The Air Armament Conference was held during the week at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, near Eglin Air Force Base. Lt. Gen. Charles R. Davis with the Pentagon's acquisition office told contractors the Air Force will have to trim back its wish list of weapons because funding will be consumed by a handful of programs whose costs keep rising.
According to National Defense magazine, Davis showed contractors a list of 10 acquisition programs that alone will eat up $20 billion of the $30 billion weapons procurement budget. There are simply too many programs in the Air Force budget and not enough money to pay for them, he said. Program reviews have to be "more aggressive" upfront to prevent too many programs under contract with a budget that can't support them, Davis said.
-- While on the topic of summits and conferences, the Aerospace Alliance is holding its fall summit Thursday and Friday in New Orleans. This is the second annual conference hosted by the organization that represents Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. You can register by clicking this link.
At Stennis Space Center, Miss., Blue Origin successfully fired the thrust chamber assembly for its new 100,000 pound thrust BE-3 rocket engine. The engines are designed eventually to launch the Space Vehicle the company is developing. The test took place early this month on the E-1 test stand. Blue Origin is one of the companies involved in developing commercial space transportation systems. (Post)
An F-35 dropped a 2,000-pound bomb during testing at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., during the week. It was a key milestone for the jet. Lockheed Martin is building versions for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, as well as foreign buyers. The Air Force version is designed to carry 18,000 pounds of munitions using 10 weapons stations. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 training center. (Post)
-- The squadron of F-22s scheduled to move to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., early next year could take up to 18 months to arrive. Arlin Ponder of the 49th Wing public affairs office at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico confirmed Air Force officials have discussed an 18-month window. Budget constraints have delayed the move. (Post)
French aerospace company Safran said it will buy the electrical power systems activities of parts maker Goodrich for some $401 million. The acquisition comes less than three months after Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies completed its $16.5 billion purchase of Goodrich Corp. Some 750 workers in Foley, Ala., make and repair engine nacelles and are not impacted by that acquisition. (Post)
-- ITT Exelis opened its mine defense production facility during the week in West Bay, near Panama City, Fla. Exelis mine-clearing systems are towed by helicopters or minesweepers or operated remotely. The Exelis mine defense business moved from New York to Panama City in 2005 and now operates out of a 105,000 square-foot building at VentureCrosings, near Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. (Post)
An officer assigned to the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was killed during an accident Oct. 11 while training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Maj. Garrett Knowlan died while participating in Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training. Knowlan was the executive officer for Brig. Gen. David Harris, 96th Test Wing commander. (Post)
Christening: The Navy christened the amphibious assault ship, America (LHA 6), Saturday in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship, first of the America-class amphibious assault ships, will be delivered in 2013.
Keel: Austal USA during the week hosted the traditional keel-laying ceremony for the USS Jackson (LCS 6) in Mobile, Ala. Austal officials said 25 percent of the ship has been completed and it is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2014. (Post)
Center: Mississippi State University opened its $9 million science and technology center during the week at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The center will be home of the Northern Gulf Institute, MSU’s Geosystems Research Institute, NOAA's National Coastal Data Development Center and an engineering branch of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. (Post)
VT Halter: VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Miss., is teaming with DCNS of Paris to bid on a contract to build a U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter. VT Halter would be the prime contractor and DCNS would be its exclusive subcontractor. (Post)