Saturday, March 12, 2016

Week in review (3/6 to 3/12)

A key rocket engine test, the planned resumption of flights to an outlying base and additional contracts for the F-35 were among the items during the week of interest to the Gulf Coast aerospace region.

But before that, there was a somber rememberance this past week for the fallen. It was a year ago that a UH-60 Blackhawk on a training exercise crashed into Santa Rosa Sound near Navarre. Eleven who were on board were killed.

A ceremony honoring the seven Marines and four Army National Guardsmen was held Thursday evening at the Navarre Beach Marine Park. Several hundred people were in attendance including community leaders, military members, and family members of the fallen.

We salute them for their service and their sacrifice.

Now here's your week in review:

If you're interested in space exploration, there was a significant test at Stennis Space Center, Miss., late in the week. An RS-25 that will used to power NASA's Space Launch System performed a 500-second flight certification test on the A-1 test stand.

NASA conducted a series of tests on an RS-25 development engine last year, but this Aerojet Rocketdyne engine, No. 2059, is one of the four that will power the SLS in Exploration Mission 2, a crewed mission that will carry astronauts into lunar orbit. That will be the first mission beyond low-Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972.

The RS-25 that was tested Thursday is a modified versions of the engines used aboard the Space Shuttle. Together the four engines will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust. (Post)

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded two contracts during the week related to the F-35. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both.

One was a $66.2 million contract action against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement for the design, development, fabrication, integration, delivery, installation, and testing of the technical solution to enable full interoperability of the Distributed Mission Training capability for the F-35. Work will be done in Orlando, Fla., and Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in March 2018. (Post)

The other was a $9.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the Windows 7 upgrade of the F-35 test product stations. Work will be done in Nashua, N.H.; Cheltenham, United Kingdom; San Diego, Calif.; Fort Worth, Texas; Haifa, Israel; Baltimore, Md.; Orlando, Fla.; Rockford, Ill.; Owego, N.Y.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Alpharetta, Ga., and is expected to be completed in March 2017. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force; Marine Corps; and Navy. (Post)

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., will resume scheduled flight training at Navy Outlying Landing Field Summerdale, Ala., beginning March 14. The base hasn't used NOLF Summerdale regularly since 2005 because of work to extend the runway to handle the T-6B Texan II trainer. NOLF Summerdale is one of five outlying fields Whiting uses for T-6B fixed-wing aviator training. (Post)

-- Aircraft countermeasures were put to the test recently when aircrews from two West Coast bases came to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to participate in the Air Mobile Command flare effectiveness test.

They were the the 62nd Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III aircrew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and a C-5 crew from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The aircraft-dispensed flares are used as infrared countermeasures designed to defeat heat seeking surface-to-air or air-to-air missiles.

Typically, cargo-carrying aircraft like the C-130, C-5 and C-17 carry flares as countermeasures. The month-long tests began late last month. (Post)

Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded $47.5 million for modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option to provide an estimated 37,015 flight hours of intermediate, depot-level maintenance, and related logistics support for about 223 in-service T-45 F405-RR-401 Adour engines. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss.; NAS Kingsville, Texas; NAS Pensacola, Fla.; and NAS Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in September 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, is the contracting activity.

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