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.