Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week in review (5/23 to 5/29)

Boeing is seen as the favorite to win the $35 million contract to supply tankers to the Air Force, but you wouldn't guess it from the way it continues to pound rival EADS.

Boeing has been painting EADS as a security risk, saying the company has courted Iran and others at odds with the United States. EADS, for its part, accuses Boeing of trying to make the competition about anything other than the best tanker. Boeing wants lawmakers and the Pentagon to factor national-security into the competition.

Whether that will happen is unclear, but there's a legislative measure now to force the Pentagon to consider the role of illegal subsidies in the contest between Boeing and EADS. It was passed by the House during the week, though it still must be reconciled with a companion defense bill in the Senate.

EADS North America wants to assemble the tankers, based on a modified A330, in Mobile, Ala., at Brookley Industrial Complex. Boeing wants to build the tankers, based on a 767, at its assembly line in Washington.

There's a new associate director at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Ken Human was named to the post late in the week. He'll work for Stennis Director Patrick Scheuermann and Deputy Center Director Rick Gilbrech. Human, who started his NASA career at Stennis in 1978, had been deputy manager of the External Integration Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

- In another personnel-related issue during the week, lawmakers who support the Constellation Program, NASA's bid to return astronauts to the moon and beyond, were outraged the agency reassigned the head of the program. Jeff Hanley was moved to a deputy position at Johnson Space Center in Houston. He has been an outspoken opponent of the administration efforts to shut down the Constellation Program. Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the program.

- Lockheed Martin delivered the first satellite in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency program to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., in preparation for a July 30 launch aboard an Atlas V. The multi-satellite AEHF system will provide the U.S. military with global, protected, high capacity and secure communications – a successor to the five-satellite Milstar constellation. Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space and Technology Center personnel at Stennis Space Center, Miss., worked on the core propulsion modules for the AEHF program.

Joint Strike Fighter
Pratt and Whitney delivered the final F135 flight test engine and the first lot of F135 production engines for the F-35. The first lot of production engines consists of four conventional take off and landing engines. All the engines are destined for aircraft that will support the flight training program at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

- The U.S. House late in the week adopted its version of a fiscal 2011 defense spending bill that includes $485 million to keep alive an alternate engine for the F-35. This one is built by a joint venture of General Electric and Rolls-Royce. President Obama said he'd veto any legislation to fund the second engine. The Pentagon has said it doesn't want to fund the second powerplant.

Second-engine supports claim that without it, United Technologies Corp., parent of Pratt and Whitney, would have a decades-long monopoly on the projected $100 billion engine market for the more than 3,000 F-35s due to be bought by the United States and partner countries.

- The involvement of the Netherlands in the F-35 program will remain uncertain for several more months. The lower house of the Dutch parliament voted to cancel the purchase of an F-35 initial operational test and evaluation aircraft, but the caretaker government now in place wants the decision left to the new government. General elections are planned for June 9.

Officials during the week cut a ribbon at the new Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Facility at the growing Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, Miss. The 3,910 square-foot-facility cost $609,000. Six years ago the air traffic control tower was built and flights increased 50 percent, said Carol Snapp, the airport director. She said once the rescue facility is manned, flights will increase again.

The airport is right next to the Jackson County Aviation Technology Park, which hosts the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center. The facility builds portions of the Fire Scout and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles.

- Speaking of the Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman opened an office at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., to provide support for the RQ-4s being assigned to the base. The office could eventually employ more than 100 people and attract suppliers and subcontractors.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $6 million contract which will sustain systems engineering support for the production and fielded systems of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range. 308 ARSG/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contacting activity. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded an $18 million contract to provide for additional logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate and depot-level maintenance of 13 T39N and 6 T-39G aircraft at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Week in review (5/16 to 5/22)

The Gulf Coast now has the nation's newest commercial airport. A 4,000-acre airport in Panama City, Fla., opened over the weekend. But that's just one of the more high-profile aerospace-related events during the past week. In other activities, a contract was awarded to build simulated carrier decks at Florida's Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, two airlines added services in the region and military student pilots began training in a brand new aircraft.

Here's the week in review:

New airport, new routes
The nation's newest commercial airport, the 4,000-acre Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, held a grand opening Saturday and was scheduled to begin operations Sunday. The airport is on land donated by St. Joe Co., the largest landowner in northwest Florida. It replaces the Panama City-Bay County International Airport.

The airport, which initially will use a 10,000-foot runway while work continues on others, is served by Southwest and Delta. Southwest was lured to Panama City over Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola, thanks to the guarantee from St. Joe that it would make sure the airline does not lose any money on the venture.

- On the opposite end of the corridor, another low-cost carrier, AirTran, will launch a new nonstop flight between New Orleans and Milwaukee Oct. 7. The additional flight increases to three the number of cities the airline flies to from New Orleans.

- During the week, the first flight of Branson AirExpress landed at Mississippi’s Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Nonstop flights on 50-seat jets are Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Ares I moves forward
Although President Barack Obama wants to kill the Constellation Program and its Ares I rocket, NASA managers in charge of the rocket have put together an ambitious testing program to speed its development.

That schedule includes a flight in November 2014 with astronauts aboard. That would be earlier than NASA's current schedule, which calls for the first manned flight in March 2015, and much faster than the 2017 date predicted by a blue-ribbon panel that reviewed NASA's human spaceflight program last year.

For Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, it's got to be tough not knowing what the future holds for the space agency. Michoud was chosen as the location to build portions of the Constellation vehicles, while 40 miles away Stennis built a new test stand specifically for the Constellation program. Stennis knows that no matter what, it will still be the primary NASA facility for testing rocket engines. But things are a bit less certain for Michoud. Stay tuned.

New training aircraft
The transition to new aircraft will be slow, but it’s now underway. During the week at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, north of Milton, Fla., military flight students took to the sky for the first time at the controls of a new training aircraft.

Over the next three years the T-6B Texan II will be replacing the T-34 Turbo Mentor. And it's a big change for the students. It puts them in an aircraft that's a lot more like the aircraft now used by the military. The T-6B Texan is a single-engine, two-seat trainer with flight instruments on a digital display rather than gauges.

Meanwhile, two Air Force captains landed at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Friday, delivering the last of 22 T-6A Texan aircraft that will be used by Air Force students at NAS Pensacola. The Air Force trainers are blue and white and the Navy trainers are orange and white.

Speaking of the Navy, changes are in the works to adjust the aviation pipeline. The Navy wants to decrease the waiting time for aviation training by trimming back the number of candidates in the pipeline. Right now the waiting time between commissioning and entering the Aviation Preflight Indoctrination in Pensacola, Fla., is up to six months from three. The Navy plans to offer qualified candidate officers options other than aviation training.

Tanker milestone
Two A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft being certified in Australia recently completed tanker-to-tanker refueling missions. The tanker has previously successfully refueled F-16 and F/A-18 fighters and E-3 AWACS.

The MRTT is the same design as the KC-45 that EADS North America plans to offer in the contest to build U.S. tankers. If EADS wins, the planes will be assembled in Mobile, Ala. Boeing, the other company that plans to compete for the tanker project, will build its planes in Washington. Most experts believe Boeing will win the contest.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded two contracts related to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. One was an $85.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract in support of the JSF low-rate initial production Lot II. The second was a $58 million modification to the previously awarded contract for technical services required to meet production ramp rates in support of the JSF low-rate initial production Lot III aircraft. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home to the JSF training center. … R.C. Construction Co. Inc., Greenwood, Miss., was awarded a $23.1 million contract for the construction of short take off vertical landing simulated carrier practice landing decks at Eglin Air Force Base and nearby Duke Field, Fla. The U.S. Corps of Engineers Mobile Regional Contracting Center Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. … Tybrin Corp., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services, Gaithersburg, Md., and L-3 Services Inc., Chantilly, Va., were each awarded contracts for services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division's Combat Environment Simulation Division. Tybrin's ceiling is $241,540,417. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $30 million contract for advance procurement long-lead associated with two Block 30 and two Block 40 Global Hawks and associated items to protect the production schedule for Lot 10. Also, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, San Diego, was awarded a $303.3 million contract which will provide production of two Global Hawk Block 30 air vehicles, two Global Hawk Block 40 air vehicles, and related program sustaining support efforts. Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. … 2020 Company LLC, Falls Church, Va., Colsa Corp., Huntsville, Ala., and Oasis Systems Inc., Lexington, Mass., were awarded a $28.5 million contract which will provide a wide range of diverse, non-engineering, technical and acquisition management support required in the acquisition, development, production and support of various equipment and weapons systems within the Air Armament Center and other organizations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AAC/PKES, Eglin, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Week in review (5/9 to 5/15)

For a program that's been cricitized for delays and cost overruns, anything good that's said about the program is probably welcome. That's what happened during the week when the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was recognized for its "cutting-edge design and technology" by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The organization presented the award in Washington, D.C. during the week. Lockheed is developing the F-35 with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be the home of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Two big NASA contractors could be on the hook for millions in program shutdown costs if the Obama administration revamps manned space-exploration. ATK and Lockheed Martin are waging battle with NASA's leadership over who will cover possibly more than $1 billion in such expenses, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cites people familiar with the situation. Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are NASA facilities in the Gulf Coast region.

- Developers plan to build a "green" Holiday Inn at the Stennis Technology Park that could bring more business to the 26-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Mississippi 603, just outside Stennis Space Center, Miss. The total investment is about $15 million. The hope is to begin construction in late summer.

Lawmakers who support Boeing's bid to build tankers for the Air Force introduced legislation to require the Pentagon to add the value of government subsidies to a competing proposal from EADS. It would amount to $5 million per plane.

Boeing wants to build tankers based on the 767, and EADS wants to build modified A330s. The Pentagon won't consider the WTO ruling in part because of the appeals process, in part because of a counter complaint by the European Union against Boeing. EADS wants to assemble its tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Representatives from Northwest Florida were in North Carolina during the week holding a series of town hall meetings near Fort Bragg to provide information to thousands of military personnel who will be relocating to Eglin Air Force base next year.

About 30 organizations from Northwest Florida were represented. The bed down of the 7th Special Forces at Eglin will bring 2,200 new soldiers to the region by the middle of 2011. When spouses and children are added, the total population increase in the region has been estimated at more than 6,000.

- The 24th Naval Aviation Symposium was held during the past week at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, was also inducted into the Hall of Honor during the event.

Speegle Construction Inc., Niceville, Fla., was awarded an $11 million contract for the construction of the 7th Special Forces Group backyard training ranges, 7SFG compound, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile Regional Contracting Center, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. … A. E. New Jr. Inc, Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $16.1 million contract to design-build two single-story sprinkler-equipped child development center facilities. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $14 million contract action to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics services in support of the Navy's T-34 and T-44 aircraft. Half the work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., and half at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Week in review (5/2 to 5/8)

If there's one thing we know how to do in this country, it's creating special interest groups.

One of the newest came to light during the past week when Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., announced the creation of the United States Senate Aerospace Caucus. Its purpose, says Murray, is to fight for the needs of the U.S. aerospace industry.

It might be hard to convince your average Joe and Jane that the U.S. aerospace industry needs the help. It's one of the real bright spots in the economy, chalking up in 2009 sales of $214 billion. That's the sixth record-breaking year in a row.

But Defense News reported that Murray said there are some warning signs that the aerospace industry is heading towards trouble. She claims it could go the way of the U.S. auto industry unless the industry and Congress develop a plan for the future. She wants a comprehensive national strategy for aerospace, formed by industry and government working closely together. Without it, "these companies risk being stagnant just as their foreign competition flies ahead, and we cannot let that happen," she said.

The caucus has some two dozen members, including both senators from Washington, where Boeing is the state’s largest employer. The Seattle P-I ran the list on a blog. The caucus has some representation from the states of the Gulf Coast. Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and David Vitter, R-La., are members, but neither senator from Florida had joined at this writing.

Also missing are Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby of Alabama, who may be uncomfortable with talk about foreign competition. Alabama stands to gain an aircraft assembly plant in Mobile if Europe's EADS beats Boeing and wins the Air Force tanker competition. That's an unlikely scenario, but it's still possible.

"There is a lack of certainty among our aerospace manufacturers about what the future holds and what they should be building for," Murray is quoted as saying in the Defense News article. A lack of certainty? Welcome to the real world of commerce.

How many industries have certainty about what the future holds? Customers of any industry – whether it's Joe Blow average consumer or the deep-pocket Pentagon – can't tell you what they are going to want or need in the future. But that's how commerce works, and the biggest reward goes to those who think ahead of the curve. The U.S. aerospace industry has proven itself up to the challenge.

President Obama's plans for NASA appear in big trouble. Few Democrats have publicly endorsed the entire plan, while opponents like Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., continue to blast the Obama plan as "destructive."

NASA appears to be hedging its bets that the president's vision might not pass muster with Congress. Kennedy Space Center officials and contractors, under direction from Johnson Space Center and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, are pressing ahead with plans for test flights of a multibillion-dollar Ares I rocket that Obama wants to cancel. NASA has operations at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

- The oil slick floating in the Gulf of Mexico caused a few headaches in the effort to ship an external fuel tank to Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The 15-story tank used in Space Shuttle launches is made at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, and it's sent in a covered barge to Kennedy. But the slick blocked the usual deep-water access. The barge was placed on a barge last weekened and taken to Gulfport, Miss., where it was retrieved by the Freedom Star to finish the 900-mile trek to Kennedy.

The Air Force has launched a new training program for Combat Systems Officer students with the inaugural class of the 479th Flying Training Group. The year-long program combines navigator, electronic warfare and weapon systems training into a single pipeline.

The resulting CSOs will be trained in a common set of core skills to fill any of the roles once filled by navigators, WSOs or EWOs. There will also be a significant increase in hands-on flying. The CSO course will include 38 sorties in T-6 Texan II and modified T-1A Jayhawks, and 40 missions in simulators.

The 479th FTG became the 12th Flying Training Wing's newest group in October, when it started operations in Florida as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Committee directive to relocate Air Force navigator training from Randolph Air Force Base to NAS Pensacola, where the Navy conducts its Naval Flight Officer training. With stand-up of the new group, nearly 35 percent of the 12th FTW is now in Florida.

Unmanned systems
Northrop Grumman and Bell Helicopter have unveiled a new unmanned helicopter, Fire-X, based on the four-blade, single engine Bell 407. The new drone borrows many of the systems that are used in the successful Fire Scout.

The new UAV will be able to keep tabs on adversaries for longer periods of time and deliver more cargo to more remote locations. The first flight of Fire-X is expected by the end of 2010. The new aircraft represents Northrop Grumman's entry in an anticipated U.S. Navy competition in 2011 to demonstrate a new medium-range unmanned system.

Northrop's Fire Scout is built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

A UH-1 Huey set up outside the terminal at Northwest Florida Regional Airport was dedicated during the week in honor of the late Michael J. Novosel Sr., who earned a Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam. Hundreds of people, including family members and soldiers from Fort Rucker, Ala., attended the ceremony. The Huey, which arrived at the airport April 23, will greet visitors at the airport’s entrance.

Is EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois a betting man? Who knows, but he came up with a bold statement in Frankfurt, Germany, during the week when he said he's certain EADS would win the $40 billion Air Force tanker contract. "I would even bet that we will get the contract," Gallois told German tabloid Bild. EADS wants to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala.

- The Pentagon wants bidders for the $40 billion tanker project to be ready to start the contract on Nov. 12. Bids are expected from Boeing Co. and EADS North America. The Pentagon said during the week that it still hopes to award the contract in the fall, but that it set the Nov. 12 start date so that bidders could plan around it. The request for proposals calls for the contract to be awarded on Aug. 12, but that appears unlikely since the Pentagon extended the bidding deadline to July 9 so that EADS could bid.

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $14 million contract to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics services in support of the Navy's T-34 and T-44 aircraft. Half the work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., and half at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and is expected to be completed in November 2010. … Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $96.7 million contract which will provide miniature air launched decoy low rate initial production contracts for a 24-month effort to include operational test and evaluation. 692 ARSS/PK Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., was awarded a $79.2 million contract for the procurement of 487 NexGen MWS sensors and 99 NexGen MWS processors, including associated technical data, for the H-53 and H-46 helicopters. Under two percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Week in review (4/25 to 5/1)

Although there was plenty of aerospace news during the week, I can't write this weekly wrap-up without acknowledging one of the biggest stories in the Gulf Coast region during the week had nothing to do with aerospace, but with a potential environmental catastrophe.

The drilling well that exploded April 20 is still releasing thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico - and perhaps more. The oil slick that's resulted is invading the Gulf Coast's fragile coastline, already coming ashore at some locations in southeast Louisiana. The whole areas between Louisiana and Northwest Florida is scurrying to protect the coastline and sensitive beach and marsh lands.

The spill promises to alter the debate about additional drilling wells.

Joint Strike Fighter
The squadron serving as the sole Department of Defense provider of electronic warfare support for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter activated last month in a ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It's the 513th Electronic Warfare Squadron, which will provide EW support for all three variants on the F-35. The squadron has more than 30 technicians and engineers, but will grow to 130 and operate a $300 million reprogramming lab. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is scheduled to become home of the F-35 training center.

- Lockheed Martin, Magestic Systems Inc. and Nikon Metrology jointly won a first-place JEC Innovation Award in composites manufacturing for technology used in the production of the F-35. The 2010 JEC Innovation Award was presented in Paris last month in recognition of the cured laminate compensation process, a composite manufacturing process for achieving precision, as-built laminate thickness without post-cure machining.

- Representatives from the Italian air force and navy visited the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base to check on progress of the first F-35 integrated training. "A lot of work has been done. A lot of work has to be done," said Rear Adm. Paolo Treu, director of Naval Aviation Department and commander of the Italian Fleet Air Arm. Italy is one of the partner nations that will be training Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers at the 33rd FW.

EADS North America, which plans to compete against Boeing to build tankers for the Air Force, now has a new Web site for information on its offering. The site is, and it features video and photography of the KC-45 tanker in flight conducting refueling operations, as well as facts and information about the aerial refueling system. Boeing, which is offering the 767, has its site at, and it, too, provides video and photography of its offering. Boeing plans to build the planes in Washington State, while EADS wants to build them in Mobile, Ala.

- EADS' former partner in the tanker competition, Northrop Grumman, has chosen Virginia as the site for its new corporate office. The company also looked at Maryland and the District of Columbia before deciding on Virginia. The company expects to initiate operations in the new corporate office in the summer of 2011 with about 300 people. The move of corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to the Washington area is designed to let the company be closer to its primary customer, the Pentagon. Northrop Grumman has a major presence on the Gulf Coast, including shipyards and an unmanned systems center.

- Speaking of tankers, a new tanker aircraft designed and engineered at the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Boeing office has been delivered to the Japan Air Self-Defense Forces. Boeing Fort Walton Beach partnered with Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Cobham Mission Systems to convert a C-130H into a flying refueling station. The project got its start with work Boeing Fort Walton Beach completed for the Air Force Special Operations Command, converting 20 C-130Hs into tankers. That caught the eye of the Japan, which needed tankers for UH-60 rescue helicopters.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., says he's "gained assurances" that NASA's Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi will have a robust future as a testing facility whether or not Congress agrees to the sweeping changes proposed for NASA by the Obama administration. Cochran questioned NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. about Stennis during a hearing to review the FY2011 budget request for the space agency. Bolden stressed the need for a "robust testing program," and and pointed to $312 million for commercial space testing, some of which will take place at Stennis. "Stennis is critical," Bolden testified.

During the week, Brig. Gen. Dan Wyman passed leadership of the 81st Medical Group to Brig. Gen. Kory Cornum during a change of command ceremony at Keesler Medical Center, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Cornum had been Air Combat Command command surgeon since 2007.

- Craig Fugate, who was appointed last year to head up the Federal Emergency Management Agency, visited the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., during the week. He saw the C-130Js and got an update of the squadron's missions. The hurricane season begins June 1.

- The Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team, based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., announced the commanding officer for the 2011 and 2012 teams will be Cmdr. David E. Koss. He's commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 14, the "Tophatters."

Several contracts of interest to the Gulf Coast were awarded during the week. Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $6.8 million contract which will provide fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 option year sustaining support to the Lot 6 production contract. 681 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $53.1 million contract which will provide for the engineering and manufacturing development for the Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer. 692 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $10.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide specialized technical services in support of depot level maintenance work performed at the Fleet Readiness Center, Southwest on aircraft and rework of associated components and materials. … Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc., Houston, Texas, was awarded a $22.5 million contract for construction of a 202-room combat systems officer bachelor housing at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.