Saturday, October 18, 2014

Week in review (10/12 to 10/18)

Five counties in Northwest Florida get grants to protect bases; more jobs at Airbus in Mobile; a record A320 order; a second Triton makes its first flight; and a big F-35 engine order were among the week's Gulf Coast-related aerospace news stories.

Here's your week in review:

Five counties in Northwest Florida are getting $1.15 million through Florida's  Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Program. They're among 14 counties awarded $2.45 million in the 2014-2015 Defense Grant program. The money will support community projects at 19 Florida military installations, according to state officials.

Okaloosa County is getting $300,000, Bay County $272,000, Escambia County $266,000, Santa Rosa County $250,000 and Walton County $60,000. The Florida Defense Grants Programs are administered by Enterprise Florida, and the grants are awarded annually through a competitive process to communities hosting military installations. (Post)

-- Aviation-focused military bases and sites in the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor between New Orleans and Northwest Florida saw their replacement value increase significantly this year over last, soaring to a combined $18.4 billion. One base alone, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., would cost $805 million more to replace in 2014 than in 2013. That’s an increase of more than 20.5 percent to $4.7 billion. (Post)

Support positions are among the latest job descriptions posted by Airbus for the A320 final assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala. The company is seeking candidates for both business systems analyst and administrative assistant. (Post)

-- Airbus Americas Engineering is interested in working with the University of South Alabama’s research division. That’s according to university officials after returning home following a visit to Airbus officials in Toulouse, France, and Munich, Germany. Airbus is particularly interested in the school’s work in cybersecurity and composites, officials said. (Post)

-- The 18th annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium early in the week attracted 600 participants to discuss the region's economy. And while aerospace was not a specific topic, it did come up.

University of West Florida economist Rick Harper pointed out that Airbus in Mobile is a long-term investment for the company, which projects that in the next 20 years there’s going to be a worldwide need for about 6,000 narrow-body commercial passenger jets like the A320. He said that over time each of the 1,100 Airbus jobs in Mobile will create four additional jobs, or 4,000 to 6,000 jobs in South Alabama, South Mississippi and Northwest Florida. (Post)

Almost as a way to underscore the need for more jetliners, budget carrier IndiGo during the week agreed to buy 250 A320 jetliners from Airbus, a purchase that could be worth nearly $25.7 billion at list price. k as the largest single order of jets from the European aerospace giant. The budget airline, India’s largest, will start taking delivery of the planes from 2018, and has secured rights to buy a further 100 A320-family aircraft. (Post)

The second Navy MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, a maritime version of the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, has had its initial flight. Like the first one, it will eventually fly from Southern California to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., for testing. Data gathered from the test aircraft will be used by the Navy to decide on whether to launch production in fiscal 2017. Central fuselage work on the Triton and all other variants of the Global Hawk is done in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)

Pratt and Whitney Military Engine of East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $592 million modification to the previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm target Low Rate Initial Production Lot VII F135 propulsion systems contract.

This modification provides for the procurement of 19 F135-PW-100 conventional take off and landing propulsion systems for the Air Force; six F135-PW-600 short take-off and vertical landing propulsion systems for the Marine Corps; and four F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the Navy. In addition, this modification provides for five F135-PW-100 propulsion systems, one F135-PW-100 spare propulsion system and one F135-PW-600 propulsion system for international partners.

Work will be performed in Connecticut, the U.K., and Indiana. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force (41 percent); Navy/Marine Corps (40 percent); international partners (18 percent); and foreign military sales (1 percent). Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center. (Post)

-- Rolls-Royce completed the first flight test of aircraft featuring its composite carbon/titanium (CTi) fan blade. The CTi fan blades were integrated into a Trent 1000 engine of a 747, which recently completed its successful flying test at Tucson, Ariz. In September Rolls-Royce completed crosswind testing on this fan system at the company's outdoor jet engine test facility at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)

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