Saturday, December 26, 2009

Week in review (12/20 to 12/26)

The Financial Times during the past week reported that Airbus fears a six-month delay in a crucial World Trade Organization report on Boeing could harm its chances of winning the multibillion-dollar Pentagon aerial tanker contract.

The WTO does not plan to release its interim report until June 2010 on Brussels’ claims that the United States had granted Boeing subsidies. Washington and Brussels accused one another of subsidising their respective aircraft makers illegally in October 2004, with each case being handled by a separate WTO panel. The one hearing the U.S. claim against Airbus handed down its draft report in September. (Story)

A developer has been chosen for the new Emerald Breeze Resort on Air Force Gulf-front property in Okaloosa County. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., chose Innisfree Hotels and Innisfree Development for the operation and development of a $24 million hotel and multi-use resort a dozen miles south of Eglin's west gate. The 17-acre property with 600 feet of Gulf frontage will continue its military function as a radar installation, and the resort will be open to military and civilian visitors.

- The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., was tasked by National Weather Service officials to fly its first winter storm of the season on the East Coast starting Dec. 25. The "Hurricane Hunters" normally collect weather data during tropical storms, but between hurricane seasons they have a lesser known role of collecting weather data during winter storms.

The United Kingdom received financial approval to buy its third Lockheed Martin F-35B operational test aircraft. The approval follows recent F-35 down-select or procurement commitments by Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy and the United States. More than 100 British companies are involved in the Joint Strike Fighter program. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will become home of the JSF training center.

- AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif., has received a $23.9 million firm fixed-price order under an existing contract to upgrade existing analog Raven systems being used by the Army and Marine Corps. The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, hand-launched sensor platform that provides real-time video imagery for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units. AeroVironment has an operation in Navarre, Fla.

- An F-15C fired Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder advanced, infrared-guided air-to-air missile as part of the missile's developmental testing program. The weapon successfully passed within lethal range of a BQM-74 target drone, meeting all primary test objectives. The Nov. 20 test occurred at the test range at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and marks the second time the missile has been fired.

A 15-story shuttle external tank from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is now at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was a roughly 900-mile trip. The tank, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, will boost shuttle Discovery into orbit in March.

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