Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week in review (1/6 to 1/12)

The delivery of the core structure for a NOAA weather satellite to Stennis Space Center; San Antonio’s win over Biloxi for an Air Force training school; the delay in the move of an operational F-22 squadron to Tyndall Air Force Base; and the early delivery of two Global Hawks to the Air Force were among the news items this week of interest to the Gulf Coast aerospace region.

Here's the week in review:

Training for airmen who direct combat airstrikes will move from Hurlburt Field, Fla., to Lackland, Texas. Word that came down this week that Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland is the preferred alternative to host the Terminal Air Control Party (TACP) School. Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., came in as the second choice.

There's been an increase in demand for TACPs to support Army units, and the current school at Hurlburt simply isn't large enough. The 19-week training at Hurlburt produces 270 graduates earch  year, but the Air Force wants to increase that by another 100.

Air Force TACPs act as the battlefield liaison between ground forces and aircraft overhead. They direct close-air support firepower toward enemy targets on the ground. (Post)

In another training-related story during the week, a member of the 33rd Fighter Wing will be heading for Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to represent the Air National Guard at the Air Force Warfare Center. Lt. Col. Randal Efferson, 33rd Operations Group deputy commander, is a senior leader at the wing who helped set up the F-35 integrated training center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Efferson also led the Operational Utility Evaluation team through his squadron's F-35 pilot training program, which resulted in an Air Force Education and Training Command "ready to train" decision in December 2012. (Post)

Nearly 30 aircraft and some 850 personnel for an operational F-22 Raptor squadron are now scheduled to transfer to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in the spring of 2014.

The transfer of the fighter squadron from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., involves 620 active duty and 230 Air Force Reserve manpower authorizations. Twenty-one F-22s and seven T-38 Talons will move from Holloman to Tyndall. Until then, Tyndall will continue training pilots on the F-22 and prepare for the expanded mission. (Post)

Lockheed Martin delivered the core structure for the first National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration next-generation geostationary weather satellites to the company's Mississippi Space and Technology Center on NASA's Stennis Space Center.

At SSC the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite--R Series (GOES-R) will undergo propulsion system integration. For the next 11 months, the team will integrate GOES-R's fuel tanks, lines, thermal controls and other systems within the core structure. GOES-R is based on the company's award-winning A2100 satellite series.

The rigid external structure of the first GOES-R, which will enclose the satellite's propulsion system and support the payloads, was designed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems and manufactured by ATK Aerospace Group's Space and Components Division.

The Lockheed Martin Space and Technology Center at SSC works in a long list of satellites that are based on the A2100 satellite series, including military. (Post)

-- NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss., presented its Contractor Excellence Award to Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne during the week for its commitment to teamwork, safety, customer service, and technical and managerial excellence at the center.

PWR, based in Canoga Park, Calif., and with an engine assembly facility at SSC, developed the space shuttle main engine, which powered 135 shuttle missions from 1981 to 2011, and is developing the J-2X engine that will help power NASA's Space Launch System. The company also develops engines for military rockets and missiles.

The Contractor Excellence Award was established in 2008 to recognize contractors, subcontractors or providers for outstanding performance during a three-year period. (Post)

The global unmanned aerial vehicle payload market, valued at some $43.7 billion at the end of 2012, will increase to $68.6 billion by 2022, according to an estimate by Strategic Defense Alliance.

Market demand is anticipated to be driven by increased UAV procurement by several countries and continuous requirement formulations in areas such as persistent surveillance, suppression/destruction of enemy air defense, communications relays and combat search and rescue. Another factor that will drive the market is the increasing incorporation of UAVs in civilian applications.

The Gulf Coast region is heavily involved in the UAV field. (Post)

-- Northrop Grumman delivered two Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to the Air Force ahead of schedule. In 2012, three new Global Hawks were delivered to the Air Force and five previously delivered aircraft completed installation of additional sensors that will allow them to gather multiple types of intelligence data during a single mission.

A total of 37 Global Hawks have been delivered to the Air Force. Global Hawk has logged more than 80,000 flight hours and has been used over battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Global Hawk central fuselages are built in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)

-- A company-owned Triton is being built by Northrop Grumman for use as a development and demonstration platform for at-sea surveillance under the Navy's MQ-4C Triton program.

Triton, based on a Global Hawk airframe, provides a detailed picture of surface vessels to identify threats across vast areas of ocean and littoral areas. The aircraft will be outfitted with the same intelligence-gathering sensors and communications suite as the Navy's Tritons.

The Triton central fuselage is built in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)

-- Telephonics Corp., a subsidiary of Griffon Corp., Long Island, N.Y., was chosen to provide a multimode maritime radar system for the Navy's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter.

A $33 million contract was awarded to provide the development, production, integration and testing of nine radar systems. The new Telephonics RDR-1700B+ radar will give the MQ-8B Fire Scout wide-area search and long-range imaging capability to complement the capabilities of its current electro-optical infrared payload.

Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)

Applied Systems Engineering Inc., Niceville, Fla., was awarded an $11.7 million contract for the procurement of Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Advanced Tactical Navigator (ATACNAV) units and Anti-Spoofing Module Advanced Tactical Navigator High Accuracy units in support of the Battle Management Systems Program. Work will be done in Niceville, Fla., and is expected to be complete by January 2018. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Va., is the contracting activity. (Post)

Avondale: The Avondale shipyard near New Orleans is being considered by Hunting Ingalls Industries as a commercial construction and engineering projects site instead of for end-of-the-year closure. (Post)

Overcharges: Ingalls is looking into time-charging irregularities by employees, and is using an outside third party to help. The irregularities at the Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard were discovered by company personnel. (Post)

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