Saturday, July 26, 2014

Week in review (7/20 to 7/26)

One of the reasons we provide news and information on aerospace activities in the Gulf Coast I-10 region is because aviation is an important part of the region’s economy, and we want to make sure folks know about it.

One group we hope to reach: students. We feel that if they know the opportunities provided by this industry in the Gulf Coast region, they may be more inclined to pursue a career in the field. Whether they're interested in space, robotics, unmanned systems, weapons development or any other aviation field, we have a lot of opportunities here. Some of the work requires advanced degrees, some vocational training.

So I want to give a special thank you to two folks in Pensacola who have for the past two years purchased printed editions of our Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor annual to donate to teachers and students in the region. Last year Quint and Rishy Studer bought books for Okaloosa County, and this year they got them for Santa Rosa and Escambia counties.

The team behind the books, the Gulf Coast Reporters' League, provides the books at cost and doesn't make a dime off book sales, thanks to the underwriters who support the research that goes into the publication. We had 14 underwriters this year, and if you want to see who they are, click this link.

OK, now for your aerospace week in review:

Most of the Marines who have been stationed at the F-35 training center at Eglin have moved to South Carolina, part of the relocation of VMFAT-501 from Eglin to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Fifteen of the 33rd Fighter Wing's 49 F-35s belong to the Marines. Those aircraft will stay at Eglin for about a year while the Marines work to get the proper infrastructure in place at Beaufort. (Post)

-- A ceremony was held during the week in Fort Worth, Texas, marking the official roll out of the first two F-35 aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force. The Lockheed Maratin F-35 will the Australian aerospace industry with up to $6 billion in expected manufacturing orders over the life of the program. AU-1 and AU-2 will undergo checks before being transported to the flight line for ground and flight tests. They'll be delivered to the RAAF later this year and will be based at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., where they'll be used for Australian and partner country pilot training. (Post)

Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated its Joint Air-to-Ground Missile dual-mode guidance section during a second internally funded flight test at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Eglin in Northwest Florida is one of the nation's key weapons development facilities. During the test, the rail-mounted JAGM flew 6.2 kilometers and initially acquired the target using its precision strike, semi-active laser. The dual-mode guidance section then engaged its millimeter wave radar, and the moving target was destroyed. (Post)

With Mobile, Ala., getting an A320 final assembly line, there's a lot of interest in this region in Airbus suppliers. So with that in mind, we told you during the week that Switzerland-based FACC AG and Airbus signed a contract for an additional work package for the A320 aircraft family.

The contract includes the production, as a second source, of Sharklet wing tip devices for the A320. FACC also recently won an Airbus contract for the redesign and manufacture of overhead stowage bins, ceiling panels and cove light panels as well as for the manufacture of the aft belly fairings for the A320 family.

FACC will produce the components in Ort im Innkreis, Austria. (Post)

Hey, FACC. Wouldn't you love to set up shop in the Gulf Coast region? We don't have mountains, but we've got beaches.

-- The Hong Kong unit of China's Shenzhen-listed Bohai Leasing signed a deal worth about $7.76 billion to buy 70 A320neo aircraft from Airbus Group. Subsidiary Hong Kong Aviation Capital signed the agreement on July 17 and it was approved by a special meeting of its board of directors on the following day. This month, BOC Aviation, the aircraft leasing arm of the Bank of China, ordered 43 planes from Airbus, including 36 A320ceo and seven A320neo models. (Post)

-- This is another Airbus item, but it's mostly about engines. Hawaiian Airlines picked six Airbus A330-800neo aircraft powered by the newly-launched Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine. The Trent engine family has accumulated more than 75 million flight hours over the last 19 years. Trent engines are tested at the Rolls-Royce outdoor test stand at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)

In New Orleans, the 170-foot Vertical Assembly Center (VAC) is near completion and will soon be ready to build the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System. VAC is the world's largest spacecraft welding tool, part of a family of tools at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility designed to build the core stage.

The core stage will store  cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the Space Launch System's RS-25 engines, which will be tested at nearby Stennis Space Center, Miss. The core stage, comprised of the forward skirt, the liquid oxygen tank, the intertank, the liquid hydrogen tank and the engine section, recently passed its critical design review. (Post)

B3H Corp., Shalimar, Fla., was awarded a $7 million contract modification for English language instructors and an English language training program using Defense Language Institute English Language Center courseware, methodology and processes. … Lakeview Center Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $10.3 million contract modification for dining facility/cook support. Work location will be determined with each order.

LCS: USS Coronado, built in Mobile, Ala., will get a chance at an historic moment in September when it fires the first-ever surface-to-surface Norwegian missile from a Littoral Combat Ship in tests off southern California. (Post)

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