Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Contract: Lockheed, $14.4M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $14,426,483 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-13-C-0008) to provide the Reprogramming Center -West, at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif., with the primary mission equipment (hardware) required for the laboratory to meet Partner and Foreign Military Sales Mission Data File requirements in support of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program. This contract combines purchases for the governments of Japan (33.4 percent); South Korea (33.3 percent); and Israel (33.3 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and expected to be completed in October 2017. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $14,426,483 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting authority. (Source: DoD, 06/30/15) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., has one reprogramming lab and will get two more in 2015 and 2016. Background story, full newsletter

Contract: Lockheed, $19.6M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $19,641,417 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-02-C-3002) for requirements development and maturation efforts for the F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter Air System. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in March 2016. This contract combines purchase for the U.S. Navy (28.7 percent); U.S. Air Force (27.54 percent); U.S. Marine Corps. (19.7 percent); and the governments of Australia (3.61 percent); Canada (1.7 percent); Italy (2.38 percent); Netherlands (1.1 percent); Norway (3.62 percent); Turkey (6.92 percent); and United Kingdom (4.73 percent) under a Cooperative Agreement. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/30/15) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Contract: UTC, $269.4M

United Technologies Corp., doing business as Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, Conn., has been awarded a not-to-exceed $269,362,223 modification (P00145) to previously awarded contract FA8611-08-C-2896 for F119 Engine Sustainment. Work will be performed at East Hartford; Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Hill AFB, Utah; Langley AFB, Va.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; Sheppard AFB, Texas; Tinker AFB, Okla., and Tyndall AFB, Fla. and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2015. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/30/15)

US to export carbon-fiber bomb

The United States plans to export an advanced, tungsten-laden bomb designed to cause less collateral damage than its predecessors. The 500-pound BLU-129/B was originally produced by Aerojet Rocketdyne as a quick reaction capability for the war in Afghanistan as a way of reducing civilian deaths by using a carbon-fiber-wound composite shell casing to limit the blast radius. The bomb entered service in 2011 and an initial production run of up to 800 units ended earlier this year. Now, the Air Force says it's interested in restarting production for domestic and international consumption, with the government approving exports to any nation that already purchases Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance assemblies. "The BLU-129/B continues to be an operational success story in multiple theaters of operation, providing a very low collateral damage weapon to reduce unintended fratricide,” said Jasmine Porterfield, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Armament Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Source: Flightglobal, 06/29/15)

SAIC wins contract modification

NASA awarded Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) of McLean, Va., a modification to the NASA Integrated Communications Services (NICS) contract, which provides and manages the vast majority of NASA’s information technology communications infrastructure services. This $11.5 million contract modification adds telephone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) support for NASA’s Kennedy Space Flight Center, Fla. The NICS contract consists of a three-year base period, one two-year option, one three-year option and one two-year option. The period of performance runs through May 31, 2021, if all options are exercised. The NICS contract is administered by the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Source: NASA/NSSC, 06/29/15)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Falcon 9 fails after launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station aboard a Dragon cargo ship broke apart Sunday after liftoff. It happened about 2 1/2 minutes into the flight. More than 5,000 pounds of cargo was on board, including the first docking port designed for future commercial crew capsules. The Falcon 9 appeared to break apart while traveling at 2,900 mph, about 27 miles up. The failure was SpaceX's first by a Falcon 9 after seven previous supply mission. It's the 19th Falcon 9 launch since 2010. SpaceX's Falcon 9 is expected to eventually be used to launch crew missions. (Source: multiple, including AP via Yahoo, USA Today, CBSNews, Reuters, NASA statement, 06/28/15) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX is developing its next generation of rocket engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Contract: Lockheed, $237.8M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded not-to-exceed $237,765,479 for delivery order 0031 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-14-G-0020) for initial spares in support of low-rate initial production Lot 9 F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants and Foreign Military Sales customers. Spares to be procured include F-35 common spares; F-35A, B, and C variant unique spares; and aloft spares packages and deployment spare packages. Work will be performed in Texas, New York, California, Maryland, Florida, New Hampshire, United Kingdom, Iowa, Georgia, and Connecticut, and is expected to be completed in June 2017. This order combines purchases for the Air Force (41 percent); Navy (14 percent); non-U.S. DoD participants (37 percent); and Foreign Military Sales customers (8 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/25/15)

Contracts: multiple, $5B

CH2MHILL, Englewood, Colo., (FA8051-15-D-0001); Fluor-Amec II, Greenville, S.C. (FA8051-15-D-0002); Exelis Systems Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo. (FA8051-15-D-0003); KBR, Houston, Texas (FA8051-15-D-0004); RMS, Panama City, Fla. (FA8051-15-D-0005); PAE-Perini, Arlington, Va. (FA8051-15-D-0006); URS, Cleveland, Ohio (FA8051-15-D-0007); and DynCorp International, Fort Worth, Texas (FA8051-15-D-0008), have been awarded a combined not-to-exceed $5,000,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract under the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP IV). The contractors will provide a full range of base life and operating support and logistical support on an as-required basis to support all programs with disciplines consistent with the AFCAP description of services. Requirements shall focus on contingency skills and resources to support the Air Force, any Department of Defense component, or any U.S. federal government entity operating in support of missions which could include National Command Authority, joint or combined U.S. military forces acting as part of or in concert with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or multinational forces utilizing U.S. government appropriations. Work will be performed at locations worldwide determined by individual needs effective Oct. 1, 2015, and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2021. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders. The 772nd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/25/15)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Whiting TH-57 lands hard

MILTON, Fla. -- A Navy TH-57 helicopter assigned to Training Air Wing 5 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field was involved in a “training mishap” hard landing about 3:10 p.m. today. The incident occurred at Navy Outlying Landing Field Santa Rosa near Milton, according to a base media release. The landing was on the grass near the edge of the runway. The two pilots were able to exit the helicopter on their own. They were taken to a local hospital for precautionary evaluations. The incident is under investigation. (Source: NAS Whiting Field, 06/25/15)

RS-25 has longest test yet

RS-25 test June 25, 2015
NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA today conducted the longest test firing yet of a Space Launch System RS-25 engine -- a 650-second test of a RS-25 developmental engine. Four RS-25 engines, modified versions of the engines used to power the nation's space shuttles, will power the core stage of the SLS. The rocket will lift the Orion crew vehicle into deep space. The main goal of the series is to test the engine under simulated temperature, pressure and other changes required by the SLS design. The series also supports the development of a new controller, or "brain," for the engine. The first test in the series was in January. This was the fourth. Three more tests are scheduled for July and August. (Source: NASA, 06/25/15) The core stage is being built in New Orleans at the Michoud Assembly Facility.

Jets fixed after wing parts loss

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Following two incidents of wing parts falling off two Blue Angels F/A-18 jets, the aircraft have been repaired and passed a recent safety inspection. The first incident for the flight demonstration team was at the May 23 air show in Rochester, N.Y. The upper leading edge flap on the right wing fell off during a practice. The second incident was June 6 in Rockford, Ill., when the part that moves the leading edge flap was lost on the left wing. The cause is still being investigated. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 06/24/15. Related story, Daily Mail, 06/10/15)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Aero projects among the axed

Florida Gov. Rick Scott cut three of Northwest Florida's aviation-related projects from the state budget. Scott used his line-item veto power to cut $461.4 million from the $78 billion budget for projects across the state. It includes $3 million for Pensacola International Airport to complete the purchase of parcels needed for the Airport Commerce Park, $1.5 million for development of Whiting Aviation Park in Milton and $1 million for expansion of the National Flight Academy at Naval Air Station Pensacola. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 06/24/15)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Contract: SURVICE, $7.9M

SURVICE Engineering, Belcamp, Md., has been awarded a $7,937,256 modification (P00016) to previously awarded contract FA9201-10-D-0196 for SEEK EAGLE modeling, analysis, and tools support. The modification is to increase the ceiling price of the basic contract in order to award Task Order 0011. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Dec. 22, 2015. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/22/15)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Airbus sections brought to Aeroplex

MOBILE, Ala. – Major sections of the first Airbus jetliner that will be built in the United States were moved from the Port of Mobile to the Airbus plant at the Mobile Aeroplex in a fashion familiar to this region – via a Mardi Gras-style parade. Thousands of onlookers lined the streets to watch as the parts loaded on trucks made their way to the facility Sunday. (Sources: al.com, WALA-TV, WEAR-TV, 06/21/15) The first plane, an A321, will be built for JetBlue and delivered next year. The plant will eventually employ about 1,000 workers when it's at full production. The Mobile plant is the fourth A320 plant for Airbus.

Friday, June 19, 2015

53rd Wing gets new commander

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Col. Adrian Spain took over as commander of the 53rd Wing in a change of command ceremony Thursday. Spain, most recently commandant of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., took over from Col. Alexus Grynkewich. Also, there will be a change of command Friday for the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Lansing Pilch will assume command from Col. Todd Canterbury. (Sources: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 06/12/15, Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/18/15)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Airbus wins $57B in orders

Airbus won $57 billion worth of business for a total of 421 aircraft during the Paris Air Show, the company said. The deals comprise firm orders for 124 aircraft worth $16.3 billion and commitments for 297 aircraft worth $40.7 billion. In the single-aisle sector, the A320 family got 103 firm orders and 263 commitments worth $41.4 billion. Of these, 323 are the new engine option, taking total orders and commitments for the A320neo family beyond 4,000 since launch in December 2010. (Source: Airbus, 06/18/15) Gulf Coast note: Airbus' newest A320 family assembly line, its fourth, is in Mobile, Ala.

Airbus, ST Aero have freighter deal

Singapore's ST Aerospace signed a deal with Europe's Airbus to convert A320 and A321 jetliners into freighter planes. The deal was signed Wednesday and includes Airbus subsidiary EFW. Airbus forecast demand for more than 600 aircraft over the next 20 years to be converted in the small freighter range. The first converted A321 will be delivered in 2018. The passenger-to-freighter (p2f) conversion work will be done at ST Aerospace's facilities globally. "We have operations in Germany, U.S., China and Singapore. All our facilities will be able to do the A320 p2f," said ST Aerospace President Lim Serh Ghee. Under the deal, ST Aerospace will increase its stake in EFW from 35 to 55 percent. (Sources: multiple, including Reuters, Channel News Asia, AIN, 06/17/15) Gulf Coast note: Airbus has an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala., where ST Aerospace's ST MAE has an MRO. ST MAE is also establishing an MRO in Pensacola, Fla., some 60 miles to the east of Mobile.

Eglin testing Google balloons

High-flying balloons that may one day bring affordable internet to those with no access are now undergoing tests at McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base in Northwest Florida. The tests are designed to give engineers an up-close look at how the balloons, which have managed to stay aloft for extended periods, behave in extreme cold. Two years ago Google launched 30 balloons into the stratosphere from New Zealand in Project Loon. Since then, collectively they've traveling twice around the world at an altitude of more than 15 miles. At McKinley, the test balloons were inflated to 49 feet in diameter in the extreme cold. The 55,000-square-foot McKinley hangar is used by the Air Force to test aircraft in extreme temperatures. The extreme cold can be as low as -60 degrees. Commercial companies have also used the lab. (Sources: multiple, including Wired, 06/15/15, Daily Mail, Gazette Review, 06/17/15)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Airbus components arrive in Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. – A cargo ship carrying major aircraft sections for the first U.S.-built Airbus jetliner arrived in Mobile Bay Wednesday night. It's docking at the APM Terminal along the Mobile River, according to WALA-TV. The components will be stored at the docks and moved to the new Airbus assembly line Sunday. (Source: WALA-TV, 06/17/15) The BBC Fuji left Hamburg, Germany, with wings, fuselage and other major components May 29. The vertical tail assembly was already painted with the colors of the first customer for the Mobile assembly line, JetBlue. The assembly line, the company's first jetliner plant in the United States, will begin production work this summer. The first plane will be delivered next year.

Another company lands at Aeroplex

Safran company Messier-Bugatti-Dowty will set up shop at the Mobile Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala., according to the Mobile Airport Authority. The company provides aircraft landing and braking systems and will open an office and workshop at the Aeroplex at the end of the month. The announcement was made at the Paris Air Show currently underway. A Safran building at the Aeroplex slated to open in the next few years eventually will house Messier-Bugatti-Dowty and several sister companies, officials said. (Source: al.com, 06/17/15) The Aeroplex, south of downtown Mobile, is where Airbus will build A320 family jetliners beginning this summer. Safran also has an engineering center at the complex.

Aerojet to test AR1 at SSC

Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., signed an agreement for test services and test stand support of the AR1 multi-element pre-burner and main injector. Currently in development, the AR1 engine is a replacement for the Russian-made RD-180 engines that power the Atlas V launch vehicle. This agreement builds on the current assembly and testing of the company's RS-68 and RS-25 engines at NASA Stennis. Aerojet will pay NASA Stennis to modify the E-1 complex, cell 1 test stand over a period of six months. The test stand will be configured to conduct AR1 staged combustion testing. (Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne, 06/16/15)

Birmingham eyes supplier meeting

Birmingham, Ala., will be the site of an airline aviation industry conference this fall, Mayor William Bell said from the Paris Air Show Tuesday. Bell told al.com that the city was selected for a conference of Airbus suppliers. Bell said the conference will bring hundreds of manufacturers and suppliers from around the world to Birmingham. The city will partner with the Birmingham Business Alliance to present the conference. (Source: al.com, 06/16/15) But later, Airbus said it wasn't organizing such a conference and is playing no official role. (Source: al.com, 06/18/15) Airbus has a new A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., that will open this summer. It also has an Airbus engineering center.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Army conducts TALON test

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., -- Raytheon Co., working with the U.S. Army, successfully completed a series of TALON Laser Guided Rocket shots during recent tests. Firing 25 rockets from both Apache D and E models, the series will help define the Army's small guided munitions requirement and acquisition strategy while also developing combat tactics, techniques and procedures for use with guided Hydra-70 rockets. In April 2014, TALON received Apache D/E model Air Worthiness Certification. (Source: Raytheon, 06/16/15) Eglin is home of Air Force aerial weapons development and testing.

MAAS expanding Mobile presence

MOBILE, Ala. -- MAAS Aviation will build a second paint operation at Mobile Aeroplex, this one a $39 million twin-bay paint facility expected to create 80 jobs and focus on the commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul market. The Mobile Airport Authority announced Tuesday that the new facility will complement MAAS' soon-to-be completed facility on the Airbus manufacturing plant and will be located on two acres between Airbus and the VT MAE's maintenance, repair and overhaul hangar complex. Dublin, Ireland-based MAAS also operates paint shops in Hamburg, Germany, and the Netherlands, and secured a long-term contract to be the exclusive paint service provider to Airbus Americas Inc. to paint all Airbus A320 family aircraft to be manufactured at the Airbus plant in Mobile. (Source: al.com, 06/16/15)

Korea wants 50 A321ceos

Korean Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus to buy up to 50 A321neo aircraft, a new customer for the single aisle A320 family. The agreement, covering 30 aircraft plus 20 options, was announced at the Paris Air Show by Korean Air Group Chairman Cho Yang Ho and Airbus President and CEO Fabrice BrĂ©gier. (Source: Airbus, 06/16/15) Gulf Coast note: Airbus has an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., opening this summer.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Contract: Lagan, $14.5M

Lagan Construction LLC, Woodbridge, Va., is being awarded a $14,472,698 firm-fixed-price contract for repairs to South Field runways 5/23 and 14/32 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla. The work to be performed provides for repairs of asphalt pavement and shoulder surfaces, and various drainage ditches at the runways. Repairs also include sweeping and preparing pavement surfaces; milling cold in-place asphalt or comparable process; variable depth overlay and airfield markings, saw cutting, barricades, construction fencing, surveying; repair of existing airfield shoulder surfaces, construction of new shoulder surfaces; grading, earthwork, compaction and sodding at runway and shoulder edges; drainage ditch repair and/or reconstruction; and new airfield markings. Work will be performed in Milton, Fla., and is expected to be completed by June 2016. Fiscal 2015 operation and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $14,472,698 are being obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with seven proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla. is the contracting activity (N69450-15-C-0604). (Source: DoD, 06/15/15)

Contract: Sikorsky, $38.8M

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., is being awarded a $38,838,189 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-06-C-0081) for the procurement of critical parts and associated support for two CH-53K system demonstration test article aircraft. The critical parts include forgings, castings, cores, beams, blocks for assemblies, frames, skins, spars and fitting assemblies. Work will be performed in Stratford (16 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (12 percent); Bridgeport, W.Va. (12 percent); Wichita, Kan. (9 percent); Longueil, Quebec, Canada (8 percent); Cudahy, Wisc. (8 percent); St. Louis, Mo. (6 percent); Redmond, Wash. (5 percent); Irvine, Calif. (4 percent); Los Angeles, Calif. (3 percent); Windsor Locks, Conn. (3 percent); Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (2 percent); Jackson, Miss. (2 percent); Titchfield, Hampshire, United Kingdom (1 percent); Creston, Iowa (1 percent); San Diego, Calif. (1 percent); Downers Grove, Ill., (1 percent); Paramount, Calif. (1 percent); South Gate, Calif. (1 percent); Phoenix, Ariz. (1 percent); Cheshire, Conn. (1 percent); and various locations within the continental U.S. (2 percent). The work is expected to be completed in December 2018. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/15/15)

Contract: Lockheed, $68.6M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $68,612,500 unpriced change order modification (P00594) to previously awarded contract FA8611-08-C-2897 for increased F-22 flying hours in 2015. Work will be performed at Fort Worth and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2015. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $68,612,500 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/15/15) Gulf Coast note: Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is home to F-22 training and an operational squadron.

Mobile gets another win

Hutchinson of France announced during the opening day of the Paris International Air Show that it will open an operation in Mobile, Ala. Hutchinson employs more than 35,000 personnel in 25 countries and 96 sites worldwide. It design, qualify and provide vibration control systems, fluid management systems, and sealing technologies. The Hutchinson center of excellence in Mobile will service the region’s growing aerospace industry, including the Airbus final assembly line at the Mobile Aeroplex. The company will create about 100 jobs over the next three years, according to al.com. (Sources: multiple, including Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, al.com, 06/15/15)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Third test of RS-25 conducted

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – An RS-25 engine fired up for 500 seconds Thursday in the third test of the engines that will power the Space Launch System. The developmental engine was tested on the A-1 test stand. Four more tests are planned for the current developmental engine. A cluster of four RS-25 engines will power SLS at speeds of 17,500 mph, 73 times faster than the top speeds of an Indianapolis 500 race car, to send astronauts on future missions beyond Earth's orbit, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. (Source: NASA, 06/11/15) Previous

Friday, June 12, 2015

NASA awards contract to CSC

NASA has awarded a contract to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) of Huntsville, Ala., to provide business, administrative and technical support services to the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC). The NSSC Next Generation (NSSC NEX-GEN) contract is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a period of performance of eight years, consisting of a two-year base, three one-year options, three one-year award term options, and a maximum ordering value of $480 million. The contract will be administered at the NSSC, located at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The NSSC performs select business activities for all NASA centers. (Source: NASA/NSSC, 06/12/15)

Contract: Raytheon, $31M

Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $30,947,228 fixed-price incentive firm contract FA8672-15-C-0136 to exercise an option to previously awarded contract FA8672-10-C-0002 for Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II). Contractor will provide low-rate initial production for 144 SDB II Lot 1 munitions, 156 SDB II Lot 1 single weapon containers, eight SDB II weapon load crew trainers and conventional munitions maintenance trainers, four SDB II Lot 1 practical explosive ordnance disposal system trainers, and data. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be complete by May 30, 2017. Fiscal 2015 missile procurement funds in the amount of $30,947,228 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/12/15)

Star Aviation expanding

MOBILE, Ala. -- Star Aviation plans to expand its facility at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley and hire between 20 and 50 additional employees over the next two years. The company expects to break ground in the next few weeks on a new 24,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the company's principal office. The estimated completion date is year-end 2015. Currently, the company has 18,000 square feet. The company employs 130 people with 85 in Mobile and 45 in Seattle. The privately held company specializes in aircraft engineering, certification, manufacturing and technical services, primarily supporting commercial passenger aircraft modifications that consist of components needed for aftermarket systems and equipment. (Source: Mobile Chamber of Commerce, 06/12/15) Background story (Aeroplex rising star goal: 50% growth, August 2014 newsletter)

Safran: Too early to commit more

France's aerospace group Safran said on Thursday it would focus on meeting a steep ramp-up in jet engine production before deciding whether to stretch its commitments further. Rivals Airbus and Boeing have plans with engine makers to raise production of their most popular models by some 20 percent to 50-52 planes a month by 2017-2018. They've also begun exploring further increases to lessen a backlog fueled by more efficient engine options such as the LEAP, co-produced by Safran and General Electric joint venture CFM International. "Concerning LEAP, we think we are at the maximum commitment we can make for the short term," Safran Chief Executive Philippe Petitcolin said. Airbus said last month it was leaning towards a new A320 jet output hike, mentioning figures as high as 63 planes a month. (Source: Reuters, 06/11/15) Gulf Coast note: The new A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala., will play a role in reducing the backlog. Safran also has an engineering operation in Mobile, not far from the Airbus complex. Previous

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Azzano nominated for promotion

Air Force Col. Christopher P. Azzano, who became commander of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., last week, has been nominated to the rank of brigadier general. The nomination was announced today by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Azzano took over the 96th at a change of command ceremony June 4. (Source: DoD, 06/11/15) Previous

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mardi Gras type welcome planned

MOBILE, Ala. – There will be a Mardi Gras-style event when the first components for the very first U.S.-built Airbus jetliner are brought from the port of Mobile to the Airbus assembly line at the Mobile Aeroplex. The four-mile parade from the port to the Aeroplex is scheduled for June 21. The parade will be led by Mobile's Excelsior Band, and there will be floats but no throws. The components, including fuselage, wings and more, left Hamburg, Germany, May 29. (Source: al.com, 06/08/15)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Contract: Raytheon, $10.6M

Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $10,647,581 not-to-exceed letter contract for Small Diameter Bomb II. Contractor will provide Small Diameter Bomb II aircraft integration test assets, to include jettison test vehicles, and instrumented measurement vehicles on the F/A-18E/F aircraft. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be complete by Aug. 10, 2016. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2015 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $5,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8672-15-C-0185). (Source: DoD, 06/08/15)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

IHMC wins 2nd in robotic challenge

After finishing with a perfect score,
Running man celebrates.
POMONA, Calif. -- A team from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) finished second in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge, beaten only by South Korea's Team Kaist humanoid robot. Team Kaist won $2 million for first and IHMC won $1 million for its the second-place finish. IHMC's "Running Man," a six-foot-tall humanoid robot, was the top team from the United States and the best of the competitors who used an Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics. IHMC created the program that allowed its robot to perform human-like tasks, including driving a vehicle, cutting a hole in a wall and overcoming obstacles. There were 23 teams in the challenge, many of them with wheeled robots rather than robots using two legs. In the two competitions leading up to this event IHMC earned a 1st and a 2nd place. (Sources: multiple, including BBC, VentureBeat, The Star, 06/07/15)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Catastrophic engine failure cited

Last year's fire that destroyed an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and grounded the fleet of fifth generation fighters nearly a month was caused by "catastrophic engine failure." According to an Air Force investigation released Friday, the June 23 fire that started as the pilot was beginning to take off was caused by a fractured engine rotor. The fire on the jet, assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, caused the Pentagon to cancel the F-35's appearance at the 2014 Farnborough air show in England. According to the Air Education and Training Command Accident Investigation Board, the third-stage forward integral arm of a rotor fractured and broke free during the takeoff roll. Pieces cut through the engine's fan case, engine bay, internal fuel tank and hydraulic and fuel lines before leaving through the aircraft's upper fuselage. Leaked fuel and hydraulic fluid ignited the fire, which burned the rear two-thirds of the aircraft, according to the report. Total damage is estimated to be more than $50 million, according to AETC. F-35 engines, the F135, are made by Pratt and Whitney. (Sources: Air Force Times, Northwest Florida Daily News, 06/05/15)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Contract: Lockheed, $920.4M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $920,350,132 advance acquisition contract for long lead time, materials, parts, components, and effort for the manufacture and delivery of 94 F-35 Lightning II low rate initial production aircraft. This contract provides for 78 F-35A aircraft for the Air Force (44), Italy (2), Turkey (2), Australia (8), Norway (6), and for various foreign military sales customers (16). In addition, this contract provides for the procurement of 14 F-35B aircraft for the Marine Corps (9), Britain (3) and Italy (2), as well as 2 F-35C aircraft for the Navy and Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (55 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (15 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (10 percent); Orlando, Fla. (5 percent); Nashua, N.H. (5 percent); Baltimore, Md. (5 percent); and Cameri, Italy (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2019. This contract combines purchase for Foreign Military Sales program customers (38 percent); the Air Force (25 percent); non-U.S. Department of Defense participants (22 percent); and the Navy/Marine Corps (15 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-15-C-0003). (Source: DoD, 06/04/15) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Disorientation caused crash

The March 10 crash of Louisiana National Guard UH-60 helicopters in the water near Navarre, Fla., was due to the "spatial disorientation" of the pilot. That happens when a person's sense of place, where he or she is relative to the surroundings, is lost due to fog or other conditions. The helicopter crash killed seven Marines and four National Guardsmen. Another helicopter that was training at the time returned to Eglin Air Force Base because of the conditions. (Source: Washington Post, 06/03/15)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Contract: CAE USA, $29.3M

CAE USA Inc., Tampa, Fla., was awarded a $29,298,278 firm-fixed-price contract that is zero-funded subject to availability of funds in accordance with federal acquisition regulation 52.232-18 as long-lead time is required for preparation to perform by the contractor. This contract is for fixed-wing flight training services. The contractor must have the plane for single-engine and upset-recovery training, flight simulators, hangar space and training space within a 50-mile radius of Fort Rucker, Ala., in order to perform the training services. Work will be performed in Fort Rucker, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2023. Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received. Army Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity (W911S0-15-C-0003). (Source: DoD, 06/03/15)

Change of command slated

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The 96th Test Wing will hold a change of command ceremony June 4 at 10 a.m. Col. Christopher Azzano will assume command of the wing from Brig. Gen. David Harris. Azzano was the commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Harris will receive his second star prior to the ceremony and depart to become the Air Force Test Center commander at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 06/01/15)

Frontier orders more A320s

Frontier Airlines has placed a firm order for 10 A321 and two A320 aircraft with the current engine option. This is the second time in less than a year that the Denver-based airline has ordered the A321. Including this order, Frontier has a backlog of 101 Airbus single-aisle aircraft. The company’s current in-service fleet consists of 34 A319s and 21 A320s. Frontier took delivery of its first Airbus aircraft in 2001. (Source: Airbus, 06/02/15) Gulf Coast note: A new A320 family assembly line is opening in Mobile, Ala., this summer. It will be the fourth A320 assembly line operated by Airbus.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Annual book available

The fifth edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, an update on aerospace activities in the Gulf Coast I-10 region, is now available at gulfcoastaerospacecorridor.com. You can download the 96-page book for free, or you can purchase a printed version, either in full color or black and white, at cost from our print-on-demand service. (Source: GCAC, 06/01/15) Book page