Saturday, September 28, 2013

Week in review (9/22 to 9/28)

Airbus raised its forecast for the number of jetliners that will be needed over the next 20 years, and also inked a large number of deals for A320s; three contracts are awarded for production of F-35s, including one for $3.4 billion; the Navy on Monday will hold an F-35C rollout ceremony; a QF-16 drone made its first unmanned flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.; Dothan-Houston County airport gets $1 million for upgrades; ground was broken on an aviation training center in Fairhope, Ala.; an economic symposium gets under way in Destin, Fla.; and a new marketing strategy by Florida’s Great Northwest were among the news items of interest to the Gulf Coast region during the week.

Here's your week in review:

Airbus has adjusted its jet demand forecast, placing much of the increase on Asia’s increasingly affluent middle class. The latest Global Market Forecast said more than 29,220 new passenger and freighter jets worth $4.4 trillion would be needed over the next 20 years. It increased the figure for passenger jets 3.7 percent from its previous estimate, and for freighters it rose the number 1.6 percent. Boeing during the summer also revised upward its own 20-year market demand forecast by 3.8 percent. Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line at Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala. (Post)

Not long after that market forecast was released, a host of orders came in for the Airbus A320 family. More than 40 of the orders valued at $4.2 billion were announced at the 15th Aviation Expo China in Beijing, and another $10 billion memorandum of understanding was announced outside the expo. Buying the planes are VietJetAir, BOC Aviation, Qingdao Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines. (Post)

While all that was going on, Airbus Americas posted two new managerial job openings for the $600 million assembly line being built at Brookley Aeroplex. One position is director of aircraft delivery, and the other is manufacturing engineer manager. Both positions require a minimum of nine months' training abroad. The final assembly plant will eventually have about 1,000 workers. (Post)

Lockheed Martin anticipates dozens of international orders or commitments for the F-35 in coming months, according to government and industry officials. The program got a boost during the week when South Korea rejected the Boeing F-15 and said it needed a fifth-generation fighter. Singapore may also announce an order for a dozen F-35s during the Singapore air show in February. (Post)

Meanwhile, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., home of the F-35 joint training center, the Navy will mark the F-35C's introduction to the fleet with a roll-out ceremony Tuesday. Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101) will host the ceremony. The squadron stood up last year with 20 personnel and now has more than 100. The initial cadre of aviators will become instructor pilots to prepare for the transition of the first fleet squadron from the F/A-18 Hornet to the F-35C. (Post)

Speaking of training, air battle managers from the 337th Air Control Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., have begun working with the F-35. The plane requires a different set of operating rules than other fighters, and those rules are being written by air battle manager instructors who have had the chance to control the F-35. Air battle managers provide pilots with information they may not have. It could include vectors to the nearest refueling tanker. Information a pilot may need varies from aircraft to aircraft. Air battle managers must know the different capabilities of each aircraft, and making sure the information they pass is relevant. (Post)

There were also three contracts awarded for production of F-35s.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded two during the week. One was a $3.4 billion modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract for Low Rate Initial Production Lot VII F-35 aircraft. The contract includes 19 Air Force F-35As, six Marine Corps F-35Bs, four Navy F-35Cs, two F-35As for Norway and three F-35As for Italy; and one F-35B for the United Kingdom. Aircraft deliveries are expected to be completed in October 2016. (Post)

The other contract for LM was a $742.7 million modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lot VI advance acquisition contract. It includes the manufacture and delivery of two F-35As for the Australia and three F-35As for Italy. Work is expected to be completed in April 2016. (Post)

In addition, Pratt and Whitney Military Engines of East Hartford, Conn., designer and producer of the F135 engine for the F-35, was awarded a $214.8 million modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lot VI low rate initial production advance acquisition contract. This modification provides for initial spare modules, initial spare parts, replenishment spare parts, and production non-recurring efforts, including tooling, for the Navy and Marine Corps, Air Force, and the governments of the United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway. Work is expected to be completed in April 2016. (Post)

Hey, who’s controlling this thing!

That might have been what someone asked had they seen the cockpit of the QF-16 drone that flew around Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Sept. 19. Nobody was sitting in the plane. The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron and Boeing conducted the first unmanned flight of the drone at Tyndall as the first step in a two year process to phase out the QF-4 Full Scale Aerial Target.

A pilot performed all the normal preflight checks before climbing out of the cockpit and locking the canopy from the outside. Control was then turned over to Thomas Mudge, 82nd ATRS pilot controller, sitting in a control room on the opposite side of base. The plane had a one-hour flight, conducting a series of maneuvers and reaching supersonic speeds before returning to base. (Post)

Another drone had a first during the week in California. Northrop Grumman turned on the power to the Navy's first MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter and rotated the aircraft's four blades for the first time during initial ground testing and engine runs at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Calif., Sept. 20.

The C model upgrade to the Fire Scout system provides the Navy with more than twice the endurance and three times the payload carrying capacity. Northrop Grumman is under contract to produce MQ-8C aircraft for deployment beginning in 2014. Some of the work on the C model will eventually be done in Moss Point, Miss., which from the start has been involved in the production of the earlier B model Fire Scout. (Post)

The maritime surveillance sensors for another unmanned system built in part in Moss Point, the Navy's Triton, completed more than 25 flight tests aboard a Gulfsteam II surrogate craft off the California cost. The risk mitigation tests of the Multi-Function Active Sensor have to be finished before the sensors are placed on the Tritons, a variant of the Global Hawk. The Navy's program calls for 68 aircraft to be built. (Post)

While on the topic of Global Hawks, Northrop Grumman was awarded an $114.2 million contract for Global Hawk Low Rate Initial Production Lot 11 advance procurement. The contract provides for advance procurement of long lead items associated with three Block 30 Global Hawk Air Vehicles, three in-line Airborne Signals Intelligence Payloads (ASIP), three in-line Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) Sensors, two ASIP retrofit kits, and other items and activities required to protect the production schedule for Lot 11. Central fuselage work on Global Hawks is done in Moss Point. (Post)

Dothan-Houston County Airport Authority Inc. during the week was awarded a $1 million federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The money will be used for roadway and water system improvements to support an aircraft maintenance and inspection business. Dothan was one of 16 projects in 11 states to get $21.1 million to support economic development projects. (Post)

Another airport in the region, H.L. “Sonny” Callahan Airport in Fairhope, had a ground breaking Friday on a $2.7 million aviation training facility. The school will teach students from Baldwin County high schools aviation technical skills, industrial maintenance and welding. The center is a partnership of Baldwin County Board of Education, Falkner State Community College, Enterprise State Community College and the Fairhope Airport Authority. (Post)

-- The restoration of the 1930-era Lakefront Airport terminal in New Orleans was unveiled this weekend. Construction on the original building began around 1929, and the airport started taking commercial flights in 1933, although it wasn't officially christened until 1934. During the Cold War the building was remodeled, turned into a virtual fortress with concrete two inches thick. But the architects recognized the importance of the art deco design and were careful to protect it. Damage from Hurricane Katrina led to the decision to restore the terminal to its original Depression-era look. (Post)

-- Who will land a 10-year food concession contract at Florida’s Pensacola International Airport? The city council decided to punt on the issue during the week and take more time to consider the options. On one side is a group that wants to bring five national brands to the airport, and on the other a team that wants local eateries represented. (Post)

-- The chief of naval personnel visited Naval Education and Training Command's tenant commands at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., during the week. It was Vice Adm. William F. Moran's first visit to Pensacola as CNP. (Post)

Economic development
The 2013 Gulf Power Economic Symposium will be held Monday and Tuesday in Destin, Fla. The topic is “Building the Future.” On the agenda are talks about Airbus, which is building an assembly line in Mobile, Ala., creating a culture of innovation, the role of the state in economic development, Northwest Florida talent development initiatives and a range of other topics. (Post)

Next month a city long known as one of the nation’s premiere aerospace and defense centers will host the third aerospace summit of the four-state Aerospace Alliance. The agenda includes discussions about unmanned aerial systems, a session on composites manufacturing, commercial space programs and the Airbus final assembly line. (Post)

Speaking of economic development, Florida's Great Northwest, a regional economic development group representing 16 counties, has launched an 18-month strategy to market the Panhandle to aerospace companies. It includes a postcard campaign, a promotional video and attendance at industry events. (Post)

Changes to the U.S. space-object tracking network, adopted to replace the recently shuttered Air Force Space Surveillance System, appears to be working. That’s what Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, said at a conference in Hawaii.

The Air Force shut down Space Fence, a line of radars stretching across the southern United States, and modified operating modes for some of its other space tracking assets, specifically the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Characterization System at Cavalier Air Force Station in North Dakota and the space surveillance radar at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It appears to be working out. Shelton said that at Eglin there was one day during which the number of observations of space objects doubled. (Post)

-- Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded a $96.3 million modification o an existing contract for Space Based Infrared Systems contractor logistics support. Work is expected to be completed on Sept. 30, 2014. Portions of the work on the A2100-based SBIRS satellites is done at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)

Contracts - aircraft maintenance
Five contracts for military aircraft support were awarded during the week. Four of them were awarded to L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace of Madison, Miss. One was a $102.6 million modification to an existing contract for logistics support of the T-1A aircraft at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., Vance AFB, Okla., Randolph AFB, Texas, and Laughlin AFB, Texas. Work will be performed at Madison and is expected to be completed by Oct. 1, 2014. (Post)

Another award was an $11 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for logistics support services in support of the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. Half the work will be done in Pensacola and half in Corpus Christi, and is expected to be completed in September 2014. (Post)

The company also was awarded an $8.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for contractor logistics services in support of T-39N and T-39G aircraft and associated equipment used in student naval flight officer training. Work will be done at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and is expected to be completed in March 2014. (Post)

The company’s Systems Field Support was awarded a $55.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for aircraft maintenance and logistical life cycle support for 54 C-12 aircraft for the Navy (48) and Marine Corps (6). Work will be performed in New Orleans, Texas, Maryland, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina, Virginia, California, Bahrain, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Japan. (Post)

Rolls-Royce Defense Services Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded a $50.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for intermediate and depot level maintenance and related logistics support for about 223 in-service T-45 F405-RR-401 Adour engines. Work will be done at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., NAS Meridian, Miss., NAS Kingsville, Texas, and NAS Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in March 2014. (Post)

Contracts - munitions
Chemring Ordnance Inc., Perry, Fla., was awarded a $16.1 million contract with options for procurement of the Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System MK 7 MOD 2, National Stock Number 1375-01-508-4975. APOBS is an explosive live charge system that allows safe breaching through complex antipersonnel obstacles, particularly land mines. This procurement is in support of critical U.S. Army, Marine, and Navy requirements. The performance location is Perry, Fla. (Post)

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an $11.2 million contract for 16 GBU-49 telemetry, 17 GBU-50 telemetry and a ten year warranty. Work will be done at Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by July 1, 2025. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBDK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Post)

Contracts - other
Raytheon Co., El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded $39 million delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for the procurement of 15 AN/APG-79 AESA radar systems for the F/A-18 E/F aircraft. Eighty percent of the work will be done in Forest, Miss., and is expected to be completed in November 2015. … Gulf Coast Architectural Group Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $30 million contract for complete architect and engineering services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast area of responsibility. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by March 2014. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southeast AOR including, but not limited to Texas (50 percent), Louisiana (25 percent), and Mississippi (25 percent). … Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $29.4 million modification to an existing contract for the fiscal 2014 C-130J aircrew instruction and contractor logistic support for the C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System devices. Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is one of the locations where work will be done and will be completed on Sept. 30, 2014. … Summit Construction Inc., Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., is being awarded two contracts. One is a $13 million contract to add/alter the commissary at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Fort Eustis, Va. The contract is for a 594-day period based on the issuance of the notice-to-proceed which is expected in November 2013. The other contract is a $12.9 million contract for the architectural/refrigeration upgrade to the commissary at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The contract is for a 597-day period based on the issuance of the notice-to-proceed which is expected in November 2013. … Del-Jen Inc., Clarksville, Tenn., was awarded a $26.7 million modification under a previously awarded contract to exercise option two for base operation support services at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and surrounding areas including Saufley Field, Corry Station, and Bronson Field.

LCS 4: The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Coronado (LCS 4) during a ceremony at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., Friday. Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship to deliver to the Navy, and the second of the Independence variant, noted for its trimaran hull. (Post)
Horizon: Horizon Shipbuilding, Inc., Bayou La Batre, Ala., was awarded an $11.1 million contract with options for the Shorty Baird Replacement which is one inland river, all welded steel towboat for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District. The performance location is Bayou La Batre, Ala. (Post)
Avondale union: Huntington Ingalls Industries said members of the New Orleans Metal Trades Council and the Metal Trades Department approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the company's Avondale subsidiary. (Post)
NSC: Northrop Grumman won a $6.9 million subcontract from Huntington Ingalls Industries to supply the ship integrated control system (SICS) for the Coast Guard's sixth National Security Cutter (NSC). Work will be performed in Charlottesville, Va., Ocean Springs, Miss., and Pascagoula, Miss. (Post)
DDG hangar: The Ingalls Shipbuilding in Gulfport, Miss., has delivered the composite hangar that will be used on the U.S. Navy's second Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001). (Post)
Trinity: In Gulfport, Miss., Trinity Yachts has finished a superyacht big enough for a king-size berth complete with his and her baths yet with a shallow draft. (Post)

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