Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week in review (3/13 to 3/19)

Although the unmanned Global Hawk has long been associated with flights over combat zones, it's proving itself on the non-warfare front as well. In one of the UAV's latest mission, a Global Hawk based in Guam has flown missions over Japan to collect images of the destruction caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The images provided by the RQ-4 Global Hawk will help authorities in search-and-recovery and the long-term clean-up. The Global Hawk can provide near real-time imagery.

Global Hawks in the past were also used to fly over huge fires in California and over hurricanes. The center fuselage for the planes are built in part in Moss Point, Miss., at the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center. That production center also does finishing work on another Northrop Grumman UAV, the unmanned helicopter Fire Scout.

Seven of 10 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter test planes were cleared during the past week to resume flights. All 10 aircraft were grounded when one plane experienced an in-flight failure of two electrical generators and an oil leak last week. The incident occurred during a flight at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The incident came just as military officials were reporting significant progress on the program after a major restructuring that slowed development to allow more flight testing before the plane goes into production. The suspension was lifted on seven aircraft with older-model generators.

- In another F-35 related matter, the Navy said it would buy 680 F-35s, half suited for aircraft carrier landings and half short-takeoff and vertical-landing versions for the Marines. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home of the F-35 training center.

Airbus Corporate Foundation during the week announced a $50,000 initial grant to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, Ala., seeding a new advanced aerospace engineering program for students. Staff members at the Airbus Engineering Center in Mobile will work hands-on with students as mentors.

Blue Angels
The Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team is performing in Mississippi at the Keesler Air Force Base air show this weekend. It's the first performance at Keesler since 1978. The Blue Angles returned home to Pensacola, Fla., early last week after spending the winter training in El Centro, Calif.

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $314,000 contract for logistics support for the C-12 aircraft for Pacific Air Force, Air Force Material Command, Defense Intelligence Agency, and Defense Security Corporation Agency. The location of performance is Madison. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $20.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance of 14 T39N and six T-39G aircraft at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. In addition, this modification provides for aircraft intermediate maintenance services in support of Chief of Naval Air Training aircraft and transient aircraft at NAS Pensacola and NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Most of the work will be performed in Pensacola. … L-3 Communications Systems Field Support, Vertex Aerospace, Madison Miss., was awarded a $25.6 million contract for aircraft maintenance and logistical life cycle support for 65 Navy C-12 aircraft at 21 global locations. … The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., and Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., were awarded a $20 million contract for integrated precision ordinance delivery system Phases II-IV; research and development. AFRL/RWK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … JDA LLC, Concord, Calif., was awarded an $8 million contract for a data replay system. AAC/PKO, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Kaman Precision Products Inc., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $23.8 million contract modification which will provide the Air Force with 6,000 of the Joint Programmable Fuze systems to meet munitions requirements. AAC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.