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.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Week in review (7/28 to 8/3)

Somebody needs to tell President Trump that when a company buys from Airbus, it means jobs for American workers. That’s because the company not only builds aircraft in the United States – and employs American workers – but also buys from U.S. suppliers, where other Americans work.

NBC News has reported that Trump, during a meeting with airline officials during the week, scolded U.S.-based Delta Air Lines for buying billions of dollars worth of planes from Europe-based Airbus. He pointed out that Qatar Airways is buying jets from Chicago-based Boeing.

The comment raised eyebrows, since Airbus has an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala., and is building a second assembly line for A220 passenger jets. Planes built in Mobile have been delivered to Delta and other U.S.-based airliners. But that’s not the only reason the president's comment caused some to scratch their heads. Delta also buys from Boeing, and has the largest Boeing fleet in the world.

In response to requests from the Mobile media, Airbus in a statement said "We are proud to have Airbus aircraft flying for 13 U.S. airlines, and to manufacture many of those aircraft in Mobile, Ala., where work continues on our second large aircraft assembly line. With our hundreds of U.S. suppliers accounting for 40 percent of all Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement, every customer who invests in Airbus is investing in U.S. manufacturing and supporting American jobs."

Meanwhile, Airbus is continuing its push to hire workers for the new A220 plant. Airbus recently held job fairs in North Carolina. The company is reaching out into hubs for aviation professionals and technical professionals. (Post)

That’s the problem when you think in terms of buy American. The devil is in the details. The aerospace industry - like the automotive industry - is global, and while headquarters may be in one country, the reach of that company is so much greater.


Space
After considering canceling a planned full-duration test-firing of the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage in Mississippi ahead of the heavy-lift rocket’s first flight, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency will press ahead with the eight-minute test next year.

He cited safety and reliability benefits for future astronauts riding on the launcher on missions to the moon.

The first SLS test flight, carrying an unpiloted Orion crew capsule to lunar orbit, is set for blastoff in 2021 from pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission is designated Artemis 1, the first flight in NASA’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon as a stepping stone toward eventual expeditions to Mars.

NASA has planned the so-called “green run” test of the SLS core stage since the program’s start in 2011. For more than half a decade, workers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center (SSC) in southern Mississippi have modified and outfitted the B-2 test stand — previously used for Saturn V, space shuttle and Delta IV rocket testing — to accommodate the 212-foot-tall, 27.6-foot-wide SLS core stage.

Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks inside the SLS core stage will hold 733,000 gallons of propellant to feed four RS-25 main engines, generating more than 2 million pounds of thrust at full throttle. The RS-25 engines, supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne, are left over powerplants from the space shuttle program.

Unlike full-stage firings of previous rockets, the green run test at Stennis will use the same core stage that will fly on the first SLS launch, and not a ground test article. Once the core stage is finished at Michoud Assembly Facility, a NASA barge will haul the rocket from New Orleans to SSC for installation on the B-2 test stand. The shipment of the core stage to Stennis is scheduled around the end of the year. (Post)


Military
Test pilots from the 413th Flight Test Squadron at Duke Field, Fla., became the first Air Force pilots to receive a Type rating on the AW-139 helicopter on July 29. Majors Zach Roycroft and Tony Arrington completed the five-week contracted course in New Jersey on the civilian counterpart to the service's new MH-139 helicopter. The aircraft is to replace the UH-1N Huey.

A Type rating is an FAA qualification for a specific aircraft. As test pilots were training, the 413th FLTS and Air Force Global Strike Command airmen were completing the maintenance technician course on the aircraft.

The MH-139 delivery marks the first, in recent history, that the Air Force will receive a rotary wing asset not previously used by another branch of the military. The service plans to buy 84 MH-139 helicopters over the next decade. The first aircraft delivery to Duke Field is scheduled for late November. (Post)

-- Two Air Force Special Operations Command airmen from Hurlburt Field, Fla., were recognized for receiving the 2017 Cheney Award on June 13. Now-Lt. Col. Matthew Mills and Master Sgt. Michael Wilson displayed extraordinary heroism while providing humanitarian relief after Hurricane Maria left a path of devastation on the island of Dominica in September 2017.

Mills served as an MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft commander and Wilson served as the aircraft loadmaster. Both were assigned to the 15th Special Operations Squadron at the time of the actions.

The Cheney Award is an aviation award presented to an airman for an act of valor, extreme fortitude or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest, performed in connection with an aircraft, but not necessarily of a military nature. (Post)


Contract
South Alabama Regional Airport Authority, Andalusia, Ala., was awarded a minimum $11.5 million contract for fuel. This was a competitive acquisition with 148 responses received. This is a 44-month contract with one six-month option period. Location of performance is Alabama, with a March 31, 2023, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Week in review (7/21 to 7/27)

When it comes to economic growth potential, the four states in the Gulf Coast region made the top 10 list of the 15th annual Business Facilities’ report. Alabama is ranked fifth, Florida is seventh, Louisiana eighth, and Mississippi tenth.

In another category, Alabama and Florida make the top 10 of states with the best business climate. Alabama is ranked third and Florida eighth. In workforce training, Louisiana is first, Alabama second, and Florida sixth.

Florida is ranked fourth in best business tax climate, and in the list of top manufacturing states for percentage of the workforce, Alabama is fifth and Mississippi ninth. In tech jobs employment, Florida is fourth, but second for tech jobs growth.

According to this report, the nation’s aerospace leaders are Washington, California, Texas, Kansas, Connecticut, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri. Too bad they don't rank portions of four states, like the I-10 corridor.

You can read more about the report at Business Facilities.

In other news of interest to the Gulf Coast during the week:

Contracts – Triton
Northrop Grumman was awarded two contracts during the week for the MQ-4C Triton program.

In one, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $33.8 million 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 4.0 configuration into retrofit aircraft and ground segments. Work is expected to be completed in January 2022.

The company also was awarded a $14.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract in support of the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system. This modification incorporates integrated functional capability 4.0 into low-rate initial production Lot 2 Aircraft B12. Work is expected to be completed in November 2021. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both contracts. Fuselage work on Triton is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Contracts - others
Draeger Inc., Teleford, Pa., was awarded a $9.9 million contract for anesthesia recording and monitoring devices sustainment services in support of Navy, Army, Air Force, and National Capital Region military treatment facilities inside and outside the continental U.S. Among the work locations are Eglin Air Force Base Hospital, Fla. (2%); Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (2%); and Naval Hospital Pensacola, Fla. (2%). This contract has a five-year period of performance and all work is expected to be completed by July 26, 2024. The Naval Medical Logistics Command, Fort Detrick, Md., is the contracting activity. … United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $25 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification procures milling machines, fixtures and tooling to increase production capacity for critical F135 components. Work will be performed in East Hartford and is expected to be completed in February 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. F-35s are powered by F135 engines. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Week in review (7/14 to 7/20)

It was 50 years ago today that Apollo 11 touched down on the moon, and hours later Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface. Now we are entering an era where space travel is again gaining wider interest.

In the Gulf Coast region, work is being done on NASA’s Space Launch System in East New Orleans, and in nearby Stennis Space Center, Miss., propulsion systems are being tested for NASA and commercial companies. On top of that, newcomer Relativity Space is setting up a rocket factory at SSC, where it’s also testing its own rocket engines.

The moon and planets are beginning to look closer again.

Now for your week in review:


MRO
The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration is investing $12.25 million in the city of Pensacola to help establish a new aircraft maintenance training facility at Pensacola International Airport (PNS).

The money will be matched by more than $36 million in local and state funds. The new facility, a 175,000 square foot hangar, will be used for commercial and technological aviation and will create 400 jobs.

Mayor Grover Robinson says this is a part of "Project Titan," which will eventually include four hangars, the one already operating, the one announced Thursday and two more at the PNS campus.

The new hangar will be similar to the first, but a significant difference will be the attachment of a 65,000 square-foot support services center.

“The Support Services Center will enclose all of our customer reps’ offices; it will have our engineering areas, it will have our procurement, our logistics management will be there,” said Bill Hafner, president of ST Engineering in Mobile, Ala. (Post)


Military
U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, announced officers selected for the 2020 air show season.

The selected 2020 officers are F/A-18 demonstration pilots, Marine Corps Maj. Frank Zastoupil, of Kingwood, Texas, an F-35 Lightning II pilot currently assigned to the “Warlords” of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, and Navy Lt. Julius Bratton, of Woodlawn, Tenn., an F/A-18 Hornet pilot currently assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron 106.

C-130 pilots chosen are Marine Corps Capt. William Huckeba, of Hoover, Ala., a C-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to Officer Candidate School Quantico, and Marine Corps Capt. Rick Rose, of Napa, Calif., a C-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to the “Sumos” of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152.

Previously selected to join the 2020 team was Commanding Officer and Flight Leader, Navy Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, of Fargo, N.D., who was most recently the commanding officer of the “Sunliners” of Strike Fighter Squadron 81. The new team members will officially begin their training for the 2020 show season following the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Nov. 9. (Post)

-- The Air Force chief of staff announced the assignment of Brig. Gen. William G. Holt III, special assistant to the commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida, to director, joint exercise and training, J-7, U.S. Space Command. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $34.7 million contract to develop and deliver an engineering change proposal to enable the production cut-in of the Fuselage Station 425 Bulkhead structural modification required for F-35A and F-35C to allow full-envelope internal carriage of aft heavy weaponry. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in July 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. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $23.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for providing a replacement joint air to surface standoff missile (JASSM) anti-jam GPS receiver with a new JASSM Anti-Jam GPS Receiver (JAGR) due to obsolescence. This contract provides replacement for the current JAGR due to obsolescence. Work will be performed at Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2023. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Week in review (7/7 to 7/13)

Despite the rough weather caused by Hurricane Barry, the Blue Angels performed before the crowds Friday and still planned a limited show Saturday afternoon. The storm was reclassified as a Category 1 as it approached the Louisiana coast Saturday morning.

But the system and its impact stretched to the east and west of the storm, causing rough seas and on and off rain at Pensacola Beach, where the Navy flight demonstration team was schedule to perform.

Here’s your week in review:


Airbus
Airbus delivered to Delta Air Lines its 50th A320 series aircraft produced in the Airbus U.S. production facility in Mobile, Ala. This A321 is the first of a total of 20 aircraft being delivered with a blend of sustainable jet fuel over the next year.

The jet fuel is certified compliant with the sustainability requirements of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) and the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC).

Delta is the second U.S customer to have aircraft delivered by Airbus from Mobile using a blend of sustainable fuel. Airbus offers this option to its customers in order to promote a more regular use of sustainable aviation fuels within the industry. (Post)


Unmanned
The Navy declared initial operational capability for the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter on June 28. It clears the way for the unmanned air vehicle to begin fleet operations and training.

The MQ-8C is to deploy aboard the USN’s littoral combat ships in FY2021, and is intended for intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as precision targeting.

The airframe is the commercial Bell 407, with seats and other manned avionics equipment stripped out and replaced with remote controls and extra fuel tanks. Over the next few years, Northrop Grumman plans to deliver 38 MQ-8Cs to the Navy. Final assembly and flight testing of the MQ-8C is done in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded two contracts in connection with the F-35 during the week. In one, the company was awarded a $41.3 million modification to a previously awarded order placed against a basic ordering agreement. This modification exercises an option for the design, procurement and integration of flight test instrumentation and data processing solutions for F-35 Lightning II development test aircraft to support the Tech Refresh-3 and the Follow on Modernization Block 4 mission systems configuration. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in February 2021. In the other, the company was awarded a $21.3 million modification to a delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for modification kits, special tooling and installation labor for the modification and retrofit of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft 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 Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in May 2024. 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, as well as reprogramming labs.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Week in review (6/30 to 7/6)

I have strong memories of Fourth of July celebrations when I was a kid – the fireworks, the parades, the marching bands, the hot dogs and burgers. It was all great fun, and it’s not until you get older that you really understand what it’s all about.

But even as a kid I got a hint. One memory that stands out is a parade in our town in New York, when my Dad was driving a shiny new Lincoln convertible – it wasn’t ours – from the dealership where he worked. In the back were local dignitaries, waving to everyone. I didn’t know who they were, nor did I care.

For me, all I saw was the driver, my very own dignitary, a World War II veteran who fought for our country then came home to work hard raising a family. Later in the parade there was a group of soldiers from a nearby Army base. I focused on just one of them, the man who was dating and would soon marry my sister.

Yes, you can have an elaborate national celebration, it’s all part of what we do in this country to mark the day we declared independence from Great Britain. But look around you. It’s those who are close to you, those who defended us and those who were defended, who make us understand the significance of the day.

Happy birthday, America. We are one people, and should act like it more often.

Now for your week in review:


Airbus
Airbus Canada Limited Partnership marked its first anniversary on July 1, a year after Airbus became the majority partner in the A220 aircraft program.

Highlights of this first anniversary include orders and commitments signed for more than 230 A220 aircraft, the ground-breaking for a new A220 manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala., and expansion at the Mirabel manufacturing facility in Canada.

In total, the A220 ends the first year of Airbus leading the program with a firm order book of over 500 aircraft, plus 80 additional commitments announced at this year’s Paris Air Show. (Post)


Space
Mississippi is starting a new economic development effort to lure companies connected to space exploration. The announcement came less than a month after California-based Relativity announced it would build its Terran 1 space rockets using 3D print technology at Stennis Space Center, where it has already been testing rocket engines.

Gov. Phil Bryant announced the Space Initiative early in the week during an event at Infinity Science Center, near Stennis Space Center in coastal Hancock County. SSC is where NASA and many commercial space companies test rocket engines.

The leader of the economic development effort will be Patrick Scheuermann, former head of Stennis Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center. Bryant also announced formation of a Mississippi National Guard Space Directorate. (Post)

This is not the first effort by Mississippi to leverage technologies at Stennis Space Center. In 1998 Mississippi formally began an effort to create a geospatial technology cluster. It created the Mississippi Space Commerce Initiative, which in 2003 became the Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions.

That was a highly targeted effort, and this one appears to be far more inclusive.


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $348.2 million for a modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification is for production non-recurring, special tooling and special test equipment in support of low-rate initial production Lot 12 F-35 Lightning II aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) partners and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in multiple locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Canada, and Turkey. Work is expected to be completed in August 2022. … The Rockhill Group Inc., Molino, Fla., was awarded a $12.2 million contract for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) aircrew instruction instructor support required by the 492 Special Operations Wing and operational wings. Work will be performed at Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Duke Field, Fla.; Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019. The 765th Specialized Contracting Flight, Air Force Installation Contracting Center, Hurlburt Field, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Week in review (6/23 to 6/29)

The shipment of Space Launch System test articles from Michoud to Huntsville; a new commander for Eglin’s 33rd Fighter Wing; the release of a draft environmental assessment for bringing new training helicopters to Whiting Field; the loss of some state money for the expansion of the ST Engineering campus; and FAA money for some local airports were among the Gulf Coast aerospace stories during the week.

Here’s your week in review:


Space
The last of four structural test articles for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) was loaded onto NASA's Pegasus barge Wednesday at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

The barge will deliver the liquid oxygen (LOX) tank structural test article to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for structural testing.

The LOX tank is one of two propellant tanks in the rocket's core stage that will produce more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help send Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft and SLS, to the Moon.

The nearly 70-foot-long test article is structurally identical to the flight version. SLS is being developed to send astronauts back to the Moon and beyond. (Post)

-- NASA selected 363 proposals from small businesses and research institutions across 41 states to help advance the types of capabilities needed for future missions. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards have a value of some $45 million.

They include seven SBIR projects and two STTR projects tied to Stennis Space Center, Miss. More than 20 percent of the businesses are from underrepresented communities, including minority and women-owned businesses. (Post)


Military
The Navy released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) detailing the impact of a new training helicopter to replace the TH-57. The Advanced Helicopter Training System, called TH-XX while the Navy considers bidders for the contract, will provide 130 newer, more capable, more reliable helicopter and training system to Training Air Wing 5 and would meet the advanced helicopter and intermediate tilt-rotor training requirements through 2050.

The new helicopter will require an additional 33 training personnel at Whiting Field. The replacement helicopter has not yet been determined, but will be a commercially available helicopter.

Training will transition to the TH-XX beginning in 2021 and completed by 2025. Training operations would generally be similar to existing training. However, there would be an increase in the number of annual flight operations, to include training involving night vision device training, flying in formation at night, and search and rescue. (Post)

-- The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., welcomed a new commander June 18. Col. Jon Wheeler took over as the newest Nomad One from Col. Paul Moga, who heads to an air staff position at the Pentagon. Wheeler had been one of only 10 fighter pilots selected to serve in the inaugural cadre of F-35 instructor pilots at the 33rd FW. (Post)

-- A new Fat Albert C-130 was chosen for the Pensacola-based U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The Navy awarded a $29.7 million contract to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense for a Royal Air Force C-130J Super Hercules. The Navy said purchasing the used British aircraft as the new Fat Albert is about $50 million less than the cost of a new aircraft. (Post)


Airports
Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $131 million of proposed spending from this year's budget, including $1.5 million for the expansion of the ST Aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul campus at Pensacola International Airport.

ST Engineering already has one hangar at the airport, but the $210 million project will add three additional hangars and supporting buildings. Pensacola City Administrator Chris Holley said the state has been helpful with the project, and it's hard to be critical of a veto over $1.5 million when the state came up with money from the Department of Transportation a few months back to move the project forward.

Holley said the expansion project is moving forward and is still expected to create more than 1,300 jobs when operations begin in 2022. The project has a five-year time frame for build-out, which Holley says is plenty of time to go back to the Legislature next year and present their case once again. (Post)

-- Fifteen airports in the Gulf Coast I-10 region will receive 16 airport infrastructure grants totaling $34.5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. They were among 358 grants awarded to 327 airports in 46 states and the Pacific Islands.

In the Gulf Coast region, the largest grant went to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, which was awarded $11.5 million to expand an apron and terminal building. The Mobile Downtown Airport received two separate awards, one for updating the master plan study and one to acquire equipment and rehabilitate runway 14/32. (Post)

-- In Panama City, Northwest Beaches International Airport recorded its second-highest monthly passenger total in its nine-year history in May, with 128,087 people either arriving at or departing from ECP. The only time the airport recorded more passengers in a month was last July, when 128,254 passengers either emplaned or deplaned at the facility. Last month’s passenger total was just under a 32 percent jump over the May 2018 total. (Story)


Corporate
Bombardier Inc. is selling its money-losing regional jet business to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) for $550 million in cash, in a deal marking the Canadian plane and train maker’s exit from commercial aviation.

As part of the deal, expected to close in the first half of next year, the Japanese firm will also take over a $200 million debt. Montreal-based Bombardier will continue to assemble its regional jet planes (CRJ), but will stop making the aircraft in the second half of 2020 after it finishes delivering its remaining orders.

Bombardier last year agreed to make Airbus a majority partner in a partnership that builds the A220, the former Bombardier CSeries. A new production line is being built in Mobile, Ala. (Post)


Contracts
United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $358.5 million modification to a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract. This modification provides for eight initial spare F135-PW-100 propulsion systems and one initial spare F135-PW-600 propulsion system for the Global Spares Pool, including initial spare modules and initial spare parts. Work will be performed in East Hartford (93%); Indianapolis, Ind. (6%); and Bristol, United Kingdom (1%), and is expected to be completed in June 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/28/19). Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded a $15.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF). The contract modification is to make changes to the AEHF Mission Planning Element software to provide capability improvements. Work will be performed at Sunnyvale and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2020. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity. Work on the AEHF core propulsion system is done at Stennis Space Center, Miss. … Med-Eng LLC., Ogdensburg, N.Y., was awarded an $11.5 million modification from a previously awarded contract for the delivery of a full bomb suit ensemble and associated accessories for explosive ordinance disposal personnel. Work will be performed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and is expected to be completed by March 2023. The 772d Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Innovative Technologies International Inc., Lynchburg, Va., was awarded a $7 million contract for Katana Hardware Fabrication effort. The contract provides for concept design analysis and advanced fabrication capabilities to rapidly manufacture products meeting specific characteristics through a partnering arrangement by fulfilling research, development, test and evaluation requirements for Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with organization-specific tasks. Work will be performed at Lynchburg and is expected to be completed by June 25, 2024. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Week in review (6/9 to 6/22)

We've had a lot of aerospace news since I last wrote my column on June 8. I took a break from the column so we could go to our grandson's wedding. So let's get right to it.

California-based Relativity announced June 11 that it will build 3D rockets at Stennis Space Center, Miss., a decision that will create 200 jobs for an investment of $59 million.

Relativity secured an agreement with NASA and an incentive package from the Mississippi Development Authority to expand facilities and infrastructure at the space cener. Relativity will build and integrate a robotic 3D printing rocket factory and an expanded testing facility to produce Relativity's Terran 1 rocket launch vehicles.

The agreement with NASA includes exclusive use of 220,000 square feet within building 9101 for a nine-year lease. The facility includes an 80-foot high bay, multiple bridge cranes, and extensive industrial infrastructure. The agreement also includes an option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years.

Relativity’s partnership with the MDA is supported by a significant cost reimbursement and tax incentive package for Relativity's employment and capital investments for advanced aerospace manufacturing and technology development in the state. Relativity will be building out first stage assembly, engine integration and testing, and a full 3D printing and robotics-enabled production line at the site.

With the expansion at Stennis, Relativity is increasing infrastructure fourfold to over 280,000 square feet of operations, production, testing, and launch facilities and is on track to reach over 350,000 square feet of space in 2019. In the past year, the company increased team size over 6 times from 14 to 90 employees. (Post)


Airbus
The first large aircraft components for the first A220 that will be built in Mobile have been delivered to the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. The major component assemblies (MCAs) are the aft fuselage and cockpit, which arrived by truck.

Wings, vertical and horizontal tail planes, tail cones and landing gear will arrive in coming weeks. Aircraft production is scheduled to begin in the next couple of months, even as construction on some of the A220-specific buildings on the campus continues over the next year. Employees for the new A220 production line will be returning from training in Mirabel, Canada in time for production start. Hiring for A220 and A320 production is continuing. (Post)

-- Delta Air Lines has ordered five additional A220-100 aircraft, bringing to 95 the total number of orders placed, including both the A220-100s and A220-300s. The airline is the first to select the new increased maximum takeoff weight option for its entire fleet from 2020.

Airbus announced in May that it would increase the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) for the A220. The new MTOW will increase the maximum range capabilities. Delta was the U.S. launch customer for the A220, placing an initial order for 75 aircraft in 2016 and booking an additional 15 in December 2018.

With this latest order, Delta’s orders total 45 A220-100s and 50 A220-300s. Delta’s A220-100s are produced in Mirabel, Qu├ębec, Canada, while the A220-300s will be built at a new U.S. assembly plant now under construction in Mobile, Ala., adjacent to the existing Airbus A320 assembly facility. (Post)


UTC-Raytheon
United Technologies and Raytheon are joining forces in one of the biggest corporate mergers of 2019. They agreed to combine in an all-stock deal they termed a "merger of equals." The new company would have annual revenue of about $74 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, United Technologies shareholders would own 57 percent of the combined company, with Raytheon shareholders owning the rest.

UTC is an industrial conglomerate, and makes everything from jet engines to elevators. It owns the Pratt & Whitney engine maker as well as Collins Aerospace. Raytheon is rooted in defense, and produces missile defense systems and cybersecurity solutions. Both companies are Airbus and Boeing suppliers.

The combined company will be named Raytheon Technologies Corporation and based in Boston. It will be second in size to Boeing in the U.S. and tied for third in the world with Airbus. UTC and Raytheon have almost no overlap, with most units likely being able to stay more or less as-is. One of UTC's three companies is Collins Aerospace, which does jet engine podding work in Foley, Ala. It has 1,100 employees. (Post)


Research
The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and Andrews Research and Educations Foundation (AREF) have announced partnership to conduct research projects together. They signed an agreement to collaborate on human-performance research.

IHMC and AREF will share office and lab spaces at their Pensacola and Gulf Breeze facilities. The scientists and doctors will collaborate on research into area ranging from optimizing physical and cognitive performance to developing technologies aimed at helping high-performing humans like professional athletes, astronauts and fighter pilots.

They'll work together to study ways to help human movement, vision and reaction in extreme environments. Immediate plans include IHMC and AREF personnel working together on current ongoing research projects as well as developing proposals for future projects and grants. (Post)


Publications
Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2019-2020 was published June 11 and is available for download at our website. The 100-page reference book has chapters on aircraft assembly and maintenance in the central part of the corridor, military aviation, space activities, education, airports and a summary of aerospace activities in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The book can be found on the homepage, which takes you to a page where the entire book or individual chapters can also be downloaded. In addition, the June issue of the bimonthly Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter is available for download at the same website. The eight-page bimonthy in this issue summarizes the content of the just-released book.


Contracts
Management Services Group Inc., doing business as Global Technical Systems, Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded a $20 million contract for Mid-Size Munitions (MSM) technology effort. Work will be performed at Virginia Beach and is expected to be completed by June 17, 2024. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. ... Advanced Concepts and Technologies International LLC, Waco, Texas, was awarded a $7.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the 505th Training Group academic and training support. Work will be performed primarily at Hurlburt Field, Fla., as well as various other locations worldwide, and is expected to be complete by June 9, 2020. Air Combat Command Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Hurlburt Field, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Week in review (6/2 to 6/8)

Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2019-2020, the seventh edition of our reference book, will publish next week. The six-chapter, 100-page book provides an update of aviation activities in the Interstate 10 region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida.

The last issue was published in 2017, and the two years since then has seen a lot of activity, including a second passenger jet assembly line in Mobile, an expansion of the maintenance, repair and overhaul campus in Pensacola and a number of new aerospace and aviation education and training programs.

Much of the reference book involves updating numbers from the previous issue, like the replacement value of the military properties in the Gulf Coast region. We also have updated figures for the number of contracts and value of those contracts in each of the counties and parishes in our coverage area.

We have one chapter that highlights the fast-growing Mobile-Pensacola metro areas in the center of the corridor, where we have two overlapping clusters, one for aircraft manufacturing and the other aircraft maintenance. It’s the hot-spot for aviation jobs, with more than 2,000 that will be needed in the next couple of years.

Our chapter on military aviation details the activities at the Navy and Air Force bases that dot the region, and the changes that are resulting from the pounding Tyndall Air Force Base took from Hurricane Michael in 2018. Among other things, the F-22 training has gone away, but the region will be getting more F-35s.

The education chapter will update the wealth of information that was published in October 2018 in the special 36-page edition of our bimonthly newsletter. Since that newsletter, several training programs have been launched to help meet the demand for workers in the aerospace industry.

Out space chapter will fill you in on our region's contribution to both government and commercial space ventures. It has information on the huge technology park NASA is eyeing for the region, and the move by one group to get an airport licensed as a spaceport.

We also have for the first time since 2014 a chapter on airports in the region. They are often the first places visitors see, and they are magnets where a lot of the aerospace and aviation development is taking place.

So visit our website Tuesday and download a PDF copy. It’s free, thanks to the underwriters who support the project.

On a solemn note, this past week was the anniversary for two significant events from World War II. June 6 was the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, where so many brave soldiers lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy. Some 11 months later the war in Europe was over.

June 7 was the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The decisive U.S. naval victory came six months after Pearl Harbor at a time when we were still not at our peak strength and badly needed a win.

World War II will always stand out in my mind. My dad was in the Army Air Corps and fought in Europe with so many others. Other relatives also served. The generation that followed owed everything to them. So I will never forget. Thank you.

Now for your week in review:

Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $1.8 billion contract for continued design maturation and development of Block 4 capabilities in support of the F-35 Phase 2.3 Pre-Modernization for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps; and non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in August 2026. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … NASA has selected four companies to provide real property master planning (RPMP) for the agency, as needed for all 10 NASA centers. The companies are: HB&A – The Schreifer Group Joint Venture of Colorado Springs, Colo.; The Urban Collaborative of Eugene, Oregon; Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. of Atlanta; and Michael Baker International Inc. of Moon Township, Pa. The maximum potential value of this contract will not exceed $24 million for work that starts June 15, 2019, and extends for five years, with three one-year options.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Week in review (5/19 to 5/25)

Airbus during the week marked the delivery of its 12,000th aircraft in its 50-year history. The aircraft was an A220-100, assembled in Mirabel, Canada, and handed over to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines.

The aircraft is the 12th A220 delivered to date to Delta Air Lines since the first A220 in October 2018. Delta is the first U.S. airline to operate the A220 and is the largest A220 customer, with a firm order for 90 aircraft.

Ground was broken in January this year in Mobile, Ala. for the construction of a second A220 final assembly line, set to start deliveries to U.S. customers in 2020. (Post)

Meanwhile, Airbus has emerged as the newest potential buyer for Bombardier’s plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bombardier announced in early May that it was seeking to divest its facilities in both Northern Ireland and Morocco.

According to a report from the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the Airbus CEO 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 add 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. (Post)

Speaking of the A220, Airbus announced that beginning in the second half of 2020 the jetliner will be offered with a longer range. It will allow the A220 to reach markets that cannot be served by other small single-aisle aircraft types. (Post)


Blue Angels
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team is retiring its existing C-130T Fat Albert cargo plane, but the Fat Albert program isn't going away. The Department of Defense is looking at replacement options. The team announced during the week that Fat Albert had reached the end of its flying life after 17 years with the team, accumulating more than 30,000 flight hours. The Blue Angels are based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (Post)


Contracts
Vectrus Systems Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded a $16.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Base Operations Support services. This modification provides for the exercise of the third option period. Work will be performed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2020. The 81st Contracting Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $11.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification exercises an option for deployment and operation of test aircraft in support of the F-35 development, production, and sustainment for the Air Force, Navy, and non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants. Work will be performed in Lakehurst, N.J. (70 percent); and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, Md., was awarded a $7.8 million delivery order against a previously awarded contract for serviceable components and subsystems for Instrumentation Tracking Systems (ITS). This delivery order provides for a 5.5 KVDC transmitter power upgrade for Phased Array Radar. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by March 17, 2021. The 45th Contracting Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Alfab Inc., Enterprise, Ala., is awarded a $127.9 million contract to provide new and refurbished Airfield Matting 2 (AM2) packages in accordance with Naval Air Systems Command drawing packages. Work will be performed in Enterprise and is expected to be completed in May 2024. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $24.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile System Improvement Program software architecture and design risk reduction efforts to counter evolving threats. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2022. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Week in review (5/12 to 5/17)

Since we have one location in the Gulf Coast region seeking a license to become a space port, this item might be of interest to Hancock County, Miss. It’s from late last week, and shows the importance of patience.

Spaceport America in southern New Mexico is finally getting its anchor tenant since its official opening in 2011. Billionaire Richard Branson said at a news conference May 10 that Virgin Galactic will relocate its headquarters and flight operations from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port to Spaceport America.

The move will be this summer, in anticipation of commercial spaceflights beginning by the end of the year. More than 100 Virgin Galactic flight personnel and support staff are expected to move. Virgin Galactic affiliate, manufacturer The Spaceship Company, will remain in Mojave.

Spaceport America, near Truth or Consequences, has hosted close to 50 private suborbital launches since its official 2011 opening. Taxpayers invested some $200 million with the idea that Virgin Galactic would be the anchor tenant. The facility is on the northwestern edge of the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range. (Story)

The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission hopes to make Stennis International Airport in Kiln, just outside Stennis Space Center, one of the nation’s licensed spaceports. It’s no doubt a long road. But every journey begins with the first step.


Contracts – F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded three contracts in connection with the F-35 program during the week. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for all three contracts. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., trains F-35 pilots and maintainers.

One was a $21.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract that will provide initial repair material for the Electronic Warfare Digital Channelized Receiver/Techniques Generator Tuner Insertion Program, Fuel and Life Support systems at multiple F-35 depots within the continental U.S. Work will be performed in New Hampshire, Texas, and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in January 2022.

The company also was awarded an $11.9 million modification to a delivery order previously issued against a basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for modification kits and special tooling required for the modification and retrofit of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in support of the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (non-U.S. DoD) participants; and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2023.

The company also was awarded an $18.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification authorizes the procurement of Diminishing Manufacturing Sources redesign activities in support of the F-35 aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in January 2024.


Other contracts
Sikorsky, Stratford, Conn., was awarded a $1.1 billion modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the procurement of 12 Lot II and Lot III low-rate initial production CH-53K aircraft, including programmatic support, logistics support, and peculiar support equipment. Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will handle 1.11 percent of the work. Other work sites are in Connecticut, Kansas, Utah, Missouri, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, the United Kingdom and Canada. Work is expected to be completed in December 2023. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Co., Keyport, Wash., was awarded a $20.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise options for maintenance and support of AN/AQS-20 Sonar Mine Detecting Set. The AN/AQS-20 is a towed, mine hunting and identification system for Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants. Panama City, Fla., will handle 5 percent of the work. Other work sites are in Rhode Island and Washington. Work is expected to be completed by May 2020. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, is the contracting activity. … EMR Inc., Niceville, Fla., is awarded an $18.9 million task order under a multiple award construction contract for the design and construction of P855 expeditionary combat skills student berthing at Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Miss. Work will be performed in Gulfport and is expected to be completed by June 2021. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Week in review (5/5 to 5/11)

Facing a need for a lot more workers in the coming years, Airbus during the week announced the launch of two new programs designed to employ applicants with little-to-no previous aerospace experience.

The programs, FlightPath9 and Fast Track, are intended to train candidates to become workers on the company's A320 and A220 jetliner assembly lines in Mobile. FlightPath9 is a nine-month program for high school seniors. It will be run by Flight Works Alabama, which has partnered with Airbus, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Cintas, Snap-On Tools, Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment, and the National Coalition of Certification Centers.

Students will attend training after school during their senior year. Upon graduation, students who complete the program can start their career with Airbus through the second program, Fast Track.

Fast Track is a 12 to 15-week program for people with no aviation experience. It provides them with the skills needed for a career in aerospace maintenance. "When they come out of that training, the employee graduates to on-the-job training on A220 an A320 aircraft," said Daryl Taylor, vice president and general manager of the A320 manufacturing facility in Mobile.

Fast Track, while targeting Mobile-area residents, can be attended by others from the region. The announcement was attended by Gov. Kay Ivey, who congratulated each of the first class of 25 students who signed up for FlightPath9.

Airbus, which already has its A320 line up and running, is expanding that line and building a second assembly line for A220s, and expects to need 600 to 700 new workers in the next few years. (Post)

The Mobile-Pensacola portion of the aerospace corridor will be adding a lot of aviation jobs in the near future. In addition to the 600-700 in Mobile, some 60 miles to the east in Pensacola, Fla., there will be a need for 1,200 maintenance, repair and overhaul workers at the ST Engineering campus at Pensacola International Airport.


Military
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the preferred alternative to receive an additional F-35A training squadron. Eglin was the location of the F-35 initial joint training site hosting Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps F-35s, but the Marine Corps relocated its F-35Bs in 2014 and the Navy announced its plans to relocate F-35Cs in 2019.

“By basing the next F-35A training squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, we are taking advantage of existing facilities and training air space,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

Additional F-35As are expected to begin arriving in the fall of 2021. The new squadron is expected to reach full operational capability by spring 2023. Eglin will only receive the additional F-35 training unit if the F-22 Raptor formal training unit temporarily operating at Eglin is permanently moved to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

In March, the Air Force acknowledged plans to move the F-22 training unit to JB Langley-Eustis, pending the outcome of the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory and planning processes. This F-35 basing action is also dependent on completing the environmental analysis. (Post)

Eglin got the F-22 training unit after Tyndall Air Force Base, to the east of Eglin near Panama City, was hit hard by Hurricane Michael. The base is being rebuilt, and now Tyndall is being recommended by the Air Force to receive up to three operational F-35 squadrons. If approved and funded by Congress, the squadrons would arrive in 2023.


Airports
Two Louisiana airports, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and Lafayette Regional Airport, were awarded $15 million and $10.5 million grants, respectively, by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lafayette will use the money from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program for taxiway improvement projects. The Lafayette airport is undergoing an $80 million construction project to build a new terminal. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. In Baton Rouge, the funding will be used for runway, safety, and other development projects included in the airport’s master plan. (Post)


Contract
United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $55.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides additional funding for F135 long lead items to support the production delivery schedule, exercises an option for additional initial spare parts, and provides program administrative labor for the global spares pool in support of the Navy; Air Force, and Marine Corps, non-U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in East Hartford (67 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (26.5 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (6.5 percent), 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.