Saturday, September 18, 2010

Week in review (9/12 to 9/18)

Flights of the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter the Navy is testing to operate from its warships will resume this week. The UAVs were grounded after operators lost control of one on Aug. 2 for about 20 minutes and it entered restricted airspace around Washington.

Operators regained control and it landed safely back at its base.

This time they'll be flying in Yuma, Ariz. The Navy had been flying Fire Scouts from a field near Naval Air Station Patuxent River in southern Maryland. Testing will resume there after engineers validate updated software for the aircraft. New software is scheduled to be installed early next month.

Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

The World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel ruled during the week that Boeing received U.S. government subsidies to develop aircraft. The interim ruling is confidential and a final ruling is not expected for several months.

Three months ago the WTO found that European countries provided illegal subsidies to Boeing rival Airbus. The biggest impact of the ruling could be forcing the United States and European Union to come up with a negotiated settlement on subsidies.

Boeing and Airbus parent, EADS, are competing for a $40 billion contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. EADS wants to assemble its tankers in Mobile, Ala.

Airports and bases
The new head of the New Orleans airport said Louis Armstrong International suffers from major management and staffing deficiencies and is headed for more problems if things don't change quickly. Iftikhar Ahmad said the airport is understaffed, lacks an overall business strategy and there are no performance measures.

- Col. Richard McBride Jr. took command of the 81st Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron Tuesday at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. He succeeds Col. Stephanie McCann, who retired Aug. 1. McBride's squadron consists of diagnostic imaging, nutritional medicine, pharmacy and pathology and clinical laboratory flights and is comprised of more than 300 military members and civilians.

It was snowing and temperatures reached 20 degrees inside the McKinley Climatic Lab at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in preparation for testing snow traction and ice braking capabilities on vehicle tires. While the lab is primarily used to test military equipment in extremes, commercial customers can also use it. This time it was Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

It took two days to fill the 55,000 foot chamber with snow and reach the conditions required. The lab is the largest climatic lab in the world. It was established back in 1947.

Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded $12 million for a task order under a previously awarded contract to provide support of the transition from the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet environment to the next Marine Corps Information Technology environment. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. … EDO Communications & Countermeasures Systems Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., was awarded an $11.4 million contract modification to provide sustaining engineering services in support of the B-1 and B-52 mission data test laboratories and special test equipment. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … BAE Systems of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $38 million contract modification which will manage, operate, maintain and logistically support the solid state phase array radar system at five bases. 21 CONS/LGCZB, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity.

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