Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week in review (9/4 to 9/10)

Anyone interested in aerospace in this region may want to attend the inaugural Aerospace Alliance Summit Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15 and 16, at Sandestin Gulf and Beach Resort in Florida. The focus will be the future of aerospace in the Gulf Coast region and nation in an age of tight budgets.

The summit is hosted by the Aerospace Alliance, a partnership of the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida's Great Northwest. Organizers say the summit will be attended by state and local economic development leaders. There also will be representatives from NASA, a major aerospace player in the region, as well as analysts and economists.

On Friday there's a moderated panel on "State Industry Perspectives" with representatives from Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Aeroframe and GE Aviation. That company recently announced plans to build a composite engine parts plant in Ellisville, Miss., north of Hattiesburg.

There will also be a panel discussion on the near-term future of defense and commercial spending. Panel participatnes will be from the Teal Group, Morgan Keegan and ITT. The summit ends at 2 p.m. Friday.

Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi have aerospace activities throughout the region, including Huntsville, Ala., the Golden Triangle in east central Mississippi and the Space Coast of Florida. One cluster is along the Gulf Coast Interstate 10 corridor between South Louisiana and Northwest Florida, the only one that involves portions of all four states.

The I-10 region's aerospace footprint includes space activities, aerial weapons development, military aviator training and testing ranges. It's where the first F-35 training center is being established, and is also where portions of the Fire Scout and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles are built. The region includes major domestic and foreign aerospace companies.

It you want more information on the summit, visit the Aerospace Alliance Web site.

The Navy will award Northrop Grumman a contract to supply 28 MQ-8C Fire Scout "rapid deployment capability" unmanned helicopters using the larger Bell 407 helicopter airframe to increase endurance and payload, according to Aviation Week.

The notice of intent says the aircraft are to be fielded by the first quarter of 2014. The Navy also evaluated the Boeing Hummingbird and Lockheed Martin/Kaman K-Max, but opted for the 407 airframe jointly developed by Northrop Grumman and Bell as the Fire-X and first flown in December.

The MQ-8C will use the same systems as the MQ-8B Fire Scout, which is based on the smaller Schweizer 333 helicopter airframe. That aircraft has been successfully deployed aboard Navy ships and has also seen use on land in Afghanistan.

One of those Fire Scouts was also shot down over Libya, but the Navy is planning to arm them in the future. (Story)

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

- Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush said his company, which in addition to the Fire Scout builds the Global Hawk unmanned surveillance plane, can bolster its international sales of unmanned systems.

He also said at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit that he felt the U.S. government was taking steps to try to loosen export curbs on some arms. The Obama administration has been consulting Congress on plans to sell unmanned Global Hawks to South Korea. International sales currently are less than 10 percent of Northrop Grumman’s overall sales.

Like the Fire Scout, portions of Global Hawks are built in Moss Point.

New business
The St. Joe Co. officially welcomed to Panama City, Fla., ITT Corp.'s mine defense business to the VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre at West Bay, the development's first corporate tenant. According to the Panama City Herald, ITT will be moving into a 105,000-square-foot facility.

VentureCrossings is St. Joe's initial project in the West Bay Sector Plan, a 75,000-acre development that will include office, industrial, manufacturing, hotel, retail and residential uses. Sites offer direct ramp access and access to the 10,000-foot runway at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.

CYE Enterprises Inc.
, Jacksonville, Fla., was awarded a $25 million contract to furnish all plants, materials, labor, equipment, and all operations in connection with repairing and replacing roofs, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AAC/PKOA, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Jacobs Technology Inc., Tullahoma, Tenn., was awarded a $20.3 million contract modification to provide technical, engineering, and acquisition support at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity.

Tidbits from other fields
: Ingalls Shipbuilding was awarded a $482.8 million contract from the U.S. Coast Guard for the construction of a fifth National Security Cutter. Construction of the yet-to-be-named WMSL 754 will be done in Pascagoula, Miss., facility. … In Mobile, Ala., Austal USA rolled its first Joint High-Speed Vessel out of the shed and onto a dry dock floating in the Mobile River, according to the Mobile Press-Register. The ship is slated to be delivered to the Navy early next year. … The Gosport reports that the USS Independence, the littoral combat ship built at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., will be at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., on Sept. 12 for shipboard mission module testing over the next several weeks. … The amphibious transport dock ship USS New York is in New York City to participate in events honoring the victims and responders from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The ship, whose bow as made with steel recovered from the destroyed World Trade Center, was built by Northrop Grumman shipyard, now part of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Avondale, La.