Saturday, December 7, 2019

Week in review (12/1 to 12/7)

While there were multiple important stories during the week for the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor, the one that caught the most attention was the slaying of three people at Naval Air Station Pensacola and the death of the shooter.

The shooter has been identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force. Authorities are trying to determine if the shooting in the large school complex was terror-related, but even before that, there are multiple troubling reports about the shooter that have been published. The Associated Press is reporting that Alshamrani hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings.

NAS Pensacola, the nation’s first air station, is a key training facility for the Navy. Parts of the base look like a college campus, including Building 633, where the shootings occurred. The base is where 60,000 members of the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard receive training each year in multiple aviation-related technical fields. Students at the base include a couple hundred from U.S. partner nations. (Post)

The shooter used a handgun to kill his victims. The FBI is leading the investigation into the shootings. Officials did not say how long the gunman had been training at the base. Building 633 where the shooting occurred is multi-story and houses schools for aviation technical training. (Post)

The eight people injured were sent to area hospitals.

The shooting occurred before 7 a.m. CST. The base has 16,000 military and 7,400 civilians and is a key Navy technical training base. It’s also home of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, Barrancas National Cemetery, and the National Naval Aviation Museum, which is also the location of the National Flight Academy. (Post)

One of victims of the shooting has been identified by his family. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis this year and arrived in Pensacola two weeks ago for flight training. According to his brother, he was shot multiple times but made his way outside to tell first responders where the shooter was. (Post)

Space
Over in Mississippi, Lockheed Martin is expanding its operations at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County in a $20.9 million investment that will create 30 jobs.

Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space and Technology Center’s primary activity at SSC is to design and build satellites and spacecraft for government and commercial customers. It opened in 2002 and provides thermal blankets and installs the engines that maneuver satellites in orbit.

For the expansion, Lockheed Martin is centralizing select thermal production capabilities to its Stennis location and will begin manufacturing products that are key components of all spacecraft currently manufactured by the company.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building renovations. The project qualifies for tax abatements under the Hancock County Board of Supervisors’ current incentives program. (Post)

Education
Also in Mississippi, Pearl River Community College broke ground Tuesday on the Phil Bryant Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy in Hancock County, across from Stennis International Airport.

It received a $2 million grant from the Department of Economic Development Administration, matched with more than $3.9 million in state and local investments and is expected to help create 469 jobs, retain 550 jobs, and generate $5 million in private investments.

The academy will be an estimated 25,000 square feet and represents a new and expanded presence for PRCC in Hancock County. It will consist of eight classrooms, five labs, reception area, faculty and staff offices, and more.

The academy will include a hangar of some 18,000 square feet and will consist of two classrooms with labs, open hangar area with hands-on lab stations. The facility is expected to be complete in 2021.

Among other things, students will be able to study welding, precision manufacturing, instrumentation, industrial electronics, and more. (Post)

Airbus
United Airlines has placed a firm order for 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft as it begins to phase out older models and launches an expansion of transatlantic routes from its key U.S. hubs in Newark/New York and Washington D.C.

United plans to take delivery of the first A321XLR in 2024 and expects to begin international service with the aircraft in 2025. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo series of aircraft to meet market demand for an increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft.

It will allow service from the U.S. East Coast to a much larger selection of European destinations. At the end of October 2019, the A320neo Family had accumulated more than 7,000 firm orders from over 110 customers worldwide. Many of these aircraft will likely be built in Mobile, Ala. (Post)

Contracts
Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $988.8 million modification to a previously-awarded contract for Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon critical design review, test and production readiness support. Work will be done in Orlando and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2022. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $153.4 million modification to a previously-awarded contract. This modification procures special tooling and special test equipment required to meet current and future F-35 Lightning II low-rate initial production as well as full-rate production rates. Work will be performed in Italy, California, Texas, Utah, Georgia, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Vermont, Norway, and New York and is expected to be completed in December 2023. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of an F-35 training center. … BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Md., was awarded a $12.6 million contract modification to a previously-awarded contract to exercise Option Two. The contract modification extends the contract term for an additional 12 months in order to continue providing diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages support for Air Force and non-Air Force users supporting the Air Force, to proactively reduce mission capability impacts to improve logistics support and weapon system sustainability. Work will be performed in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., as well as Utah, Georgia, and Oklahoma, and is expected to be completed by June 20, 2021. The Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Week in review (11/24 to 11/30)

Airbus celebrated the 100th A220 aircraft produced for a customer during a ceremony at Mirabel, Canada. The A220-300 is destined for Latvia-based airBaltic, and features a new cabin layout with 149 seats.

The A220 series is assembled at the main final assembly line in Mirabel, and more recently a second assembly line in Mobile, Ala. The world’s first A220, formerly called the CSeries, was delivered in June 2016.

Close to 100 A220s are in operation with six companies on four continents. At the end of October 2019, the aircraft had received 530 firm orders from over 20 customers worldwide. (press release)

In another item during the week, the Orion spacecraft left Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., Nov. 24 aboard a Super Guppy aircraft for testing at the world’s largest thermal vacuum chamber. The Super Guppy landed at Mansfield, Ohio and the Orion was transfer to NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.

In two phases of testing at NASA’s Glenn Test Center, engineers and technicians from Airbus, the European Space Agency (ESA), Lockheed Martin and NASA will put the spacecraft through simulations of extreme space conditions.

In the two-month thermal test Orion's electrical systems will be switched on and operated under vacuum and in temperatures which simulate the environmental conditions in space. The second phase is an electromagnetic compatibility test, which lasts about 14 days.

In recent months the Orion crew module and the service module were mated at KSC. If the Ohio tests are successful, Orion will return to KSC, where further tests and preparations for integration with the Space Launch System (SLS) will start before the launch of Artemis I at the end of 2020. The plan for Artemis I is to have the uncrewed spacecraft travel once around the Moon and back to Earth.

Airbus in Bremen, Germany, is already building the second Orion Service Module, with which astronauts will fly to the Moon and back to Earth. ESA's European Service Module will provide propulsion, power, air and water for the astronauts, as well as thermal control of the entire spacecraft. (press release)

Contract – engineering services
Schmidt-Prime Group LLC, Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $30 million contract for professional architectural and engineering services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast area of operations (AO).

The work to be performed provides for preparation of professional architectural and engineering services for preparation of design-bid-build documents and design-build request for proposals for various project types at Department of Defense (DoD) and non-DoD activities in the NAVFAC Southeast AO.

Initial task order is being awarded at $441,467 to provide engineering services to update the installation DD Form 1391 project documentation and prepare the region team final DD Form 1391 for the Advanced Helicopter Training System at Naval Air Station, Whiting Field, Milton, Fla.

Work for this task order is expected to be completed by March 2020. All work on this contract will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps installations in the NAVFAC Southeast AO including, but not limited to, Florida (20%); Georgia (17%); South Carolina (15%); Louisiana (10%); Mississippi (10%); Texas (10%); Andros Island, Bahamas (5%); Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (5%); Tennessee (3%); Alabama (1%); Arkansas (1%); Kansas (1%); Missouri (1%); and Oklahoma (1%), and is expected to be completed by November 2024.

NAVFAC Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Contract – F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $831 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the production and delivery of 15 lot 14 F-35A aircraft and associated red gear in support of the government of Australia. Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland, the United Kingdom, and Italy, and various locations outside the continental U.S., and is expected to be completed in March 2023. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, also was awarded a $328 million contract to procure long lead material, parts and components in support of the Lot 15 production and delivery of 48 F-35A Lightning II aircraft for the Air Force. Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland, and the United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed in June 2023. … Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $522 million contract modification. This modification provides performance based logistics sustainment in support of the F-35 Lightning II F135 propulsion system for the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Two percent of the work will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Other work locations are Connecticut, Oklahoma, California, Utah, Arizona, South Carolina, and Italy, and is expected to be completed in November 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for all three contracts.

Contracts: Munitions/trainers
The Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $386 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the total package approach (TPA) to the Paveway Family of Weapons. The contract action provides a TPA for Paveway-specific activities including, but not limited to: studies, production, certification, integration and sustainment. Work will be performed at Tucson and Air Force test ranges. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Direct Attack Branch, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $77 million contract for contractor operated and maintained base supply of the Air Education and Training Command fleet of 178 T-1A trainer aircraft. Work will be performed at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Vance AFB, Okla.; Columbus AFB, Miss., and Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2020. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Week in review (11/17 to 11/23)

Training Air Wing 5 marked a milestone in naval aviation Friday when the 35,000th rotary wing student naval aviator walked across the stage at Naval Air Station Whiting Field to receive his Wings of Gold.

Lt. j.g. Robert Woods of Northlake, Ill., walked off the stage at the Lassen Auditorium as the Navy’s newest helicopter pilot. He joined 22 other students in achieving the designation. The plaque he received is typical of the wit displayed by naval aviators.

"Through no great effort of your own and by no selection means other than being near the bottom of the alphabet during your winging class, you are hereby selected as the 35,000th rotary wing aviator. Congratulations, this number should be easy to remember."

It’s funny, but the true achievement is the number itself. In the 76-plus years of naval helicopter training, for the last 46 years that training has been done at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Fla.

Woods will go on to fly the MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter with the Airwolves of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Forty in Jacksonville, Fla. (Post)

-- Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Chris Grove, a special tactics combat controller assigned as the 720th Special Tactics Group based at Hurlburt Field, Fla., was awarded the nation’s third-highest medal for gallantry against an armed enemy, the Silver Star.

He was originally awarded the Bronze Star in October 2008, but due to a review of awards within the 24th Special Operations Wing, he was upgraded to a Silver Star.

The action occurred in November 2007 during a reconnaissance patrol in Afghanistan. Grove was able to call in air strikes against the Taliban that had taken uphill positions. delivered thousands of pounds of munition, securing the safety of his joint and partner forces. Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, presented the medal during a ceremony, November 15. (Post)

-- The "Sabrehawks" of Training Squadron (VT) 86 held a change-of-command ceremony Nov. 14 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, where Cmdr. Eric Reeves relieved Cmdr. Joshua Fuller as commanding officer.

During his tenure, Fuller saw 224 Naval Flight Officers received their Wings of Gold and together accumulated more than 19,000 hours in the T-45C Goshawk jet trainer. Fuller, a graduate of Samford University in Alabama, earned his wings in December 2001. Reeves is a native of Baldwinsville, N.Y., and a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate earning his commission through the Navy ROTC program. He earned his wings in 2003 as a naval flight officer.

Cmdr. George Zintak, a native of Chicago, will assume the role of executive officer. VT-86 graduates complete follow-on training with fleet replacement squadrons to prepare them for future fleet aircraft including the F/A-18 Hornet/Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler. (Post)

Contracts
United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $762.5 million to a previously awarded contract. This modification exercises options for the Lot 14 production and delivery of 48 F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the Air Force and 10 F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for the Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Connecticut, Indiana, and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in April 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Raytheon Missiles Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $72 million contract for advanced medium range air to air missile (AMRAAM) technical support. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2025. The Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., also was awarded an $11 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) Production program. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by Dec. 15, 2021. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Week in review (11/10 to 11/16)

Will NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., take on yet one more role in the future?

Perhaps.

Earlier this month U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., introduced the Licensing Innovations and Future Technologies in Space (LIFTS) Act.

According to the press release, the bill would modernize training for the federal commercial space licensing workforce and promote collaboration with academia and industry by creating a centralized training facility for safety and licensing personnel.

The new facility would be at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, just across the Louisiana state line.

"Stennis Space Center is the perfect location for training more space professionals to certify the growing demand for commercial space launches in the United States," Wicker said in the release. "This legislation would help ensure the U.S. remains the leader in the commercial space industry and would expand Mississippi's contributions to the future of space exploration and research."

"The federal oversight and licensing of commercial space technologies will require a workforce qualified to certify the safety and efficiency of those breakthroughs. The LIFTS Act would tap the expertise based at the Stennis Space Center to establish a facility to meet this critical need," Hyde-Smith said.

The LIFTS Act would establish a facility to train federal employees to license commercial space activities. The training program would be coordinated between the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, the commercial space industry, and academic partners. (Release)

Stennis Space Center is packed with activities. It's where NASA and commercial companies test rocket engines. Some rocket engines are also assembled there, and a California-based company plans to print 3D rockets there. It's  also home to some 40 tenants involved in a variety of fields, including oceanography.

A tip-of-the-hat to Ed, who drew my attention to this story.

By the way, if you decide to look up the LIFTS Act on the internet, don't confuse it with something called the LIFT Act. That's a plan by Democratic candidate Kamala Harris to provide a cash payment to middle-class households.

Speaking of space, all four RS-25 engines were recently mated to the core stage for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for Artemis I, the first mission of SLS and NASA's Orion spacecraft.

To complete assembly of the rocket stage, engineers and technicians are now integrating the propulsion and electrical systems within the structure. The stage, which includes two huge propellant tanks, provides more than 2 million pounds of thrust to send Artemis I to the Moon.

Engineers and technicians at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans attached the fourth RS-25 engine to the rocket stage Nov. 6 just one day after structurally mating the third engine. (Post)

Military
The Air Force identified the missing airman who fell out of a C-130 over the Gulf of Mexico during a training exercise as 29-year-old Special Tactics combat controller Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff.

The Dallas native fell about 1,500 feet from the plane during a parachute training exercise. His parachute was deployed and he was seen treading water. Condiff was with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing. (Post)

Contracts
Raytheon Co. Missile Systems Division, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an $18.6 million modification exercising the first option year of three options to previously awarded FA8675-19-C-0004 for fiscal 2020 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) Targeting System (HTS) Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) services. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2020. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.



Saturday, November 9, 2019

Week in review (11/3 to 11/9)

Late last month NASA selected Tuskegee University (TU), the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and Virginia State University (VSU) in Petersburg for a NASA program to provide students at minority-serving institutions the education and experience needed to help address manufacturing needs in the American aerospace sector.

Tuskegee will focus on 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing. It will work with Bell Helicopter and NASA to accelerate the integration of 3D printing into high-volume aerospace manufacturing and supply chain management for helicopters and drones.

Bell will identify critical helicopter parts and work with TU to develop a complete business case for the use of 3D printing in the manufacture of those parts. In the drone track, TU will incorporate 3D printing into the design, build, and test phases of drone development to improve the functionality and performance of these aircraft. The work will be conducted in increments to allow for continuous assessment of the quality performance of 3D-printed parts.

Bell has a manufacturing operation in Ozark, Ala., which produces the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. The Ozark site also has been selected by Bell to build the 407GXi, should Bell win the competition to build the new Navy helicopter trainer that will replace the TH-57. Airbus Helicopter's H135 and Leonardo Helicopter's TH-119 are also in the running.

In addition to the 3D printing effort at Tuskegee, UTEP is partnering with Lockheed Martin and the Army to create a manufacturing ecosystem in the southwest that addresses a skills shortage. The partnership will provide curricula, internships and apprenticeships in design and production of composites and PCBs. And at VSU, it will create a pilot program to advance research, education, and outreach to undergraduate and graduate students at VSU and Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Va., focused on advancing on all fronts of manufacturing in this sector.

The NASA program will provide almost $1.5 million to fund curriculum-based learning, research, training, internships and apprenticeships at the three universities to meet the growing demand for expertise and techniques in high-volume aerospace manufacturing.

You can read more about this in the news release.

A special tip-of-the-hat to loyal reader Freddie, who drew my attention to this story.

Military
An Air Force airman who fell out of the C-130 he was flying in over the Gulf of Mexico still hasn't been found. The search is now considered a recovery effort, and it's focused on an area south of the Florida Panhandle between Destin and Pensacola, Fla.

The plane was based at Hurlburt Field, Fla., near Mary Esther. Officials received the report that the airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing fell into the water on Tuesday around 11:30 a.m. The staff sergeant was in training at the time and fell from the aircraft at about 1,500 feet. His name has not yet been released. Others in the plane saw the airman's parachute deploy and that he was treading water once he landed. (Post)

-- The Blue Angels are wrapping up another season with a Homecoming Air Show Saturday at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The Blue Angels fly at about 2 p.m. There was also a show Friday. (Post)

Contracts
UTS Systems LLC, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a maximum $200 million contract for commercial shelters. This is a one-year base contract with three one-year option periods. Location of performance is Florida, with a Nov. 7, 2020, performance completion date. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Week in review (10/27 to 11/2)

Major changes continue in the aerospace industry, and the latest is of interest to the Gulf Coast aerospace region. Bombardier's aerospace operations in Northern Ireland, Morocco and Texas, are being sold to Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems in a deal valued at $1.1 billion.

The Canadian company put the factories up for sale in May as part of a reorganization drive. The three operations have a combined total of some 4,000 employees, with about 3,600 of them in the Northern Ireland Belfast operation.

Spirit is a major supplier to Airbus and Boeing. Earlier this year the company said it wanted to do more work for Airbus. Buying Bombardier's Northern Ireland operation is part of that strategy.

The wings for the A220 are made at the Belfast plant and it also supplies other Airbus parts, particularly engine covers. The Texas operation being purchased is a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Dallas. (Stories: BBC, Financial Times, Bombardier)

Airbus earlier this year expressed some interest in buying the Belfast plant. In May Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said that this would be an option for Airbus, effectively leading to the manufacturer taking control of the wing production for its A220 airliner, as well as engine covers for its A320 series.

Purchase of the Belfast operation would have added to Airbus’s operations in the UK, which include wing manufacture for most of its commercial aircraft products at Broughton, North Wales, as well as production and design of wings at Filton, near Bristol. (Previous post)

In June, Bombardier said it would sell its regional jet business to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) for $550 million in cash. That marked the Canadian plane and train maker’s exit from commercial aviation. Montreal-based Bombardier had combined its aviation units to focus more on profitable business jets and passenger rail cars, after facing a cash-crunch in 2015 while bringing its flagship commercial jet to market. Bombardier will continue to assemble its regional jet planes (CRJ), but will stop making the aircraft in the second half of 2020 after delivering its remaining orders. (Previous post)

Bombardier last year agreed to make Airbus a majority partner in a partnership that builds the A220, the former Bombardier CSeries. That partnership led to the creation of a new A220 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Contracts – F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $7 billion modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the procurement of 114 F-35 aircraft for Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy; non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers.

Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan, and various locations outside the continental U.S. and is expected to be completed in March 2023.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, also was awarded a $10.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the development and delivery of an enhanced simulator database and project management support for the F-35 aircraft in support of the government of Japan.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both contracts. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of an F-35 training center and F-35 reprogramming labs.

Contracts – other
The Superior Forge & Steel Corp., Lima, Ohio; and Ellwood National Forge, Irvine, Pa., were awarded $90 million multiple award contracts. These contracts provided for the procurement of GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators BLU-J 27C/B Penetrator warhead case assemblies with associated components. Work will be performed at Lima and Irvine and is expected to be complete by Oct. 28, 2027. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … General Dynamics Information Technology Inc., Fairfax, Va., was awarded a $46.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract to execute Award Term 4 for integrated logistics support for multiple Foreign Military Sales customers. Some of the work will be performed in Pensacola, Fla. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Week in review (10/20 to 10/26)

American Airlines and Spirit Airlines executives are working with Airbus to mitigate the impact of U.S. tariffs on European-made aircraft, including having more planes delivered from its aircraft plant in Mobile, Ala.

Planes built there are not subject to a 10 percent tariff announced by Washington in the wake of the World Trade Organization ruling. American, one of the largest customers of the A320 series, expects 21 deliveries over the next two years, with nine already scheduled out of Airbus’ plant in Mobile. (Post)

Airbus and Spirit Airlines have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding for the U.S.-based airline to acquire up to 100 A320neo series aircraft. Spirit announced its intention to place firm orders for a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo to meet its future fleet requirements.

Spirit is based in South Florida. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo series had received more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 customers worldwide. Airbus builds the A320 series in Mobile, Ala., as well as in Germany, France and China. (Post)

Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $148.4 million order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This order procures durability testing support for the certification of the F-35B aircraft variant to a minimum of 8,000 flight hours/30 year service life in support of the Marine Corps and non-Department of Defense participants. The effort includes the test article configuration, the test article build, the test plan, the testing itself, and teardown and analysis. Work will be performed in Texas, California and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in July 2032. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of an F-35 training center. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded an $18.3 million modification to a delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement in support of the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system. This order procures material kits and retrofit labor to incorporate the Integrated Functional Capability (IFC) 4.0 configuration into one retrofit ground segment and fully fund the IFC 4.0 retrofit install labor for aircraft B10. Work will be performed in California, Texas, Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Virginia and various locations inside and outside the continental U.S. Work is expected to be completed in February 2021. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss., does fuselage work on Tritons. … FlightSafety Services Corp., Centennial, Colo., was awarded a $13.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for aircrew training services in support of the TH-57B/C community, including instruction, operation and curriculum support. Work will be performed at Naval Air Station, Whiting Field, Fla., and is expected to be completed in October 2020. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.



Saturday, October 19, 2019

Week in review (10/6 to 10/19)

Is the Airbus jetliner plant in Mobile, Ala., safe now from the threat of tariffs being placed on major components that are shipped there?

Yes, for now at least.

The cover story of the October issue of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter focuses on the Airbus operation in Mobile, and details what led up to the decision earlier this month by the World Trade Organization that allowed the United States to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of goods from Europe.

As the story points out, major parts from Europe that are used to build the jetliners in Mobile are not on the list of goods subjected to tariffs. But that doesn’t mean it’s free and clear. The list can change.

The newsletter also has a story about the Navy's plans to replace the TH-57 training helicopter at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla. Three companies – Leonardo, Airbus and Bell – are competing for the right to build the trainers. All are modified versions of commercially available helicopters.

Depending on which company wins, the trainers will be assembled in Philadelphia, Ozark, Ala., or Columbus, Miss. And one of the companies, Leonardo, has already said that if it wins, it will set up a support operation at Milton’s new Whiting Aviation Park, just outside Naval Air Station Whiting Field.

There’s also a story about the Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., an operation that was launched in 2006 and has slowly grown satisfying the needs of the nation’s military for unmanned systems.

Subscribers found the October issue in their inboxes, but non-subscribers can visit our website and download a copy of the eight-page newsletter. It’s free of charge, thanks to the support of our underwriters. (Post)

Speaking of NAS Whiting Field, Training Air Wing Five at the base will host portions of the Naval Helicopter Association Gulf Coast 2019 Fleet Fly In next week. It's designed to provide a week of training and knowledge sharing with student aviators so they can make informed decisions as they move forward in their aviation careers.

A number of aircraft including helicopters and fixed wing airframes such as the MH-60R and S, MH-53, AH-1Z, H-65, MV-22, and several civil aircraft are expected to participate. (Post)

We’re nearing the end of 2019 and we have just one more issue before we start the new year of 2020. Our final issue of the year will take a look at some of the key aerospace events that occurred in the Gulf Coast region.

But we’ll also take a look at what we can expect in 2020. We are pretty sure about some of the things that will occur – the test of the core stage of the Space Launch System at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and the first A220 built in Mobile, Ala., will be finished.

But those are the obvious things. We’ll tell you a lot more to expect. We’ll be right with some, wrong with others. And there’s also the stuff that will come down the pike that we won’t see coming.

If you have any thoughts on what might happen in 2020, drop me a line and we’ll work it into our story.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Week in review (9/22 to 10/5)

Airbus in Mobile escaping a problem with tariffs, the arrival of the Space Launch System pathfinder at Kennedy Space Center and Leonard’s announcement it would place a facility in Milton, Fla., if it wins the contract to provide new training helicopters to the Navy were some of the key stories over the past two weeks. And there were also a lot of contracts awarded.

Here’s your week – actually two – in review:

Airbus
The World Trade Organization said the U.S. can move forward with plans to impose some $7.5 billion in tariffs on EU goods annually, to counteract years of European loans and illegal subsidies to Airbus. Fortunately for this region, major parts shipped from Europe to build Airbus jetliners in Mobile, Ala., escaped the tariffs.

The WTO decision comes after a 15-year dispute over European Union countries' roles in building Airbus into a global player that competes head-to-head with Boeing. But the clash isn't over. The WTO will rule in the coming months on the EU's own request to levy tariffs on the U.S. over its aid to Boeing.

The United States said it would slap 10 percent tariffs on European-made Airbus planes and 25 percent duties on French wine, Scotch and Irish whiskies, and cheese from across the continent as punishment for illegal EU aircraft subsidies.

The size and scope of the tariffs were reduced from a $25 billion list floated by Washington earlier this year that included helicopters, major aircraft components, seafood, luxury goods and other big-ticket categories that were excluded from Wednesday’s announcement. (Post)

We’ll have a detailed look at this issue in the upcoming October newsletter.

Military
Leonardo Helicopter said the Company will build a 100,000 square-foot customer support center adjacent to Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Northwest Florida if it’s selected for the Navy’s Advanced Helicopter Training System.

Leonardo, one of three companies competing to build the new helicopter trainer, is offering TH-119 single engine helicopter to replace the Navy’s TH-57 training helicopters. The Navy is expected to make its selection for the 130 helicopters by the end of 2019.

Leonardo’s planned support center will create up to 50 jobs to maintain the trainers. The center would be at the 267-acre Whiting Aviation Park, a new park adjacent to NAS Whiting Field. The other competitors are Airbus Helicopters and Bell, which built the TH-57. (Post)

We also will have a detailed look at this in the October issue of the newsletter.

Space
NASA’s Pegasus Barge arrived at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Complex 39 turn basin Sept. 27 with the 212-foot-long Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage pathfinder mock-up.

The pathfinder will be used by the Exploration Ground Systems Program and their contractor, Jacobs, to practice offloading, moving and stacking maneuvers, to train employees and certify all the equipment works properly.

The core stage includes the cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks that will feed four RS-25 rocket engines and also contains the vehicle’s avionics and flight computer. The pathfinder will stay at KSC for about a month before sailing back to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. (Post)

Contracts – F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $8 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides additional contractor support to increase the development flight test aircraft capacity for F-35 test. Work will be performed in Maryland and California and is expected to be completed in March 2020.  … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., also was awarded a $30.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification exercises the option to continue lab infrastructure activities in support of F-35 system integration labs. In addition, this modification provides administration, maintenance and preparation of F-35 labs to test updated or corrected software and hardware configurations across the F-35 platform. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (70%); and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (30%), and is expected to be completed in March 2020. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., also was awarded a $150.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for Autonomic Logistics Information System hardware and support equipment in support of low rate initial production Lot 11 Lightning II aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Participants, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., also was awarded a $9 million modification to a previously awarded contract in support of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity on all four of these Lockheed contracts.

Contracts – F-35 others
United Technologies Corp., East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $325.2 million contract to provide material and support equipment for depot maintenance facilities, non-recurring sustainment activities, supplies, services and planning for depot activations as well as two F135 full-scale high fidelity mockup engines and four modules for test cells in support of the F-35 Lightning II Program. Work will be performed in Oklahoma, Connecticut, North Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana and various locations within and outside the continental United States and is expected to be completed in January 2023. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $7.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for testing of software changes to allow for emergency thrust bump operations in support of F-35B short takeoff and landing aircraft for Marine Corps and non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, also was awarded a $2.2 billion modification to a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … ASRC Builders LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded a $12.8 million contract for demolition and construction of an F-35A conventional munitions maintenance facility. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Anchorage, Alaska, is the contracting activity.

Contracts – trainers
ASES LLC, doing business as Field Aerospace, Oklahoma City, Okla., was awarded a $21.3 million contract modification to a previously award contract to exercise Option One for full rate production to begin for the T-1A Avionics Modification Program. This contract provides for the replacement of the avionics suite in the Air Education and Training Command fleet of 178 T-1A trainer aircraft, 16 operational flight trainers and 14 part task trainers. One of the work locations is Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Other work sites are in Oklahoma, Texas, and Mississippi. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker Air force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity. … Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $40.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification opens up the ordering period to provide organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance, logistics, and engineering support. The effort involves providing services in support of the T-45 Pilot Production Recovery effort, equipment, tools, direct material, and indirect material required to support and maintain all Navy T-45 aircraft, aircraft systems, and related support equipment to support flight and test and evaluation operations. Work will be performed in Kingsville, Texas (53.6%); Meridian, Miss. (39.6%) and Pensacola, Fla. (6.8%), and is expected to be completed in March 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $180.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification exercises an option for organizational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance, logistics, and engineering support for Navy T-45 aircraft, aircraft systems, and related support equipment. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas (45.7%); NAS Meridian, Miss. (41.7%); NAS Pensacola, Fla. (10.1%), and NAS Patuxent River, Md. (2.5%), and is expected to be completed in September 2020. The Naval Air Warfare Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Contracts – munitions
Faxon Machining Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio; and Major Tool & Machine Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., have been awarded a $600 million contract for BLU-136/B next generation area attack warhead case production. This contract provides for the procurement of 15,000 BLU-136/B next generation area attack warhead cases. Work will be performed at Cincinnati and Indianapolis and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2026. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Direct Attack Division, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … The Boeing Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $70 million contract for the procurement of GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators. Will be performed at St. Louis and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2022. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $200 million contract for Small Diameter Bomb II Life Cycle Support Contract III. This contract provides lifecycle support includes, but is not limited to, all efforts related to the SDB II and variants in various support efforts for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development integration, production, sustainment, testing, obsolescence analysis and management, logistics support, testing, training, upgrades, and software updates. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2024. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … The Boeing Co. Defense, Space, and Security, St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $280 million contract for Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB) integration and engineering support for the fielded SDB I weapon system. This contract provides for SDB weapon integration on selected weapon platforms and support of the fielded weapon system. Work will be performed in St. Louis and is expected to be completed by September 2024. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8672-19-D-0003). … Reliance Test & Technology, Crestview, Fla., was awarded a $49 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Eglin Operation and Maintenance Support Service. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2020. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $93 million contract for in-air and underwater launch testing/capability for a new weapons system. This contract provides for engineering and design services to upgrade, redesign, fabricate, and operate the air launch testing capability at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) China Lake, and for the conceptual design support and initial operation of an underwater launch test capability at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane, Ind.. The NAWCWD, China Lake, is the contracting activity.

Contracts - radar
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $375.8 million delivery order against a five year basic ordering agreement for Multi Function Active Sensor Radar Systems for the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pa. … Crane Electronics Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded an estimated $9.3 million contract for AN/ALR-56C radar warning receiver low voltage power supplies in support of the F-15 aircraft. Location of performance is Florida, with a Sept. 18, 2024, performance completion date. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Warner Robins, Ga.

Contracts – Tyndall repairs
SES Electrical LLC, Oak Ridge, Tenn., was awarded an $11.3 million contract to repair main perimeter fence. As the result of Hurricane Michael, the contract is comprised of the removal and disposal of old damaged fence, removal and disposal of previously installed temporary fencing and replacement with new approved fencing materials at specific locations identified on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The 325th Contracting Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … MOWA-Barlovento JV A, Gautier, Miss., was awarded a $7 million contract to repair and update the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, Building 837. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 10, 2020. The 325th Contracting Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base is the contracting activity. … AT&T Government Solutions, Vienna, Va., has been awarded a $23.6 million contract for Tyndall Air Force Base Supplement Communications Recovery Effort (TSCR). This effort is for relief in rebuilding Tyndall AFB, a disaster area due to Hurricane Michael. The TSCR is to complete the holistic communication infrastructure and IT services restoration effort by delivering a modernized Wide Area Network and Base Area Network delivery solution. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Sept. 25, 2020. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity.

Contracts - other
Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $7.7 million modification to exercise an option on a previously awarded contract for full food services. The location of performance is Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and the work is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2020. The 81st Contracting Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Global Connections to Employment Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded $12.1 million modification to extend the previously awarded contract to exercise Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.217-9 for option period three for full food and mess attendant services in support of Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal School Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Fla., and mess attendant services in support of Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Miss. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Ashford Leebcor Enterprises II LLC, Williamsburg, Va., was awarded a $41 million contract for design-build, demolition of a dormitory. Work will be performed in Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 9, 2021. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. … Metson Marine Services Inc., Ventura, Calif., was awarded a $7.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.217-9 for Option Period One for port operations support services that include maintenance and repairs of government furnished boats, service craft, and waterfront equipment; oil spill response; industrial marine services; docking regular overhauls; ship movement and fleet liaison support services; berth day support; facility response team services; counter-terrorism support; barrier and gate services; and exclusion buoy inventory in support of Commander, Navy Region Southeast. Work will be performed in Kings Bay, Ga. (30%); Kingsland, Ga. (28%); Mayport, Fla. (18%); Pensacola, Fla. (15%); Key West, Fla. (4%); Port Canaveral, Fla. (3%); Panama City, Fla. (1%); and Jacksonville, Fla. (1%). Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash., was awarded a $45 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Network as a Service. Work will be performed at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fla.; and Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2021. The Enterprise IT and Cyber Infrastructure Division, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Week in review (9/15 to 9/21)

Like it or not, the aerospace industry is a striking example of the global economy. An aerospace company that has headquarters in one country nonetheless has operations, employees and suppliers that span the globe.

According to reports by Politico and others, the World Trade Organization has ruled in favor of the United States in its fight against the European Union over Airbus subsidies. Some who are oblivious – willfully or not – to the details see this as a win for an American company – Boeing. But it’s hard for those of us in this region to see it that way. We see it jeopardizing Mobile jobs.

We have a vibrant Airbus campus in Mobile that assembles A320 and A220 series jetliners. The major sections are shipped in from Europe. In light of the WTO ruling, it’s not just the completed products that will be subjected to tariffs, but also the aircraft sections that are shipped to Mobile. That promises to make the planes built here less competitive, and that could jeopardize an operation that has been growing since it first began operations.

The ruling gives the United States the go-ahead to impose billions in punitive tariffs on EU products in retaliation for illegal subsidies granted to Europe’s Airbus. The U.S. can choose products from a previously compiled list and tax them at different rates to claw back the total amount of damage resulting from the EU subsidies. Aircraft parts, including those shipped to Mobile, are on the list.

The U.S. first filed the complaint in 2006. A parallel complaint by the EU, alleging illegal U.S. subsidies for Boeing, is also being examined by the WTO and a ruling is expected in about eight months. Airbus sees any imposition on tariffs on EU aircraft parts as something designed explicitly to disrupt the company's supply and manufacturing chain by depriving the company of the parts it needs for the final assembly of its A320 series in Mobile.

But this is not the last word. The EU case, accusing Boeing of getting illegal subsidies from the U.S. government, is still being determined by the WTO. The EU is expected to win this, and would likely issue its own tariffs. (Post)

The problem here is that supply chain is interwoven. All the aerospace companies use suppliers from across the globe. Airbus procures about 40 percent of its components and expertise from the United States, and tariffs disrupt the entire system.

This all started well before the Trump administration came in. But with an administration that's clearly not adverse to the imposition of tariffs, this ruling opens the door for an escalation of the dispute if not handled through negotiations. If there ever was a time to craft a deal, this is it.

Military
The Navy has determined that replacing the TH-57 training helicopters with a more advanced helicopter and new ground based training system will have no significant impact on the quality of the human environment around Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Fla.

Preparation of an environmental impact statement is not required.

The proposed action will modernize the Navy’s rotary-wing and tilt-rotor integrated pilot production training program at Training Air Wing Five at NAS Whiting Field and its respective helicopter training Navy Outlying Landing Fields in Florida.

The replacement helicopter has not yet been chosen, but the Advanced Helicopter Training System will replace the TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopters and simulators, and the training tempo will also increase. There will also be changes in operational tactics based on a new curriculum, construction of temporary and permanent supporting facilities, and an increase in personnel.

The Navy has made available the Final Environmental Assessment (EA). The Draft EA was made available for public review and comment from June 28 through July 19, 2019. All comments received were considered in preparing the Final EA. (Post)

Contracts – support services
COLSA Corp., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $69.6 million modification to exercise an option on a previously awarded contract for technical and management advisory services command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance/cyber support. The contractor will provide additional research, development, test and evaluation, and acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and other Air Force bases nationwide and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity. … Quantitech Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $54.7 million modification to exercise an option on a previously awarded contract for technical and management advisory services range support. The contractor will provide additional diverse research, development, test and evaluation, and acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and other Air Force bases nationwide and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Torch Technologies Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $47.5 million modification to exercise an option on a previously awarded contract for technical and management advisory services armament support. The contractor will provide additional diverse research, development, technical, test and evaluation, and acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and other Air Force bases nationwide. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Bevilacqua Research Corp., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $37.2 million modification to exercise an option on a previously awarded contract for technical and management advisory services platforms support. The contractor will provide additional diverse research, development, test and evaluation, and acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; Duke Field, Fla.; Hurlburt Field, Fla., and other Air Force bases, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … DCS Corp., Alexandria, Va., was been awarded a $28.2 million modification to exercise an option on a previously awarded contract for technical and management advisory services electronic warfare support. The contractor will provide additional diverse research, development, test and evaluation, and acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Dawson Enterprises LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, was awarded a maximum value $50 million construction requirements contract vehicle for Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements (SABER) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work will be performed on Eglin and is expected to be completed by Sept. 20, 2024. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity.

Contracts – flight training support
Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $19 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This is modification exercises an option for Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department support. Support to be provided includes intermediate-level maintenance, repair, and logistics support services, as well as tools and equipment. Work will be performed in Pensacola, Fla. (50%); Corpus Christi, Texas (45%); and Whiting Field, Fla. (5%), and is expected to be completed no later than September 2020. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded a $23.7 million task order against a previously awarded contract. This order procures high pressure compressor stator vane assemblies to support T-45 F405-RR-401 Adour engines. Work will be performed in Kingsville, Texas (45 %); Meridian, Miss. (44 %); Pensacola, Fla. (10 %); and Patuxent River, Md. (1 %), and is expected to be completed no later than February 2023. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity. … M1 Support Services, Denton, Texas, was awarded a $12.4 million modification to a contract for Trainer Maintenance Services. Work will be performed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas; and satellite site at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The 82d Contracting Squadron, Sheppard Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … L3 Doss Aviation, Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded a $9.4 million contract for advanced helicopter flight training support services. Work will be performed in Fort Rucker, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2026. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity. … Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, Sacramento, Calif., was awarded a $35 million contract for Air Force Subscale Aerial Target peculiar spares. Work will be performed at Sacramento and is expected to be complete by March 30, 2024. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Contracts – munitions
Major Tool and Machine Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded a not-to-exceed $9.3 million contract for low rate initial production modification to a previously awarded contract for the BLU-111 warhead. This modification provides for the definitization for a quantity of BLU-111 warheads produced under the basic contract. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2020. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … General Dynamics – Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Garland, Texas, was awarded a not-to-exceed $9.7 million contract for low rate initial production modification to a previously awarded contract for the BLU-111 warhead. This modification provides for the definitization for a quantity of BLU-111 warheads produced under the basic contract. Work will be performed in Garland, Texas, and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2020. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Alliant TechSystems Operations LLC – ATK Tactical Propulsion and Control, Rocket Center, W.Va., was awarded a not-to-exceed $8.8 million contract for low rate initial production modification to a previously awarded contract for the BLU-111 warhead. This modification provides for the definitization for a quantity of BLU-111 warheads produced under the basic contract. Work will be performed in Rocket Center, W. Va., and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2020. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Enfield Enterprises Inc., Springfield, Mass., was awarded a $7.2 million requirements contract for the replacement of Halon and electrical at Guided Weapons Evaluation Facility. This contract consists of furnishing all plant, labor, materials and equipment, and performing all operations in connection with the replacement of Halon and electrical at Guided Weapons Evaluation Facility, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base and is expected to be completed by May 26, 2020. The Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Contract – phased array radar
L3Harris Technologies Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded a $12.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract for fiscal 2020 Eglin sustainment support. This modification provides sustainment support for the Eglin AN/FPS (Army, Navy/Fixed Ground Detecting/Range and Bearing Search)-85 Radar. The Eglin AN/FPS-85 Radar is a computer-controlled, phased-array radar set operating as a functional entity in the Air Force Space Command Space Surveillance Network. The radar set concurrently performs the functions of detection, target recognition, acquisition and track of many space objects. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2020. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity.

Contract – F-35
Harper Construction Company Inc., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $95.4 million contract for the construction of the P-284 F-35C maintenance hangar at Naval Air Station, Lemoore, Calif. The project includes construction of a two-module Type I aircraft maintenance hangar, associated airfield pavements, operational and munitions storage, renovation of an existing battery shop, and building a new tool room. Project provides temporary facilities. Work will be performed in Lemoore and is expected to be completed by November 2021. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Week in review (9/1 to 9/14)

Ever wonder how many times you go to the bathroom on a trip in a jetliner? Neither have I. But Airbus is testing a new system that will tell the attendants that and much more.

According to a Bloomberg report, the next generation of Airbus planes will be a more digitally aware domain. "The program is Airbus's bid to raise the Internet of Things - that buzz-phrase for connected household gadgets - to cruising altitude," according to the article.

It's called the Airbus Connected Experience, and its goal is to give flight attendants a more detailed survey of the cabin, with sensors for such critical data as when bathroom soap is running low and how much toilet paper remains in each bathroom.

At your seat, the belt will signal red for unbuckled and green when fastened, with the idea of avoiding the walk-throughs flight attendants must perform. That will make for faster boarding and departure.

The crew will also have access to information on what's onboard and where, like which galley carts contain specific meals. Ingo Wuggetzer, the Airbus vice president of cabin marketing, said Tuesday at an aviation trade show in Los Angeles that it's not a dream, but a reality.

Airbus has begun flight testing the connected cabin on its A350 test aircraft and plans to introduce it on the A321 family in 2021, followed by the two-aisle A350 series two years later.

You can find the Bloomberg article with an internet search, but I found it in Time and the Los Angeles Times.

In another item of interest to this region, Defense News reported that the Air Force has barred the Boeing KC-46 aerial tanker from carrying cargo and passengers.

The decision was made after an incident occurred where the cargo locks on the bottom of the floor of the aircraft became unlocked during a flight, creating concerns that airmen could be hurt or killed by heavy equipment that suddenly bursts free during a flight.

The Air Force submitted a Category 1 deficiency report and is working with Boeing to identify a solution, according to Air Force Mobility Command spokesman Col. Damien Pickart.

The service uses the term Category 1 to describe serious technical issues that could endanger the aircrew and aircraft or have other major effects.

According to Defense News, the problem was found during an overseas operational test and evaluation flight, when KC-46 aircrew noticed that numerous cargo restraint devices had come unlocked over the course of the multiple legs of the trip.

This all could have a major impact on the already delayed tanker program. The company is locked into a fixed-price contract where it is responsible for paying for any expenses beyond the initial $4.9 billion award for development of the aircraft. So far, the company has paid in excess of $3.5 billion of its own money to fund corrections to ongoing technical issues.

Nobody from this region likes to see Boeing have problems with the tanker – after all, the life of our service men and women take priority. But folks from these parts also recall that Airbus and Boeing competed for the contract to build the tankers. Airbus won the contest, but Boeing protested and won the next contest.

We can only hope a solution is found and that our military gets this very important aircraft.

You can take a look at the full story by Defense News.

Now for your week – actually, two weeks – in review:

Military
Tyndall Air Force Base is undertaking most of its missions again and is planning repairs - designing and demolition work - 11 months after Category 5 Hurricane Michael.

During the third Industry Day event at Florida State University-Panama City, Tyndall officials provided updates on the base’s recovery. Col. Brian Laidlow, commander of the 325th Fighter Wing, said airmen have implemented temporary fixes to bring missions back online.

"Today at Tyndall we're doing nearly all of our pre-storm missions. We're doing it with about 80 percent of our people and we're doing it at only half of our facilities because that's all that survived," he said.

Permanent repairs, planning and pre-design, demolition and design work are underway. Permanent construction is expected to go into fiscal year 2024.

Tyndall will get up to three squadrons of F-35s starting in 2023 and remains the “preferred alternative” as the future home of 24 MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft, Laidlaw said. (Post)

Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $266.2 million contract in support of F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants. Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Arizona, Vermont, Georgia, New York, Virginia, Colorado, Massachusetts, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Canada, and Australia. Work is expected to be completed by July 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Bowhead Cybersecurity Solutions & Services LLC, Alexandria, Va., was awarded a $19.7 million contract for the Air Force National Tactical Integration Program. Work will be performed at Hurlburt Field and Tyndall Air Force Base, both in Northwest Florida, as well as other bases in Texas, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, Louisiana, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Hawaii, Nevada, and Florida. The Acquisition Management & Integration Center-Detachment 2, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, is the contracting activity. … DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $88.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance and logistics support for 16 T-34, 54 T-44, and 287 T-6 aircraft. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field (42 percent) and NAS Pensacola (9 percent), both in Northwest Florida, as well as NAS Corpus Christi, Texas (47 percent) and various locations through the continental U.S., and is expected to be completed in March 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an $8.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract for field team support services for Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) development test mission support including, test planning, test operations, test reporting and telemetry analysis. This contract modification provides for exercise of the third option for an additional 12 months of services to support ground tests, captive flight tests and live fire tests conducted for developmental purposes up to and including operational test readiness reviews. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 5, 2020. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Week in review (8/25 to 8/31)

Completion of the engine section of the Space Launch System, funding for an airport runway improvement project and the election of an airport executive to a statewide council highlighted the aerospace news for the Gulf Coast during the week.

Here is your week in review:

Space
NASA and Boeing formally signed off on the first assembly of the most complicated element of the space agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. After a review of data from two months of functional testing at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, the engine section element of the first SLS Core Stage is complete and is now cleared to be mated to the rest of the vehicle.

The next step is to move the engine section and boattail to another building, rotate them from vertical to horizontal, and then come back for bolting to the aft end of the stage in the last “major join” in its assembly.

Boeing continues to aim to complete the full stage in December and barge it to the Stennis Space Center, Miss., for a full, integrated checkout and acceptance firing as part of the Green Run test. (Post)

Airports
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality was awarded a grant of $6.7 million for the Trent Lott International Runway Improvements project. MDEQ will subaward the project to the Jackson County Airport Authority to support engineering and design, surveying, permitting, and construction.

The improvements will allow the airport in Moss Point, Miss., to accommodate medium and large cargo planes used by local industries.

"Trent Lott International Airport already is home to world class manufacturing at Northrop Grumman’s manned and unmanned systems facility," said George Freeland, executive director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, "but Jackson County remains focused on strategic improvements that position this community for continued growth in the aviation sector.” (Post)

-- In Panama City, Fla., Parker McClellan Jr., Executive Director of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), has been elected Chairman of the Florida Airports Council (FAC) – the official association of the publicly-owned and operated airports in Florida – effective October 1, 2019.

McClellan will be transitioning from his previous position on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors as Vice Chairman and will serve as Chairman for one year.

The Council is composed of members representing all 20 Florida commercial service airports and 79 of the state’s general aviation airports, one Spaceport (Cecil Airport) and more than 250 corporate, educational, affiliate, student chapters and student members. McClellan will continue in his role at ECP. (Post)

Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $25.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification is for an F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter regional maintenance repair and upgrade facility for the Government of Japan under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Work will be performed in Nagoya, Japan (65%); Ft Worth, Texas (26%); Greenville, S.C. (7%); Orlando, Fla. (2%); and El Segundo, Calif. (1%), and is expected to be completed no later than September 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … PAE Aviation and Technical Services LLC, Marlton, N.J., was awarded a $19.2 million modification to previously awarded contract for the Aerial Targets Program. The contract modification provides for the exercise of an option for an additional year of service under the multiple year contract, which directly supports live-fire weapons system testing and enables the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group to perform developmental and operational weapons testing for all air-to-air missiles for the F-15, F-16, F-22, and F-35 aircraft. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.; and Holloman AFB, N.M., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The Air Combat Command, Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Langley Air Force Base, Va., is the contracting activity. … PRIDE Industries, Roseville, Calif., was awarded a $17.4 million contract modification for base operation support. Work will be performed in Fort Rucker, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2023. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Rucker, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Week in review (8/18 to 8/24)

An increase in production of Global Hawks and Tritons, the ranking of firms to oversee the expansion of Pensacola’s MRO campus, a milestone in deliveries of Lakota helicopters and the selection of a launch vehicle for the Dream Chaser highlighted aerospace news for the Gulf Coast region during the week.

Here’s your week in review:

Economic development
A Pensacola, Fla., city selection committee ranked four firms that could oversee building the $210 million expansion of the ST Engineering maintenance, repair and overhaul campus at Pensacola International Airport.

The No. 1 company was Birmingham, Ala.-based Brasfield and Gorrie partnering with local Greenhut Construction Co. Greenhut was the construction manager on the first $46 million ST Engineering hangar that opened in 2018.

The company selected will build the next aircraft maintenance hangar, Hangar 2, but the same company could be in charge of the entire project if everything goes well on during construction of Hangar 2. (Post)

Unmanned
Northrop Grumman plans to more than double production capacity for the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4C Triton unmanned air vehicles to 12 aircraft per year in anticipation of growing demand for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.

The manufacturer is adding production capacity to its Site 7 facilities in Palmdale, Calif. It will start production out of a recently remodeled building the week of Aug. 26. The building is on the grounds of United States Air Force Plant 42 and was previously a manufacturing facility for the Northrop F-5 fighter.

Northrop Grumman has lined up six customers for variants of its high altitude long endurance UAV: The U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, NATO, South Korea, Japan and the Royal Australian Air Force.

The company previously produced between three to five RQ-4 Global Hawk or MQ-4C Triton aircraft per year. Typically it takes 162 to 174 days to build the UAV: 150 days to build the fuselage in Moss Point, Miss. and 12 to 24 days for final assembly in Palmdale, the firm says. (Post)

Airbus
Airbus Helicopters delivered on Aug. 19 the 200th UH-72A Lakota for training with the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala. Airbus Helicopters of Columbus, Miss., has built more than 550 aircraft for the U.S. government since 2006.

The UH-72A Lakota is a derivative of the EC145 twin-engine rotorcraft, and is operated by U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and other various military units worldwide. To date, the Lakota fleet has amassed more than 600,000 flight hours. (Post)

Space
Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) has selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) as the launch vehicle provider for the Dream Chaser spacecraft's six NASA missions to the International Space Station. Dream Chaser will launch aboard ULA's Vulcan Centaur rockets for its cargo resupply and return services to the space station, starting in 2021.

Under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract, the Dream Chaser will deliver more than 12,000 pounds of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the space station and remain attached for up to 75 days as an orbiting laboratory.

Once the mated mission is complete, the Dream Chaser disposes about 7,000 pounds of space station trash and returns large quantities of critical science, accessible within minutes after a gentle runway landing.

Vulcan Centaur is a new class of space launch vehicle with the performance of a heavy launch vehicle in just a single core.

ULA in 2018 chose Blue Origin's BE-4 engine to power Vulcan. In 2014 ULA announced it was partnering with Blue Origin to partially fund the BE-4 development. BE-4 components have been tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and some of the Dream Chaser work has been done at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. (Post)

Military
Two Blue Angel jets touched mid-air during a recent practice at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. According to the Navy, the No. 3 canopy made momentary contact with the underside of No. 1's outer wing during the Diamond 360 maneuver.

There were no injuries. An initial damage assessment of the aircraft found a "minimal scratch" on the No. 3 canopy. (Post)

Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded three contracts related to the F-35 during the week. It was awarded a $2.4 billion modification to a previously awarded contract for F-35 initial spares for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Texas, California, New York, New Hampshire, Florida, Iowa, Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, Georgia, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands. It also was awarded a $32.1 million modification to a delivery order under a previously issued against basic ordering agreement. This award procures modification kits and special tooling for modification and retrofit of delivered F-35 for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in June 2025. In the third contract, Lockheed was awarded a $12 million modification to a delivery order under a previously issued against basic ordering agreement. This award procures modification kits for modification and retrofit of delivered F-35 for the Air Force and Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in December 2021. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for all three Lockheed contracts. … BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems, Nashua, N.H., was awarded a $75 million contract to procure 1,440 Radio Frequency Countermeasures and the maintenance and repair of multi-function test stations in support of the F-35 aircraft. Work will be performed in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a Lockheed Martin Co., Stratford, Conn., was awarded $48.3 million order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to procure spare parts to repair and maintain CH-53K low-rate initial production Lot Three configuration aircraft. Fort Walton Beach, Fla. will do 2.32% of the work. Other work sites are in Quebec, Canada, Connecticut, New York, West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, Iowa, United Kingdom and other locations. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Week in review (8/11 to 8/17)

The August issue of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter published Friday with a cover story about the growth of the Interstate 10’s space activities along the Louisiana-Mississippi border. It focuses on Relativity Space’s decision to build rockets at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

We also have a story on how Airbus is building its first A220 in Mobile before the completion of the A220 final assembly line. There’s also a wrap-up about some of the other key news items during the past couple of months – notably a piece on the ups and downs of a major project. In this case, the building of a maintenance, repair and overhaul campus in Pensacola.

If you’re on our subscriber list, the newsletter PDF was sent to your inbox. Non-subscribers can go to our website and download the newsletter. It’s free of charge to readers thanks to our underwriters.

Now for your week in review:

Space
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was in New Orleans Thursday to visit Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF), where the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) is built. He said the 2024 mission to the moon is to test the moon’s resources.

Bridenstine said 90 percent of the project is complete. During a meeting with the media, Bridenstine stood in front of the center piece of the rocket, the core stage. Crews are preparing to add the final section before moving the rocket to Mississippi, according to WVUE in New Orleans.

The first SLS launch is the Artemis 1 mission, an uncrewed test flight of the rocket and an Orion capsule. Assembly of the core stage, the largest and most complex stage NASA ever has built, remains on schedule for completion before the end of the year. Comprised of two liquid propellant tanks and four RS-25 engines, it will produce more than two million pounds of thrust. (Post)

Military
Battelle, a nonprofit research and development organization, will conduct laboratory and field tests of firefighting foam at the Air Force Civil Engineering Center on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

Firefighting foam used by the military contained PFAS, chemicals that have “since been linked to health issues like cancer,” a news release stated. PFAS use has since been phased out. Available foams could be modified to meet military standards, according to the release.

Battelle was awarded a contract as part of the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. The project is part of the environmental research initiative by the Department of Defense. Battelle also will work with the Navy and Army to determine if the foams meet military specifications. (Post)

Contracts
Lord & Son Construction Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $32.1 million contract for construction of a Long-Range Stand-Off Acquisition Facility on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work will be performed in Eglin Air Force Base with an estimated completion date of Aug. 14, 2021. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., has been awarded a $99 million contract for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) foreign military sales production support. This contract will provide for lifecycle support for all efforts related to JASSM and any JASSM variants in the areas of system upgrades, integration, production, sustainment, management and logistical support. Work will be performed at Orlando and is expected to be completed by August 2024. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Week in review (8/4 to 8/10)

The August issue of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter will publish next week. We’ll tell you why Relativity Space’s decision to build rockets at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi is so important to the region.

We also have a story on how Airbus is building its first A220 in Mobile before the completion of the A220 final assembly line.

If you’re on our subscriber list, the newsletter PDF will be sent to your inbox. But non-subscribers can go to our website next week to download the newsletter. It’s free of charge to readers thanks to our underwriters.

Now for your week in review:


Airbus
Airbus has officially started manufacturing the A220 in the United States.

The first team of A220 production workers began work at the Mobile, Ala.-based production facility after returning from on-the-job training in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada. That’s where the A220 program and primary final assembly line are located.

Airbus is producing the first few aircraft within some current A320 aircraft buildings and newly-built support hangars.

The first U.S.-made A220, a jetliner that will go to Delta Air Lines, is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2020. By the middle of next decade, the facility will produce between 40 and 50 A220 aircraft per year.

Airbus announced plans for the addition of A220 manufacturing in Mobile in October 2017. Construction on the main A220 flowline hangar and other support buildings for the new A220 began at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley at the beginning of this year. (Post)


Military
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Wesley Barnes relieved U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Jackson as the 56th commanding officer of Training Squadron Two (VT-2) in a unique ceremony onboard Naval Air Station Whiting Field Friday.

In the aerial change of command flying the T-6B Texan aircraft, Jackson handed the squadron over the aircraft radio to Barnes. Three aircraft, one with Barnes and a second pilot, one with Jackson and another pilot, and one aircraft with the deputy commodore of Training Air Wing Five (TW-5), Col. Jeffrey Pavelko, who acted as the officiating officer, flew in a three-ship formation.

After landing the T-6B aircraft, the officers completed the ceremony in a hangar on the installation with commodore, TW-5, Capt. Doug Rosa presiding. More than a hundred people attended the ceremony. Rosa presented Jackson with a meritorious service medal for his accomplishments leading the squadron. (Post)


Contracts
ZITEC Inc., Niceville, Fla., was awarded a $25.1 million contract to provide up to 672 alternate mission equipment mobility ready storage systems; two first article units, and 670 production systems for the Navy and Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Niceville and is expected to be completed in August 2025. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity.