Saturday, July 2, 2011

Week in review (6/26 to 7/2)

Despite a poor initial operational test and evaluation report about the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk Block 30, the Air Force reports a relatively high operational reliability rating, according to a story in Flightglobal.

The Air Force reports that Block 30 Global Hawks, operating from four bases for five combatant commands, are operating with 76 percent reliability. The real-world operational rating contrasts dramatically with a 20 May IOT&E report that pegged reliability at 27 percent.

The Air Force indicated that current capability was improved by fixes to problems detailed in the report, but further specifics were not immediately available. Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. (Story)

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Board are investigating an incident last month over Mississippi's Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport where a single-engine plane and airliner were at the same altitude and just 300 feet apart.

The near-miss happened June 19 between a Continental Express jet carrying 50 passengers and three crew and a Cessna 172 with a student pilot and instructor. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the controller who was working with the aircraft when the incident occurred has been restricted from working air traffic until the FAA investigation is complete.

- Vision Airlines is dropping service to five of the two dozen cities it serves, citing lower than expected demand. Service is ending July 17 to Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C., Columbia, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., Huntsville, Ala., and Baton Rouge, La. But it's picking up service to the Bahamas. Vision's hub is at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

MI Support Services, Denton, Texas, was awarded a $13.9 million contract with cost reimbursable line items for program management, organizational and intermediate maintenance services for T-38 aircraft for the Companion Trainer Program for aircraft assigned to five locations. The locations of performance are Beale Air Force Base, Calif.; Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; Langley Air Force Base, Va.; Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.; and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. … Raytheon Co., Missile Systems Division, was awarded a $10.6 million contract modification for the Processor Replacement Program Foreign Military Sales software extension probability of weapon effectiveness. AAC/EBAC, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Tidbits from other fields
Shipbuilding: Ingalls Shipbuilding's third Legend-class national security cutter, Stratton, successfully completed builder's sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico during the week, the company announced. … Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., was awarded a $312.9 million modification to previously awarded contract for the exercise of construction options for ships six and seven of the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) Program. Gulf Coast work sites are in Mobile, Gulfport, Miss., and Slidell, La. … Lockheed Martin Corp., MS2, Integrated Defense Technologies, Baltimore, Md., was awarded a $13 million modification under previously awarded contract for MK 41 Vertical Launching System ordnance alteration kits, production support material, interim support parts, and equipment in support of DDG 51-class new construction, and Aegis modernization programs. Nearly 19 percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Advanced materials: University of Southern Mississippi scientists are working on a technique to fight cancer that involves a polymers so tiny that they can be absorbed by cancerous cells in order to stop them in their tracks. A professor and team of about 10 graduate, post-grad and undergrad polymer science students is working with researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham's Comprehensive Cancer Center. They began collaborating this year.