Saturday, June 29, 2013

Padgett picks airport director

CRESTVIEW, Fla. -- Okaloosa County Administrator Ernie Padgett has recommended hiring Tallahassee aviation director Sunil Harman as the county’s next airports director. Padgett will present the recommendation to county commissioners Tuesday. Harman, who has worked as Tallahassee's aviation director since 2011, was selected from an original pool of more than 100 applicants. Harman has spent more than 26 years in the industry. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/28/13) The position has been vacant since Greg Donovan left to become director of Pensacola International Airport.

Test stand work awarded

NASA selected Healtheon Inc. of New Orleans to provide a high pressure industrial water line at Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. The firm-fixed price task order has a total value of $29.8 million and a performance period of 530 days. Work is scheduled to begin in July. The water line provides cooling water and acoustic suppression to Stennis' B Test Complex, which will be used to test the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System in 2016. The work under this task order includes the demolition of all piping systems, including its valves and valve vaults. The contractor also will build a 96-inch diameter high pressure industrial water line from Stennis' High Pressure Industrial Water Plant to the test complex, which spans over a mile. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/28/13)

Friday, June 28, 2013

IHMC wins robotic challenge

First round was on a computer. IHMC photo
PENSACOLA, Fla. – A team from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) took first place in the initial stage of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, coming out on top of a roster of 26 of the top robotics research groups in the world. IHMC's team scored 52 out of a possible 60 points in the DARPA Virtual Robotics Challenge, a computer simulation using software that will power a real-life humanoid robot in the future. Members of the top nine teams in the scoring move on to the next competition, with the top six getting funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and provision of a humanoid robot, built by Boston Dynamics, for the next stage of the two-year competition. The next competition, using actual robots, is scheduled for December 2013. The final challenge is set for December 2014, with $2 million in prize money at stake. (Source: IHMC, Pensacola News Journal, 06/28/13) IHMC has worked with NASA for years on multiple projects, including creating the algorithms to provide locomotion for a walking version of Robonaut2, the humanoid aboard the International Space Station.

Group gets new commander

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Col. Charles Corcoran, commander of the 325th Operations Group, relinquished command to Col. Max Marosko during a Friday ceremony. The 325th Operations Group is responsible for directing the flying and support operations for an F-22 Raptor fighter squadron, a training and support squadron, and an operations support squadron. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/28/13)

Security training center picked

The Air Force wants to build a training center for its security forces at Fort Bliss, Texas. Camp Guernsey, Wyo., is second choice for the Security Forces Ground Combat Training Center, which is expected to train 8,500 students per year by October 2014. Regional training centers at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Fort Wolters, Texas, Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, N.J., and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., would close. Camp Guernsey, which specializes in nuclear training, would continue to be the center for Nuclear Training Excellence. The final decision will be made after an environmental study is completed this summer. (Sources: AFNS, Air Force Times, 06/27/13)

Luke getting more F-35s

Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., will receive three additional squadrons of the F-35A, the Defense Department said. The 72 additional jets will give the base in Glendale six squadrons totaling 144 F-35As, more than any other Air Force installation. All F-35A pilots will train at either Luke or at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., location of the current schoolhouse for instructor pilots. The first three F-35A squadrons are scheduled to begin arriving at Luke AFB next year. Luke’s selection continues its tradition of pilot training. It’s currently the site of active duty F-16 pilot training, along with the training for Fighting Falcon pilots from partner countries. Foreign F-35A pilots also will train at the base. (Sources: Air Force Times, Fighter Country Partnership, 06/27/13)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Contract: Boeing, $39.5M

The Boeing Co., Saint Louis, Mo., has been awarded a $39,464,977 modification to the contract for Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM). This modification is an option exercised under the Lot 17 JDAM contract to add 1,601 JDAM tailkits. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $141,914,216. Work will be performed at Saint Charles, Mo., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2015. The contracting activity is Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: DoD, 06/27/13)

Second F-35C now at Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Less than a week after getting its first Navy variant of the F-35, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 received its second F-35C Tuesday. The F-35C arrived after a 90-minute flight from the Lockheed Martin production line in Fort Worth, Texas. It was in the same formation that brought the U.K.'s third F-35 to Eglin. The Navy's first F-35C at Eglin arrived Saturday. VFA 101 will serve as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C. (Source: GCAC, 06/27/13) Previous: UK F-35 arrives at Eglin; First Navy F-35 arrives at Eglin

Medical group gets new leader

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Col. Chris Weaver has taken over from Col. Paul Skala as commander of the 325th Medical Group. The change of command ceremony was Tuesday. Skala leaves Tyndall to be the command administrator and director of medical support at U.S. Air Forces in Europe. The 325th Medical Group staff operates as an outpatient medical facility with family practice, pediatrics, dental, flight medicine and women’s health clinics. (Sources: 325th Fighter Wing, 06/25/13, Panama City News Herald, 06/26/13)

County: Vision owes $40K

Okaloosa County officials are pursuing legal action against Vision Airlines to recover nearly $40,000 in unpaid fees for rent, fuel and utility charges that accrued while the carrier was flying out of Northwest Florida Regional Airport. Attorney Greg Stewart said a default was entered against Vision, and a motion has been filed to have the default converted to a judgment. Stewart said Vision Airlines has not responded to the county's inquiries since it paid off $117,000 in overdue passenger facility charges in February. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/26/13) Previous

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

UK F-35 arrives at Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The third F-35B for the United Kingdom arrived at Eglin Air Force Base on Tuesday. U.S. Marine pilot Lt. Col. Roger Hardy delivered the aircraft known as BK-3 (ZM137) from Lockheed Martin's production facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The flight was 90 minutes. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, headquartered in the U.K. The program's more than 500 British suppliers will build 15 percent of each F-35 produced. The first Navy variant arrived at Eglin Saturday. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 06/26/13) Previous

Pricetag for Paris released

It cost Alabama between $88,000 and $97,000 to participate in the Paris Air Show. That's according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. The bill includes travel costs for seven people, including the governor and commerce secretary. But most of the costs are for the Alabama booth, graphics and set-up. The Alabama delegation numbered about 90, and most participants were from cities, counties and companies who did not travel at state expense. Nineteen Alabama communities, economic development groups, and chambers attended. At least 20 other states had a significant presence at the air show, the department said, including Florida and Mississippi. (Source:, 06/25/13)

Honeywell doing Airbus powerhouse

MOBILE, Ala. -- Airbus awarded Honeywell a $37 million powerhouse operation contract for the A320 final assembly line being built at Brookley Aeroplex. The project will begin in the fall and completed in mid-2014. It will be managed from the Birmingham branch of Minnesota’s Honeywell Building Solutions. Honeywell will design and build, and through a 10-year service agreement operate and maintain the facility that will supply utilities to the assembly line. Ground was broken in April on the $600 million plant that will employ 1,000 workers. (Source:, 06/26/13)

Board OKs Embry-Riddle contract

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide will continue to operate programs at two local schools. The Okaloosa County School Board voted unanimously to approve an agreement with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Institutes at Choctawhatchee and Crestview high schools following a brief discussion Monday night. Ron Garriga, who will serve as the director of local program, said that for the upcoming school year Embry-Riddle expects to have 200 students enrolled and hopes the program’s popularity will increase with more on hands-on learning. Under the new contract, 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders at Choctaw and Crestview can enroll in a variety of college level courses in the aviation field as long as they have a 2.5 GPA and two teacher recommendations. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/25/13) Previous

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Contract: UT, $11.4M

United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., has been awarded a $11,408,838 fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, requirements type contract, with fixed-price, man-month rates and cost-reimbursable line items for travel and relocation for 15 contractor engineering and technical services representatives for Air National Guard (ANG) (5); Navy (1), and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) (9) in support of the F100 engines on the F-15/F-16 (U.S. Air Force and FMS); and the JT9D and J52 engines on the C-9 (Navy) aircraft. One of the five ANG locations where work will be performed is in New Orleans. Work is expected to be completed by June 25, 2016. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/HBBI, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (Source: DoD, 06/25/13).

Small F-35 group wins award

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A group of airmen won a national award from the Air Force for work maintaining the new state-of-the-art equipment for F-35 pilots. The 10-person 33rd Operations Support Squadron's Aircrew Flight Equipment group earlier this month received the Air Force's Outstanding Aircrew Flight Small Equipment Program award for their work in 2012. The crew maintains the helmet, flight jacket and g-suit for instructor pilots and students learning to fly the Air Force's variant of the F-35 at the training school at Eglin. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/24/13)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Contract: Raytheon, $10M

Raytheon Technical Services Co., LLC, Indianapolis, Ind., has been awarded a $10,031,657 fixed-price-incentive-firm contract for the Joint Miniature Munitions Bomb Rack Unit (JMM BRU). The contractor shall conduct a Technology Development Phase to initiate JMM BRU design activities, mature JMM BRU technologies, initiate production process development to determine the appropriate set of technologies to be integrated into a full system, and conduct prototyping in a relevant environment. Work will be performed at Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be complete by July 2015. Fiscal 2013 Research Development Test and Evaluation funds are being obligated on this award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBMK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/24/13)

Hurlburt command changes

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- There were several command changes at Hurlburt Field recently. The 801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron changed commanders June 17. Maj. Jeffrey Johns took over from Lt. Col. Felix Johnfinn. The 801st SOAMXS performs all equipment maintenance in support of worldwide special operations missions. It supports the CV-22B Osprey hybrid aircraft and MC-130H Talon II aircraft (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing, 06/20/13). The 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron changed commanders June 20. Lt. Col. David Byer took over from Lt. Col. Christopher Patrick. The 1st SOMDOS promotes and maintains the health of 8,000 active-duty, reserve, civilian personnel, and 22,000 beneficiaries (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing, 06/21/13). The 1st Special Operations Maintenance Squadron changed commanders June 21. Maj. James Cooper took over from Maj. Michael Campos. The 1st SOMXS conducts special operations airlift, helicopter air refueling and psychological operations throughout the United States, South America, Africa and Middle East. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing, 06/21/13)

Two squadrons now history

Two maintenance squadrons, one at Eglin Air Force Base and the other at Tyndall Air Force Base, were recently deactivated. The 33d Maintenance Operations Squadron (MOS) was inactivated June 13. The unit was the only military maintenance organization to house airmen, Marines and sailors in the Department of Defense's first of its kind for the F-35 program (Source: 33rd Maintenance Group, 06/20/13). At Tyndall, the 325th MOS was inactivated June 20. The squadron provided key maintenance analysis data, flying and maintenance scheduling management and flight line operations oversight (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 06/20/13). The inactivations resulted from the Air Force’s decision last year to reorganize maintenance support in part because of a lack of field-grade officers in the maintenance career field.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

First Navy F-35 arrives at Eglin

Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 received the Navy's first F-35C from Lockheed Martin today at the squadron's home at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. VFA 101 will serve as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C. The F-35C is a fifth generation fighter outfitted to land on a carrier. It combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Once in the fleet, it will complement the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which currently serves as the Navy's premier strike fighter. (Source: NNS, 06/22/13)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Airbus, Embraer top sellers

PARIS – Aviation companies at the 50th Paris Air Show announced deals for about 1,460 aircraft over the show's four business days, signaling a healthy global aerospace industry. The show's top aircraft sales performer was Europe-based Airbus, which made deals for 536 single-aisle and widebody passenger jets, according to Avionics Intelligence. Airbus places the figure at 466. South American aircraft manufacturer Embraer was a star early on. It held the top spot in aircraft sales over the first two days of the show with strong sales of the recently introduced E2 family of regional passenger jets. (Source: Avionics Intelligence, 06/20/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus broke ground in April on an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.; Embraer, whose U.S. headquarters are in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in March 2013 had a ribbon-cutting for its Super Tucano assembly plant in Jacksonville, Fla. It also builds executive jets in Melbourne, Fla.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

AF releases new F-35 study

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The final draft of a report analyzing the impact of the F-35 program on the surrounding community has been released. The report, first released in September 2010, is available for review and comment through July 29. Eglin is the training center for F-35 flight and maintenance students across all branches of the military and several partner nations. Flight operations began in 2012, but restrictions were in place until more information could be gathered. One was limiting flights that send air traffic over Valparaiso, where residents and businesses were concerned about noise. The environmental impact statement provides several alternatives, but lifting restrictions on the runway is the preferred alternative. But because there are fewer F-35s and more is known about operations of the plane, the noise impact estimates across the board dropped by 2 to 3 decibels from the 2010 assessment. Also, training simulating an engine burnout and emergency landings will be done at Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Fla.. Of 90,000 estimated annual flight operations at the program's peak, 44,000 would take place at Eglin and 6 percent of those would occur on the runway that sends aircraft over Valparaiso. Also, night flights have been reduced from 5 percent to 3 percent. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/19/13)

Contract: State agency, $29M

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, Madison, Miss., has been awarded a $29,072,700 firm-fixed-price, multi-year contract for full food services, including providing all personnel, supervision, and any items and services necessary to operate three full dining facilities, one flight kitchen, and one central preparation kitchen in support of organizational missions as needed. Work will be performed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2017. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and 12 offers were received. The 81st Contracting Squadron/LGCB, Keesler AFB, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/20/13)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Output boost; early plane debut

Boeing said Wednesday that it moved up the delivery date for the 737 Max, which sports new engines, by six months to the third quarter of 2017. Airbus said it may increase A320 production by 19 percent by 2020 from 42 a month now to satisfy rising demand. Tom Williams, the Airbus executive vice president for programs, said in an interview with Bloomberg at the Paris Air Show that suppliers need to start thinking about a rate of 50 aircraft a month. (Source: Bloomberg, 06/19/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus broke ground in April on an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. Previous: Boeing ups demand forecast

Two hired for Airbus team

MOBILE, Ala. -- Airbus has chosen two more people for its management team for the company's new A320 final assembly line at Brookley Aeroplex. Mark Smith has been named manager of health, safety and environment, and Darren Gates has been named facilities manager. The company broke ground in April on its $600 million assembly line that will eventually have 1,000 workers. (Source:, 06/18/13) Previous hire

Navy picks GE ethernet switches

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, Md. -- GE Intelligent Platforms of Huntsville, Ala., will supply Ethernet switches for the Navy's MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopters. Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced their intention to issue a new sole-source contract to GE for 15 RES-210 Ethernet switches for the Northrop Grumman-built Fire Scout. The Fire Scout can operate from land bases or a variety of surface ships. The GE RES-210 Ethernet switch is designed for harsh environments, such as on military platforms that are subject to high altitudes, vibration, shock, temperature extremes, humidity, and salt fog. (Source: Military and Aerospace Electronics, 06/18/13) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are assembled in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

EasyJet to buy 135 A320s

EasyJet announced a deal to purchase 135 Airbus A320s, including 100 new generation neo aircraft for $11.9 billion. EasyJet said that is has secured an option to buy an additional 100 A320neo planes. EasyJet is to acquire 35 current generation A320 aircraft for delivery between 2015 and 2017 under an existing option agreement, and 100 new generation A320neo planes for delivery between 2017 and 2022 under a new deal. (Source: AFP via FoxNews, 06/18/13)

Lufthansa firms up order

PARIS -- The Lufthansa Group firmed up a previous decision and signed for 100 A320 family aircraft (35 A320neo, 35 A321neo and 30 A320ceo with sharklets) at the Paris International Air Show. The Lufthansa Group has been operating the A320 family since October 1989. They were the launching customer for the A321 and first operators of the A319 and A320. Lufthansa is the largest Airbus airline customer and operator in Europe, increasing its order for the A320 type to 299. Over 150 of these aircraft have already been delivered. (Source: Airbus, 06/17/13)

NASA to show off weld center

NEW ORLEANS -- A new machine for manufacturing the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System will be shown to the media Friday at Michoud Assembly Facility. NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier and other agency officials will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting for the vertical weld center, where friction-stir weld tooling will be used to assemble the core stage. Officials from Boeing of Huntsville, Ala., prime contractor for the SLS core stage and its avionics, will take part in the ribbon-cutting. The 200 foot-tall core stage will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to feed the rocket's RS-25 engines. The vertical weld center will stand about three stories tall and weigh 165 tons. The event also will include a tour of the SLS area where work is done on the Orion crew capsule. (Source: NASA, 06/17/13) Engines for the SLS are tested at NASA's Stennis Space Center, some 35 miles from Michoud in Mississippi.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rocket motor source certified

PARIS -- Raytheon Co. continues to exceed renegotiated delivery schedule requirements of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) to the U.S. Air Force following the renewal of contract payments in December 2012, a successful live-fire test and certification of a second rocket motor source. Nammo Group, the second AMRAAM rocket motor source based in Raufoss, Norway, was officially certified by the Nonnuclear Munitions Safety Board earlier this year. In 2010, Raytheon and Nammo began development and qualification of an alternative rocket motor for the AIM-120 AMRAAM. The live-fire test was performed in January 2013 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. All test objectives were successfully accomplished, according to U.S. Air Force officials. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/17/13) Previous: Fixing a key missile; F-35 drops AIM-120; F-35 has missile launch milestone; Contract: Raytheon, $534.8M

Military announces furloughs

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- Military officials say at least 2,100 civilian employees working at Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity Panama City will be affected when furloughs begin July 8. About 700 Department of Defense civilians work at Tyndall, with furloughs scheduled through Sept. 30. There are 1,474 people at the Navy base who will be furloughed. According to the DoD, the cuts would reduce pay about 20 percent over the furlough period. (Source: News Herald, 06/17/13)

Rocketdyne deal to save $1B

PARIS -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, the company formed with GenCorp's purchase of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, on Sunday said it has promised the U.S. government $1 billion in savings over the next decade as a result of the deal. Aerojet Rocketdyne President Warren Boley told Reuters that the new company, a wholly owned unit of GenCorp, expected to double its revenues over the next five years from a current combined estimate of $1.7 billion. (Source: Reuters, 06/16/13) Gulf Coast note: Aerojet Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous

Green taxiing system debuts

PARIS -- Honeywell and Safran publicly demonstrating their electric green taxiing system (EGTS) technology for the first time on an Airbus A320 aircraft at the 50th International Paris Air Show. Developed by EGTS International, a joint venture between Honeywell and Safran, the technology enables aircraft to taxi using its own electrical power, avoiding the use of the main engines during taxiing. EGTS enables aircraft to push back autonomously and taxi between gate and runway without engaging the main engines by using the auxiliary power unit (APU) generator to power electric motors in the main landing gear. Each of an EGTS-equipped aircraft's powered wheels is fitted with a control system, giving pilots total control of the aircraft's speed and direction during taxi operations. (Source: Avionics Intelligence, 06/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus will build A320s in Mobile, Ala., where Safran also has an office.

ILFC exercies option for A320neos

PARIS -- International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc., announced that it has exercised options to purchase 50 incremental A320neo aircraft from Airbus that were part of the agreement signed in April 2011 for 100 firm A320neo Family aircraft. Deliveries of ILFC's neo aircraft are expected to commence in 2015. Officially launched in December 2010, the A320neo family aircraft incorporate greater fuel-efficiency and eco-friendly technology, providing reductions in engine noise and emissions. (Source: Business Wire, 06/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus broke ground in April on an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Exelis gets F-35 contract

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – ITT Exelis has been awarded a multimillion-dollar contract from Lockheed Martin to make composite blade seal components for all variants of the F-35. This award will support production for LRIP 6 and 7 through 2015. Production of the blade seals will take place at the new Exelis composite design and manufacturing center in Salt Lake City. Exelis has more than 40 years of experience in the design and manufacture of composite structures. (Source: Business Wire, 06/17/13) Gulf Coast note: Exelis has an operation in Panama City, Fla.; the F-35 training center is at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

J-2X engine tested

J-2X test at SSC. NASA/SSC photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- J-2X engine No. 10002 was tested Thursday on the A-1 Test Stand at NASA's South Mississippi rocket engine test complex. The 60-second test signals the start of a series of firings to collect data on performance of the engine that will power a stage of the launch vehicle in NASA's Space Launch System. By the time the J-2X tests conclude later this summer, the engine will have been fired at full power and for the total time it would operate during an actual flight, while being gimbaled in the same way it must move during flight. (Source: NASA/SSC, 06/14/13)

Friday, June 14, 2013

A350 XWB takes to the air

A350 XWB has maiden flight. Airbus photo
TOULOUSE, France -- An A350 flew for the first time Friday just days before the Paris Air Show in a maiden flight that went without a hitch. The jetliner took off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport for a flight that lasted four hours. The A350, fitted with a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine built specifically for the A350, will compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Airbus hopes to have the plane certified for commercial flight in 12 to 13 months. (Sources: multiple, including CNN, Airbus, Engadget, Business Wire, 06/14/13) Gulf Coast note: The Trent XWB engine is tested at Rolls-Royce's outdoor test facility at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous: RR XWB takes to skies; Goodrich ships XWB thrust reverser; Rolls engine testing booms at Stennis

Contract: Lockheed Martin, $9.9M

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., has been awarded a $9,899,914 delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for JASSM Common Unique Planning Component software. Work will be performed at Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed by June 25, 2015. Foreign Military Sales contract funds in the amount of $9,899,914 are being obligated at time of award for Finland and Australia. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBJK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/14/13)

Contract: Raytheon, $534.8M

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $534,795,962 firm-fixed-price contract for AMRAAM Production Lot 27. Work will be done in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2016. Fifty one percent of the production effort is Foreign Military Sales (AIM-120 C7s for Oman and Saudi Arabia). This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBA, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/14/13)

MC-27J Phase 1 test completed

ATK and Finmeccanica's Alenia Aermacchi successfully completed the first phase of ground and flight tests of their MC-27J multi-mission aircraft. A roll-on/roll-off gun system pallet was installed and tested on the Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan airlifter. The tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., demonstrated the ability of the C-27J to host the self-contained, modular pallet utilizing ATK's GAU-23 30mm cannon in a side-firing configuration. The tests were designed and certified by the U.S. Air Force and deemed successful by Air Force Special Operations Command. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/14/13)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mississippi team to be at show

Mississippi will have a delegation at the upcoming Paris Air Show. The seven-member group will include Gov. Phil Bryant and representatives from the Mississippi Development Authority. The delegation has meetings set up with dozens of companies to discuss expansion opportunities, including some suppliers for the Airbus jetliner assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala. The Aerospace Alliance, which helps market Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, will host a Sunday reception on the Seine River. (Source: The Associated Press via Miami Herald, 06/11/13) Related: Alabama team to attend air show; FGNW-led group to attend air show

Alabama team to attend air show

Alabama leaders, economic development specialists and local officials from around the state will head to the Paris Air Show in a bid to expand Alabama's aerospace industry. The show begins Monday and runs through June 23. The delegation from Alabama will meet with more than 20 companies over the course of the show. Some of the companies already have a presence in Alabama, while others are prospects. The Department of Commerce says more than 300 aerospace and aviation companies and organizations operate across Alabama. One of those companies is Airbus, which is building a $600 million A320 assembly line in Mobile. (Source: Made in Alabama, 06/12/13) Related

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

USV-towed mine sonar progressing

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to support the Navy's integration onto an unmanned surface vehicle the AQS-24A Side Look Sonar System to look for mines remotely. The repackaging of the sonar for USV use will build upon proven capabilities of the AQS-24A and its predecessors airborne minehunting search systems used by the Navy for 28 years. The AQS-24A is primarily towed from the MH-53E helicopter, but has been tested from USVs since 2002. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, Fla., NSWC Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Md., NSWC Combatant Craft Division in Norfolk, Va., and Northrop Grumman jointly developed an 11-meter USV that launched, recovered and towed the AQS-24A. (Source: Space War, 06/12/13)

325th sets command change

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Lt. Col. Patrick Godfrey will assume command of the 325th Communications Squadron from Lt. Col. Wayne Wisneski during a change of command ceremony Thursday morning. The 325th Communications Squadron provides the 325th Fighter Wing and 29 associate units with advanced communications, computer and information management systems, air traffic control maintenance systems, postal and visual information support and communications security. (Source: News Herald, 06/11/13)

FGNW-led group to attend air show

A four-member delegation from Northwest Florida will leave Friday to attend the Paris Air Show. Led by Florida's Great Northwest, the group has meetings with 14 aviation companies to discuss the benefits of doing business in Northwest Florida. The group is coordinating efforts with Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development organization. The state delegation has meetings with more than 40 companies, and will have a booth at the show that opens Monday. More than 290 delegations from 82 countries will attend the air show. (Source: Florida's Great Northwest, 06/12/13)

Israeli supplier delivers component

Israel's Elbit Systems-Cyclone delivered its first advanced composite component for the F-35 center fuselage made by Northrop Grumman. The component delivered is one of 16 parts to be manufactured by Elbit Systems-Cyclone under a seven-year agreement with Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman is a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team. It manufactures the center fuselage, designed and produces the radar and other avionics, including electro-optical and communications, navigation and identification subsystems. Northrop Grumman also develops mission systems and mission-planning software, leads the team's development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware, and manages the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies. (Source: Space Mart, 06/11/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 training center.

Mobile passenger count up

MOBILE, Ala. -- Year-over-year passenger traffic at the Mobile Regional Airport increased five percent to more than 191,000 by the close of April. Bill Sisson, executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority, said several economic development successes, including the Airbus final assembly line project, have raised the regional airport's profile but are not solely responsible for the uptick. According to the authority's data, traffic has increased incrementally each month in 2013, and the airport is on track to record a landmark year for enplanements. (Source:, 06/10/13)

Boeing ups demand forecast

Worldwide demand for aircraft in the next 20 years will be stronger than previously thought, thanks to demand in the Asia-Pacific region and from low-cost carriers. Boeing on Tuesday raised its estimate of global demand by 3.8 percent to 35,280 aircraft, and in value by 7 percent to $4.8 trillion. Boeing and rival Airbus compete for most of the existing market, but they face new competition from manufacturers in emerging economies. Airbus estimated in its last forecast in September that from 2012-2031 demand for new airliners would total 28,200 worth $4 trillion. Boeing said that from 2013-2032, demand in the segment for medium-range airliners with a single aisle, typically supplied by the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, would total 24,670 aircraft worth $2.29 billion. (Source: AFP via France24, Reuters, 06/11/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus broke ground in April on a $600 million final assembly plant for A320s in Mobile, Ala. Three other Airbus sites currently build A320s.

Eglin F-35 program changing leader

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Changes are coming to the F-35 program at Eglin Air Force Base's Integrated Training Center. One is a change of command, the other a retirement. On Friday, Air Force Col. Todd Canterbury assumes command of the 33rd Fighter Wing from Col. Andrew Toth in a morning ceremony in the F-35A Saylor Hangar. Canterbury, a former Thunderbird pilot, was the executive officer for the Deputy Commander United States Forces Korea, United Nations Command, Seoul, South Korea., prior to his arrival at Eglin. Also, Marine Col. Arthur Tomassetti retires Friday afternoon in a ceremony in the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 F-35B Hangar. He's been with the F-35 program for almost 15 years and flew all three variants of the stealth fighter. (Source: 33rd Fighter Wing, 06/11/13)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

FTC OKs Rocketdyne sale

The Federal Trade Commission said Monday it's going to allow GenCorp, owner of rocket-engine maker Aerojet, to purchase Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne despite potential monopoly concerns. FTC voted to close its 10-month probe over national security concerns and allow the $550 million sale after the Defense Department requested approval. Both firms make rocket engines for spacecraft and components for military missile defense systems. They are also the only main suppliers of a high-performance liquid rocket propulsion system that the military uses for missile defense. (Source: The Hill, Reuters, 06/10/13) Gulf Coast note: Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss., where Aerojet tests its AJ-26 engines. Previous: Rocketdyne being sold to GenCorp; UT completes unit sale to Safran; Antares has successful launch

Orion passes static load tests

NASA's Orion crew module has successfully passed its static loads tests. Orion will sit atop the launch vehicle in NASA's Space Launch System program, designed to take astronauts further in space than ever before. Engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., built a 20-foot-tall static loads test fixture for the crew module with hydraulic cylinders that slowly push or pull on the vehicle. The fixture produced 110 percent of the load caused by eight different types of stress Orion will experience during Exploration Flight Test-1 in September 2014. More than 1,600 strain gauges recorded how the vehicle responded. The loads ranged from as little as 14,000 pounds to as much as 240,000 pounds. Orion also was pressurized to simulate the effect of the vacuum in space, allowing engineers verify repairs made to superficial cracks in the vehicle's rear bulkhead caused by previous pressure testing in November. (Sources: SpaceTravel, 06/11/13, NASA, 06/06/13) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, builds Orion and the core stage of the Space Launch System; Stennis Space Center, Miss., is testing engines for the SLS that will carry Orion into space.

Hot air balloon fest set

FOLEY, Ala. – Forty-five balloonists will take to the air as part of the 9th Annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival this weekend. Weather will determine if flights take place Friday night and Saturday, but there will be other activities at the Foley Sports Complex on U.S. 98, including musical entertainment and arts and crafts. (Source:, 06/10/13)

Contract: Lockheed, $104.7M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $104,734,081 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement and delivery of 83,169 Xilinx field programmable gate arrays for the U.S. Air Force (35,842), U.S. Marine Corps (10,517); U.S. Navy (9,517), and the governments of Italy (5,992); Turkey (6,370); Australia (5,952); Norway (4,905); United Kingdom (3,530); the Netherlands (61); and Denmark (483). These FPGAs are required for the manufacture of the low rate initial production Lot VII through full rate production Lot III Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in September 2014. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force (44.3 percent); U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps (22.7 percent); and the governments of Italy (7.7 percent); Turkey (7.2 percent); Australia (6.6 percent); Norway (6.3 percent); United Kingdom (4.9 percent); the Netherlands (.11 percent); and Denmark (.10 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/10/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Contract: Pratt and Whitney, $648.8M

Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $648,769,404 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to extend the F135 System Development and Demonstration contract period of performance. In addition this modification is for the procurement of the technical baseline review design, verification, validation and qualification tasks; two spare flight test engines, and additional spare parts to support the F-35 Flight Test Program. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Conn. (72 percent); Bristol, United Kingdom (22 percent); and Indianapolis, Ind. (6 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/10/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Further Brookley development eyed

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile Airport Authority has launched preliminary talks with two partner firms to develop as many as 215 acres at Brookley Aeroplex. Baltimore-based Cordish includes Mobile-based JMG Realty as part of its development team. Brookley, a former Air Force base, now hosts aerospace and other companies. Airbus, which has an engineering center at Brookley, broke ground in April for a $600 million A320 final assembly line. The authority envisions a total build-out of the aerospace hub that nearly doubles commercial space to 6 million square feet, creates a net increase of more than 4,000 jobs and houses as many as 10,000 employees. Buddy Rice, the authority's spokesman, said negotiations are in the preliminary stage so specifics regarding the scope of the work are speculative at this time. (Source:, 06/10/13)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Plane makes emergency landing

GULFPORT, Miss. -- A United Airlines flight bound for Houston made an emergency landing Friday at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport after a tire blew out as it took off from the airport. No injuries were reported to the 50 passengers and three crew members, said Clay Williams, airport executive director. The plane circled the airport several times before landing safely just before 2 p.m., officials said. (Sources: Sun Herald, 06/07/13)

F-35 has missile launch milestone

F-35 launches AIM 120 missile.
Lockheed Martin photo by Matthew Short
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An F-35A on Wednesday completed the first in-flight missile launch of an AIM-120 over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range. It paves the way for targeted launches in support of the Block 2B fleet release capability later this year. The F-35A is designed to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. It features four internal weapon stations located in two weapon bays to maximize stealth capability, and can also utilize an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required. (Source:, Defense News blog, Lockheed Martin, 06/07/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

State gets land to protect Eglin

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The state bought a 20,850-acre buffer zone to help protect Eglin Air Force Base from any development that could interfere with its missions. The land, on the eastern side of Eglin in Walton County, was bought from M.C. Davis for $12.5 million. Davis will continue to own and manage the land, but it will not be developed. The buffer was purchased through a partnership of state and federal governments and agencies. Florida committed $10.2 million, the federal government $1.75 million and Eglin $550,000. Eglin is 474,000 acres, but its footprint in the air is larger and includes special use airspace for test, evaluation and training missions done out of Eglin, Hurlburt Field and Duke Field. Airspace over the new buffer is primarily used for low-level flying. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/06/13, DoD, 06/07/13)

A320neo could lead to higher output

TOULOUSE, France -- Airbus could increase narrow body aircraft production once a revamped version of its A320 medium-haul jet enters service in late 2015. "After we introduce the A320neo we could easily imagine going to rates like 44 per month, and in fact as we go towards the end of the decade, 50 a month," said Tom Williams, executive vice-president of programs at Airbus, in a media briefing. Airbus has sold 517 aircraft in the first five months of this year, just ahead of Boeing. Both companies are expected to unveil orders at the June 17-23 Paris Air show. (Source: Reuters via euronews, 06/06/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus broke ground in April on a $600 million final assembly line for the A320 family of jets in Mobile, Ala.

SSC building RS-25 test component

Thrust frame adapter. NASA/SSC photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Fabrication recently began at Stennis Space Center on a new 7,755-pound thrust frame adapter for the A-1 Test Stand to enable testing of the RS-25 engines that will provide core-stage power for Space Launch System. NASA will begin testing the engines that were used to power the Space Shuttle in the fall of 2014. Gary Benton, RS-25 test project manager at SSC, said the initial thought was that they would have to go offsite to have the stand component equipment built. But the design team came up with a way to build it at SSC. Each rocket engine type requires a thrust frame adapter unique to

Illustration of thrust adapter location.
NASA/SSC illustration
its specifications. On the test stand, the adapter is attached to the thrust measurement system. A rocket engine then is attached to the adapter, which must hold the engine in place and absorb the thrust produced during a test, while allowing accurate measurement of the engine performance. NASA and the Lockheed Martin Test Operations Contract Group team worked together in designing the new adapter, and communicated closely with Jacobs Technology welding and machine shop teams to make sure what was being designed actually could be built. The adapter is slated to be finished and installed on the stand in November 2013.(Source: NASA, 06/06/13)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eglin F-35 fleet grows

More F-35s arrive at Eglin AFB, Fla.
Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The largest fleet of F-35 aircraft grew to 25 with the arrival Wednesday of two F-35A variants at the F-35 Integrated Training Center in Northwest Florida. More than 30 pilots from all three variants have been trained at the training center, where the Air Force has 12 F-35A joint strike fighters, the Marine Corps has 11 and the United Kingdom embedded with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 has two F-35Bs. The Navy is slated to get its first two F-35C variants in the coming weeks. About 72 pilots from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy are scheduled to graduate F-35 transition pilot training this year. (Source: 33rd Fighter Wing, 06/06/13)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sergeant gets Bronze Star

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A sergeant with the 33rd Fighter Wing was awarded the Bronze Star Tuesday for his service during his deployment in Southwest Asia. Senior Master Sgt. Jamie Jordan oversaw maintenance for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates from March 2012 to February 2013. His squadron of 1,400 maintenance personnel prepared aircraft for a variety of missions. Jordan was one of the first maintainers to arrive at Eglin to work in the F-35 program before his deployment, and he's slated to return to that now that he's home. (Source: WEAR-TV, Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/04/13)

USCG gets 15th HC-144A

HC-144A Ocean Sentry. EADS NA photo
HERNDON, Va. -- The U.S. Coast Guard took delivery of its 15th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft from prime contractor EADS North America. The Ocean Sentry is based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter, currently in operation in 29 countries. The latest aircraft joins a fleet of Ocean Sentries performing in a range of different roles from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Mass., Mobile, Ala., and Miami. The plane can remain airborne for more than 10 hours and performs a range of patrol missions for the Coast Guard, including drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue. (Source: EADS, 06/05/13)

RAF has first vertical landing

First RAF vertical landing.
Lockheed Martin photo
NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- Squadron Leader Jim Schofield became the first Royal Air Force pilot to complete a vertical landing of a Lockheed Martin F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) Lightning II on May 28. Schofield said after the flight that with the press of a button, the aircraft transforms to STOVL mode and the plane can take off or hover hands-off. The U.S. Marine Corps plans to declare Initial Operational Capability with the STOVL in 2015. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 06/04/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New MAA chief chosen

MOBILE, Ala. -- Veteran economic developer Roger Wehner will take over as executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority later this month. Wehner, the current president of Global Resource Group of Birmingham, Ala., replaces Bill Sisson, who in April was named president of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Wehner was formerly with Alabama Power and on loan to the airport authority while Airbus parent EADS made a case for building tankers in Mobile at Brookley Aeroplex. EADS didn't win the competition, but Wehner learned a lot about recruiting suppliers. Wehner is also a former vice president for business development with Safran USA, which now has an operation in Mobile. (Source: two stories,,, 06/04/13)

Aviation school moving forward

FAIRHOPE, Ala. -- The Baldwin County Board of Education is expected to approve a lease Thursday for a $2.5 million aviation training center at H.L. "Sonny" Callahan Airport. Groundbreaking should take place before the end of the month. Faulkner State Community College, Enterprise State, Baldwin County Public Schools and the Fairhope Airport Authority announced plans for the 15,000-square-foot aviation center in February. Dual-enrollment classes for high school students and courses for adults are expected to begin in January. (Source:, 06/04/13)

Fuzing research topic of briefings

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- U.S. Air Force weapons experts will brief industry June 25 and 26 on fuze technology research efforts for specific applications, as well as on research programs in the mid- and far-terms. The Fuze Technology Days event will enable government and industry to discuss research and development efforts in fuzing technology, and encourage collaboration among attendees. Briefings will be by experts in the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., at the University of Florida Research and Engineering Education Facility adjacent to Eglin. (Source: Military and Aerospace Electronics, 06/04/13)

Defunct business admits fraud

GULFPORT, Miss. -- A former Diamondhead business admitted making false statements on concrete-stress tests on jobs at Stennis Space Center. Corporate representative Robert C. Miller pleaded guilty on the company's behalf Tuesday in U.S. District Court, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. Miller was doing business as Gulf Cities Testing Laboratories LLC, a subcontractor on projects at Stennis in 2011. The company, which faces a fine of up to $250,000 Sept. 4, was indicted in April on charges involving work for NASA on three diffuser pads on a flight-engine test stand and for the Army Corps of Engineers at the Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant. (Source: Sun Herald, 06/04/13)

F-35 operational dates revealed

The fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will reach operational milestones in 2015 for the Marine Corps, 2016 for the Air Force and 2019 for the Navy, according to details formally provided to Congress. Those are the dates that F-35 will achieve initial operational capability, the point when the services have enough planes to go to war if needed. Actual deployments usually lag initial operational capability by about a year. (Source: Reuters, 06/03/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base is home of the F-35 training center.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Airbus' McArtor reaches out

MOBILE, Ala. – The chairman of Airbus Americas was in Mobile Monday talking about opportunities presented by the new Airbus assembly line being built at Brookley Aeroplex. Allan McArtor was at B.C. Rain High School early in the day visiting with educators and students. The school is the site of the county’s new Aviation and Aerospace Academy. There was a groundbreaking in May for the 15,500 square-foot training facility, slated to be completed in the fall. Later, McArtor was at a fundraising dinner with the 100 Black Men of Greater Mobile. The plant will mean 3,000 construction jobs and after it's built it will provide employment for about 1,000 workers. There are also the spinoff jobs. Also on Monday, the company announced postings for its first manufacturing related positions. (Source: WPMI-TV,, WKRG-TV, 06/03/13)