The Northrop Grumman Global Hawk has been under fire of late. The Air Force's acting acquisition chief, in a roundtable with reporters, had said the Air Force isn't happy about the pace of the program.
But according to Politico, the California congressional delegation is defending Global Hawk. The lawmakers sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, touting the merits of the combat-tested surveillance vehicle. (Story)
Fuselage work on the newer versions of the Global Hawk is done in part in Moss Point, Miss.
On another UAV topic, new drones are being developed that are much smaller, and can look from the ground like a bird. AOL News had a report about a recent Special Operations Forces Conference in Tampa, Fla., where a lot of these microdrones were on display. One of them, the Wasp, by California-based AeroVironment, is the smallest drone around and is already being used by the Hurlburt Field, Fla.-based Air Force Special Operations Command.
Also on display was TiGER, which can carry two hand grenades, and the Spy Pigeon by the Air Force Research Laboratory, able to fly for a week. It can recharge by landing on a utility wire. Another microdrone is the Maveric, which folds into a small tube. The Navy is buying Maveric for SEALS to launch from mini-submarines. (Story)
The president submitted to Congress a fiscal year 2011 budget amendment that targets up to $100 million toward spurring regional economic growth and job creation in the aerospace industry. The amendment would provide up to $40 million in aid for Florida's Space Coast and a maximum of about $60 million for other affected regions.
The funds would be made available from the Constellation Program transition element of the agency's exploration request. Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in Constellation.
- NASA is considering new target launch dates for its last two shuttle missions to give engineers more time to prepare equipment for the International Space Station. Launch of Discovery would be Oct. 29. Endeavour would aim for liftoff on Feb. 28, 2011. Senior managers are expected to approve the new dates at a meeting on July 1. Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the shuttle program.
Joint Strike Fighter
The first pilots and maintainers for the F-35 will start a training regimen this fall to learn the ins and outs of the Joint Strike Fighter on laptops and full-motion simulators. Instructors will do a dry run of the course at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in July. Right now, the wing has about 200 instructors from the Air Force, Navy and Marines, but should hit full strength of 2,000 by 2014. By then, the wing will have at least 59 F-35s for training. The first is scheduled to arrive in November.
- A Lockheed Martin F-35C carrier variant successfully completed testing in which it was dropped from heights of more than 11 feet during a series of simulated aircraft-carrier landings. The tests helped confirm the F-35C's structural integrity for carrier operations. The jet underwent drop testing at Vought Aircraft Industries in Grand Prairie, Texas.
SURVICE Engineering Co., Belcamp, Md., was awarded a $67.8 million contract to provide support to the Air Force Seek Eagle Office for the purpose of augmenting its workforce with contracted skills and expertise to provide modeling and simulation, and analysis and product development support. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Jacobs Technology Inc., Tullahoma, Tenn., was awarded a $16.3 million contract modification to provide technical, engineering and acquisition support at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla, and various other tenant originations. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity.