Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week in review (9/18 to 9/24)

The long, drawn-out legal battle with Airbus and the European Union on one side and Boeing and the United States on the other took a step towards being resolved with a ruling by the World Trade Organization this week.

WTO ruled Thursday that European governments failed to end billions in unfair state subsidies to Airbus, despite an earlier ruling to remove them. That opens the way for the United States to impose more than $5 billion in annual tariffs against goods and services from the European Union.

But the WTO in a future ruling is expected to find that the United States failed to address concerns about subsides that helped Boeing, in part through tax breaks. That could lead to the EU being able to impose similar tariffs on U.S. exporters.

The Boeing/Airbus court case is part of the larger battle between the two giants over market shares. The combined backlogs of commercial airplanes has risen to almost $1.4 trillion. Airbus builds the hot-selling single-aisle, twin-engine A320 series jetliners in Mobile, Ala., as well as Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China. (Post)

In another Airbus-related story closer to home, Spirit Airlines took delivery Monday of its first A321 made in the United States at Mobile's U.S. Manufacturing Facility. On hand for the occasion were executives from Airbus and Spirit Airlines, 140 Spirit Airlines employees, and the 350 Airbus employees.

The $600 million plant, at the Mobile Aeroplex had its ceremonial opening in September 2015 and delivered its first jetliner – to JetBlue – in April 2016. The Spirit aircraft is the 10th delivered so far. Airbus anticipates delivering four planes a month out of Mobile by the end of 2017. (Post)

Across the state line in Pensacola, Fla., the Pensacola City Council approved a final amendment to a lease agreement with VT MAE and approved a $6.3 million loan to enable construction of a maintenance and repair facility to begin.

The project at Pensacola International Airport was delayed after VT MAE requested the planned hangar be enlarged to accommodate larger 757 aircraft. The price went from $37.3 million to $46 million to handle larger aircraft.

The city secured additional money from the state to cover the increase, but won't get it until fiscal year 2018, thus the need for the loan. VT MAE, owned by Singapore Technologies Engineering, has a major facility in Mobile and is expanding into Pensacola. (Post)

Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field in Florida and Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., are among the bases in the running to train battlefield airmen. We first told you about this in July, and now the military is doing assessments at each base.

The Air Force wants to consolidate eight locations into "three or four," according to The current centers are scattered across seven states. The consolidation is designed to provide improved infrastructure with enhanced aquatic training for combat rescue and other missions. The service is conducting environmental assessment surveys at all eight locations being considered. (Post)

Lockheed Martin rolled out the first 42 F-35As ordered by the Japan Air Self Defense Forces to replace a nearly 80-strong fleet of McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms. The event was attended by about 400 representatives from both countries.

Lockheed is building the first four Japanese jets in Fort Worth, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will produce the remaining 38 under license at its Nagoya facility. MHI won the 2011 competition to build the F-35A.

Maintenance training is already underway for the first Japanese Air Defense technicians at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and the first Japanese pilots will begin training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., in November. (Post)

Meanwhile, Raytheon Co., Fullerton, Calif., was awarded a $254.6 million contract for the design, development, manufacture, integration, demonstration, and test of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System.

This contract will utilize and continue development of eight existing engineering development models; and deliver two additional EDMs to support fleet early operational capability requirements for F-35B/C and MQ-25 test and initial operational requirements aboard nuclear aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.

In addition, this contract will deliver weapons replaceable assemblies, a technical data package, and provide developmental test and operational test support. Work will be performed in Fullerton; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Marlborough, Mass.; and Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in September 2022. (Post)

United Technologies Corp. - Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $10.5 million modification to previously awarded contract for F119 engine sustainment. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2016. … Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded $232 million for a modification to a previously awarded contract for the procurement of two CH-53K system demonstration test article aircraft. Work will be performed at a variety of locations, including Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Jackson, Miss. The work is expected to be completed in February 2020. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded $166.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for organizational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance and logistics services in support of about 200 T-45 aircraft based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, Miss.; NAS Kingsville, Texas; NAS Pensacola, Fla.; and NAS Patuxent River, Md. Work will be performed in Kingsville (48 percent); Meridian (44 percent); Pensacola (7 percent); and Patuxent River (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2017. The company also was awarded an estimated $43.5 million modification to exercise the option on a previously awarded contract for support of T-1, T-6, and T-38 undergraduate pilot training. … Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $22.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Air Operations Center (AOC) interim sustainment services. … Moca Systems Inc., of Niceville, Fla., is among the companies that will share in the award of a $10 million contract for architect and engineering, and cost engineering services to support the Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity.

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