Saturday, April 30, 2016

Labrutta to head 2nd AF

Brig. Gen. Robert Labrutta, the commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio in Texas, will be the next commander of the 2nd Air Force. The 2nd, located at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is an Air Education Training Command unit that oversees technical training at several bases. The Air Force previously announced in February that Labrutta had been selected for promotion to major general. (Source: Air Force Times, 04/28/16)

Delta orders 37 more A321s

Delta Air Lines agreed to acquire 37 additional A321s as part of its efforts to renew its narrowbody fleet. The fuel-efficient A321s will replace older-generation jets, including the MD-88. The agreement follows an announcement Thursday that Delta would become the U.S. launch customer for Bombardier's C-Series small narrowbody aircraft. The additional Airbus A321s increases Delta's A321 fleet to 82 and is consistent with the company's previously announced domestic fleet plan. The 37 aircraft will be delivered concurrently with existing A321 orders through 2019. (Source: StreetInsider, TravelPlus, 04/29/16) Gulf Coast note: A320 series aircraft for U.S. customers are built in Mobile, Ala.

AUVSI meets in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) will host XPONENTIAL 2016, the largest trade show for the unmanned systems and robotics industry, from May 2 to 5 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Over 8,000 industry leaders and professionals from more than 55 countries will come together to discuss the latest innovations in the unmanned systems market. The exhibit hall will showcase over 600 cutting-edge companies, representing more than 20 industries. XPONENTIAL 2016 will offer over 200 educational sessions, providing information about the future of unmanned systems policy, regulations and technology. (Source: PRNewswire, 04/29/16)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Contract: CSC, $34.1M

CSC government Solutions LLC, Falls Church, Va., is being awarded $34,122,376 for modification P00017 to extend the previously single awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00189-10-D-Z009) for information technology support services in support of the Naval Education and Training Command and all organizations within the Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education enterprise. This modification to the existing contract is to extend the period of performance for an additional eight months, with five one-month options. If all option periods are exercised, it will bring the total estimated contract value to $55,387,133. Work will be performed in Pensacola, Fla. (62 percent) and various locations throughout the continental United States and the world (38 percent). Work is expected to be completed by December 2016; if all options are exercised, work will continue through May 2017. The modification is a non-competitive action in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1, using justification 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk, Contracting Department, Philadelphia Office, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/29/16)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tyndall F-22s sent to Romania

F-22 on flight line in Romania. AF photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Two of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.'s European-deployed F-22 Raptors were ordered to Romania on April 25 to train with other regional aircraft and to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to NATO. The F-22s and about 20 personnel from the 95th Fighter Squadron from Tyndall are at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base. The Raptors deployed to RAF Lakenheath in the U.K. earlier this month and will continue to train in Europe until May. (Source: U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, 04/25/16)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Contract helps company grow

SHALIMAR, Fla. -- About 170 new jobs will be created when Torch Technologies expands its business in Shalimar. The company specializes in research, development, testing and evaluation of weapons systems and currently employs about 20 in Okaloosa County. It will significantly bolster those numbers thanks to the recent award of a four-year, $186 million contract, according to a news release. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 04/25/16)

Monday, April 25, 2016

First U.S.-built A321 delivered

MOBILE, Ala. – The first U.S.-built A321 was delivered to customer JetBlue today at a ceremony at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. The entire team of employees from the American assembly line, along with executives from Airbus, JetBlue and dignitaries from the Gulf Coast, were on hand for the event. The jetliner had its first flight March 21. The Mobile plant is the company's newest to assemble A320 series aircraft. Other assembly lines are in Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France; and Tianjin, China. (Source: Airbus, 04/25/16)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New assignment

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Brig. Gen. Kirk W. Smith, director, plans, requirements and programs, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, has been assigned to director, force management and development, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., according to a release from the Department of Defense. (Source: DoD, 04/22/16)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Restricted area over SSC expanded

The Federal Aviation Administration adopted a proposed rule that removes restricted area R–4403 over Gainesville, Miss., and replaces it with an expanded area redesignated as R–4403A, B, C, E and F over NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss. More restricted airspace is necessary to support NASA testing and Navy training requirements, including weapons firing. The original proposal included a plan to fire laser weapons in R–4403E, but respondents expressed concerns about eye safety so the Navy dropped that plan. The expansion is effective May 26, 2016. (Source: Aviation International News, 04/18/16)

Tomahawk missile crashes in bayou

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – A Navy Tomahawk missile fired from a submarine off the southern tip of Florida aborted before completing its mission and crashed in Hogtown Bayou in Choctawhatchee Bay Tuesday. There were no injuries or property damage, but WALA-TV reports that a fisherman said he saw the missile come down 50 to 100 yards from his boat. The unarmed missile's flight path in the routine test mission was coordinated with the Federal Aviation Agency to avoid residential and commercial areas. The Navy is investigating the cause of flight termination near Eglin. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, WALA-TV, WEAR-TV, 04/19/16)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2nd A321 takes flight

A321 for American Airlines takes off Tuesday.
Airbus photo
MOBILE, Ala. -- The first Airbus A321 aircraft built for American Airlines at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility made its first flight today. The A321 took off from the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley at 1:32 p.m. CDT, performed its test sequences, and returned safely at about 5:10 p.m. CDT. Following the flight, the aircraft will go through a few more weeks in final production before being delivered to American Airlines. The first U.S. made A321, built for JetBlue, had its first flight March 21. It will be delivered to JetBlue April 25. (Source: Airbus, 04/19/16)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Contract: Rockwell, $83M

Rockwell Collins Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been awarded a $83,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) modification, integration and support. This contract provides for modification, integration, and support of the CRIIS, including design, development and testing of system and block upgrades. The location of performance is Cedar Rapids. The work is expected to be completed by April 18, 2021. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. No funds are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8678-16-D-0048). (Source: DoD, 04/18/16)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Contract: Lockheed, $181.8M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded an undefinitized contract action with a firm-fixed-price, not-to-exceed $181,765,203 modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-14-C-0002). This modification provides for the manufacture and delivery of F-35 low-rate initial production Lot 9 Alternate Mission Equipment, including armaments, pilot flight equipment, and red gear for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and for the governments of Israel and Japan under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in September 2019. This contract combines purchase for the Air Force (48.46 percent); Marine Corps (13.97 percent); Navy (5.08 percent); non-U.S. DoD participants (22.07 percent); and the governments of Japan (1.92 percent); and Israel (8.5 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/15/16) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Contract: UTC, $36M

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded $36,071,097 for fixed-price-incentive-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee modification 00004 to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-15-C-0004) for replenishment spares and maintenance services in support of the low-rate initial production Lot 10 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Work will be performed in East Hartford (76 percent); Tinker Air Force Base (AFB) Depot, Oklahoma City, Okla. (18 percent); Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (2 percent); Edwards AFB, Calif. (1 percent); Hill AFB, Utah (1 percent); Luke AFB, Ariz. (1 percent); and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2016. This contract modification combines purchases for the Air Force (46 percent); Marine Corps (39 percent), and the Navy (15 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/14/16)

New CO for HT-18

NAVAL AIR STATION WHITING FIELD, Fla. -- Naval Air Station Whiting Field's Helicopter Training Squadron 18 has a new leader. Marine Col. Rafford Coleman turned the squadron's helm over to Navy Cmdr. Brian Sanderson, an Epes, Ala., native. Sanderson has been serving as HT-18's executive officer. Marine Lt. Col. Aaron Brunk becomes the squadron's new executive officer. (Source: Whiting Field, 04/12/16)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

SSC marks 50th of 1st test

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA conducted its first hot fire test at Stennis Space Center, then known as Mississippi Test Facility, on April 23, 1966. It was a 15-second firing of a Saturn V second stage prototype, S-II-C, on the A-2 Test Stand. Forty-three tests and 1,154 days after that first hot fire, Neil Armstrong would walk on the surface of the moon. The rocket stages that carried him and 11 others to the lunar surface were all tested at Stennis. This year, Stennis marks the 50th anniversary of that first test in 1966. No mission ever failed as a result of a malfunction in a Stennis-tested engine. (Source: NASA/SSC, 04/13/16)

Contract: UTC, $1.03B

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $1,038,074,689 modification to the previously awarded advance acquisition contract for the Lot IX low-rate initial production F-35 Lightning II Propulsion contract (N00019-14-C-0004) for the Air Force, Navy/Marine Corps, international partners and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. This modification provides for components, parts and materials associated with the procurement of 28 F135-PW-100 conventional take-off and landing propulsion systems for the Air Force; six F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for the Marine Corps; and four F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the Navy. In addition, this modification provides for seven each F135-PW-100 and F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for international partners, as well as 11 F135-PW-100 spare propulsion systems for FMS customers. This modification further provides for three spare propulsion systems and one trainer propulsion system for the Air Force. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force (35 percent); the Navy/Marine Corps (22 percent); international partners (29 percent); and FMS customers (14 percent). Work will be performed in East Hartford (85 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (11 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (4 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2019. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 04/11/16) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

External tank going to L.A.

NEW ORLEANS -- A last-of-its-kind artifact from NASA's space shuttle program is leaving Michoud Assembly Facility on a nearly 40-day ocean voyage to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal. The remaining external tank built to fuel a space shuttle's launch into Earth orbit was placed on a barge April 10. The 154-foot-long orange-brown tank is destined for the California Science Center, where it will be mated with NASA's retired orbiter Endeavour and a pair of solid rocket boosters to create a unique vertical display of a fully-authentic space shuttle stack. The exhibit is slated to open to the public in 2019. (Source:, 04/11/16)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Infinity getting Saturn V 1st stage

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Five F-1 rocket engines affixed to the first stage of NASA's historic Saturn V rocket will be brought to Infinity Science Center in South Mississippi for public display next month. The S-IC first stage was scheduled to be used in the cancelled Apollo 19 mission. It will be moved from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to Infinity in Southeast Mississippi over a six- to eight-day period in mid-May. It will travel by barge from New Orleans to the Pearl River then up the river to SSC. It will travel by road to Infinity, along Interstate 10. The three-stage Saturn V, used by NASA between 1966 and 1973, is the only rocket that has ever launched humans into deep space missions. The S-IC first stage was built at Michoud and is 138 feet long with a 33-foot diameter. After the Apollo program, Saturn V was used to launch Skylab. (Source: Infinity, 04/12/16)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

JetBlue to get A321 April 25

MOBILE, Ala. – The first A321 built in the United States will be delivered to customer JetBlue during a ceremony April 25 at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile. The highly anticipated event is not open to the public. Remarks during the event will be made by Airbus and JetBlue executives, among others. The twin-engine jetliner had its maiden flight March 21 and has flown multiple times since then. (Source: Airbus, 04/08/16)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fort Rucker gets new leader

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Maj. Gen. William Gayler on Wednesday took over as commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala. He reported to Fort Rucker from duty as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, and commander of U.S. Army NATO. He assumed command from Maj. Gen. Michael Lundy. It’s the third time for Gayler at Fort Rucker. He was previously aide-de-camp to the commanding general of the Army Aviation Center, and deputy director of the Directorate of Evaluations and Standardization. (Sources: Fort Rucker and Dothan Eagle, 04/06/16)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Heithold tapped for promotion

Air Force Lt. Gen. Bradley A. Heithold has been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as principal deputy director of cost assessment and program evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.. Heithold is currently serving as commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. (Source: DoD, 04/05/16)

Contract: CNS Aviation, $7M

CNS Aviation LLC, Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $7,084,962 firm-fixed-price contract for avionics bench test sets. Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received. Work will support Special Mission Wing counternarcotic activities in Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2017. Fiscal 2015 other procurement funds in the amount of $7,084,962 were obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-16-C-0032). (Source: 04/05/16)

Magazine focuses on Airbus

The Gulf Coast Reporters’ League today published its April issue of the GCRL Business Quarterly. The cover story, “Fulfilling the promise,” focuses on the first flight of a U.S.-built Airbus jetliner and upcoming delivery to JetBlue. There are also stories about the involvement of the UTC plant in nearby Foley, an update on suppliers and a story about the broader Gulf Coast aerospace footprint. (Source: Gulf Coast Reporters’ League, 04/05/16)

Monday, April 4, 2016

2nd U.S. A321 now painted

American Airlines A321 now painted.
Airbus photo
MOBILE, Ala. – The first U.S.-built American Airlines A321 has left the paint shop at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley in Mobile. The jetliner is the second A321 to be produced in Mobile, but the first for American Airlines. There are currently eight aircraft in production for American Airlines at the facility. The plane was painted by MAAS Aviation, which has a paint shop at the Airbus campus. (Source: Airbus, 04/04/16)