gulf Coast note: Airbus will begin construction in the spring on an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

X-47B completes at-sea tests

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, at sea -- The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first at-sea test phase aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Dec. 18. The first aircraft of its kind aboard a Navy vessel, the Northrop Grumman-built X-47B was put through myriad trials to assess the viability of an unmanned system's operation aboard a carrier. Among the tests, the X-47B was towed using carrier-based tractors, taxied on the flight deck via its arm-mounted control display unit and had its digital engine controls tested within environments pervaded by electromagnetic fields. "The system has performed outstandingly," said Don Blottenberger, program manager for the N-UCAS Program Office. "We validated our capabilities on an aircraft carrier," said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman's program director. (Source: NNS, 12/18/12) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of the Global Hawk and Fire Scout UAVs in Moss Point, Miss.

40th to test F-16 software

F-16s test software. Courtesy photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For the first time, developmental testing for an F-16 operational flight program (OFP) will occur at the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin. The testing for Block 40 and 50 model F-16s is scheduled to begin in 2014. It will also be the first time developmental testing (DT) and operational testing (OT) of the OFP will be conducted at the same base. An OFP is the software in the F-16 that controls the avionics and allows the jet to interface with external weapons. It is currently in the design-try-out phase here. This phase is primarily to help the software developers. This new software package will be incorporated in all active-duty F-16s and many Reserve aircraft. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 12/18/12)

F-35A pilot training to begin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Gen. Edward Rice, commander of Air Education and Training Command, said Eglin is ready to start training pilots in the Air Force's variant of the F-35. Training is slated to begin Jan. 7 with four 58th Fighter Squadron pilots and two operational test pilots. The Air Force is tentatively planning initial operating capability by 2016 when the first operational base opens. An AETC Joint Operational Test Team conducted an operational utility evaluation this fall, and presented its findings to Rice. The OUE lasted 46 days and focused on classroom and simulator training, along with six flights. (Sources: Eglin Public Affairs, Air Force Times, 12/17/12)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Incentives up for vote

MOBILE, Ala. -- The city and county vote next week on the incentives used to lure the first Airbus supplier to Mobile. A $70,000 benefit from the city will be voted on by the Mobile City Council Tuesday, and a $24,000 incentive will be voted on by the Mobile County Commissioners Thursday. The state is providing $12,000 to Labinal Engineering, a subsidiary of Safran Engineering Services, a France-based company that will create 50 jobs at Brookley Aeroplex. Airbus plans to build an A320 assembly line this spring. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/14/12) Previous

Friday, December 14, 2012

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $127.7M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $127,740,214 fixed-price-incentive-fee and cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to the previously awarded F-35 Air System Low Rate Initial Production Lot 5 contract. This effort is required to complete the definitization for the previously announced Undefinitized Contractual Action (UCA) for a total of 32 F-35 Air Systems. This modification procures LRIP 5 production requirements including: manufacturing support equipment; two program array assemblies; ancillary mission equipment, including pilot flight equipment; preparation for ferry of aircraft; and diminishing manufacturing sources redesign. This effort includes requirements for the international partner governments as well as for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; El Segundo, Calif.; Warton, United Kingdom; Orlando, Fla.; Nashua, N.H.; and Baltimore, Md., and is expected to be completed in October 2014. The contracting activity is Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. (Source: DoD, 12/14/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base is home of the F-35 training center.

Powerpack tests concluded

J-2X powerpack test at Stennis Space Center
NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Engineers conducted the final test-firing of the J-2X powerpack assembly Thursday at NASA's Stennis Space Center. The powerpack assembly, a system of components on top of the engine that feeds propellants to the bell nozzle of the engine to produce thrust, has burned millions of pounds of propellants during a series of 13 tests totaling more than an hour and a half in 2012. The testing team set several records for hot-firing duration at Stennis test stands during the summer. NASA engineers will remove the assembly from the test stand to focus on tests of the fully integrated engine. Installation on a test stand at Stennis will begin in 2013. The J-2X, developed by Rocketdyne, will power the upper stage of the Space Launch System that will take astronauts into deep space missions. (Source: NASA, 12/14/12)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gov thinks F-35 quieter

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin arrived at Eglin Air Force Base on Wednesday to see the F-35 in action. Shumlin, several staff members and two mayors made the trip to Eglin to see how the noise level of the F-35 compares to the F-16, which is currently housed at their National Air Guard Base in Burlington, Vt. The base is a contender to get operational F-35s. The group brought instruments to measure the noise, and Shumlin concluded the F-35 would be quieter than the F-16. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/12/12)

AirAsia orders 100 A320s

Airbus said it has received an order for 100 Airbus A320 aircraft from AirAsia. Asia's largest budget airline is expanding its fleet to tap into the robust growth in air travel in the region. The order had been widely anticipated in recent months. The price was not disclosed, but the list price would come to $9.37 billion. (Source: Fox Business, 12/13/12) Gulf Coast note: Airbus plans to build an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

NASA best place to work

NASA was named the best place to work in the federal government among large agencies in a survey released today by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization. This ranking, which reflects NASA's highest results since this index was developed, makes clear that the agency's work force is focused on carrying out the nation's new and ambitious space program. The rankings are based on responses from nearly 700,000 federal workers. The Best Places to Work rankings are based on data from the Office of Personnel Management's annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey conducted from April through June 2012 and additional survey data from nine agencies plus the Intelligence Community. This is the seventh edition of the Best Places to Work rankings since the first in 2003. NASA's Stennis Space Center was ranked second in the sub-agency component category. (Source: NASA, 12/13/12)

Contract: BAE Systems, $400M

T-6 trainer. BAE Systems photo
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- BAE Systems has been selected by the U.S. Navy to maintain and service T-34, T-44 and T-6 trainer aircraft under a contract valued at about $400 million over five years. The company will perform scheduled inspections, along with required repairs, modifications and logistical support, for more than 300 aircraft operated by the Chief of Naval Air Training. The contract was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The work will be done at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla. BAE Systems will be actively recruiting from the existing skilled workforce at each site to fill maintenance positions. (Source: BusinessWire, 12/13/12)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Officer announcement made

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced today that the President has nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and for assignment as director, Air National Guard, National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. Clarke is currently serving as commander, First Air Force (Air Force North), and commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 12/12/12) Tyndall is near Panama City, Fla. It's the home of F-22 training as well as the First Air Force.

Forestry tool wins award

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- A forest monitoring and assessment tool developed by NASA Stennis Space Center's Applied Science and Technology Project Office and other federal and university partners was chosen for a prestigious technology transfer award. The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer announced Nov. 26 that the ForWarn early warning system will receive the 2013 FLC Interagency Partnership Award. The award recognizes the efforts of laboratory employees from at least two different agencies who have collaboratively accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring a technology. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in partnership with Stennis Space Center, released ForWarn earlier this year as a satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool for tracking changes in forest vegetation across the country, and providing a strategic, national overview of potential forest disturbances and environmental threats. (Source: NASA/SSC, 12/12/12) For a background story, see Pages 7-8 of the April 2010 issue of Alliance Insight)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Contracts: multiple, $315M

Two Fort Walton Beach, Fla., companies, InDyne Inc. and Williams Electric Co., were among 10 companies awarded a $315,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for the services in support of various security and control systems. The other companies were BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Md.; Honeywell HBS Solutions LLC, Minneapolis, Minn.; Johnson Controls BAS LLC, Huntsville, Ala.; M.C. Dean Inc., Dulles, Va.; Siemens Government Technologies Inc., Arlington, Va.; Smith and Wesson Security Solutions, Franklin, Tenn.; Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va.; and American Systems Corp., Chantilly, Va. Work location will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 6, 2017. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/11/12)

Contract: Boeing, $17M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $17 million contract modification for engineering, manufacturing and development phase option 1. The location of the performance is St. Louis, Mo. Work is expected to be completed by March 2014. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/EBYK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 12/11/12)

Monday, December 10, 2012

X-47B taxis on carrier

X-47B taxis on USS Truman
U.S. Navy photo
ATLANTIC OCEAN -- An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator aircraft for the first time taxied aboard a carrier Sunday. During the test aboard the USS Harry S. Truman, deck operators used an arm-mounted control display unit to remotely control the aircraft. Lt. Cmdr. Larry Tarver, Truman's aircraft handling officer, said every test on the aircraft brings the Navy one step closer to unmanned carrier aviation. "Nobody has ever done this before," said Tarver. The Northrop Grumman built X-47B is scheduled to complete taxi testing before Truman returns to its homeport in Naval Station Norfolk. (Source: NNS, 12/10/12) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of two other UAVs, Global Hawk and Fire Scout, in Moss Point, Miss. Previous Related

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Tyndall cancels air show

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Next year's air show at Tyndall Air Force Base has been canceled because of budget constraints. Lt. Melanie Holiday confirmed Friday base officials had been planning for the March show when the word came from senior officials to terminate the plan. Tyndall officials said they made the decision to stop planning the event after consideration of fiscal responsibility and mission requirements. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 12/07/12)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Officer announcements made

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced that the President has nominated Air Force Col. Walter J. Sams for appointment to the rank of brigadier general and for assignment as mobilization assistant to the commander, 1st Air Force, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Sams' appointment was among 21 announced Friday. (Source: DoD, 12/07/12) Tyndall Air Force Base is near Panama City, Fla. It's the home of F-22 training as well as the 1st Air Force.

DOJ objects to sale

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The objection of the Justice Department prompted United Technologies and TransDigm Group Inc. to terminate the previously announced sale of the Goodrich Corp. pump and engine control systems business to TransDigm of Cleveland. Sale of the pump and engine control systems unit is one of the divestitures required by regulatory authorities as a condition of UTC's acquisition of Goodrich. UTC intends to comply with its obligation to sell this business to a buyer acceptable to the U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/06/12) Gulf Coast note: The Goodrich Alabama Service Center is in Foley, Ala. Rocketdyne, a United Technologies company being sold to GenCorp, assembles and tests rockets at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous

Vision to offer Orlando non-stop

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Vision Airlines and the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi will start non-stop flights from Orlando, Fla., to Gulfport, Miss., starting Feb. 6. Service will be three days a week, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays. Flights will be aboard 136-seat Boeing 737 aircraft from Orlando Sanford International Airport. (Source: Sun Herald, 12/06/12)

UAVs touted at JCEDF dinner

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. -- Unmanned aerial systems were the focus of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation dinner at the Ocean Springs Civic Center. George Freeland, executive director of JCEDF, said that in economic development, it's important to pursue fields with high potential. And that's the case with UAVs. At Moss Point finishing work is done on Fire Scout unmanned helicopters and the central fuselage is built on all variants of the Global Hawk, including the Navy's version, Triton. The featured speakers were Walt Kreitler, director of the Triton program for Northrop Grumman, and Michael Toscano, president and CEO of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. (Source: Mississippi Press, 12/06/12)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

EADS deal ends state grip

In a restructuing of EADS, France and Germany ending their grip on the board room two months after the collapse of merger talks with BAE Systems. The first beneficiary is German auto group Daimler, which raised over $2 billion selling holdings as share prices rose. The European Aeronatuc Defense and Space company owns aircraft maker Airbus, along with businesses that build rocket and missile lauhers, satellites, fighter aircraft and helicopters. Under the new plan, German and French state interests will hold 12 percent each, and Spain will hold 4 percent. (Sources: multiple, including AFP via Space Wars; Reuters, 12/06/12) Gulf Coast note: EADS subsidiary Airbus plans to build an aircraft assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Mobile gets supplier

MOBILE, Ala. -- The first Airbus-related supplier said it will build a $2 million engineering facility at Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex. The official word from Safran Engineering Services Thursday afternoon came five months after Airbus said it will build an A320 assembly line in Mobile. The Safran facility will open in 2013 and employ 50 engineers. One of its neighbors at Brookley will be the Airbus Engineering Center. Bruno Bernard, chief executive officer of Safran Engineering Services, said the company plans to "continue to grow with Mobile in its upward trajectory." (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/06/12) Previous

Contract: Lockheed, $386.7M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $386,694,924 modification to the previously awarded F-35 Low Rate Initial Production Lot 6 Advance Acquisition Contract to provide sustainment support for delivered air systems. This effort includes but is not limited to: ground maintenance activities; action request resolution; depot activation activities; Automatic Logistics Information System operations and maintenance; reliability, maintainability and health management implementation and support; supply chain management; activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training; and procurement of replenishment spares and depot level repairs in support of flight operations. Work will be performed in Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (35 percent); Ft. Worth, Texas (25 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (8 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (5 percent); and various locations throughout the United States (27 percent); and is expected to be completed in October 2013. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/06/12)

Mobile getting Safran

Global aerospace and defense company Safran Group of France will announce Thursday plans for a $2 million engineering center in Mobile, Ala., according to the Mobile Press-Register. The center at Brookley Aeroplex will create 50 engineering jobs and will be operated by Labinal Inc., a Safran subsidiary and Airbus supplier. Airbus is building a $600 million A320 assembly line at Brookley. A news conference is slated for 3:30 p.m. CST. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/06/12)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

F-35 leadership changing

Defense News reports that U.S. Air Force Gen. Christopher Bogdan will be named as head of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Joint Program Office on Dec. 6. Bogdan is currently the F-35 deputy program manager. In August, he was nominated to head the program by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. He takes over for retiring Vice Adm. David Venlet. (Source: Defense News, 12/04/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base is home of the F-35 training center.

Germany trip Q&A

Birmingham has begun its courtship of potential suppliers of a planned $600 million Airbus Americas plant in Mobile. Rick Davis, Birmingham Business Alliance senior vice president of economic development, joined the Alabama delegation in a trip to an aviation conference in Hamburg, Germany, last month. A Q&A by the Birmingham Business Journal. (Source: Birmingham Business Journal, 12/04/12)

Defense grants announced

The state of Florida has awarded $1.58 million in Defense Infrastructure Grants for fiscal year 2012-13 to local community organizations that support Florida military installations. The grants work to protect a $60 billion economic impact and more than 686,000 direct and indirect jobs, which the defense industry annually infuses into Florida. Eight military installations will benefit. In Northwest Florida, awards were given to Bay County Board of County Commissioners, Santa Rosa County, Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce and Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners. Okaloosa received awards for both Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base. Other communities in Florida with awards are the City of Jacksonville, Highlands County Economic Development Commission, and the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. The grants are performance-based and will be distributed after the recipient has fulfilled its project requirements. The funds provide support for local infrastructure projects that have a positive impact on the community and enhance an installation’s military value. They may be used for projects related to encroachment, transportation and access, utilities, communications, housing, environment and security. (Source: Enterprise Florida, 12/03/12)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Airman awarded Silver Star

A Hurlburt Field airman who rescued an injured Marine then was himself severely wounded by an improvised explosive device received the Silver Star last month at a ceremony at the Pentagon. Tech Sgt. Joe Deslauriers, an explosive ordnance technician with the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, lost both legs in the September 2011 explosion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/04/12)

Fire Scout breaks record

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The Navy's fourth Fire Scout detachment returned to Mayport, Fla., Dec. 1, after achieving several milestones during its five-month deployment aboard USS Klakring (FFG 42). The Fire Scout unmanned helicopter detachment logged more than 500 flight hours in the U.S. Africa Command Area of Responsibility in support of anti-piracy operations and providing real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support. With a record number of unmanned helicopters aboard Klakring, Fire Scout regularly maintained 12-hour days on station and regularly switching aircraft to provide continuous support. The system accomplished a new single-day endurance record, providing continuous ISR support for an entire 24-hour period. For the first time, Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 42 conducted dual air vehicle operations, allowing the ship's commander to keep a constant watch on targets of interest. (Source: NNS, 12/03/12) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss., by Northrop Grumman.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Airport deputy chief named

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport has named John Van Etten as the new deputy chief of police. He'll work with Chief of Police Barbara Montgomery to oversee the airport police department. Van Etten has 28 years experience in law enforcement, and for the past eight years was police chief for the Panama City Police Department. (Source: Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, 12/03/12)

States team for UAV site

The governors of Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia are partnering in an effort to establish a Federal Aviation Administration-designated test site for unmanned aerial systems. The Mid-Atlantic Unmanned Aerial Systems Coalition is hoping that an FAA designation could make the region a focal point for contractors and start-ups alike. The FAA is set to select six unmanned system test sites. (Source: Washington Post, 12/02/12) Previous

7th SFG a boost to economy

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), which officially opened its cantonment in October 2011, should pump about $3.2 billion into the Okaloosa County economy between 2010 and 2016, according to a report from the Haas Center at the University of West Florida. The 7th SFG moved to Eglin from its former home at Fort Bragg, N.C. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/01/12) The 7th is based at Duke Field, a 1,946-acre base within Eglin that also has the 919th Special Operations Wing of the Air Force Reserve.