Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Contract: $1B

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $1,059,239,124 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for recurring logistics support and sustainment services for F-35 aircraft in support of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants; and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Sustainment services to be provided include ground maintenance, action request resolution, depot activation, Automatic Logistics Information System, operations and maintenance, reliability, maintainability and health management implementation and support, supply chain management, and activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training. Work will be performed in Fort Worth (46 percent); Orlando, Fla. (32 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (9 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (7 percent); and Greenville, S.C. (6 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2017. Fiscal 2017 aircraft procurement (Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps); fiscal 2017 operations and maintenance (Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps); non-DoD participant; and FMS funds in the amount of $211,847,835, will be obligated at time of award, $100,076,889 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force (48 percent); Marine Corps (19 percent); Navy (13 percent); non-DoD participants (16 percent); and FMS customers (4 percent) under the FMS program. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-17-C-0045). (Source: DoD, 02/28/17) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center and reprogramming labs.

Blue Angels nearing opener

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Halfway through their winter training in El Centro, Calif., the Blue Angels are getting ready to begin their 2017 season March 11 with their annual start-of-season performance at Naval Air Facility El Centro. The Navy flight demonstration team arrived in El Centro Jan. 5 following a brief holiday break after the 2016 end-of-season show Nov. 11 at Pensacola Naval Air Station. This year marks the 50th year the Pensacola Naval Air Station-based team has conducted winter training at El Centro in Southern California. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 02/28/17)

Plan for region unveiled

NICEVILLE, Fla. — Northwest Florida as a region must commit to economic diversification if it wants the $1.2 billion in BP money to create the change its business leaders envision. That was the message from Jon Roberts for more than 100 people who showed up at Northwest Florida State College Monday for a preview of the "blueprint" for successful regional diversification drawn up by TIP Strategies, where Roberts is a managing director. The plan is called Northwest Florida Forward. One key will be training a workforce capable of stepping in to fill positions as new industry locates in the area, he said. Another involves taking advantage of existing regional "industry clusters" such as aerospace and defense, financial services and advanced manufacturing. It will also mean addressing infrastructure needs, developing "entrepreneurial hubs" and building "vibrant downtown areas," a news release circulated by the group said. "We designed this regional strategy to be a framework for prioritizing projects so everyone in Northwest Florida benefits," said Rick Byars, the chairman of the board of Florida's Great Northwest. "This plan underscores the importance of a regional approach to build a diverse and vibrant regional economy now and for generations to come." (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 02/27/17)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Eglin and India's PSLV

The squadron's AN/FPS-85 radar.
Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 20th Space Control Squadron's Charlie Crew successfully tracked India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Feb. 15. Loaded with 104 satellites, the Indian PSLV set the record for the most spacecraft launched by a single rocket. "This launch is important because we want to ensure our national assets aren't impacted," said Lt. Col. Raj Agrawal, 20th SPCS commander. Using the world's most powerful phased-array radar, the space surveillance squadron uses an integrated team of military and civilian airmen to track an estimated 23,000 near-Earth and deep-space objects each day. The AN/FPS-85 is the only phased array radar capable of tracking objects 40,000 kilometers away. (Source: Eglin Public Affairs, 02/27/17)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

New assignment

The chief of staff, Air Force announced today the assignment of Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Azzano, commander, 96th Test Wing, Air Force Materiel Command, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to director, air, space and cyberspace operations, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (Source: DoD, 02/23/17)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

AF, Navy team on tower

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – In a move to save money, the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group teamed up with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Naval Support Activity Panama City, to utilize the Navy’s recently-built communications tower to replace the 53rd WEG’s unserviceable, outdated Gulf Range Drone Control System tower. These towers are essential for triangulating communications for controlling unmanned drones over the Gulf of Mexico. This innovative investment took about a year to accomplish and will save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Constructing a new tower would have cost an estimated $700,000, and leasing a commercial tower would cost approximately $9,000 annually. (Source: AFNS, 02/22/17)

SSC conducts RS-25 test

RS-25 test captured by drone. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA engineers conducted their first RS-25 test of 2017 on the A-1 Test Stand today, continuing to collect data on the performance of the rocket engine that will help power the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The test of development engine No. 0528 ran the scheduled 380 seconds. Four RS-25 engines, together with a pair of solid rocket boosters, will power the SLS at launch on its deep-space missions. The engines for the first four SLS flights are former space shuttle main engines, which were tested extensively at SSC and are some of the most proven engines in the world. Engineers are conducting an ongoing series of tests this year for SLS on both development and flight engines for future flights to ensure the engine, outfitted with a new controller, can perform at the higher level under a variety of conditions and situations. SSC is also preparing its B-2 Test Stand to test the core stage for the first SLS flight with the Orion space capsule, known as Exploration Mission-1. That testing will involve installing the flight stage on the stand and firing its four RS-25 engines simultaneously. The test today was conducted by Aerojet Rocketdyne and Syncom Space Services engineers and operators. Aerojet Rocketdyne is the prime contractor for the RS-25 engines. Syncom Space Services is the prime contractor for Stennis facilities and operations. (Source: Stennis Space Center, 02/22/17)

Contract: Raytheon, $45.5M

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, McKinney, Texas, was awarded an estimated $45,500,000 modification for an existing indefinite–delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee line items, for low-rate initial production (LRIP) and full-Rate production of the Silent Knight Radar system in support of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). This action is an order for LRIP II radars. This modification increases the contract ceiling to $200,000,000. The work will be performed in McKinney; and Forest, Miss., and is expected to be completed by June 2019. Fiscal 2016 and 2017 procurement funds in the amount of $39,155,826, are being obligated at the time of the award. The requirement was synopsized via FedBizOpps and one offer was solicited and received. This is a sole-source requirement. This is not a multi-year contract. Headquarters, USSOCOM, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (H92222-16-D-0033). (Source: DoD, 02/22/17) Gulf Coast note: The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, part of USSOCOM, is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

AR1 sets U.S. record

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Aerojet Rocketdyne recently demonstrated the highest chamber pressure of any United States produced liquid oxygen and kerosene main combustion system. This milestone occurred during a series of successful test firings of the AR1's staged combustion system at NASA's Stennis Space Center. Preparations for the staged-combustion testing began at Stennis last summer, pushing the limits of the nation's premier large engine development test facility. During this testing, Aerojet Rocketdyne combined the engine's preburner with the main injector in order to validate injector design parameters and performance. The AR1 engine is being developed as a replacement for Russian-made engines currently used on domestic rockets. AR1 is a 500,000 lbf thrust-class liquid oxygen/kerosene booster engine that incorporates the latest advances in rocket engine technology, materials science and modern manufacturing techniques to deliver an affordable, reliable booster engine quickly. (Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne, 02/22/17) Previous

Bay OKs GKN incentives

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — The Bay County Commission on Tuesday approved $750,000 in incentives for GKN Aerospace Florida Inc., which plans to open a parts manufacturing facility at Venture Crossings, part of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The incentive funds would come from tax dollars the company would be paying into Bay County in the coming years, county officials said. The company will be required to create at least 170 jobs at an annual wage of $63,156 in Bay County by Dec. 31, 2020, or a mutually agreeable date, and maintain each of those jobs for at least three years from the date of their creation. The company also must spend $55 million in capital expenditures. Becca Hardin, president of the Bay Economic Development Alliance, said the company will not receive any financial support until the jobs are created. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 02/22/17) Previous

Sunday, February 19, 2017

SpaceX aces launch, landing

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX launched a rocket from the historic site that saw some of NASA's greatest space missions, then landed a booster nearby in a resounding success. The launch was originally scheduled for Saturday but scrubbed. The California-based company's Falcon 9 launched a Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station this morning from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The pad was used for Apollo and space shuttle missions. (Sources: Multiple, including Space.com, NPR, USAToday, 02/19/17) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX uses Stennis Space Center, Miss., to develop its next generation Raptor engine.

Controlling the skies

MILTON, Fla. -- With nearly 1.2 million takeoffs, landings and other operations a year, the airspace surrounding Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Northwest Florida is busier than the airspace above the airport in Atlanta. It all happens under the watchful eyes of veteran flight instructors and experienced military air traffic controllers. A feature story. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 02/17/17)

How county got GKN project

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- It all started as a conversation between neighbors, according to an account of the story behind GKN Aerospace's decision to locate a new manufacturing facility in Bay County. It's about how local educators and stakeholders teamed up to land the project. A feature story. (Source: Panama City News Herald, 02/18/17) Previous

Friday, February 17, 2017

New Hurlburt assignment

The Air Force chief of staff announces today the assignments of Maj. Gen. Michael T. Plehn, chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Fla., to vice commander, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. (Source: DoD, 02/17/17)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Boeing workers nix union

Workers at a Boeing plant in South Carolina soundly rejected a drive to unionize, with almost three-quarters of workers at the aircraft factory rejecting union representation. It was the first vote at the North Charleston plant and a high-profile test for organized labor in a strongly anti-union state. The National Labor Relations Board said 74 percent of the 2,828 workers who cast ballots Wednesday at locations throughout the plant voted against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The plant builds 787 Dreamliners for the Chicago-based company. (Sources: Reuters, ABCNews, Washington Post, 02/15/17) Gulf Coast note: The Airbus A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala., is also non-union.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Bay County lands GKN Aerospace

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – GKN Aerospace will locate a new manufacturing facility in Venture Crossing Enterprise Centre in Bay County, investing $50 million and providing 170 jobs. GKN, a British multinational, will lease a building that will be developed and owned by a subsidiary of The St. Joe Company. GKN Aerospace provides components and assemblies for aerostructures, engine products, landing gear, wiring systems and special products like ice protection systems, for civil and military fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms, and is also involved in the space market. A company official said it will manufacture "advanced technology aerospace products" at the site, but could not provide details due to contractual obligations to its customer. The Venture Crossing business park northwest of Panama City is a Florida First Certified Site that includes Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. (Source: GCRL, 02/15/17) St. Joe news release, Bay County EDA news release

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Santa Rosa's pitch to aerospace

MILTON, Fla. -- Sitting in the middle of a highly active aerospace neighborhood, Santa Rosa County in Northwest Florida has launched a program pointing out why it’s a good choice as a home for aviation-focused companies. It's doing so with a new brochure and a planned addition to its website that will highlight what it has to offer. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Newsletter, 02/14/17)

The technology goldmine

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA's Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is just one of the technology goldmines in the region. And it has redesigned a part of its website to make it easier for companies and individuals to find the technologies that can be developed for the public. That's something that can mean big bucks. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Newsletter, 02/14/17)

Exceeding expectations

MOBILE, Ala. -- It was 10 years ago last month that Airbus put and engineering center in Mobile, and now the growing Airbus footprint in the region seems "brilliant" given President Trump's call to create jobs in America. The event was marked with a celebration at the center. The engineering center, final assembly line and an Airbus Military operation and the regional airport combined account for some 650 workers. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Newsletter, 02/14/17)

Boeing S.C. set for union vote

Boeing faces its first union vote on Wednesday at its aircraft factory in North Charleston, S.C., a high-profile test for organized labor in a strongly anti-union state. Boeing is running a hardball campaign against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which is trying to organize about 3,000 workers at one of two plants where Boeing makes 787 Dreamliners. The other, in Washington state, has long been unionized by the IAM. Opposition is strong in South Carolina, one of 28 states that does not require workers to join a union, and has the lowest proportion of union workers, at 1.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. New York is the highest with 23.6 percent. (Source: Reuters, 02/13/17) Gulf Coast note: The Airbus A320 series plant in Mobile, Ala., is non-union.

Monday, February 13, 2017

New Southwest service

NEW ORLEANS -- Southwest Airlines will add two new non-stop flights from New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio, beginning the weekend of April 30. The Raleigh-Durham connection will be available twice a week on Fridays and Sundays. The Columbus flight will depart once a week on Sundays. (Source: nola.com, 02/10/17)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Contract: Lockheed, $10.3M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $10,300,000 for delivery order 0133 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-14-G-0020). This order provides for the design, documentation, integration, and testing of the U.S. Reprogramming Laboratory to execute the mission data reprogramming mission for the F-35 Block 3F configuration in support of the Air Force and the Navy operational aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in June 2017. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation (Air Force) funds in the amount of $5,000,000 are being obligated on this 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 activity. (Source: DoD, 02/08/17) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Michoud damaged by tornado

NEW ORLEANS -- Michoud Assembly Facility in East New Orleans suffered significant damage from a tornado that hit Tuesday, but NASA said no critical space hardware being built there was damaged. NASA said in a statement late Feb. 7 that all of Michoud's 3,500 employees were accounted for, with five suffering minor injuries. NASA said the tornado damaged at least two buildings, including the main manufacturing building. NASA uses Michoud to support assembly of the Orion crew vehicle and the core stage of the Space Launch System. The storm did not damage any Orion or SLS hardware currently at Michoud, NASA said in its statement. (Sources: SpaceNews, 02/08/17, WWL-TV, nola.com, 02/07/17)

A320neo assembly expanding

Airbus is aiming to begin final assembly of A320neos at its Chinese plant in Tianjin around mid-year, with production at its Mobile, Ala., line at the end of 2017. The designation "neo" stands for new engine option, a more fuel-efficient engine. At the Airbus plants in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany, the manufacture of A320neo is already underway. Airbus gave the schedule estimates for Tianjin and Mobile – without identifying specific months – having delivered a total of 70 A320neos by the end of January this year. (Source: FlightGlobal, 02/07/17) Note: The A320 series plant in Alabama is at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. It delivered its first jetliner, an A321 with the current engine option (ceo), in 2016.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

UTC Foley wins award

FOLEY, Ala. -- UTC Aerospace Systems' facility in Baldwin County is one of Industry Week magazine's 2016 Best Plants winners. The site employs about 600 people who assemble nacelle components and oversee the integration of propulsion systems for the Airbus A320. In addition, the site will provide support for other new airplane platforms including the Bombardier C Series, the Embraer E2 and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet. The OE manufacturing facility is about 230,000 square feet, but later this year an 80,000-square-foot expansion currently under construction will open. It's designed primarily to house engine integration activities. The OE facility is co-located with the Alabama Service Center, a 210,000-square-foot maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for nacelle systems that serves customers in the Americas, and employs about 200 people. Together, the two businesses are Baldwin County's largest manufacturing employer. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (Sources: UTC, Industry Week. 02/07/17) Note: The site handles work for the A320 series jetliners being built in nearby Mobile, Ala.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Swarmathon competition set

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Area high school students in Mississippi and Louisiana are invited to participate in a pilot “swarmathon” competition to develop robotic swarms for use in space missions. The competition to develop algorithms for robotic swarms has openings for 20 area teams to compete. The exercise will help students develop skills in robotics and computer science and also advance NASA technology for future space exploration efforts. Teams have until Feb. 15 to enter the challenge, and their final algorithm code must be submitted by April 15. The high school competition is designed as a virtual contest using a high-level programming language. Teams must have a faculty mentor and coach. Interested teams should contact April McIntosh. (Source: NASA/Stennis Space Center, 02/02/17)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Contract: UTC, $18.8M

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded $18,790,576 for modification POOO17 to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive-firm, cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-14-C-0026). This modification exercises an option for supplies and services to implement engineering changes to the Rolls Royce lift fan systems, 3Bearing Swivel Module Conditioning Flow System, and production thrust recovery in support of the F-35 Lightening II for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and international partners. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind. (97 percent); and Oklahoma City, Okla. (3 percent), and is expected to be complete in December 2018. Fiscal 2015 aircraft procurement (Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy); fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement (Navy) and international partner funds in the amount of $18,790,576 will be obligated at the time of award, $11,183,318 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification combines purchases for the Marine Corps ($14,790,025; 78.7 percent); Air Force ($3,394,535; 18.08 percent); international partners ($344,756; 1.83 percent); and Navy ($261,260; 1.39 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 02/01/17) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center and reprogramming labs.