Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week in review (4/24 to 4/30)

The first Lockheed Martin-built Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous spacecraft was encapsulated into its payload fairing April 20 in preparation for an early May liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket.

SBIRS GEO-1 will enhance the nation's missile warning capabilities and improve other critical mission areas. The GEO-1 satellite includes sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will deliver enhanced infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the current constellation.

SBIRS is an A2100 satellite-based spacecraft. Work on the A2100 core's propulsion system, which positions the spacecraft in orbit, is done at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

- Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completed the design certification review for the upgraded RS-68A engine configuration, demonstrating the hydrogen-fueled engine has met all requirements to power heavy-lift vehicles into space.

The first three flight engines, 30003, 30004 and 30005, have completed acceptance testing.

Engine 30003 has already been integrated onto a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle in Decatur, Ala. Integration activities for engine 30004 have been initiated, and the third engine, 30005, has successfully completed its processing at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and is awaiting shipment to Decatur, Ala., in May.

The three engines are scheduled to boost a future Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle into orbit carrying a government payload.

Tidbits from other fields
Shipbuilding: BAE Systems will showcase its ship repair capabilities at the 2011 Offshore Technology Conference May 2-5 in Houston. BAE Systems has six full-service shipyards, including the 423-acre site in Mobile, Ala., and a satellite ship repair facility in Moss Point, Miss. … Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., owner of Pascagoula’s 10,800-employee shipyard, said its board of directors approved Irwin F. Edenzon and Matthew J. Mulherin as corporate vice presidents and presidents of the company’s two major shipyards. Edenzon was named president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Mulherin became president of Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. ... Shipyard workers at Ingalls Shipbuilding unveiled a 350-pound mahogany tribute to 9/11 to be displayed near one of the three ships being built to commemorate the event.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Week in review (4/17 to 4/23)

We had plenty of Gulf Coast-related aerospace news during the past week – Goodrich is hiring more workers in Foley, Ala., and China is now the owner of Teledyne Motors in Mobile, Ala. In fact, Lockheed Martin on its own made a lot of headlines, announcing a new Gulf Coast Technology Hub in Jackson, Miss., and announcing plans to expand operations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

But here's a news item not directly related to the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor that deserves your attention. It involves Boeing, unions, and the Chicago-based company's attempt to build 787s at a plant in South Carolina.

A lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board during the week accused Boeing of union busting by moving to produce its 787 at a nonunion plant in South Carolina. The claim is that Boeing is doing it to retaliate against Washington state aerospace workers for five strikes at Seattle-area plants between 1977 and 2008.

Boeing vows to fight the NLRB's attempt to force the company to make the aircraft in Everett, Wash., and not the half-million-square-foot North Charleston, S.C., plant. Boeing has until May 4 to file a response to the NLRB complaint. An administrative law judge will hear the case in Seattle on June 14. (Story)

For the most part companies won't say this, but one of the appealing characteristics of the Southeast is the weakness of unions and the willingness of workers to shun them in order to get a plant and the accompanying jobs. So the outcome of this Boeing/union fight will have implications for the entire region as aerospace companies look to expand in the South. You might want to keep an eye on this fight.

Business changes
Goodrich will hire about 20 people at its Foley, Ala., operation as it prepares to make more aircraft parts for Airbus and Boeing Co. The new employees would help make thrust reversers and exhaust systems that cover aircraft engines in a unit called a nacelle.

Goodrich, based in Charlotte, N.C., has 730 employees in Foley. Airbus and Boeing plan to ramp up production of the A320 and 737, respectively, in the coming year, meaning they will need more nacelles.

- Teledyne Technologies Inc. completed the divestiture of its piston engine businesses, Teledyne Continental Motors Inc. and Teledyne Mattituck Services Inc., in a stock sale to Technify Motor (USA) Inc. Technify is a subsidiary of China's AVIC International Holding Corp. The purchase price was $186 million, prior to customary working capital adjustments.

Headquartered in Mobile, Ala., Teledyne Continental Motors makes piston engines, as well as spare parts and components, used in small propeller-driven general aviation aircraft, and employs about 400 workers. Continental Motors also maintains service centers in Fairhope, Ala., and Mattituck, N.Y.

- Lockheed Martin said it plans to open a new Mission Support Center in the Greater Jackson, Miss. area in September 2011. It will create up to 350 jobs and provide diverse technology services for federal customers.

The center establishes Lockheed Martin's Gulf Coast Technology Hub and increases the corporation's presence in the state of Mississippi. The new facility will work with Lockheed Martin's East Coast and West Coast Technology Hubs in Rockville, Md. and Altadena, Calif. to offer enhanced technology capabilities such as cloud computing, business continuity and disaster recovery services.

Lockheed Martin has existing Mississippi operations in Biloxi, Stennis Space Center and Vicksburg, as well as operations in Northwest Florida. In fact, Lockheed Martin is preparing to expand its operations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to prepare for the arrival of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The company said it needs more workers - 91 full-time for a number of technical positions.

Eglin is home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center, which will be used by all branches of the military as well as foreign buyers of the aircraft. Lockheed Martin held a series of job fairs during the week in Fort Walton Beach.

Joint Strike Fighter
The first F-35 full mission simulator system has been delivered by Lockheed Martin to Eglin Air Force Base's 33rd Fighter Wing in Florida. Preparation and assembly is underway at the base's F-35 Integrated Training Center for training to begin this fall.

The Joint Strike Fighter simulator includes a high-fidelity 360-degree visual display system and a reconfigurable cockpit that simulates all three aircraft variants for U.S. and international partner services. The system is the highest fidelity trainer in the F-35 pilot-training-device suite, replicating all F-35 sensors and weapons deployment.

In all F-35 simulators, actual aircraft software is used to give pilots the most realistic experience and allow software upgrades in step with the F-35 development. Small group training events with pilot and maintenance instructors are currently being held at the ITC using maintenance, desktop and mission trainers.

Vision Airlines plans to offer direct flights to five new locations from Northwest Florida Regional Airport at Valparaiso Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Vision has announced plans to add flights the week of June 1 to and from Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., and Lafayette, La. In addition to the new destinations, Vision Airlines will expand its service to and from Atlanta from four trips a week to daily.

- The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Certificate of Authorization to Mississippi State University for Stark Aerospace to fly the Heron Unmanned Aerial System from Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The COA allows limited unmanned flights in the national air space, in this case inside the traffic control area of Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

The Heron medium altitude long endurance UAS is produced by Stark Aerospace. The aircraft provides reconnaissance and can fly at 30,000 feet. It's in use in 27 countries. In South Mississippi, Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, Miss., and Stennis Space Center, Miss., also have COAs to fly unmanned aerial systems.

Unmanned systems
Speaking of unmanned aerial systems, Navy Fire Scouts have been shipped to the Central Command to support Army and coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Navy said. The unmanned helicopter system, under development by the Naval Air Systems Command to operate from ships, will be land-based in CENTCOM for about a year.

Fixed-wing drones have performed missions in the region and elsewhere ranging from surveillance to air strikes. But Fire Scout is a helicopter able to stay aloft more than eight hours, fly up to about 17,000 feet and travel about 115 knots.

The system deployed to Central Command includes three MQ-8B aircraft, two ground control station and other hardware. Personnel from Northrop Grumman will operate the system. Fire Scouts are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Northrop Grumman likely welcomes the opportunity to show the Army what the Fire Scout can do. That branch originally planned to buy some, but cut the program.

NASA has selected 27 small business proposals that address critical research and technology needs for agency programs and projects for final contract negotiations. The proposals have a combined value of about $16.2 million.

The selected proposals were submitted by 27 high-tech firms in 18 states, partnering with 24 research institutions in 19 states. Negotiated individual awards, each with a value of up to $600,000, will be for
research projects for two years.

Three of the proposals involve technologies being developed for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss.

- Crew members of space shuttle Discovery's final mission, STS-133, visited NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center during the week to thank employees for their part in a safe mission. Discovery completed its final flight on March 9. During the mission, the crew delivered and installed the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the Express Logistics Carrier 4 to the space station, and also delivered critical spare components. Discovery is the first craft of the three-shuttle fleet to be retired. During its 27 years in service, it flew 39 missions and logged more than 148 million miles in space.

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $10 million task order under General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule contract for T/AV-8B aircraft maintenance and logistics support for Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. … L-3 Communications Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded two related contracts. One was a $51.8 million labor-hour contract to provide for the mechanical support, quality control inspection and other services to aircraft production at Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, and the other was a $32.3 million labor-hour contract to provide for services including stock clerks, supply technicians, computer operators, clerks, site manager, production supervisor, to directly support aircraft production at the Corpus Christi Army Depot.

Tidbits from other sci-tech fields
Marine science: Bill Hawkins plans to retire at the end of June as director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Miss. Hawkins has served as director since March 2008 and was executive director for six years before that. … NASA is moving ahead with its work on the Nebula cloud-computing platform even after the departure of the technology's creator. John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss., recently used the cloud-computing infrastructure to process data for an environmental project aimed at boosting the health of the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico. … NOAA during the week reopened 1,041 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico to commercial and recreational fishing. It’s the twelfth and final reopening in federal waters that were closed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week in review (4/10 to 4/16)

Several weapons programs of interest to the Gulf Coast region were among those that had noteworthy cost increases. According to the Defense Department, the cost of 95 major weapons programs rose $64 billion or 4 percent to a total of $1.72 trillion in 2010, compared with an assessment the previous year.

The cost increases were included in the Selected Acquisition Reports sent to Congress and posted on the Defense Department's website. For this reporting period, there are seven programs with critical or significant Nunn-McCurdy unit cost breaches.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's cost overruns have been widely publicized, most recently in a report to Congress in January. That program is of interest to this region because Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the JSF training center.

Another program with a higher procurement cost is the Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The average cost for the Northrop Grumman aircraft, built in part in Moss Point, Miss., rose more than 25 percent. It was blamed on the changing mix of aircraft to a larger percentage of the pricier model as well as a slow-down on planned purchases – from five to three a year for FY 2012-14 and five to one per year for FY 2015-16.

Other programs of interest to the Gulf Coast with cost increases include the DDG 51 program, due to an increase in purchases, the littoral combat ship, where previous costs were in large part developmental, and the LHA class ship, due primarily to an additional ship purchase.

Two satellite programs with ties to the Gulf Coast also had cost increases. Air Force's Advanced Extremely High Frequency program increased 8.6 percent due to revised procurement estimate to fully fund the fifth and sixth satellites and an extension of interim contract support due to the launch delay of the first satellite. In addition, the Space-Based Infrared System High program cost increased 16.3 percent to fully fund the first and sixth Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellites.

Both satellite systems use the A2100 propulsion core, made in part at the Lockheed Martin Space and Technology Center at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

In other aerospace news items of interest to the Gulf Coast during the week:

The new A-3 Test Stand being built at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss., reached a milestone during the week with the placement of the test cell dome atop the stand. It's known as the "topping out." NASA broke ground in 2007 for the new stand, which is being built to provide simulated high-altitude testing for next-generation rocket engines that will carry humans into deep space. The stand will use a series of chemical steam generators to create a vacuum that allows operators to test full-scale engines at simulated altitudes up to 100,000 feet.

The A-3 stand, scheduled for activation in 2013, is the first large test structure to be built at Stennis since the facility was established in the early 1960s to test the Saturn V rocket stages that helped carry Apollo astronauts to the moon.

- Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., offered additional assurances that his agency intends to complete construction of test stands at Stennis Space Center. Cochran, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, questioned Bolden during a Senate subcommittee hearing early in the week to review the FY2012 budget request for NASA.

Cochran sought Bolden's views on the future of NASA's test stands and its development of 130-ton heavy lift vehicle in light of the funding uncertainties for the remainder of FY2011, as well as FY2012.

"The 2012 budget that I have put forth will support the continued development of our testing capability at Stennis. We intend to complete the construction of the A-3 test stand. I think, as you are probably very well aware, Stennis has become rejuvenated and reinvigorated," said Bolden, citing recent rocket tests and the increased testing capabilities that will be offered with a completed A-3 test stand.

Unmanned systems
The Northrop Grumman-built MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter marked a new single-day flight record of 18 hours. Navy operators achieved the record using a single aircraft in a series of endurance flights in late February from the USS Halyburton.

Fire Scout is providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to support anti-piracy missions while deployed on the ship for the Navy's 5th Fleet. Last April Fire Scout concluded a military utility assessment on board the USS McInerney, a frigate similar to the Halyburton. Fire Scout has flown twice as much in the first two months on the Halyburton than the entire McInerney deployment.

The system also completed initial flight tests on board the littoral combat ship USS Freedom in November. Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Aviation Days
The first of what officials hope to become an annual Aviation Days festival started Friday at the Jack Edwards National Airport in Gulf Shores, Ala., and ends Saturday. The event offered children and adults the chance to take the controls of an aircraft in flight, ride in a 1928 biplane, observe 35 different planes, including a "Hurricane Hunter" from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

Pall Corp., which makes filtration, separation and purification systems, was awarded an Army contract to supply its Centrisep engine advanced protection system for 59 Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Centrisep is designed to protect CH-47 helicopter engines from particle erosion by continuously separating dust and sand from inlet air. This order is valued at about $14 million. Shipments will begin in December 2011 and be completed by November 2012. Pall has an operation in Pensacola, Fla.

Tidbits from other fields
Marine science: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists during the week began examining sea grasses growing within the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to identify any damage done by vessels deploying protective boom in response to last year's BP oil spill. … Edward Gough Jr., the deputy director of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center, Miss., is leaving to take a job with NATO in Italy. … Eric Schwaab, a NOAA Fisheries official told reporters in Pascagoula, Miss., during the week that "not one piece of tainted seafood has entered the market" related to the April 2010 BP oil spill. … The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Miss., hosted an Earth Day celebration Saturday.

Shipbuilding: BAE Systems will provide the external communications and primary gun systems for 10 littoral combat ships to be built by Austal USA of Mobile, Ala. BAE, which runs a shipyard in Mobile, will do the work in California, Maryland, Kentucky, Minnesota and Sweden. BAE Systems also has operations in Gautier, Miss., and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Week in review (4/3 to 4/9)

The loss of a flight training mission at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., a promise of $3 million for a new flight academy in Pensacola, Fla., and the awarding of more than $210 million in weapons-related contracts by Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., were some of the Gulf Coast aerospace-related activities during the week.

The 458th Airlift Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., will become the Air Force's sole C-21 formal training unit within the next four months. The squadron will regain the C-21 training mission from the 45th Airlift Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

The 45th Airlift Squadron will dissolve as a unit under the Air Education and Training Command and will once again fall under Air Mobility Command's 375th Operations Group. The C-21 training mission had belonged to Scott Air Force Base up until the early 1990s.

The C-21, a twin-engine business jet, is used by the Air Force for transportation.

Flight academy
The National Flight Academy received a $3 million challenge grant from Hilton Hotels founder Conrad N. Hilton's foundation. It will be paid when the academy, now under construction at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., meets its current $15 million fundraising goal.

Right now, according to the Pensacola News Journal, the amount that has been raised is a little over $14 million. Academy officials hope the challenge will prompt others to donate to the project.

The academy, adjacent to the National Naval Aviation Museum, is set to open in 2012 and will be a naval aviation-themed educational camp for students in grades 7-12.

Joint Strike Fighter
Last month, Navy F-35 flight test aircraft CF-1 performed the first test hookup to a catapult at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Matt "Opie" Taylor was at the controls during the test on the TC-7 catapult.

The overall ship compatibility test phase, including catapult launches, is scheduled to begin this year. Shipboard testing of the F-35C aboard a CVN-68 class aircraft carrier is scheduled to take place in 2013.

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center.

Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $28.3 million contract modification for eight massive ordnance penetrator assets, 16 separation nuts, eight MOP loading adapters, and an aft closure redesign. ACC/EDBK/EDBJ, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Corp., of Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $162.7 million contract modification for a Lot 9 production contract for 95 baselines and 30 extended range missiles to support the Air Force. The contracting activity is AAC/EBJK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. … Kaman Precision Products of Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $19.8 million contract modification to provide the Air Force with an additional quantity of 6,000 of the Joint Programmable Fuze systems. The JPF is a fuze system used with precision weapons systems such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition, and equipped with variable delay systems that may be programmed manually or from the cockpit through its in-flight reprogrammability feature. The contracting activity is AAC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. … Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $172.6 million contract to provide a block of M982 Excalibur unitary 155mm precision engagement projectile. Some of the work will be done in Niceville, Fla.

Tidbits from other fields
Shipbuilding: The Mobile, Ala., facility of BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards will add up to 400 workers to finish building an oil tanker. The shipyard on the east bank of Mobile River has 600 workers and another 200 to 250 contractors. … Huntington Ingalls Industries CEO Mike Petters told Jackson County, Miss., leaders that the recent $1.5 billion ship contract is just the first of five the company is negotiating with the Navy over the next two years.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Week in review (3/27 to 4/2)

No doubt the World Trade Organization ruling during the week on Boeing subsidies was a hot aerospace news item worldwide. But there were other developments of high interest to the Gulf Coast aerospace region. Here's a quick rundown: EADS' Eurocopter is buying Canada's Vector Aerospace, Goodrich plans to buy Italy's Microtecnica, there was a shakeup at the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., a new version of the MC-130 Combat Shadow rolled out of a plant in Georgia, and Congress has taken some steps to integrate UAVs in the national air space.

Unmanned aerial systems
The House of Representatives late in the week passed a bill that would go a long way towards allowing unmanned and manned systems to share the national airspace. The House version of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 includes language that would, among other things, create four test sites to study the ability of unmanned aircraft systems sharing airspace and runways with manned and commercial aircraft.

The bill would require a plan within nine months, and sets a deadline of Sept. 30, 2015 for integration. Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, said unmanned systems "have the potential to revolutionize the aviation and aerospace industry globally," but civilian uses have been hampered by a lack of standards and rules. The bill would help address that.

The Gulf Coast region is heavily involved in unmanned systems. Areas around Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, Miss., and Stennis Space Center, Miss., have certificates of authorization to fly unmanned systems, and unmanned systems are also flown at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Two of the best-known UAVs, the Global Hawk and Fire Scout, are built in part in Moss Point.

The bill still has to be reconciled with the Senate version.

- On the topic of UAVs - or UAS if you prefer - the U.S. Coast Guard doesn't have any unmanned systems in its inventory, but the service is forging ahead with some training, according to the service's unmanned aerial system platform manager.

Navy Times reports that the skeleton of the service's program is taking shape at Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Ala. The Coast Guard has trained three pilots in Mobile to operate the MQ-9 Guardian, a variant of the Air Force's Reaper. The program is in its infancy and there's no training pipeline yet, pending funding. One of the systems the Coast Guard is eyeing is the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. (Full story)

EADS and Boeing
The World Trade Organization reported during the week that Boeing received at least $5.3 billion in improper subsidies from the United States to develop jets, including the 787, giving it an unfair advantage against European rival Airbus.

The European Union claimed research and development grants from the federal government's NASA and Defense Department, including development of carbon composites, contributed to the technologies to build the 787. The ruling is the latest round in a six-year battle between Boeing and Airbus, part of EADS. In a case decided last June, the WTO found that Airbus had benefited from improper subsidies as well.

- In another EADS-related story during the week, Eurocopter, the helicopter unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space group, said early in the week that it's buying all the outstanding shares of Canada's Vector Aerospace Corp. The deal for the helicopter overhaul and repair company is valued at $638 million.

Vector Aerospace has an operation at the South Alabama Regional Airport in Andalusia, Ala., which opened in 2008. EADS has a helicopter production facility in Columbus, Miss., and two operations in Mobile, Ala.

- On the subject of purchases, Goodrich Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., plans to buy Italian aerospace control system maker Microtecnica for $462 million. The sale is scheduled to close before the end of June.

Microtecnica, which employs 700 people in Italy and the United Kingdom, makes flight control actuation systems for helicopters, regional and business aircraft and missiles, as well as thermal and environmental control systems. Goodrich employs more than 700 people in Foley, Ala.

Joint Strike Fighter
Col. David A. Hlatky was relieved as commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Maj. Gen. Mark Solo, 19th Air Force commander at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, lost confidence in Hlatky’s ability to command as a result of an investigation following allegations of personal misconduct. Col. Andrew J. Toth assumed command of the wing. He previously served as the executive officer to the commander of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

- Faulty maintenance procedures caused the in-flight failure of the engine generators on an F-35, the program office said. Those procedures have now been revised, and the entire fleet of F-35s has been cleared to resume flight operations. The problem was found in a test flight earlier this month in California in an F-35 with an alternate generator configuration. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Lockheed Martin rolled out the first aircraft in a new fleet of MC-130J Combat Shadow IIs for the U.S. Air Force's Special Operations Command during a ceremony in Marietta, Ga. Lockheed Martin is under contract to build 15 MC 130Js to begin replacing the current fleet. The Air Force is authorized to buy up to 20 MC-130Js against an approved requirement for 37. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

NASA cut the ribbon on a new cryogenics control center at Mississippi's John C. Stennis Space Center, marking near completion of a project to strengthen protection for liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen barges in the event of a natural disaster.

The new structure consolidates LH and LOX operations and provides a safe shelter for a disaster ride-out crew. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, NASA conducted a study to identify support systems at the site that should be "hardened" to withstand the impacts of future storms.

The study cited the need to provide a safe haven for LH and LOX cryogenic barges needed to perform rocket engine testing at the south Mississippi facility. The project ensures a safe haven for all six LOX and three LH barges at Stennis.

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $9 million contract for technical support of the use of Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile special test vehicles, special test equipment, and test positions to include AMRAAM modeling and simulation. Work will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AAC/PKES Eglin is the contracting activity. … EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $21.5 million contract to provide for the procurement of four UH-72A light utility helicopters; four airborne radio communication 231 system production cut-in; and one engine inlet barrier filter production cut-in. Work will be done in Columbus, Miss. … Sikorsky Support Services Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded an $84.1 million contract for logistics services and materials for organizational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance to support 273 T-34, 54 T-44, and 62 T-6 aircraft based at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, NAS Whiting Field, Fla., and NAS Pensacola. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $42.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for logistics support of 124 TH-57B/TH-57C aircraft. Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Fla., and NAS Patuxent River, Md. … Alliant Techsystems Inc., Plymouth, Minn., was awarded a $35.8 million contract to provide the hard target sensing fuze for use with BLU-109, BLU-113, and BLU-122 warheads and their associated guidance systems. AAC/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Tidbits from other fields
Shipbuilding: Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. of Pascagoula, Miss., a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, was awarded a $1.5 billion modification to previously awarded contract for the procurement of the detail design and construction of LPD 26, the future USS John P. Murtha, 10th ship in the LPD 17 amphibious transport dock ship class. Most of the work, 83 percent, will be done in Pascagoula, but 1 percent will also be done in New Orleans. … In Mobile, Ala., Austal USA broke ground during the week on a $116 million project to build three new facilities at its Mobile River complex. It will allow the shipbuilder to complete contracts to build joint high-speed vessels and littoral combat ships. Austal employs about 2,000 people in Mobile. … Before Huntington Ingalls became a separate entity, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Miss., was awarded a $28.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the procurement of additional long lead time material in support of the LHA replacement flight 0 amphibious assault ship. Most of the work will be done in Philadelphia, nearly 80 percent, but 20 percent will be done in Pascagoula. … Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., was awarded a $12 million option for a previously awarded contract for management and engineering services to maintain and modify as necessary the design of DDG 51 class combat system compartments and topside arrangements, in support of the Program Executive Officer Integrated Warfare Systems. Twenty-two percent of the work will be done in Pascagoula.