Monday, January 30, 2017

Fort Rucker gets C-12S

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker's Air Traffic Services Command last week welcomed the newest addition to its fleet, a new C-12S aircraft. At the same time it welcomed the new aircraft, it bid farewell to its predecessor, a JC-12D. Col. Michael E. Demirjian, ATSCOM commander, said the new C-12S is the only one in the Army's inventory. C-12S is a fully deployable aircraft capable of supporting the warfighter with the latest aircraft survivability equipment. The twin-engine turboprop is a military variant of the Beechcraft Super King Air and Beechcraft 1900. (Source: Army Flier via Dothan Eagle, 01/26/17)

Flight, boat ops slated

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group will conduct boat operations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay, Feb. 2 and Feb. 6-9. Each morning, fighter aircraft will release munitions between 8 a.m. and noon in the Gulf of Mexico about 20 nautical miles south of Destin. The test will be conducted within a cleared range safety area which includes boat surveillance. In the afternoons between 1 and 5 p.m., about 30 boats traveling in formation will transverse between the Mid-Bay Bridge and the Highway 331 Bridge, to include 10 to 20 miles south of Destin in the Gulf of Mexico. The boat formation will be used as visual targets by military aircraft. No weapons or ammunition will be involved with this boat formation. (Source: 53rd Wing Public Affairs, 01/30/17)

Airbus center marks 10 years

MOBILE, Ala. – Airbus Engineering Center Monday celebrated its 10th year at the Mobile Aeroplex with a tip of the hat to its workers and the major contributions they've made to the community. Company officials and political leaders gathered for the celebration of the center, established in Mobile in 2007 during a time when Airbus was competing with Boeing for an Air Force tanker project. That project went to Airbus in 2008, but under a new competition in the wake of a Boeing protest, the project eventually went to Boeing and Washington state in 2011. But Mobile ended up getting an A320 series jetliner assembly line, which is also at the Aeroplex. It produced its first jetliner in 2016. The engineering center, which started with 35 engineers, now has 220 workers. Site Director David Trent said they are hardworking, dedicated, tenacious and diverse, representing 25 countries. The center is involved in developing cabins for all Airbus aircraft with the exception of freighters. Barry Eccleston, CEO of Airbus Americas, said the engineering center is probably one of the most successful endeavors he's been involved in, exceeding his expectation. (Source: GCAC, 01/30/17)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Contract: Raytheon, $62.5M

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a fixed-price incentive firm modification (FA8672-17-C-0010) to exercise the option on previously awarded contract FA8672-10-C-0002 for Small Diameter Bomb (SDB II). Contractor will provide low-rate initial production for 312 SDB II Lot 3 munitions, 413 SDB II Lot 3 single weapon containers, 20 weapon conversions for guided test vehicles, 20 production reliability incentive demonstration effort captive vehicles, 24 SDB II Lot 3 weapon load crew trainers/conventional munitions maintenance trainers, and data. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be complete by June 30, 2019. Fiscal 2017 missile procurement funds in the amount of $62,489,678 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/27/17)

Contract: General Dynamics, $8M

General Dynamics - Ordnance and Tactical Systems Inc., Lincoln, Neb., has been awarded an $8,054,853 firm-fixed-price contract for production of the BLU-129/B warhead case assemblies. Work will be performed at Lincoln and is expected to be complete by Jan. 27, 2019. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with five offers received. Fiscal 2016 and 2017 ammunition procurement funds in the amount of $8,054,853 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8681-C-17-0129). (Source: DoD, 01/27/17)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Contract: PAE, $9.2M

PAE Applied Technologies LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $9,215,081 modification (P00131) to exercise an option on previously awarded contract FA3010-13-C-0007 for base operations support services. Work will be performed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2017. Fiscal 2017 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $6,481,200 are being obligated at the time of award. The 81st Contracting Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/26/17)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

T-X partnership ends

Raytheon and Leonardo will no longer jointly pursue the U.S. Air Force's T-X trainer competition. The companies had planned to build the plane in Mississippi. The companies made the announcement Wednesday, saying they were "unable to reach a business agreement that is in the best interest of the U.S. Air Force." It does not rule out Leonardo continuing to pursue the T-X competition with its T-100 offering, based on the M-346. The partnership was in danger during the fall before an Oct. 14 meeting seemed to clear the air. Sources tell Defense News the issue has focused on where the work on the plane would actually be done. The withdrawal narrows the field of competitors to Boeing with Saab, Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems; and Sierra Nevada and TAI. The Air Force last month released a request for proposals. (Sources: DefenseNews, Inside Defense, 01/25/17) Gulf Coast note: Raytheon in October 2016 had chosen a 130-acre site near the airport in Meridian, Miss., as the final assembly facility. (Post)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Contract: BAE, $24.4M

BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded $24,387,949 for modification P00021 to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-16-C-0035) for about 568,551 hours of logistics services and incidental materials in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Special Communications Mission Solutions Division to support command, control, communications, computers and intelligence projects. Work will be performed in Chesapeake, Va. (30 percent); San Diego, Calif. (19 percent); St. Inigoes, Md. (15 percent); Panzer Kaserne, Germany (15 percent); Fayetteville, N.C. (10 percent); Afghanistan (6 percent); Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (3 percent); Homestead, Fla. (1 percent); and Fort Bliss, Texas (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in January 2018. Fiscal 2017 working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $325,000 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 01/24/17)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bombs away at Eglin

Live GBU-12s loaded on F-35A
Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 33rd Fighter Wing loaded and released the Air Education and Training Command’s first live bombs from an F-35A here, January 17. Six aircraft were loaded with armed GBU-12s, and two bombs were released over the Eglin range. The GBU-12 is a 500-pound laser guided bomb. The F-35 can carry a combined payload of 2.3K pounds of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions internally, with an extended capacity of munitions on each wing. While this is the first live bomb to be loaded into an F-35A here, weapons personnel also regularly load the 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition and the AIM-120 missile as part of their training and readiness. (Source: 33rd Fighter Wing, 01/20/17)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Eglin plans road closures

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The 96th Test Wing is scheduled to conduct testing on the Eglin range complex requiring the closure of State Roads 85, 123 and 285. Testing will take place Jan. 25. The road should not be closed more than about 90 minutes at a time, between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. A backup mission is scheduled Jan. 27 during the same time frame in the event testing is cancelled Jan. 25, with a subsequent backup mission, if required, scheduled for Jan. 31. (Source: 96th Test Wing, 01/18/17) Update: Eglin's testing schedule for Jan. 25, along with backup dates, has been canceled. (Source: Eglin, 01/20/17)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Aeromedical conference wraps up

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- More than 300 aeromedical specialists attended a week-long conference at Naval Air Station Pensacola designed to provide participants with the latest information regarding aerospace medicine. Rear Adm. Rebecca J. McCormick-Boyle, commander of Navy Medicine Education, Training and Logistics Command, was among the featured speakers hosted by the Pensacola-based Navy Medicine Aerospace Medical Institute. Capt. Joseph LaVan, NAMI officer in charge, noted the event was a critical component in maintaining the continued excellence of Navy Medicine's aerospace community. (Source: Navy Medicine Operational Training Center 01/13/17)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Allegiant makes VPS a hub

VALPARAISO, Fla. – Allegiant Air, which began service to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) in May, has decided to make the airport its hub, it was announced Tuesday. It’s expected to add 60 jobs to the local economy. Basing two A320 jetliners at the airport will allow it to add 11 new destinations to the six it already offers. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 01/10/17)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New milestones for SLS

NEW ORLEANS -- The first fully-welded Space Launch System core stage propellant tank was recently moved to its proof testing facility at the Michoud Assembly Facility to begin final preparations for the first set of tests. The liquid hydrogen (LH2) qualification tank will be a pathfinder for core stage prime contractor Boeing and NASA to begin validating the newly-assembled core stage hardware, along with the facilities, testing procedures, and analytical models that will help qualify the design and development of the stage for its first flight. The LH2 qualification tank was rolled from the Final Assembly area of Building 103 to Building 451, a test facility at MAF away from the main assembly area, on Dec. 10. (Source: NASA Spaceflight, 01/09/17) In another SLS-related milestone, NASA engineers have completed construction of a test stand 4693, NASA’s largest SLS test stand, at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The stand will be used to ensure SLS’s liquid hydrogen tank can withstand the extreme forces of launch and ascent. (Source: Space Daily, 01/10/17) SLS and Orion will be used on deep-space exploration missions.

Monday, January 9, 2017

James: F-35, A-10 needed

Outgoing Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says the United States needs the F-35 and A-10, two warplanes that have polarized debate during her tenure. President-elect Donald Trump asked Boeing to price out a comparable F/A-18, but James notes that while the F/A-18 "is a very fine fourth-generation fighter," the F-35 "is a cut above anything the pilots have seen before, and we need it and we want it in the inventory." As for the A-10, last year the Air Force backed off plans for its early retirement, saying it was needed in the campaign against the Islamic State. (Source: Defense One, 01/06/17) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center and reprogramming labs.

Hurlburt CV-22s plan flyover

The 8th Special Operations Squadron from Hurlburt Field, Fla., will conduct a CV-22 Osprey flyover at the start of the Alabama-Clemson college national championship game in Tampa, Fla., Monday night. The two-ship flyover is planned prior to kickoff at the end of the national anthem. The CV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft with vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities but the long range and speed of a turboprop aircraft. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing, 01/09/17)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Southwest expands ECP service

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) announced two new nonstop Southwest flights to Austin, Texas, and Chicago-Midway, bringing the number of nonstop and one-stop destinations available to more than a dozen. Enhanced nonstop service on Southwest begins in June with flights scheduled through the summer season. Southwest is also increasing flight frequency on routes to Nashville, Houston and Dallas throughout the summer season. (Source: Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, 01/05/17)

F-35 out of the storm

As Ash Carter's tenure as U.S. defense secretary draws to a close, he says all the work done to fix the F-35 program is finally paying off. In 2010 the program was in trouble after racking up $13.5 billion in cost overruns and a six-year delay. After seven years of hard work on the government and industry sides, it's now paying off. Costs are coming down and the Marines and airmen beginning to operate the F-35B and F-35A say they're awed by its capabilities. There are still challenges, but Carter says the F-35 is unequivocally the best fighter in the world. (Source: Aerospace Daily and Defense Report, 01/04/17) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center and reprogramming lab.

Southwest expanding PNS service

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Southwest Airlines will offer additional services and routes this summer at Pensacola International Airport (PNS). New, non-stop weekend service to Denver International Airport (DEN) will run June 3-August 14. Southwest is also renewing its seasonal service to both Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and Dallas Love Field (DAL) with an increase in frequency: daily non-stop to Kansas City; and twice Saturday and once Sunday flights to Dallas. Southwest service to and from PNS is now 34 flights per week. (Source: City of Pensacola, 01/05/17)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Airbus Mobile gearing up

MOBILE, Ala. – Life has changed for the employees at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility at the Mobile Aeroplex. Slowly but surely, the only plant making A320 series jetliners in the United States is moving towards the goal of four aircraft per month, a mark expected to be reached this year. It produced its first plane, an A321, last year and is doing about two a month right now. A feature story. (Source:, 01/02/17)