Saturday, June 21, 2014

Week in review (6/15 to 6/21)

The military during the week ordered mandatory inspections of all F-35 fighter jets after a Marine Corps F-35B suffered an in-flight emergency. A majority of the 97 F-35s in the fleet had already been inspected and cleared to resume flights on Monday.

The inspections were focused on the oil flow management valve fitting on all F135 engines, which are built by Pratt & Whitney. The valve provides oil flow to the engine bearing compartments. (Post)

In another engine-related story, Pratt and Whitney leadership, employees, and state and local leaders early in the week dedicated the company's new engine center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The expansion of Florida's Palm Beach County facility is designed to meet the forecasted demands of the Next Generation Product Family of engines, and also provides a critical second source for the F135 engine used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

It was two years ago when the expansion of the facility was announced, an investment of more than $63 million. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center, and Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. (Post)

Airbus Americas is seeking aircraft quality conformance specialists for its A320 final assembly line being built at the Mobile Aeroplex in Alabama. The position requires a minimum of four months' training abroad and a degree in aerospace/industrial engineering or business quality management is preferred. Click here for a complete list of job postings. (Post)

-- Airbus Group's name change is enhancing how the European weapons and plane maker is perceived. That’s according to Allan McArtor, chairman and chief executive of Airbus Group Inc., the U.S. unit of the European company. The company formerly known as EADS announced the rebranding last summer to highlight the name of its commercial plane unit, Airbus.

"Already, it's made an impact, particularly on Capitol Hill," McArtor said in an interview at the AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum in Atlanta. McArtor said Airbus is still looking to expand its share of the U.S. defense market by selling its helicopters, explosive detection technologies and other products.

He said the new A320 final assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala., will produce four planes a month by 2017, but can ramp up to eight a month if needed. Citing feedback from Delta and JetBlue, McArtor said airlines love the idea of taking delivery of planes in Mobile. (Post)

Airbus and Safran agreed to set up a joint venture to develop launchers for satellites and other space vehicles in a move intended to provide stronger competition for rivals like SpaceX. The 50-50 venture will combine Airbus’s launch technology with Safran's propulsion systems.

The venture is designed to ensure Europe can keep pace with U.S. performers such as SpaceX, one of a dozen or so private space companies racing to develop lower-cost technology, as well as increasing competition from China and Russia. Airbus and Safran both have operations in Mobile, Ala. (Post)

-- NASA's Orion spacecraft is taking shape at the agency's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The media was invited to a status update on Orion and to see the spacecraft during the week. Technicians began attaching the crew module on top of the completed service module on Monday, the first step in moving the three primary Orion elements into the correct configuration for launch.

This is all part of NASA's Space Launch System program, designed to carry astronauts deeper in space than ever before. Orion was built at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, and rocket engines for the SLS program are tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. But Orion on this first flight will be lifted atop a Delta IV, which is powered by RS-68 engines tested at SSC. (Post)

Lockheed Martin successfully fired HELLFIRE and DAGR missiles from its Long Range Surveillance and Attack Vehicle (LRSAV) turreted weapon system during recent ground-to-ground tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The LRSAV ground-vehicle weapon system uses advanced missile and weapon control-system technologies and a newly developed 15-inch, spherical, mast-mounted electro-optical/infrared sensor to enable targeting. (Post)

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy demonstrated a new multimode maritime surveillance radar on the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter that will enhance long-range imaging and search capabilities for Navy commanders. It will provide the MQ-8B Fire Scout with essential operational capabilities in all tactical environments and will improve how it addresses threats in real-world scenarios.

Northrop Grumman modified a Telephonics AN/ZPY-4 multi-mode maritime surveillance radar system used for manned aircraft so it could be used on the MQ-8B. Final assembly of the Fire Scout B and C variants is done in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)

The Boeing Co. Defense, Space and Security, St. Louis, Mo., was awarded an $80 million contract for Small Diameter Bomb Increment 1 (SDB 1) technical support. The contractor will provide SDB 1 weapon integration support, including technical support to the designated aircraft System Program Offices testing, upgrades, program management support, and software updates to the SDB 1system required to integrate the SBD 1 weapon system with other weapons systems. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBMK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Head Inc., Columbus, Ohio, was awarded a $13.7 million contract for the repair of the airfield at Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base New Orleans. The work to be performed provides for the repair of the main runway 4/22 and taxiways associated with runway 4/22.

Keel: Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant spoke Friday at a keel authentication ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding for the amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA 7). (Story)

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