Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Future weapons meeting topic

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 2014 Armament Industry Days will be March 11 and 12 at Eglin Air Force Base and will give stakeholders in the weapons development community a better understanding of current threats, technologies, and possible solutions to meet warfighter needs. The gathering will provide interested defense contractors with insight into future armament considerations for Air Force acquisition. One-on-one appointments are also available March 13. The event is hosted by the Program Executive Officer for Weapons and the Armament Systems Development Eglin Satellite Office. The review will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Eglin Air Force Base Enlisted Hall, Building 1763. Activities will be conducted at the Secret Security level and will feature comments by Brig. Gen. Scott Jansson, Air Force PEO for Weapons. (Sources: Industry Day website, FBO, 09/30/13)

Runway shut down briefly

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- A private plane's landing gear malfunctioned while landing at Pensacola International Airport Monday night. The landing gear of the single-engine plane gave way during the landing and the plane skidded partway down the runway on its belly. The pilot, the only one on board, was not injured, but the airport's north-south runway was closed for several hours. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/31/13)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Florida No. 1 in aviation index

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida is ranked No. 1 overall in U.S. aviation manufacturing attractiveness in a PricewaterhouseCoopers index, according to a release from the office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott. The index ranked Florida's talent first, its industry ninth and cost six for an overall ranking of first in the nation in the index. Texas was ranked second and Washington State third. The index is titled, Aviation's Second Gold Age: Can the U.S. aircraft industry maintain leadership? Florida's manufacturing sector is a leading industry with more than 17,500 manufacturing companies employing 311,300 workers around the state. Florida during the spring eliminated the sales tax on manufacturing equipment. (Source: Gov. Rick Scott, 12/30/13)

FAA picks drone sites

The FAA announced today that six organizations in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota and Virginia, will develop unmanned aerial system test and evaluation sites that will help integrate drones into the nation's air space. The University of Alaska's proposal includes seven climatic zones and test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. New York's site at Griffiss International Airport will look into integrating drones into congested airspace. Virginia Tech's proposal includes test ranges over both Virginia and New Jersey. The congressionally-mandated test sites will conduct research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years. (Source: FAA, 12/30/13) Previous; FAA Roadmap

Friday, December 27, 2013

Contract: Raytheon, $40.9M

Raytheon Technical Services Co., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded $40,911,284 ceiling priced delivery order 7000 against previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00383-14-G-006D) for the repair of 40 Weapon Replaceable Assemblies of the APG 65/73 Radar System used in support of the F/A-18 aircraft. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind. (57 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (24 percent); Forest, Miss. (17 percent); Andover, Maine (2 percent), and work is expected to be completed no later than December 2015. Naval Supply Systems Command, Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/27/13)

Camp Shelby gets 1,522-acre buffer

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- The Army National Guard is buying 1,522 acres of land to protect Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center from any encroachment. The land is being purchased through the Army Compatible Use Buffer program from Weyerhauser. It will be placed into conservation through the Compatible Lands Foundation, a land trust that performs conservation activities around military installations and through the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program. Camp Shelby's participation in the Compatible Use Buffer program will be announced Dec. 30 at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at 1 p.m. Camp Shelby, south of Hattiesburg, is the largest state-owned training centers in the nation at some 137,000 acres. (Source: Camp Shelby, 12/27/13) Previous

Textron, Beechcraft deal reached

Cessna parent Textron reached an agreement to buy Beech Holdings LLC, parent of Beechcraft Corp., for $1.4 billion. Textron is based in Providence, R.I., and Beechcraft in Wichita, Kan. Adding Beechcraft models such as the twin-engine King Air will complement a Cessna lineup that ranges from two-seaters to the Caravan turboprop used to fly people and cargo to small airports. Beechcraft manufactures business, special mission, light attack and trainer aircraft. The transaction is expected to close during the first half of next year, subject to regulatory approvals. (Sources: Business Wire, Bloomberg, 12/26/13) Gulf Coast note: Textron owns Texas-based Bell Helicopter, which said this month it will build a new line of helicopters in Lafayette, La. (post); Textron Marine and Land Systems has a plant in New Orleans.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Contract: Boeing, $43.2M

The Boeing Co., Oklahoma City, Okla., is being awarded a $43,200,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide engineering and technical field services to inform, instruct and train Navy and Marine Corps military and civilian personnel at various fleet and shore activities on how to install, operate and maintain equipment on AV-8B, EA-18G and F/A-18 aircraft. Eight percent of the work will be done in New Orleans and 8 percent in Pensacola, Fla. Work will also be performed in Whidbey Island, Wash. (16 percent); Oceana, Va. (12 percent); Cherry Point, N.C. (8 percent); Lemoore, Calif. (8 percent); Miramar, Calif. (8 percent); Yuma, Ariz. (8 percent); Atsugi, Japan (8 percent); Kuwait (8 percent); Beaufort, N.C. (4 percent), and Fort Worth, Texas. (4 percent) and is expected to be completed in December 2018. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (70 percent); U.S. Marine Corps (22 percent); and the Government of Kuwait (8 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. is the contracting activity (N68936-14-D-0010). (Source: DoD, 12/26/13)

Rockwell's ARINC purchase done

Rockwell Collins has finished its acquisition of ARINC. The aviation and military electronics producer said it finished its purchase from asset-management firm The Carlyle Group for $1.4 billion. "The acquisition represents an exciting new growth platform for Rockwell Collins and shifts the balance of the company toward the expanding commercial aviation sector," said Kelly Ortberg, CEO and president of Rockwell Collins. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company said it expects the majority of integration to be completed during the next six to nine months. Annapolis, Md.-based ARINC provides communications, engineering and integration solutions for the aviation, defense and other industry sectors. Rockwell Collins said it would acquire ARINC in August. (Source: Des Moines Register, 12/23/13) Gulf Coast note: ARINC has operations in Northwest Florida.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Contract: Raytheon, $70M

Raytheon Co., Goleta, Calif., has been awarded a not-to-exceed $70,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for eight Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES) full systems for in country spares, three full systems to support software sustainment activities, 13 ACES Line Replaceable Units to create a repair and return spares pool, and 21 ACES LRUs to support operation of ACES reprogramming benches at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Warner Robins Air Force Base, Ga., plus a lifetime supply of diminishing manufacturing source parts to support future repair and return and production. Work will be performed at Goleta, Calif., and is expected to be completed March 2017. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. This contract is 100 percent foreign military sales for the governments of Morocco, Egypt and Iraq. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WWMK, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-14-C-6022). (Source: DoD, 12/23/13)

Contract: EDO, $13.1M

EDO Corp., Panama City, Fla., is being awarded a $13,168,340 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for depot level repair, maintenance and modifications of the MK105 Magnetic Minesweeping Gear and MH-53E Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS53) Launch and Recovery System and tracking system to support the Navy for the currently deployed Airborne Mine Countermeasures legacy systems. The contract includes the technical support, analysis, repair, modification, interface equipment, and engineering support for the MK105 and AMNS53 systems. The MK105 and AMNS53 are currently fielded for use in the Navy's capability to conduct quick response, high speed airborne mine countermeasures. This includes all depot repairs and incorporation of engineering change proposals, including the generation of all Integrated Logistics Support documentation to support the conversions. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $53,877,327. Work will be performed in Panama City and is expected to be completed by December 2014. Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, is the contracting activity (N61331-14-D-0002). (Source: DoD, 12/23/13)

Hurlburt CV-22s hit by gunfire

Three Hurlburt Field CV-22 Ospreys were hit by gunfire on Saturday in South Sudan while trying to evacuate American citizens from a remote region. Four U.S. service members were injured but are in stable condition. Air Force Col. Bill West, commander of Hurlburt's 1st Special Operations Wing, confirmed the wing's aircraft were involved. "This is not uncommon for us as we are the most deployed wing in the Air Force currently conducting operations all over the world,” he said. The Ospreys are assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/22/13)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

IHMC brings more attention to region

While Airbus promises to make the Gulf Coast region a showcase in the field of aerospace, a home-grown organization that's attracted some of the best scientific talent in the world is making this region a showcase in the dynamic and growing field of robotics. The Pensacola-based Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition came in second in a two-day robotic competition at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, beaten only be a team from Japan. Sixteen teams competed, and IHMC outscored every team from the United States, including Carnegie Mellon, MIT, NASA and other internationally known names. (Source: GCAC, 12/22/13)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Airport looks for identity

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- Many passengers at Northwest Florida Regional Airport consider the airport's name as "too vague, generic and wordy." It's also easy to confuse with Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City, according to a study by Market Dynamics Research Group. The initial findings were presented to Okaloosa County commissioners Tuesday as part of a six-month study to better brand the airport. Airports Director Sunil Harman expects to present MDRG's recommendations to the board by next summer. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/19/13) The airport, VPS, is at Eglin Air Force Base.

Airport gets new parking option

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport marked the completion of construction on the new covered parking project. The airport now provides nearly 300 covered parking spots, as well as shading on the walkway leading to the terminal. Airport passengers now have three parking options available: covered, short-term and long-term. The airport (ECP), is in West Bay, less than 30 minutes from Panama City, Panama City Beach and the beaches of South Walton. (Source: Northwest Florid Beaches International Airport, 12/18/13)

Contract: UTC, $231.5M

United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, Conn., has been awarded an undefinitized contract action via a not-to-exceed $231,465,987 modification (P00116) for an existing contract (FA8611-08-C-2896) for F119 engine sustainment. The contract modification is for calendar year 2014 sustainment of F119-PW-100 Engines. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla..; East Hartford, Conn.; Edwards AFB, Calif.; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Hill AFB, Utah; Holloman AFB, N.M.; Langley AFB, Va.; Nellis AFB, Nev., Sheppard AFB, Texas; and Tinker AFB, Okla., and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2014. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WWUK, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 12/20/13)

SSC No. 2 in best places to work

An annual survey of best places to work in the federal government shows NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center as second among organizations within large agencies. SSC scored 84.3, up from 84.2 last year. The Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office was the only subcomponent of a large agency to do better. The Partnership for Public Service's 2013 rankings is based on a survey of 2 million federal employees. Among large agencies, NASA ranked No. 1. NASA scored 74, up from last year's 72.8 and bucking a general trend. In fact, the survey shows federal employees throughout the government are increasingly dissatisfied with the jobs and workplaces. This year's results set an all-time low since the Best Places to Work rankings began in 2003. (Source: GCAC, 12/19/13) SurveyPrevious related

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Global Hawk over Canada a first

Northrop Grumman, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and a team of international science organizations flew a NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system through Canadian airspace as part of a mission to collect environmental data in the Canadian Arctic. The Global Hawk was equipped with an Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar as well as a high resolution camera to conduct ground mapping and visual observation of Arctic ice caps during the 21-hour flight. Information collected during this flight will be used by American and Canadian scientists to study changes in topography and Arctic ice caps. The flight was the first time the NASA Global Hawk has flown through Canadian civil airspace. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 12/19/13) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Contract: Raytheon, $40M

Raytheon Missiles Systems, Tucson Ariz., has been awarded a $40,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for system improvements to include design, development, and test of the AIM-120D missile. Work will be performed at Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be complete by March 31, 2015. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $3,993,942 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBA, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8675-14-D-0082). (Source: DoD, 12/19/13)

Contract: Lockheed, $216.5M

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., has been awarded a $216,475,072 firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) Baseline Missiles (150 each) and JASSM Extended Range (ER) Missiles (60 each), ER Avionics Bulkhead Value Engineering Change Proposal - Cost Share Savings, and Obsolescence Management Oversight. Work will be performed at Orlando, Fla., and Troy, Ala., and expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2016. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 missile procurement funds in the amount of $216,475,072 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBJK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8682-14-C-0084). (Source: DoD, 12/19/13)

Contract: Lockheed, $232.5M

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., has been awarded a $232,545,447 firm-fixed price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the joint air to surface standoff missile (JASSM) baseline missiles (190 each) and JASSM extended range (ER) missiles (40 each), systems engineering, foreign military sales test assets, ER avionics bulkhead value engineering change proposal - cost share savings, tooling and test equipment, Baseline JASSM Weapon Systems Evaluation Program and Obsolescence Management Oversight. Work will be performed at Orlando, Fla., and Troy, Ala., and expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2016. This contract is three percent foreign military sales for Finland and Australia. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/ EBJK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8682-14-C-0069). (Source: DoD, 12/19/13)

Airport getting helo repair firm

ENTERPRISE, Ala. -- Enterprise is getting about 200 helicopter maintenance jobs in the next year-and-a-half. Alabama Aircraft Support plans to build a $12 million hangar at the Enterprise Municipal Airport. The company does military and civilian helicopter repair work. Enterprise was reportedly one of a dozen Wiregrass and Northwest Florida cities looking to land the company. The facility is expected to open in October 2014. A formal groundbreaking is next month. (Sources: Dothan Eagle, WTVY-TV, 12/19/13)

Drone site decision coming soon

Economic development offices and major research universities across the nation are waiting great anticipation for a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration on where to place research and test sites for drones. The FAA decision could be worth billions of dollars in economic activity and tens of thousands of new jobs. Mississippi's site would be at Camp Shelby, near Hattiesburg, where the National Guard has been testing Predator drones for years, said James Poss, a retired Air Force major general who now directs strategic init iatives at the High Performance Computing Collaboratory at Mississippi State University. (Source: Washington Post, 12/19/13) Previous related

Small plane crash kills pilot

CALLAWAY, Fla. – A small plane lost power and crashed shortly before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in a heavily wooded area of southeast Bay County, killing the pilot. No passengers were on board when the plane crashed a mile east of the Sandy Creek Airpark. The Bay County Sheriff's Office said the victim was Larry Eli Caison, 52, of Destin. The aircraft was identified as a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza G36 single registered to Grey Aviation of Destin. (Sources: News Herald, WMBB-TV, 12/18/13)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Airbus moves ahead on eTaxi

Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding with EGTS International, a joint venture of Safran and Honeywell Aerospace, to further develop and evaluate an autonomous electric pushback and taxiing system for the A320 family. The agreement marks the selection of EGTS International's Electric Green Taxiing System, referred to as eTaxi by Airbus, to be evaluated as a new option on the A320 family. The option would allow aircraft to push-back from the gate without a tug, taxi-out to the runway, and return to the gate after landing without operating the main engines. (Source: Airbus, 12/18/13) PreviousGulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.; Safran has an operation in Mobile.

First Dutch F-35 pilot takes off

Vijge climbs in an F-35A for his flight.
Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The first Netherlands pilot took to the skies in an F-35A, making the Netherlands the second partner country to operate the fifth-generation multirole fighter. Maj. Laurens J.W. Vijge, Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 Integrated Training Center training lead, completed his first flight after 210 hours of classroom training and 13 flights in the simulators. The Netherlands has two aircraft stationed at Eglin, where they'll continue to train pilots for operational testing and evaluation of the aircraft starting in 2015. The Netherlands' aircraft and personnel are part of the U.S. Air Force's 58th Fighter Squadron at the 33rd Fighter Wing. The F-35 program completed some 7,400 flights and 11,600 hours to date. More than 3,200 flights and 4,250 hours of the F-35 program were completed at Eglin Air Force Base's F-35 Integrated Training Center within the last two years. (Source: 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 12/18/13)

Joint plane too costly?

The F-35, designed for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, is likely to end up costing more than it would to build separate planes for each service. That's according to a Rand study. The report questions the idea that building different versions on a common base will reduce costs. The initial goal was to have 80 percent of the airframe components in common, but by 2008 that had dropped to between 27 and 43 percent. (Source: Bloomberg, 12/17/13) But at a briefing for the rollout of the 100th F-35, Lockheed Martin's general manager for the F-35 pledged that by 2019, the F-35A will cost $75 million a copy in current dollars, "less than any fourth generation fighter in the world." (Source: Breaking Defense, 12/17/13) PreviousGulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PNS getting ST Aerospace

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Mayor Ashton Hayward announced Tuesday that he's signed a memorandum of understanding with ST Aerospace to expand with an operation at Pensacola International Airport's Commerce Park. The non-binding agreement is the result of 18 months of talks and would eventually bring 300 aerospace jobs to Pensacola. Hayward said the next step is for the city to enter contract talks with ST executives, which could take several months. ST Aerospace operates a 1,500-employee operation at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley in Mobile, Ala. The aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul company has been in Mobile since 1991 and has some 900,000 square feet of MRO space. Since 2012 it has been looking at an operation in Pensacola. Part of Singapore Technologies, ST Aerospace Mobile customers include FedEx, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and UPS. The Mobile operation is near where Airbus is building an A320 final assembly plant that will employ 1,000 workers. (Sources: WEAR-TV, Pensacola News Journal, al.com, 12/17/13) Previous: Pensacola airport eyes grant; ST Aerospace decision close; Pensacola expects aero company; Neighbor courts ST Aerospace; Pensacola's 350-acre lure

Monday, December 16, 2013

Southwest adding direct flight

NEW ORLEANS -- Southwest Airlines will add a direct flight from New Orleans to San Diego, Louis Armstrong International Airport officials said Monday. The service will begin in April on Boeing 737s. The airline also is starting a non-stop flight to Atlanta in January. Aviation Director Iftikhar Ahmad said the San Diego flight will raise the number of direct flights from New Orleans to 39. (Source: nola, 12/16/13) Related

Alcoa, Airbus ink agreement

Alcoa has signed a multi-year supply agreement with Airbus valued at $110 million for titanium and aluminum aerospace forgings. Alcoa will produce the parts using its 50,000-ton press in Cleveland, Ohio. This press uses state-of-the-art controls to meet aerospace specifications and is capable of producing the world’s largest and most complex titanium, nickel, steel and aluminum forgings. Alcoa will supply titanium parts, including forgings used to connect the wing structure to the engine, for the A320neo. The agreement also includes several large aluminum forgings for the A330 and A380, including the A380 inner rear wing spar, the largest aerospace forging in the world. (Source: Business Wire, 12/16/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

TAI delivers F-35 center fuselage

Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc., subcontractor to Northrop Grumman, delivered its first F-35 center fuselage at a Dec. 11 ceremony at TAI's facilities in Ankara, Turkey. It's the first F-35 center fuselage made by TAI as a partner of Northrop Grumman, and will be used on a U.S. Air Force F-35 being assembled at Lockheed Martin's facilities in Fort Worth, Texas. At full rate production, TAI will support F-35 final assembly lines in the United States and Italy by shipping one center fuselage every 10 days. In addition to building center fuselages, TAI is the single source for center fuselage metallic assemblies for F-35A, selected composite components for all F-35 variants, and is one of two sources for composite air inlet ducts for F-35A, and air-to-ground alternate mission pylons for all F-35 variants. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 12/12/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

SpaceX to use historic launchpad

LC-39A at Kennedy in 2010. NASA photo
NASA selected Space Exploration Technologies Corp., SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif., to begin negotiations on a lease to use and operate Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Permitting use of the pad by a commercial space partner will ensure its continued viability and allow for its continued use in support of U.S. space activities. Since the late 1960s, Kennedy's launch pads 39 A and B have served as the starting point for America's human spaceflight endeavors: Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and all 135 space shuttle missions. LC-39A is the pad where Apollo 11 launched on the first manned moon landing in 1969, as well as launching the first space shuttle mission in 1981 and the last in 2011. (Source: NASA, 12/13/13) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX will be testing its Raptor engine at Stennis Space Center, Miss., a NASA facility that is also used by commercial companies.

Friday, December 13, 2013

100th F-35 celebrated

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Lockheed Martin celebrated the production of its 100th F-35 in an event attended by 2,000 employees and guests. The first 100 planes include 44 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants, 42 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variants and 14 F-35C carrier variants. The Department of Defense gets 95 of the first 100 jets from the F-35 assembly line here. Three F-35B aircraft were delivered to the United Kingdom and two F-35As have been delivered to the Netherlands. The 100th aircraft, an F-35A designated AF-41, is the first of 144 F-35s scheduled for delivery to Luke AFB beginning in 2014. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 12/13/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Unmanned program launched

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. – A program launched Friday could attract companies interested in unmanned systems to South Mississippi. That's according to John Weathersby, executive director of the Open Source Software Institute. The institute, along with the military and Department of Homeland Security, launched a program that merges two technology trends: unmanned vehicle systems and open source software. The Open Source Unmanned Remote and Autonomous Vehicle Systems program is designed to drive innovation and reduce costs in part by utilized open source software. That's softare whose license agreement grants the user specific rights to access the human-readable source code and to modify and distribute the software without restriction or requirement to pay license fees. The research program is based at Camp Shelby and administered in conjunction with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, DHS, Defense Acquisition University and non-government entities. Weathersby said economic development opportunities are very likely, especially with a UAS conference tailored specifically for the OSS community that's planned for fall 2014. "As a trade association, we look forward to working with Camp Shelby and inviting commercial entities down to visit and hopefully setting up shop throughout the South Mississippi Defense Corridor in support of this effort," Weathersby said. (Source: GCAC, 12/13/13)

Union nixes new Boeing offer

The machinists union in Washington State has rejected a "best and final" contract proposal that would ensure Boeing would build its next-generation 777X airliner in the state. The announcement came after the third day of meetings between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751. The talks were the first between the two sides since the union overwhelmingly voted to reject a eight-year contract extension last month. (Source: Los Angeles Times, 12/12/13) Gulf Coast note: Boeing has been looking at other locations to build the 777X, including Huntsville, Ala., some 360 miles north of where Boeing rival Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Huntsville gets Boeing R&D center

CHICAGO -- Boeing said it will establish technology research centers in Alabama, California, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington as it continues to lay the foundation for increased competitiveness and future growth. Boeing Research and Technology organization, the company's central research and development unit, will be restructured through the establishment of research centers in Huntsville, Ala.; Southern California; St. Louis; North Charleston, S.C.; and Seattle. The new centers will operate independently but cooperatively with one another and with Boeing technology centers in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Spain and Russia. The international centers conduct research to benefit the environment, aviation safety, air traffic management and other areas. Huntsville's center will be Simulation and Decision Analytics and Metals and Chemical Technology. Boeing research and technology employee totals are expected to grow between 300-400 each in Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina, while the same type jobs in Washington are expected to decrease by 800-1,200 and drop by 200-300 in California. (Sources: Boeing, al.com, 12/12/13) Gulf Coast note: Alabama is one of the states hoping to win a plant to assemble 777X. The state already has an Airbus final assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala. Previous

Meeting draws opponents

MILTON, Fla. -- An Air Force plan to use Blackwater State Forest for training drew a crowd of about 200, many opposed to the plan. The meeting, originally scheduled for two hours at the Milton Community Service, went about 45 minutes over schedule as two dozen people stood to ask pointed questions and voice concerns. The Air Force said the maneuvers would only be held with monitoring by the Florida Forest Service. But some in the audience criticized that state agency too. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/12/13) Previous

Air Canada goes to Boeing

Air Canada will buy up to 109 of Boeing Co's 737 MAX under its narrow-body fleet renewal plan, a major win for the aircraft maker and significant shift in supplier for Canada's largest carrier. The agreement, which includes 61 firm orders valued at $6.5 billion, will replace Air Canada's existing mainline fleet of Airbus narrow-body aircraft, the carrier said. The deal marks a substantial competitive victory for Boeing over Airbus and a rebound on its home turf after Airbus displaced it at low-cost Mexican airline VivaAerobus in a fierce contest earlier this year. (Source: Reuters, 12/11/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Will region be robotic powerhouse?

SHALIMAR, Fla. -- It may be the most powerful indication to date of where the future of robots is heading. Amazon, which has already changed the field of retailing, is looking into using drones to deliver packages to customers. Whether it eventually happens is unclear, but it does point out how drones will one day become a part of daily life. And it underscores why Okaloosa County is considering building a $4.5 million indoor unmanned systems R&D center in Shalimar. (Source: Gulf Coast Reporters' League aerospace quarterly, 12/10/13)

Contract: Circle City, $7.9M

Circle City Telcom Inc., Ala., was awarded a $7,870,392 firm-fixed-price contract to complete the installation and testing of upgrades to the information technology infrastructure at Fort Rucker, Ala. Estimated completion date is Dec. 11, 2014. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Work will be performed at Fort Rucker. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-14-C-0063). (Source: DoD, 12/11/13) Fort Rucker is a center for Army aviation training.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thriving in a giant's shadow

FOLEY, Ala. -- When it comes to aerospace in the Gulf Coast region, the spotlight has been and will continue to be on the $600 million A320 final assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala. But across the bay in the primarily rural bedroom county of Baldwin County, aerospace companies are carving a niche and an international reputation. It's home to a plant owned by the world's 9th largest defense contractor, and it has smaller operations that are looking to expand. (Source: Gulf Coast Reporters' League aerospace quarterly, 12/10/13)

Nacelles component delivered

ELLISVILLE, Miss. -- The Nexcelle joint venture of Safran's Aircelle and GE Aviation's Middle River Aircraft Systems, which is building engine nacelles for the next generation of integrated propulsion systems, marked a first. It shipped its initial major production component, the No. 1 inlet for GE Aviation's Passport business jet engine. It's also the first element to be completed at the new GE Composites factory in Ellisville, near Hattiesburg. The plant was inaugurated earlier this year and is GE's latest production facility. The Nexcelle air inlet was transported from Ellisville to GE Aviation's Peebles Test Operation in Ohio, where it will be integrated with a Passport engine for propulsion system icing testing in Canada. Nexcelle was created 2008, and supplies the nacelle systems for the Passport for Bombardier's Global 7000 and Global 8000 business aircraft and the CFM International LEAP-1C on COMAC's C919 airliner. (Source: Business Wire, 12/11/13) Safran has an engineering operation in Mobile, Ala.; nacelles are also produced by UTC in Foley, Ala.; Rolls-Royce tests airliner engines at its outdoor test stands at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Panhandle sites eye certification

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- When competing for new and expanding businesses, especially the aviation industry, Northwest Florida needed to fix a deficiency: It had no industrial sites that were "shovel ready." But today, 13 sites totaling nearly 6,200 acres have completed a review process and are moving toward certification, including some sites designed to appeal to the very hot and growing aerospace/aviation sector. (Source: Gulf Coast Reporters’ League aerospace quarterly, 12/10/13)

Lafayette gets Bell plant

LAFAYETTE, La. – Texas-based Bell Helicopter has chosen Lafayette Regional Airport over several other locations as the site where it will assemble the company's new line of Short Light Single (SLS) helicopters. The announcement was made by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison. Bell will lease space for its SLS assembly operation in a new $26.3 million, 82,300-square-foot hangar at the airport that's being funded by the State of Louisiana but owned by Lafayette Regional Airport. The facility will be built on a 14.5-acre site. Bell will invest $11.4 million in equipment and tooling in the project, which will create 115 direct jobs, and 136 indirect jobs. The SLS is a five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter. (Source: nola.com, KLFY, 12/10/13) Gulf Coast note: The decision places another aircraft assembly plant along the Interstate 10 corridor. Lafayette is about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.

SSC hitting on all cylinders

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- It was a big win for John C. Stennis Space Center when SpaceX, one of the hottest commercial spaceflight companies, said in October that it would use SSC to test its Raptor engine. That added another commercial company to SSC’s already impressive roster of companies using SSC facilities. Fifty years after South Mississippi was transformed by the U.S.-Soviet space race, a new race between entrepreneurial companies promises another boost. In fact, it appears SSC is hitting on all cylinders as several operations are seeing growth. (Source: Gulf Coast Reporters' League aerospace quarterly, 12/10/13)

Robot innovation program launched

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. – The military, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and private sector will meet at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center Friday to launch a multi-agency research program designed to drive innovation and reduce costs of technology systems used by the government for unmanned vehicles, an industry worth $8.1 billion. The Open Source Unmanned Remote and Autonomous Vehicle Systems program will be from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. The collaborative program is based at Camp Shelby and administered in conjunction with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Homeland Security and non-government entities. As the nation's largest Reserve mobilization station, Camp Shelby has exclusive access to nearly 100 square miles of restricted air space and currently operates training and testing facilities for a variety of military, government, and other organizations. (Source: Camp Shelby public affairs, 12/10/13)

Aerospace quarterly now available

The Gulf Coast Reporters’ League has published the December issue of its quarterly newsletter that highlights aerospace activities in the Gulf Coast Interstate 10 region. The entire 8-page publication is available as a PDF, or individual stories also can be accessed. There are stories about the growing commercial space enterprise at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; a move by Northwest Florida counties to have 6,200 acres designated as shovel-ready; Baldwin County, Ala.’s growing aerospace niche in the shadow of Mobile's Airbus plant; and a story about the region’s strength in unmanned systems. (Source: Gulf Coast Reporters’ League, 12/10/13) Page with the full-size 8.13MB file; page with the compressed 1.07MB file.

Monday, December 9, 2013

J-2X undergoes test

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – A Rocketdyne J-2X engine was tested Friday for 325 seconds on the A-2 test stand at Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. The engine is planned for use on the upper stage of NASA's Space Launch System, which will take astronauts further into space then every before. The J-2X was also tested in early November. (Source: GCAC, 12/09/13) Previous

EADS cutting 5,800 jobs

Airbus parent EADS will cut 5,800 jobs in Europe in a three-year restructuring of its defense and space activities. The company said the restructuring would lead to a substantial consolidation of sites across Germany, France, Spain and the UK, where cuts will be made. To cushion the impact, EADS pledged to open up 1,500 posts at Airbus and helicopter division Eurocopter for the redeployment of affected staff. The restructuring coincides with plans to merge the company's defense and space divisions into one unit combining its share of Eurofighter combat jets and Ariane space rockets as the defense industry absorbs government budget cuts. The move will put EADS on a potential collision course with a French union that pledged to resist forced cuts. (Sources: Reuters, EADS, 12/09/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building a 1,000-worker A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. It will open in 2015. Previous related

Tyndall getting SERE training

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape refresher course is coming February to Tyndall. The SERE course teaches pilots and service members who are at high risk of capture, the skills to survive, evade, resist and escape while upholding the code of conduct. The course will be for members of the 325th Fighter Wing, 337th Air Control Squadron and 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group. The re-opened 95th Fighter Squadron's members will be the primary participants, as they require additional training to stay current in combat survival techniques. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 12/04/13)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

919th gets new leader

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- The only special operations wing in the Air Force Reserve has a new leader. Col. James Phillips took command of the 919th Special Operations Wing during a ceremony here Saturday morning. Phillips succeeds Col. Anthony Comtois, who left in September to become commander of the Joint Special Operations Air Component for Special Operations Command Africa. The wing recently converted from MC-130E Combat Talon I operations to the C-145 in support of its new mission of Aviation Foreign Internal Defense. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/07/13) Previous

Group will pitch to suppliers

More than 30 business and civic officials from five counties will be in Hamburg, Germany, this week to make sure aerospace suppliers know about Northwest Florida. Some members of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Coalition have been in Germany since last week. They attended the aviation forum, as did representatives from South Alabama. Other delegates from Northwest Florida started heading out this weekend for Hamburg for the Coalition-sponsored leadership forum that begins Monday. (Sources: Pensacola News Journal, Northwest Florida Daily News, 12/07/13) Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said upon his return from Germany late last week that folks will have to be patient, that it will take time for suppliers to follow Airbus to Mobile. About 300 of the 1,000 Airbus suppliers have operations in Hamburg, where Airbus has an assembly line, but it took 20 years to develop. (Source: al.com, 12/06/13)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Land swap deal advances

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Escambia County approved the purchase of 601 acres in Santa Rosa County that eventually would be swapped for the Navy's 640-acre Outlying Field 8 in Escambia County’s Beulah. The Santa Rosa County land, appraised at $1.88 million, will be bought from RMS Timberlands. It will be developed as a helicopter training facility, then swapped for the Navy land in Escambia County. Escambia County wants the current OLF 8, adjacent to the Navy Federal Credit Union campus, for use as a commerce park. The county wants to close the purchase from RMS by Dec. 31. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 12/05/13) Previous

Thursday, December 5, 2013

UAV launched from sub

The Naval Research Laboratory demonstrated the launch of an all-electric, fuel cell-powered, unmanned aerial system from a submerged submarine. The eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System (XFC UAS) was fired from USS Providence’s torpedo tube using a Sea Robin launch vehicle system, which fits within a Tomahawk launch canister used for launching cruise missiles. Once deployed, the Sea Robin and XFC rose to the surface where it appeared as a spar buoy, then XFC vertically launched from Sea Robin and flew a successful several hour mission demonstrating live video capabilities streamed back to Providence (SSN 719). The XFC later landed at the Naval Sea Systems Command Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center, Andros, Bahamas. (Source: Business Wire, 12/05/13) Gulf Coast note: NRL has a detachment at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; the Gulf Coast region is heavily involved in unmanned systems.

Airbus teams with MIT

Complex structures assembled with components.
Airbus photo by  C. Sadonnet
Airbus signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to explore using digital manufacturing in aerospace. Airbus will evaluate how the technique being developed at MIT can be applied to the design and construction of aerospace vehicles. Digital material technology is based on the idea that a complex structure can be built by assembling a simple set of components, similar to how the body builds all of its proteins from amino acids. When the parts developed by MIT are assembled, much like snap-together building blocks, the resulting structure is lightweight, durable and easy to disassemble and reassemble. The technique could lead to lighter aircraft and lower construction and assembly cost. Airbus is also exploring the use of 3D digital printing of some parts or potentially larger airframe structures. (Source: Airbus, 12/05/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.; A 3D printed component has been tested on an engine at Stennis Space Center, Miss: 3-D printed part on rocket engine; 3-D printing grabbing headlines

Contract: M1, $38.7M

M1 Support Services LP, Denton, Texas, was awarded a $38,722,328 firm-fixed-price contract for advanced instructor pilot support services for the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, 110TH Aviation Brigade Support at Fort Rucker, Ala. Work will be performed in Alabama with an estimated completion date of Dec. 12, 2017. Funds will be determined with each order. Bids were solicited via the Internet with seven received. Army Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity (W911S0-14-D-0001). (Source: DoD, 12/05/13)

Eglin sets sortie record

A UK F-35 breaks left over Eglin.
Courtesy photo Andy Poulastides
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The F-35 program at the joint training center reached a new single-day record for sorties on Wednesday with 45 training missions for all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter. The Marine F-35B variant completed 32 of the flights, the Air Force F-35A had 10 flights and the Navy F-35C flew three missions. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 12/05/13)

Airbus, Boeing by the numbers

Airbus leads Boeing in the first 11 months of 2013 in the number of orders that have been placed, but trails in deliveries. Airbus lists 1,373 orders since January compared to Boeing's 1,212, according to data from the companies. After cancellations, Airbus logged 1,314 orders. Boeing remained ahead on deliveries, the most widely used benchmark for ranking the top two jetmakers. It delivered 580 planes compared with 562 from Airbus and looked on course to maintain the industry's No.1 spot for a second year when full 2013 data is released in January. (Source: Reuters, 12/05/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

AF: R&D funding faces cuts

The Air Force may have to cut funding for research and development unless Congress reverses across the board spending cuts. That's what Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, No. 2 Air Force acquisition official, said Wednesday at a conference in New York hosted by Credit Suisse. He said Pentagon leaders are determined to protect funding in new technologies, but the Air Force would have to cut funding to ensure the readiness of its forces if sequestration remains. The Pentagon is bracing for additional mandatory cuts in fiscal 2014, but lawmakers are working on a budget deal that could ease the extent of those cuts. (Source: Reuters, 12/04/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where aerial weapons are developed, tested and evaluated, is a major R&D operation. Expenditures for R&D  in FY 2013 was $601.1 million.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Operational F-35s go to Utah

The Air Force will base the first operational F-35As at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, the service announced Tuesday. Hill was selected because of its location near training ranges and because the base is home to the F-35 depot. Hill is home to the active-duty 388th Fighter Wing and the reserve 419th Fighter Wing, and will be flown by both components. Construction on the base will start immediately, with F-35s arriving beginning in 2015. The base will receive 72 F-35As, which will replace 48 F-16s already assigned to Hill. (Source: Military Times, 12/03/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center. Related

UAV startup sees opportunities

NEW ORLEANS -- Amazon got a lot of attention when it said it may one day deliver packages by drone, and while there are a lot of hurdles, at least one drone maker thinks the attention will help. Charles Easterling, CEO of Crescent Unmanned Systems, co-founded the drone startup company in 2010. Crescent Unmanned Systems, based in the Michoud Assembly Facility, plans to finish developing its drone at testing grounds in Utah this month. Called Bravo 300, the unmanned aerial system is designed to carry surveillance cameras and is being marketed to police departments and the military. But recently Easterling started getting calls about potential commercial uses, and that's likely to continue because of the buzz over Amazon deliveries. (Source: nola.com, 12/03/13)

States offer billions to Boeing

States drooling over the thought of landing a Boeing 777X jetliners plant are putting billions in incentives on the table. Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington State all want the plant and the thousands of jobs. Huntsville, Ala., where Boeing already owns 300 acres at Huntsville International Airport, is one of the sites in the running. Boeing began looking for locations after a union in Washington State, where the current version of the 777 was designed and built, rejected the company's contract offer. Dec. 10 is the deadline for responses to the request for proposals. Boeing rival Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. (Source: al.com, 12/04/13)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vermont Guard getting F-35s

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Eighteen F-35 jets will be based at Burlington International Airport with the Vermont National Guard by the year 2020. That's according to Vermont Adjutant Gen. Steve Cray. Gov. Peter Shumlin and Sen. Patrick Leahy celebrated the decision at a news conference Tuesday at the Vermont National Guard base. "Most likely, our pilots will go down to Eglin Air Force Base (Fla.) and learn how to fly the F-35," said Air Guard Col. David Baczewski. (Source: Vermont Public Radio, 12/03/13) Eglin Air Force Base is home of the F-35 training center.

NATO Global Hawk under way

MOSS POINT, Miss. -- Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center started production on the first NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Block 40 Global Hawk. NATO representatives, state dignitaries, community leaders and employees celebrated the start of production for the first of five aircraft. The system will provide NATO with near real-time terrestrial and maritime situational awareness information throughout the full range of NATO military and civil-military missions. NATO is acquiring the system with 15 nations participating including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States. Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract in May 2012 during the NATO Summit. The company's industrial team includes EADS Deustchland GmbH (Cassidian), Selex ES and Kongsberg, as well as leading defense companies from all participating nations. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/03/13) The Moss Point facility also does finishing work on the B and C models of the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. Previous: Northrop reorganizes sector; Block 40 Global Hawk in trouble; Finmeccanica gets AGS contract

SpaceX launches satellite

A Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., on Tuesday, marking the first successful SpaceX launch of a commercial satellite. The mission is SpaceX's first to a high geostationary transfer orbit needed for commercial satellites. The mission was delayed two previous times because of technical issues. The $100 million satellite is owned by a Luxembourg company, SES. The company had previously used European Ariane rockets or the Russian Proton for its satellite launches. "The entry of SpaceX into the commercial market is a game-changer," SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell said before the earlier launch attempts. SpaceX, which has successfully resupplied the International Space Station, also wants to enter the $190 billion a year commercial satellite launch industry. (Sources: AFP via Space Daily Express, 12/04/13, Space.com via Fox News, 12/03/13) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX will test its Raptor methane rocket engine at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous

KAC moves forward on deal

Kuwait Airways Co. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 15 A320neo and 10 A350-900 planes, and an option on 10 more planes. The deal also calls for KAC to lease seven A320 and five A330-200s. State-owned KAC, which is being privatized, signed a letter of acceptance for the deal in May. (Sources: AFP via Economic Times, 12/03/13, Reuters, 12/02/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. Previous

Airbus posts new position

MOBILE, Ala. -- Airbus Americas is seeking applicants for an aircraft conformity manager for the A320 final assembly line under construction at Mobile Aeroplex. Minimum requirements include an associates or technical degree with preference given to those with degrees in aerospace/industrial engineering or business/quality management. Successful candidates must have at least five years' experience in aircraft inspection, configuration management or quality management. (Source: al.com, 12/02/13)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Navy accepts MUOS-2

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Lockheed Martin has completed on-orbit testing of the second Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite and handed over spacecraft operations to the U.S. Navy. The handover also includes acceptance of three MUOS ground stations that will relay voice and high-speed data signals for mobile users worldwide. MUOS-2 was launched July 19, 2013 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The system improves secure communications, delivering simultaneous and prioritized voice, video and data for the first time to users on the move. (Source: PRNewswire, 12/02/13) Gulf Coast note: Work on the core propulsion system for the MUOS, an A2100 satellite-based spacecraft, is done by Lockheed Martin at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous