Funds for Northwest Florida to protect bases, a Boeing expansion in Fort Walton Beach, Airbus tapping another subcontractor for its Mobile plant, and more contracts for the F-35 were among the stories of interest to the Gulf Coast aerospace region during the week leading up to Independence Day.
Here's your week in review:
Northwest Florida is getting more than $900,000 in defense grants to enhance the region's military bases. Santa Rosa County, home of Naval Air Station Whiting Field, will get $360,000 through Florida's Defense Reinvestment and Infrastructure Grant Programs and $41,310 from the Florida Defense Support Task Force.
Okaloosa County, home of Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, will get $300,000 through the reinvestment and infrastructure program, and Escambia County, home of Naval Air Station Pensacola, will get $170,000, also through the reinvestment and infrastructure grant program. In addition, Walton County, which has a portion of Eglin, will get $38,000 through the reinvestment grant program. (Post)
The biggest name in aerospace and defense has increased its footprint in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Boeing has taken over the 83,000 square-foot former Edwin Watts Golf facility, where it will have laboratories and an expanded repair center.
Boeing's Fort Walton Beach location is home to the Boeing Special Operations Forces Programs group that modifies, tests, repairs and services aircraft used by U.S. Air Force Special Operations, as well as foreign military modifications to partner nations. (Post)
In the Gulf Coast I-10 region, Boeing also has an operation in New Orleans at Michoud Assembly Facility, where it's building the core stage of NASA's powerful Space Launch System.
Speaking of big names in aerospace, Airbus has chosen AAA Aerospace USA to provide various services for its plant at Mobile Aeroplex. The on-site manufacturing company, with an operation in Montgomery, Ala., offers subcontracting services for aircrafts and aircraft elements and is part of the larger AAA Group, servicing the United States, Asia and Europe. It will provide engine installation, wheel assembly, and test and battery management services among others for the A320 assembly line. (Post)
An F-35 was recently outperformed by an F-16 in a dogfight test, according to the military blog War Is Boring. The F-35 was bested in nearly all aerial maneuvering in a January test near Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
But Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, director of the F-35 Integration Office of the Air Force, said the report was misleading since the F-35 involved in the test was a variation designed for flight sciences testing and was not equipped with newer features.
The general also points out that the F-35, which is designed to shoot down a foe without being pointed in that aircraft's direction, is designed to take out enemy aircraft before they even know an F-35 is in the area. (Post)
-- Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $14.4 million modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract to provide the Reprogramming Center - West, at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif., with the primary mission equipment required for the lab to meet Partner and Foreign Military Sales Mission Data File requirements in support of the F-35.
This contract combines purchases for the governments of Japan (33.4 percent); South Korea (33.3 percent); and Israel (33.3 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and expected to be completed in October 2017. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting authority. (Post)
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the Reprogramming Center - East, and its reprogramming lab has been up and running since 2010. It provides mission data for the F-35, the brains behind the brawn, so to speak. It provides information on terrain and enemy threat information, including enemy radar, surface-to-air missiles and fighters, along with data on friendly forces, non-belligerents and commercial aircraft.
Eglin also will be the home of the Australia, Canada, United Kingdom Reprogramming Lab and the Norway, Italy Reprogramming Lab. The labs will permit those nations to customize mission data that will be loaded on their planes. If you're interested in learning more about the labs, take a look at the story “Putting the fight in the F-35,” which appeared in our April aerospace newsletter.
-- In another F-35-related contract, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $19.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for requirements development and maturation efforts for the F-35.
Work will be done in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in March 2016. This contract combines purchase for the U.S. Navy (28.7 percent); U.S. Air Force (27.54 percent); U.S. Marine Corps. (19.7 percent); and the governments of Australia (3.61 percent); Canada (1.7 percent); Italy (2.38 percent); Netherlands (1.1 percent); Norway (3.62 percent); Turkey (6.92 percent); and United Kingdom (4.73 percent) under a Cooperative Agreement.
The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Post)
Last weekend an unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station aboard a Dragon cargo ship broke apart after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Fla. More than 5,000 pounds of cargo was on board.
The failure was SpaceX's first by a Falcon 9 after seven previous supply mission. It's the 19th Falcon 9 launch since 2010. SpaceX's Falcon 9 is expected to eventually be used to launch crew missions. SpaceX is developing its next generation of rocket engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)
-- NASA awarded Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) of McLean, Va., a modification to the NASA Integrated Communications Services (NICS) contract, which provides and manages the vast majority of NASA’s information technology communications infrastructure services.
This $11.5 million contract modification adds telephone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) support for NASA’s Kennedy Space Flight Center, Fla. The NICS contract consists of a three-year base period, one two-year option, one three-year option and one two-year option.
The NICS contract is administered by the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)
The United States plans to export an advanced, tungsten-laden bomb designed to cause less collateral damage than its predecessors. The 500-pound BLU-129/B was originally produced by Aerojet Rocketdyne as a quick reaction capability for the war in Afghanistan as a way of reducing civilian deaths by using a carbon-fiber-wound composite shell casing to limit the blast radius.
The bomb entered service in 2011 but production ended earlier this year. Now, the Air Force says it's interested in restarting production for both domestic and international consumption, with the government approving exports to any nation that already purchases joint direct attack munition (JDAM) guidance assemblies. (Post)
Pratt and Whitney of East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $269.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract for F119 Engine Sustainment. Some of the work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., but other work locations are in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Virginia, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missiles Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $36.8 million contract for System Improvement Program II- Engineering Manufacturing, Development. The contractor will provide an incremental software solution for AIM-120D to improve missile performance against rapidly advancing threats. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC, Rocket Center, W.Va., was awarded a $6.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Hard Target Void Sensing Fuze system. Contractor will provide 226 HTVSF systems, eight D-1 Inert Bomb Fuzes, 35 D-2 Dummy Load Trainer and Dummy Initiators, 13 D-5/B Classroom Trainers, and 325 Retaining Ring Torque Adapters (Spanner Wrenches) under the contract. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.