The greater Gulf Coast aerospace corridor region is performing well when it comes to Gross Domestic Product. According to figures released during the week by the U.S. Commerce Department, all but one metro area along the Gulf Coast region had a higher GDP in 2013 over 2012.
The best performer was Alabama's Daphne-Fairhope-Foley MSA, a metro area that encompasses all of Baldwin County. In current dollars, its GDP improved 6.34 percent to just under $6.3 billion. Next best was Louisiana's Baton Rouge MSA, up 5.34 percent to over $52.2 billion.
Florida's two-county Panama City MSA, which includes Bay and Gulf counties, rose 4.9 percent to just over $7.4 billion, while Alabama's single-county Mobile MSA was up 4.25 percent to just under $18.4 billion. In Mississippi, the three-county Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula MSA improved 4.22 percent to just under $16.2 billion.
Alabama's Dothan was next, improving by 4.14 percent between 2012 and 2013 to nearly $4.9 billion. Mississippi's Hattiesburg was up 2.88 percent to over $5.4 billion, Florida's capital Tallahassee was up 2.68 percent to $13.8 billion, Florida's Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent was up 2.15 percent to just over $15.2 billion, and Florida's Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin was up 1.14 percent to over $12.1 billion.
The largest metro area in the region, Louisiana's New Orleans-Metairie, has the 41st largest GDP in the nation. It was down 0.69 percent to over $81.8 billion. (Post)
Airbus during the week posted two new engineering positions for the A320 final assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala. It's seeking a flight test engineer and ground test engineer, both of which require six to nine months training abroad. (Post)
Meanwhile, orders to A320s continue to build up. Germany's Deutsche Lufthansa AG approved an order during the week to buy 25 more A320 family aircraft. That includes 15 fuel-efficient A320neo aircraft and 10 A320 current engine aircraft. Also, easyJet placed an order for 27 additional current engine option A320s. (Post)
-- Mexican low-cost carrier VivaAerobus, signed a 10-year contract to have Airbus handle some training. Airbus will provide training for maintenance personnel, flight operations engineers, pilots and cabin crew. The training will be done at the Airbus training center in Miami, and a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, that opens in early 2016. (Post)
-- In another Airbus-related story during the week, a top GE Aviation executive said the company decided not to use a geared design for its new, more fuel-efficient engine for narrow-body jets because of concerns about weight and reliability.
GE Aviation rival Pratt and Whitney developed a geared turbofan that relies on a gearbox and lets the front fan operate at a different speed than the rest of the engine. In GE's traditionally configured engines the fans run at the same speed.
Through CFM International, GE's joint venture with France's Safran, GE competes against Pratt for customers who buy Airbus' new A320neo single-aisle plane. Both engines are options for those customers. GE has engine parts plants near Hattiesburg, Miss., and in Auburn, Ala. Safran has an engineering center in Mobile. (Post)
-- In one final Airbus item, Airbus Americas and the United Way of Southwest Alabama announced their joint participation in a new national education partnership and awarded four grants totaling $12,000 to Mobile area schools and programs. (Post)
Boeing and SpaceX were chosen by NASA during the week to built the spacecraft that will be used to transport U.S. crews to and from the International Space Station. The spacecraft moving forward are the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Dragon.
The goal is to end the nation's reliance on Russia for transportation to the ISS in 2017. The contract includes at least one crewed flight test per company, and at least two flights with a crew of as many as six to the space station.
Boeing's contract is for $4.2 billion and SpaceX's is for $2.6 billion. The companies will own and operate the crew transportation systems and be able to sell human space transportation services to other customers in addition to NASA.
Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in NASA and commercial space programs. But this decision will primarily mean new jobs in Texas and Florida. (Post)
-- Blue Origin is teaming up with United Launch Alliance to develop a rocket engine to replace the Russian-built RD-180, a workhorse that powers the ULA heavy-lift Atlas V rocket. A scale model of the liquid natural gas and liquid oxygen BE-4 engine developed by Blue Origin was unveiled at a news conference during the week. The engine could be ready in four years. Blue Origin has tested engine components at Stennis Space Center, Miss.
Meanwhile, Aerojet Rocketdyne plans to open a rocket propulsion development office in Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Ala., with plans to deliver a new rocket engine, the AR 1, to replace the RD-180. Former Stennis Space Center director Gene Goldman will be involved in the project. Aerojet Rocketdyne has an operation at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)
The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $354 million contract to expand its RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system fleet by three aircraft. That’s good news for Moss Point, Miss., which does the aircraft's central fuselage work.
The Global Hawk operates multiple sensors simultaneously to gather intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data. The newest aircraft will bring the Air Force RQ-4 fleet to 37 aircraft in 2017. (Post)
Meanwhile, the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft – the Navy's version of the Global Hawk – during the week finished a cross-country flight from Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., facility to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
The 11-hour, 3,290 nautical took the mile flight was over the southern U.S. border and Gulf of Mexico and across Florida via an approved instrument route. Operators navigated the aircraft up the Atlantic Coast and Chesapeake Bay at altitudes in excess of 50,000 feet. (Post)
Pratt and Whitney said its contracts with the Pentagon for the next two batches of engines for the F-35 fighter jet will result in combined cost savings of up to 8 percent. The president of Pratt's military engines division told reporters the company had already more than halved the cost of the F135 engine, and the savings from the next two contracts would come on top of that. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is an F-35 training center. (Post)
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $24.9 million modification to the previously awarded F-35 Low Rate Initial Production Lot VI contract. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in November 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Post)
Textron Marine and Land Systems, New Orleans, La., was awarded a $15.2 million foreign military sales contract for mobile strike force vehicles, related fielding hardware, and technical services, for the Bulgarian National Military Forces deployed in support of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Work will be performed in New Orleans and Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2015. … Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions, King of Prussia, Pa., was awarded a $7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee for Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) software maintenance. Work will be performed at King of Prussia, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 14, 2015. Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lakeview Center Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $12 million contract modification to exercise option year two for the procurement of "Full Food Galley Services" for U.S. Navy galleys at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.; the Explosive Ordnance Disposal School, Pensacola; and Naval Construction Battalion Command, Gulfport, Miss. Work is expected to be completed no later than Sept. 30, 2015. The award was issued to Lakeview Center under the AbilityOne Program supporting the blind and severely disabled.
Telspan Data LLC, Concord, Calif., was awarded a $10 million contract for data replay systems for the Air Force Test Center. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an expected completion date of Oct. 6, 2014. The Air Force Test Center/PZIE, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Calculex Inc., Las Cruces, N.M., was awarded a $9.7 million contract to support existing airborne data recorders for the Air Force Test Center. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an expected completion date of Jan. 31, 2015. The Air Force Test Center/PZIE, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Northrop Grumman Systems, Amherst Systems Inc., Buffalo, N.Y., was awarded a $9.6 million contract and the first delivery order at $1 million for spares and system engineering support. Work will be performed at Buffalo and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an expected completion date of Sept. 15, 2015. Air Force Test Center/PZIE, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $12 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for maintenance, repair, and logistics support for the chief of Naval Air Training Aircraft's intermediate maintenance departments located at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. Work will be performed at NAS Pensacola (60 percent), and NAS Corpus Christi (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2015. … Summit Construction Inc., Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., was awarded a $10.6 million contract to perform an architectural/refrigeration project on the commissary at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Work will be performed in Hawaii with an estimated completion date of February 2016. … Alion Science and Technology Corp., Burr Ridge, Ill., was awarded a $25 million order on the Advanced Materials, Manufacturing, and Testing Information Analysis Center contract for technical analysis, logistics and sustainment for Headquarters U. S. Marine Corps. The work will be performed at Panama City, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2016.
CACI-ISS Inc., Chantilly, Va., was awarded a $14.8 million contract modification in support of the Air Force Expeditionary/Contingency Medical Materiel Program performed at Department of Defense and Air Reserve/Guard installations within the continental United States and in the Pacific theater of operations. In this region, work will be performed at Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; and Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. … The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $6.9 million modification to exercise the second option for the firm-fixed-price contract FA3010-13-C-0005 for full food services. Work will be performed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2017. The 81st Contracting Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.