The latest edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor/Gulf Coast Reporters League bimonthly aerospace newsletter will be published Tuesday.
In this issue we have a story about scientists and technicians in Pensacola who are providing key programs that will help in this nation's return to space exploration. We also have a story about jetliner No. 6512, the first one being built at the Airbus plant in Mobile, Ala., and the process that's involved. We also have a story about NASA's long-standing Space Grant program, a STEM project that was ahead of its time, and we take a look at changes at Mississippi's Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.
You can find the 8-page newsletter Tuesday by visiting our website, or if you like, you can subscribe and have it delivered to your inbox. It's always free thanks to our underwriters.
Now for your week in review:
An engine on an Airbus A320neo jet was found to have suffered damage following flight trials in hot-weather conditions, marking a setback for the Pratt & Whitney-made turbine. The issue was found in one of the test aircraft's two engines. The precise issue was not specified.
Deliveries of the single-aisle plane should still begin as scheduled later this year, with the first A320neo going to Qatar Airways. That plane will be powered by PW1100G engines. A competing turbine is offered by CFM International, a joint venture of GE Aviation and Safran.
That joint venture is also making the engines that will power the first A321 being built at the Airbus plant in Mobile. The plant is currently building planes with the normal engine option but will eventually build neo variants. (Post)
And what else might they eventually build in Mobile? Could Mobile workers one day build military aerial tankers? Allan McArtor, Airbus Group CEO, told National Defense magazine that if a future competition required that military tankers be built domestically, Airbus would expand its facilities in Alabama to compete.
"That is our industrial home. If we had an opportunity to bid on a tanker program, that is where it would be."
Airbus competed against Boeing to supply tankers to the Air Force, but Boeing won on the second go-around. McArtor is convinced the Air Force would consider buying an Airbus tanker to supplement the Boeing 767-based KC-46A fleet. (Post)
The Navy's last flying T-2C Buckeye made its final flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on Sept. 25. It capped 56 years of the aircraft type's service to the fleet.
Although the T-2s were officially retired from service in 2008 with a "sundown" ceremony at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 at NAS Patuxent River continued to use three Buckeyes as safety chase aircraft during test and evaluation flights of the E-2D Hawkeye, P-8A Poseidon and MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial system. (Post)
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $28.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract to upgrade the low-rate initial production Autonomic Logistics Operating Unit and all fielded Autonomic Logistics Design Development (ALIS) systems to ALIS software release 2.0.2 in support of the F-35 aircraft.
Work will be done in Florida, including Valparaiso, Texas, Arizona, California, Utah, South Carolina, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel and Italy and is expected to be completed in December 2017. (Post)
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth also was awarded a $20.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide additional funding for concurrency related changes to the F-35 aircraft and the supporting subsystems for the Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force.
Work will be done in Texas, Georgia and California and is expected to be completed in December 2018. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both of the Lockheed contracts. (Post)
NASA awarded a blanket purchase agreement to Esri in Redlands, Calif., to provide geospatial software licenses and maintenance. It has a one-year base ordering period and four one-year options and a potential contract value of $9.5 million.
The period of performance begins Oct. 1 and, if all options are exercised, the last ordering period will end Sept. 30, 2020. The contract will be administered by the Enterprise License Management Team at the NASA Shared Services Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)
NASA also awarded a contract to National Instruments Corporation of Austin, Texas, to provide system design software and measurement and control systems hardware while consolidating the procurement of agency end-user software licenses.
It has a one-year base period and four one-year options. The period of performance will begin Sept. 30, 2015 with a potential end date of Sept. 27, 2020 and total value of $37.7 million. This contract also will be administered by the Enterprise License Management Team at the NASA Shared Services Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)
Northrop Grumman won a contract worth up to $3.2 billion for continued development, modernization and maintenance of Air Force variants of the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft. The contract will allow the Air Force to order parts and services as needed through Sept. 30, 2020, with all work to be completed by Sept. 30, 2025. Northrop Grumman builds several variants of Global Hawk, including Triton, the maritime variant for the Navy. Fuselages work for all variants is done by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)
Pettibone Concrete Construction Inc., Panama City, Fla., was awarded a $48.9 million contract for Tyndall Air Force Base airfield civil works. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Sept. 29, 2020. The 325th Contracting Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $50 million contract for support to the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile AIM-120D system improvement program. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2022. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Flight Safety International Inc., Marine Air Terminal, LaGuardia Airport, Flushing, N.Y., was awarded a $35 million modification to a contract for an extension of the existing contract for fixed-wing flight training services. Work will be done in Ft. Rucker, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2016. Army Contracting Command, Ft. Rucker, is the contracting activity. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $57.2 million contract for logistics support of the T-1A aircraft. Work will be performed at Vance Air Force Base, Okla.; Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.; Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas; Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; and Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2016. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity.