Saturday, December 5, 2015

Week in review (11/29 to 12/5)

Get ready aerospace junkies. On Tuesday we'll publish the latest edition of our eight-page Gulf Coast I-10 aerospace bimonthly newsletter.

In this issue we'll tell you about the defense dollars that flow into the four states in this region, along with a list of the counties and parishes that lead the pack in this region. We also have an article about the metro area in this region that’s among the hot spots in the nation for aerospace jobs.

We also have an article about all the construction activity at the downtown Mobile airport, where it’s not all about Airbus. Finally, with some folks talking about a possible base consolidation effort in 2017, we’ll fill you in on efforts in the past to consolidate military helicopter training, and whether there’s any concern today. The issue goes back 50 years.

We'll have our latest issue posted at the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor website Tuesday, or if you prefer, you can get on our mailing list – it won't be used for any other purpose – and we'll deliver the aerospace newsletter via email. And it's free thanks to our underwriters. Just drop me an email and I'll add you to the list.

Now for your Gulf Coast aerospace week in review:

The Navy and Northrop Grumman recently completed a three-week operational assessment of the MQ-8C Fire Scout at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, Calif. It included 11 flights for a total of 83.4 flight hours, in which the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter was assessed for its performance, endurance and reliability.

The C model is an upgraded, larger version of the MQ-8B Fire Scout, which is currently deployed on the USS Fort Worth. The smaller Fire Scout has flown more than 16,000 hours and has demonstrated its ability to operate alongside the MH-60 manned helicopter in ship operations.

Final assembly of the Fire Scout is done by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)

In Milton, Fla., Naval Air Station Whiting Field won first place in the small installation category in a Navy competition. The Navy's annual Installation Excellence Award winners were announced during the week by the Navy Installations Command. The program recognizes the Navy's top three large and small installations. The top large installation is Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. (Post)

At Northwest Florida's Hurlburt Field, Air Force Col. Sean M. Farrell was nominated by the president for appointment to the grade of brigadier general. That’s according to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s office. Farrell is currently serving as commander, 1st Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field. (Post)

F-35A pilots are now training with four Full Mission Simulators linked together at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The 34th Fighter Squadron will be the first Air Force F-35A unit to reach initial operational capability in August 2016.

The ability to link four pilots together during training using virtual technology not only gives them a chance to hone their individual skills but to develop tactics as a unit against ground and airborne threats in a high fidelity environment.

More than 190 F-35 pilots and 1,000 maintenance personnel for the Air Force will be mission ready by August 2016. The Marine Corps was the first to declare initial operational capability last summer. The Navy plans to reach IOC in 2018. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. (Post)

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded two contracts during the week for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) program. In one, it was awarded a $302.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the JASSM program. In this one, the contractor will provide JASSM production, system upgrades, integration, sustainment, management and logistical support. Work will be done in Troy, Ala., and is expected to be complete by June 29, 2019. The contract involves foreign military sales to Poland and Finland. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

The company also was awarded a $17.5 million modification to a previously awarded JASSM program contract to provide labor, material, management, technical, and logistical support for the JASSM Lot 14 tooling effort. Work will be done at Salt Lake City, Utah, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 30, 2018. As with the previous award, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin is the contracting activity.

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