Saturday, February 21, 2015

Week in review (2/15 to 2/21)

The USS Independence, a littoral combat ship built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., arrived at Florida's Naval Air Station Pensacola's Allegheny Pier late in the week. It's in this area temporarily to test mine warfare capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico, and will dock at NAS Pensacola between sorties.

LCS 2 is an aluminum hull ship designed to operate in shallow, littoral regions. It has a flight deck designed for helicopters, including the unmanned Fire Scout helicopters built in part in Moss Point, Miss. To the east of Pensacola in Panama City, mine warfare is one area of expertise of the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

The ship's home port is in San Diego.

Lockheed Martin may need to update its F-35 software after issues arose during testing, but it should not delay Marines Corps plans to declare its variant ready for combat use in July. That's according to Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed-Aeronautics. He said some issues came up during radar tracking tests in the jet's mission systems software, but that they are manageable. The F-35 has had some software issues, but most of the problems have been worked out. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center and the U.S. Reprogramming Laboratory. (Post)

Boeing was awarded a $29.5 million contract to design and develop a beam control system for laser weapons on U.S. Navy ships. Boeing will begin to design a prototype High Power Beam Control Subsystem. The resulting beam control system will focus and hold a laser on a moving aim point long enough to disable the target. The Boeing beam control system capitalizes on the company’s work with the U.S. Army's High Energy Laser Mobile, which was tested at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., last year. The system was able to acquire, track and destroy targets in windy and foggy conditions. (Post)

-- In another item of interest to Eglin during the week, the Pentagon announced that Lt. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowsi was nominated to the rank of general with assignment as the commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Officials also announced the retirement of current AFMC Commander, Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger. No date was announced for the retirement and change of command. Eglin is an AFMC base. (Post)

-- Army Aviation leaders gathered at Fort Rucker, Ala., earlier this month for the annual Aviation Senior Leaders Forum. About 150 senior leaders attended. Key aviation topics included manned-unmanned teaming, modernization strategy, training and leader development, lessons learned from recently deployed combat aviation brigades, combined arms air-ground maneuver and enlisted training. Fort Rucker is
the home to Army Aviation training. (Post)

In Florida, the Okaloosa County Commission voted earlier this week to change the name of Northwest Florida Regional Airport to Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Airport, to take advantage of the two best-known names in that area of Northwest Florida. There was also some talk about using “international” and keeping “regional” in the name. But in the end, neither became part of the new name. The airport is at Eglin Air Force Base. (Post)

Meanwhile, further to the east, Marianna Airport Commerce Park during the week became the first certified site in Jackson County through Gulf Power’s Florida First Sites program. Florida First Sites program was created in 2013 to help communities prepare locations to attract new industries and new jobs to the region. Fourteen sites were initially submitted from public and private landowners. Of those 14 sites, five have been certified and five are still working toward their certification. The 237-acre Jackson County industrial site is owned by the City of Marianna and adjacent to the Marianna Municipal Airport. The airport has two 5,000-foot runways and features 214 contiguous acres that can be developed. (Post)

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