Monday, October 16, 2017

Special review (10/16)

First Airbus. Now Bombardier.

I don't usually publish a "week in review" column on a day other than Saturday, let alone one about a single news item. But the news out of Amsterdam and Montreal on Monday warrants a column.

Airbus and Bombardier announced an agreement where Airbus gets a 50.01 stake in the Bombardier C Series, the single-aisle jetliner that has been slow to sell but is one of the most advanced in the world. Under the agreement, Airbus will provide procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support expertise. But for our neck of the woods, the really big news is that there will be a C Series assembly line in Mobile, Ala., where Airbus is currently building A320 series jetliners. And that will mean more jobs. But details are few right now.

All of this will take some time to come to pass, but in the future, Mobile and the Gulf Coast will be able to brag that it makes not only the popular, best-selling Airbus A320 series, but the Bombardier C Series jetliners. That's significant for the branding of this region as an international aerospace and aviation center, especially in light of all the other aerospace and aviation activities along the Interstate 10 corridor.

The Airbus final assembly line at the Mobile Aeroplex has already attracted plenty of suppliers, and having a Bombardier final assembly line for C Series jetliners is bound to attract even more, not only to Mobile proper but to its neighboring states.

The announcement comes within weeks of Bombardier being hit with a 300 percent import levy by the United States following a complaint by Boeing that the company was selling jetliners at a ridiculously reduced price. But that tariff isn't imposed on planes built in the United States by American workers for American customers like Delta Air Lines. The Atlanta-based company plans to buy 75 C series jetliners.

The move also gives Airbus an expanded global footprint through the partnership with the Bombardier final assembly line in Quebec, Canada, which will continue to build C Series jets but apparently not for the market in the United States.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Week in review (10/1 to 10/7)

Everyone in our region is little doubt preoccupied with Hurricane Nate churning south of us. Nonetheless, work goes on. We'll publish the October issue of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor newsletter Tuesday. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it has a cover story about the aerospace and aviation activities in Louisiana.

But there's more. We'll also bring you a story about the two companies in South Alabama that provide engine podding work for jetliners. Podding is the part of the aviation industry that builds up the structure that surrounds and engine and attaches to the wing pylon.

UTC Aerospace and Safran Nacelles are the two biggest nacelles companies in the world, and they have operations in Foley and Mobile. We'll also fill you in on recent news relevant to the nacelles industry.

We also have a column on some of the other recent happenings in the aerospace region, including the Gulf Power Economic Symposium. If you want to stay up to date on this region's aerospace and aviation activities, the bimonthly newsletter is a good start. You'll be able to find it next week after Tuesday on the opening page of our website.

Now for your week in review:


Space The public will get a chance Oct. 19 to view a test firing of an RS-25 flight engine that will be used to power NASA’s new Space Launch System. This engine, No. 2063, will be one of four that will be used for SLS on Exploration Mission-2, the first flight of the rocket that will carry astronauts.

The engine test is part of the Founder's Day Open House at Stennis Space Center, which commemorates the anniversary of the rocket engine test site. Open house activities, including exhibits, demonstrations and speakers, will be hosted by participating Stennis agencies prior to an afternoon test of RS-25 flight engine on the A-1 Test Stand. (Post)


Contracts
DCS Corp., Alexandria, Va., was awarded a $207.6 million contract to provide system engineering, analysis, research, development, logistics, and configuration and data management services to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s aircraft integrated pProduct teams, critical in the development, integration, test, evaluation, and fielding of new and upgraded capabilities to Naval aircraft, such as the F/A-18, EA-18G, F-35, AV-8B, AH-1/UH-1, and unmanned aerial systems. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will do seven percent of the work. Other work locations are in California, North Carolina, Arizona and Maryland, and is expected to be completed in October 2022. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, is the contracting activity. … COLSA Corp., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $56.2 million modification for technical and management advisory services command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and cyber support. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., among other locations. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … QuantiTech, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $39.6 million modification for technical and management advisory services range support. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., among other locations. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Torch Technologies Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $34.6 million modification for technical and management advisory services armament support. The contractor will provide additional diverse research, development, test and evaluation, and acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and other locations. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Bevilacqua Research Corp., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $31.2 million modification for technical and management advisory services platforms support. The contractor will provide additional diverse research, development, test and evaluation, and acquisition support services. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; Duke Field, Fla.; Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30 2018. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week in review (9/24 to 9/30)

If you're into reading about contracts, this past week for the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor was certainly one for you. But it wasn't the only activity for the region. Here's your week in review:

The Air Force plans to declare its new AC-130J "Ghostrider" gunship ready for combat operations by the end of September. That’s according to Lt. Gen. Marshall "Brad" Webb, head of Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

He told reporters at the Air Force Association’s annual conference in National Harbor, Md., that it won't go into combat for a couple more years because of the high pace of operational missions abroad, which makes in more difficult to train special operators on the new gunship’s new weapon system.

The AC-130J, designed for close-air support, is armed with a 30mm GAU-23/A cannon and suite of precision-guided munitions that include the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb and AGM-176 Griffin missile, and a 105mm M102 howitzer system. (Post)


Bases
The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 2 recently evaluated new, fully digitized navigation charts to streamline mission planning initiatives for the military. It’s the first major upgrade to the charts in some 30 years.

AFOTEC completed a successful operational test on a digitized navigation chart prototype in 2016, and the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency asked AFOTEC evaluate three new digitized charts for use by the Air Force and other military branches.

Over six weeks, Detachment 2 tested the new charts at nine military installations across the U.S., including at Eglin, using 16 different airframes. The new charts will be available for military operations as early as 2019. (Post)


F-35
The Air Force’s 33rd Maintenance Squadron provided training and support to F-35C operations aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7, 2017.

Two airmen and two sailors from the aerospace ground equipment flight and the wheel and tire shop qualified Abraham Lincoln sailors to operate F-35 support equipment, bringing the U.S. Navy one step closer to initial operations capability. With this training, the Abraham Lincoln's aviation structural mechanics are now qualified to tear down, inspect, clean, rebuild and service wheel assemblies. (Post)


Awards
The Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office received three Excellence in Economic Development Awards for 2017 from the International Economic Development Council during the IEDC Annual Conference Sept. 17-20 in Toronto. Two were related to aerospace and aviation.

One was a gold award for its aviation industry brochure in the category of special purpose print brochure, which details Santa Rosa County's advantages to companies in the aviation, aerospace, and related industries. The EDO took home a bronze award in the category of special purpose website, for SantaRosaAviation.com, a micro-site showcasing the county's advantages to companies in the aviation, aerospace, and related industries.

The office also won a silver award for its Career Pathways website, a project also in the category of special purpose website. The website is designed to provide students and their families guidance on local career opportunities. (Post)


Fort Walton Beach contracts
There were multiple contracts awarded during the week that will involve workers at Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

-- Reliance Test & Technology of Fort Walton Beach was awarded an $8.7 million modification to previously awarded contract for Eglin Air Force Base operation and maintenance support service. Work will be performed in Fort Walton Beach and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2026. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

-- Fort Walton Beach will share work with San Diego in another contract. Cubic Global Defense, San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $61 million contract for P5 combat training system/tactical combat training system updates. Work will be completed Sept. 30, 2022. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

-- Fifteen percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach under a $24.3 million contract modification that was awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp., Rotary and Mission Systems, Baltimore, Md. This contract exercises options for vertical launching system modules and associated equipment with the MK 41 vertical launch system. Work is expected to be completed by December 2022. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

-- The SURVICE Engineering Co. LLC, Belcamp, Md., was awarded a $10 million contract to perform research and development analysis for the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in the areas of air weapons systems survivability and lethality, test and analysis support, modeling and simulation (M&S), and M&S verification, validation and accreditation. Ten percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach and is expected to be completed in September 2022. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity.

-- The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $68.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the procurement of the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G structural repair manual. Six percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

-- Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Linthicum, Md., was awarded a $12 million job order under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement for spare parts to support organic depot repairs of the AN/ALQ-240 Electronic Support Measures system. Five percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach and is expected to be completed by April 2020. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity.


Other contracts
Fluor Federal Solutions LLC, Greenville, S.C., was awarded a $14.4 million modification under a previously awarded contract to exercise option 10 for base operations support services at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and outlying areas of Saufley Field, Corry Station, and Bronson Field. Work will be performed in Pensacola and is expected to be completed March 2018. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Rotary and Mission Systems, Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $22 million modification to previously awarded contract for academic and simulator formal training and instruction. Work will be performed at Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; Harrisburg Air National Guard Base, Pa.; and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom; and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2018. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. … Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, Wewahitchka, Fla., was awarded a maximum $36.3 million modification to a 50-year contract with no option periods, to incorporate a price redetermination rate increase, retroactive to June 1, 2014. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va. … JAR Assets Inc., Mandeville, La., was awarded a $9 million modification to previously awarded contract exercising the second option year for transportation of bulk jet fuel and marine diesel fuel by barge. Work will be performed at ports and points along the inland waterways and Gulf Coast locations in the Gulf Region with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2018. The U.S. Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity. … URS Federal Services Inc., Germantown, Md., was awarded a $15.5 million modification to a contract for rotary-wing flight instructor services. Work will be performed in Dothan, Ala., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2018. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $450 million contract for Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II integrated engineering change proposal contract. Work will be performed in Tucson, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2024. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity … A host of companies were awarded a combined $998 million for research, development, test and evaluation of weapon systems, subsystems, and components work. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative Inc., De Funiak Springs, Fla., was awarded a $60.2 million modification to a 50-year contract for additional utility services for the electric system at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Week in review (9/17 to 9/23)

The upcoming October issue of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor bimonthly newsletter will have the first article of a four-part series on the aerospace activities of the four states that belong to the Aerospace Alliance. In the first installment, we'll tell you about Louisiana.

My readers are likely familiar with NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in east New Orleans and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans in Belle Chasse. But that's just the beginning.

For Louisiana, much of the aerospace and aviation activity takes place along the Interstate 10 corridor west of New Orleans all the way to the state line. We’ll tell you about Lafayette, where subassembly work is done on the Bell 525. It's also where Bell works on the airframe used for the Navy's Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. Then we'll head west to Lake Charles, where Chennault International Airport has become an MRO powerhouse.

A few hours north of the Gulf Coast is England Airpark, right in the middle of the state in Alexandria. It's where a business and residential community has developed at a former air base and current airport. Last but not least, we'll tell you about Barksdale Air Force Base, home of the 2nd Bomb Wing.

If you are not signed up to get the October newsletter delivered to your inbox, drop me a line and I’ll add you to the list. It’s free, thanks to our underwriters.

Now for your week in review.


Northrop
Defense giant Northrop Grumman is acquiring space-focused Orbital ATK for about $7.8 billion, a deal that will give Northrop a major role in space and missiles. Orbital, based in Dulles, Va., makes rocket motors and designs and produces launch vehicles. The deal comes as the Pentagon increasingly looks at space as a battle front. The Orbital purchase ranks as the largest defense deal since Lockheed Martin bought Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp. Orbital and ATK merged in 2014. (Post)


Airbus
The number of in-service Airbus commercial aircraft in North America reached a new high of 1,500 following the delivery of an A321 to American Airlines on Friday. The company delivered its first North American-operated aircraft to U.S.-based Eastern Airlines in 1977 and has gone on to tally more than 2,000 orders with 25 airline companies and lessors in the region.

A celebration was held at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile with delivery teams from American Airlines and Airbus marking the milestone. American Airlines operates more Airbus passenger aircraft than any other airline in the world. It received its first Airbus jet in 1988. (Post)

-- The HC-144 aircraft, manufactured by Airbus and operated by the United States Coast Guard as the Ocean Sentry fleet, reached a milestone 100,000 hours of flight in eight years of service with the USCG. The fleet has been involved in 3,500 search and rescue missions saving 620 lives, and supported 8,400 law enforcement missions including 890 drug interdiction missions. The milestone was commemorated by Airbus and the USCG Friday at the Airbus Defense & Space facility at Mobile Regional Airport, where Airbus maintains the fleet for the USCG. (Post)


Bases
The 1st Special Operations Maintenance Group at Hurlburt Field, Fla., was among the winners of the 2017 Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards. The awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding achievements in weapon systems and military equipment maintenance.

The Hurlburt team was one of two units to win in the large field-level category. Four other awards were given in the medium and small categories. One of the six organizations will be selected as winner of the Phoenix Award, given to the best of the best field-level maintenance units. (Post)


Contracts
Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a contract for test, evaluation and certification support services. The face value of this action is $480 million. The minimum guarantee of $10,000 will be satisfied through the issuance of Task Order 0001. Primary performance will be at Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Joint Interoperability Test Command Headquarters, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; and DISA Headquarters, Ft. Meade, Md., with incidental performance at other locations worldwide. The period of performance for the base period is Sept. 21, 2017 through Sept. 20, 2019 with three, one-year option periods and one six-month option period through March 20, 2023. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Week in review (9/10 to 9/16)

It was another milestone for the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Ala., during the week. It recently received its 50th shipment of major component assemblies. That's just two years after taking its first delivery. These components will eventually become the 50th Airbus aircraft produced in the U.S., this one for Delta Air Lines.

A shipment includes front and aft fuselage sections, a vertical and horizontal tailplane, and wings. The components are manufactured in various facilities around Europe using parts and systems from around the world, including the United States. The components are shipped from Hamburg, Germany, to the Port of Mobile and transported by road to the Airbus site at the Mobile Aeroplex.

Airbus has delivered 37 aircraft from Mobile to American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and Spirit since production began in 2015. The facility will produce four aircraft a month by the fourth quarter of 2017. (Post)


Bases
County leaders say a land swap involving Escambia County, Fla., and the Navy will likely be delayed another two years because of issues with the grass on the land being prepared for the Navy.

The Navy requires two years of ground covering growth before it can use it as an outlying field. The county bought the grass seed but the grading wasn't ready in time, according to officials.

The swap came about because Escambia County wants to use land in Beulah, the current site of the Navy's Outlying Field 8, as a commercial park. The Navy agreed to swap the land for a 650-acre site, currently called Outlying Field X, in neighboring Santa Rosa County that is now owned by Escambia County. The county hopes to build on the success of Navy Federal’s large campus in Beulah. (Post)

-- Col. David Morris assumed command of Training Air Wing 5 during a change of command ceremony at the Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola Friday. He replaced Navy Captain Mark Murray, who will retire from naval service after a 26-year career.

Morris, a former member of the Blue Angels who piloted Fat Albert, will be responsible for an estimated 43 percent of the Chief of Naval Air Training Command's total flight time and over 14 percent of Navy and Marine Corps' flight time worldwide. Over 1,200 personnel complete their essential flight training through TRAWING -5 annually. (Post)


F-35 contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded two contracts during the week related to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

One was an $8.8 million award for a modification to a previously awarded contract for recurring logistics services of F-35 in support of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-Department of Defense participants, and foreign military sales customers. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in in September 2019.

The other award, this one $8.5 million, is for a modification to a previously issued delivery order placed against a basic ordering agreement for the F-35. Work will be performed in Point Mugu, Calif.; and Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2018.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both contracts.


Fort Rucker contracts
Two contracts were awarded during the week in connection with Fort Rucker, Ala.

In one, M1 Support Services, Denton, Texas, was awarded a $387 million hybrid contract for maintenance services supporting the Army entry level and advanced as well as Air Force Advanced Rotary Aviation Training mission at Fort Rucker. Work will be performed in Fort Rucker, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2027. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, is the contracting activity.

In the other award, this one for $49.2 million, URS Federal Services Inc., Germantown, Md., was awarded a contract for rotary-wing flight instructor support services at Fort Rucker. Work will be performed in Daleville, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2023. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity.


Other contracts
DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $103.2 million for a modification to a previously awarded contract for organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance and logistics support for 16 T-34 Mentor, 54 T-44 Pegasus, and 287 T-6 Texan aircraft. Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla.; Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.; and various locations throughout the U.S., and is expected to be completed in September 2018. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Harris Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded an $11.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Eglin Beam Steer Sustainment Project Beam Steering Calibrate and Monitor Console Replacement project. Contractor will improve the sustainment posture of the project for the Eglin Army and Navy fixed position ground radar search AN/FPS-85 radar, which includes the design, procurement, fabrication, integration, installation, and testing to ensure supportability through 2030 and the development and installation of a temporary Y Switch. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 13, 2019. Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded an $8.7 million contract for engineering and technical services for F-15/F-16 aircraft engines. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona; Toledo, Ohio; New Orleans, La.; and in seven countries, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia. Work is expected to be completed by Sept. 15, 2019. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Week in review (8/27 to 9/9)

As Hurricane Irma swirls around threatening Florida, it's still uncertain at this writing where the monster will head and make landfall. Sure, there are the models, but that's all they are - best science-based estimates. For the moment, it seems the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor region for the most part will escape the destruction. But the extreme eastern edge of the region will feel some impact.

Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, has relocated high-value equipment, including aircraft, to Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, as a precaution. But an evacuation of base personnel has not, as of this writing, been ordered.

As anyone who lives in hurricane territory will tell you, you can't let down your guard. I'm no stranger to covering hurricanes as a journalist. I covered my first one in 1985 and my last one in 2005, and I've seen just how unpredictable they can be.

As of this writing, the Florida Panhandle has become something of a safe haven for some of those fleeing from the Florida peninsula. Shelters have opened up for temporary refugees from other parts of Florida. An associate who closely follows the military messaged me the other day about the temporary relocation of some operations and aircraft to bases in this region.

As for my family, we're still planning a cookout for Sunday, and I still plan to keep two appointments during the week. But with Irma acting up in the region, all we can do at this point it remain vigilant, and pray for the safety of anyone touched by this monster.

Now for your aerospace week in review:


Space
A full-scale model of a Space Launch System core stage was recently completed at a plant in North Alabama and will soon be shipped to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

The steel article was assembled at G&G Steel’s facility in Cordova. Radiance Technologies and Dynetics were contracted by NASA to build the Pathfinder, and G&G Steel performed the final welding and assembly. It will be delivered by barge via the Black Warrior River to New Orleans.

NASA will use the Pathfinder at Michoud Assembly Facility, Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to practice handling a fully assembled SLS Core Stage, including transportation, before they have to start doing it with the real thing as early as next year. (Post)

- NASA engineers closed a summer of successful hot fire testing late last month for flight controllers on RS-25 engines that will help power the new Space Launch System rocket being built to carry astronauts to deep-space destinations, including Mars.

The space agency capped off summer testing with a 500-second hot fire of a fifth RS-25 engine flight controller unit on the A-1 Test Stand. The controller serves as the "brain" of the engine, communicating with SLS flight computers to ensure engines are performing at needed levels. NASA tested the first flight controller unit in March. (Post)

- Earlier this month, NASA announced it exercised the first option year under its existing contract with CSRA of Falls Church, Va., for the continuation of financial management, human resources, procurement, information technology and agency business services to NASA.

The option increases the existing NASA Shared Services Center support contract by more than $60 million and provides services through Sept. 30, 2023. The contract is administered by the NSSC at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. The NSSC performs select business activities for all NASA centers. (Post)


Corporate
United Technologies Corp. has acquired Rockwell Collins in a transaction valued at $30 billion. A new business unit, Collins Aerospace Systems, will be created when the transaction is completed. Kelly Ortberg will keep his CEO status. UTC Aerospace Systems President Dave Gitlin will serve as president and COO. UTC Aerospace Systems has an operation in Foley, Ala. (Post)


Contracts
Engility Corp., Andover, Mass., was awarded a $49 million contract to provide research and development for Kinetic Kill Hardware-in-the-Loop (HWIL) Simulation Technology for Advanced Research. This contract provides for the development of multi-spectral and multi-modal phenomenology modeling capabilities, to advance the start-of-the-art of HWIL test technology and to perform a critical role in the research, development and transition of Air Force munitions through the use of integrated guidance simulation. The location of performance is Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with the ordering period expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2022. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an $8 million modification to a previously awarded contract for field team support services for Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) development test mission support including, test planning, test operations, test reporting, and telemetry analysis. This contract modification provides for exercise of the first option, for an additional 12 months of services to support ground tests, captive flight tests, and live fire tests conducted for developmental purposes, up to and including operational test readiness reviews. The effort also encompasses management and maintenance of AMRAAM separation test vehicles and other assets used for the test programs. The work performed under this option is expected to be complete by Sept. 5, 2018. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missiles Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $38.6 million contract for the System Improvement Program 3- Engineering Manufacturing, Development. This contract provides an incremental software solution for AIM-120D missiles to improve its performance against rapidly advancing threats. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be completed by Jan. 5, 2021. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … PAE Aviation and Technical Services LLC., Marlton, N.J., earlier this month was awarded a $17.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for functional and quality assurance support for the aerial targets program, which directly supports live-fire weapons system testing and enables the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group in the developmental and operational weapons testing for all air-to-air missiles for F-22, F-35, F-16, and F-15 aircrafts. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2018.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Week in review (8/20 to 8/26)

UTC Aerospace Systems during the week unveiled a new 80,000-square-foot manufacturing and nacelle assembly facility at its site in Foley, Ala. The new facility is in response to rising customer demand for its nacelle systems, according to UTC.

The company expects to add up to 260 new jobs, ultimately increasing its Foley workforce to more than 1,000 employees. It's expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The Foley site assembles nacelles for integration with the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine for a number of aircraft platforms, including the Airbus A320neo, Bombardier C Series, Mitsubishi Regional Jet and Embraer E-Jet E2.

The campus is part of UTC Aerospace Systems’ Aerostructures business unit, which maintains a global footprint of nacelle design, original equipment manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sites. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (Post)


Airbus
Spirit Airlines took delivery Friday of the first A320 built in the United States. It was the 37th Airbus jetliner built at the Airbus assembly line, but all previous jetliners were the larger A321. It's the sixth plane delivered to Spirit at the Mobile center.

The yellow passenger jet delivered Friday is the 106th jet in its all-Airbus fleet. Major components for the plane arrived in May from Europe. The A320 had its first flight August 15. That first flight lasted about four hours. The Airbus assembly line can build the A319, A320 and A321. The plant is on track to produce four jetliners every month. (Post)


Bases
Officials marked the completion of the three largest combined solar facilities on Defense Department property in a ceremonial flipping of the switch during the week. Executives of Gulf Power, Coronal Energy, the Air Force and Navy were on hand at Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Naval Outlying Landing Field Saufley for the event.

Ground was broken in November 2016 for the project that spans 940 acres across three Navy and Air Force sites in Northwest Florida. Saufley’s solar array site is a 50 megawatt solar-generating facility. The other two sites are at Naval Air Station Whiting Field’s Outlying Landing Field Holley, 40 megawatts, and Eglin Air Force Base, 30 megawatts. Combined the three sites have about 1.5 million solar panels capable of generating up to 120 megawatts of electricity. The projects became operational earlier this summer. (Post)

-- Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy took command of 2nd Air Force during a change of command ceremony Aug. 23 at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Leahy will be responsible for the development, oversight and direction of all operational aspects of basic military training, initial skills training, and advanced technical training of all AF enlisted members and support officers. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded an approximate $900 million contract for the Long Range Standoff weapon's technology maturation and risk reduction acquisition phase. The contract supports replacement of the AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile. Work will be performed in Orlando, and is expected to be completed by 2022. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Delivered Capabilities Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an approximate $900 million contract for the Long Range Standoff weapon's technology maturation and risk reduction acquisition phase. The contract supports replacement of the AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile. Work will be performed in Tucson, and is expected to be completed by 2022. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Delivered Capabilities Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $427 million order against a previous ordering agreement. This order provides for the procurement of ancillary military equipment and pilot flight equipment for low rate initial production Lot 11 F-35 for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense participants and foreign military sales customers. Work will be performed in California, New York, Florida and Texas Work is expected to be completed in December 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded $173 million to exercise an option to a previously awarded contract. This option provides for organizational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance, logistics, and engineering to support and maintain 201 Navy T-45 Goshawk aircraft, aircraft systems, and related support equipment to support flight and test and evaluation operations. Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas; NAS Meridian, Miss.; Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.; and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed September 2018. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Green-Simmons Co. Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was among the companies named for construction projects within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Hampton Roads Integrated Product Team. The maximum dollar value including the base period and four option years for all five contracts combined is $95 million. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Week in review (8/13 to 8/19)

Mark up another win for the growth of the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor.

Safran USA plans to open a manufacturing operation at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley and hire 20 workers over the next three years. The announcement was made this week, two months after the Mobile team met with Safran USA's executives at the Paris Air Show.

The company will produce and install aircraft engine nacelles at the facility.

The Mobile Airport Authority is building out one of the existing bays at Mobile Aeroplex to 24,500 square feet. In addition, the company is investing some $1 million in equipment with an opening planned for November 2017.

Safran was the first Airbus-related supplier to announce it would open an operation at the Mobile Aeroplex after Airbus said it would build A320 series jetliners in Mobile, Safran Engineering Services opened its Mobile office with a ribbon-cutting the same day Airbus broke ground on its assembly line. In addition, Safran company Messier-Bugatti-Dowty also has an operation at the Mobile Aeroplex. (Post)

While I'm on the subject of the growth of this region's aerospace activities, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., the National Flight Academy at the National Naval Aviation Museum celebrated its 10,000th student Wednesday. The academy inside looks like an aircraft carrier, where students learn math and science skills solving aviation-related problems. It opened in 2012. (Story)


Airports
Pensacola International Airport has set another all-time monthly record number of passengers in July, with a total of 175,814 individuals arriving and departing the facility. It’s an increase of 13 percent over July 2016. Overall, Pensacola International Airport is up some 4 percent in total passengers for the fiscal year over the same period last year. (Post)

-- The Civil Air Patrol from across Northwest Florida is gathering at Marianna Municipal Airport Friday through Sunday for a training exercise designed to develop and hone skills for disaster response and search and rescue missions. A story in the Northwest Florida Daily News says aircraft and crews will also operate from Tallahassee International Airport and Eglin Air Force Base, simulating forward operating bases much as they would in an actual disaster. CAP is a non-profit volunteer organization with 58,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. (Story)


Contracts
Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $104.9 million contract to provide for delivery of all variants of Griffin standoff precision guided munitions and corresponding production, test and engineering support. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $53.5 million delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This order provides for supplies and services in support of the F-35 Lightning II milestone event capabilities, including retrofit modification kits and installation services for the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in July 2021 for DoD customers and September 2025 for non-DoD participants. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … CACI-INC of Chantilly, Va., was awarded a $14.9 million contract for the modification and configuration on new commercial software for NexGen requirements. Work will be done Panama City, Fla.; Niceville, Fla.; Beavercreek, Ohio; San Antonio, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Palm City, Fla.; Fair Haven, N.J., and is expected to be completed March 12, 2019. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Gunter Annex, Montgomery, Ala., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Co. of El Segundo, Calif., was awarded $8.5 million for a delivery order under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement for the repair of 331 units across 16 assemblies used in support of the F-18 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar System. Work will be performed in Forest, Miss., and is expected to be completed by December 2019. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity. … L3 Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded an $8.9 million contract for organizational and intermediate-level aircraft maintenance on three KC-130J aircraft, logistics and supply functions, limited repair of common support equipment and required support for the government of Kuwait. Work is expected to be completed in August 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Week in review (7/30 to 8/5)

The August issue of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor newsletter will be released Tuesday. If you're a subscriber, the 8-pager will be sent to your inbox. If you're not a subscriber, you can find it Tuesday at the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor website.

In the upcoming issue we'll tell you about what economic development officials from our region had to say about the Paris Air Show they attended in June. We spoke to folks from Northwest Florida, Mobile, Hancock County, Miss., and Louisiana.

We can tell you that the most consistent comment we heard was that this visit to Paris was one of the most successful. While no major announcements were made, many of them are working on proposals now. Interestingly, they are starting to meet with higher-level officials.

We also take a look at three upcoming events in the region that you might want to consider attending. The TeCMEN Industry day will be held later this month in Fort Walton Beach. Then in October there's the Gulf Power Economic Symposium in Sandestin at the start of the month and later in the month the Aerospace Alliance Summit in New Orleans.

So take a look at the newsletter next week.


Test missions
The 46th Test Squadron recently performed cybersecurity testing on the second-generation space surveillance system known as the Space Fence, according to the July mission report of the 96th Operations Group at Eglin Air Force Base. The Space Fence system is used to track satellites and space debri. For a bit more background, take a look at a post we had in 2014 about the Space Fence.

On the weapons front back in June, initial operational test and evaluation began for the AC-130J’s Block 20 software update, which added the 105mm cannon and Laser Small Diameter Bomb capability to the Air Force Special Operations aircraft.

Developmental test also began on the AC-130J Block 20+ software update. The Block 20+ new additions include a special mission processor, radio frequency countermeasures, rail launchers and Hellfire missiles, according to the mission report from June.


Education
An interactive traveling exhibit that helps children have fun with math – MathAlive! – opened Saturday at the Emerald Coast Science Center. Presented by Raytheon to military family communities nationwide, the exhibit is designed to show the connection of math to many of the things they love, including music, sports, movies, games and more.

The hope is to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and math fields. The U.S. continues to fall short in ensuring there are enough future workers to fill the demand. MathAlive! will be presented at the Emerald Coast Science Center through Sept. 10. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $211.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the procurement of production non-recurring special tooling and special test equipment that are required to meet current and future F-35 production rates. Work will be performed in Texas, California, New Hampshire, Florida and other locations in the U.S.; the United Kingdom and Italy and other outside-of-the-continental U.S. locations and is expected to be completed in May 2021. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $11.9 million modification for F-22 sustainment. This modification is for the exercise of options for F-22 sustainment activities. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 16, 2020. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity. Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., trains F-22 pilots and has an operational squadron. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $19.9 million for an order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for engineering and analysis efforts to develop solutions for near-term emergent obsolescence issues identified for the MQ-4C Triton. Work will be done in Maryland and California and is expected to be completed in May 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Triton fuselage work is done in Moss Point, Miss.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Week in review (7/23 to 7/29)

Happy birthday, NASA!

An associate reminded me it was 59 years ago today, July 29, 1958, that Congress established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in response to the Soviet Union launching the first satellite in space.

Since then NASA has sponsored space expeditions, human and mechanical, that have helped further our understanding of space, including landing the first human on the moon in July 1969. Its research has also led to many products and services that we regularly use today in non-space activities.

While NASA is important to the nation, it holds particular significance for the South. It was shortly after its establishment that NASA that in the early ‘60s it launched a program to establish manufacturing, test and launch facilities needed to take on the Soviet Union in the space race.

The South became a big winner thanks to the availability of large tracts of land and interconnected waterways needed to transport large space vehicles. Longer periods of fair weather flying also played a role, as it did for the establishment of military bases in this region. On top of that, powerful, senior Southern politicians recognized the economic benefit the space program would bring, and pushed to have NASA set up sites in this region.

Huntsville, Houston, Cape Canaveral, Bay St. Louis, and New Orleans all were chosen and formed the "Space Crescent." The Gulf Coast I-10 region is home to Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which was tasked with building the huge space vehicles that would be needed, and a site in south Mississippi near Bay St. Louis, which would eventually become John C. Stennis Space Center, was chosen to test the huge rocket engines.

Both facilities have played a central role in the nation’s ventures into space since they were established. Today Michoud and Stennis Space Center are involved in NASA programs as well as programs of commercial space companies. So again, happy birthday, NASA.

For a closer look at space activities in this region, take a look at Chapter II of Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2017-2018.

OK, speaking of NASA, SSC and the space program, the agency successfully tested the third RS-25 flight controller, this one Unit 5, during a 500-second test Tuesday on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center.

Four RS-25 engines providing 2 million pounds of thrust will power the first stage of NASA's deep-space Space Launch System. A pair of solid rocket boosters will produce an additional 6 million pounds of thrust. The test involved installing the controller unit, characterized as the "brain," on an RS-25 development engine and firing it in the same manner, and for the same length of time, as needed during launch. (Post)


F-35
There were three contracts during the week that were awarded to Lockheed Martin for the F-35 Lightning II fighter. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity in all three contracts.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $3.7 billion modification to the previously awarded advanced acquisition contract for Lot 11. This modification provides for the procurement of 50 aircraft for non-Department of Defense participants and foreign military sales (FMS) customers comprised of one F-35B aircraft for the UK; one F-35A aircraft for Italy; eight F-35A aircraft for Australia; eight F-35A aircraft for the Netherlands; four F-35A aircraft for Turkey; six F-35A aircraft for Norway; and 22 F-35A aircraft for FMS customers.

Work will be performed in Texas, California, United Kingdom, Italy, New Hampshire, Maryland, Florida, Japan and other international locations, and is expected to be completed in December 2020. (Post)

In another contract, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $218.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract for recurring logistics support and sustainment services for F-35 aircraft in support of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and foreign military sales customers. Sustainment services to be provided include ground maintenance activities; action request resolution; depot activation activities; Automatic Logistics Information System operations and maintenance; reliability, maintainability and health management implementation and support; supply chain management; and activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training.

Work will be done in Texas, Florida, United Kingdom, California, and South Carolina and is expected to be completed in February 2018. (Post)

In addition, the company was awarded an $8 million modification to a previously awarded contract for recurring logistics support and sustainment services for F-35 aircraft in support of the government of Israel under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be done in Florida, South Carolina and Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2017. (Post)


Military
The Navy has grounded C-130 aircraft similar to the one that crashed in Mississippi earlier this month while investigators are looking into what made the plane come down. Among the aircraft grounded is the Blue Angels’ Fat Albert, a KC-130T cargo plane that accompanies the Blue Angels to air shows.

The 15 Marines and Navy corpsman died July 10 when the KC-130T taking them from Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina to El Centro Naval Air Station in California crashed in rural Mississippi. (Post)


Contracts
Raytheon, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $7.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II F-16 integration. The modification is for weapon integration support, travel, and integration-related hardware. Work will be done in Tucson and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Direct Attack International Branch, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Kapsuun Group LLC, Lorton, Va., was awarded a $70 million contract for linguist and analyst support services. The contractor will provide linguist and analyst support services for 25th Air Force’s 55th Wing, 70th and 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wings, the 361st ISR Group and the 24th Air Force’s 67th and 688th Cyberspace Wings, to support the warfighter by providing near real-time intelligence and cyberspace intelligence to national decision makers, theater and combatant commanders with 1N3 ground linguists and 1A8 airborne linguists. One of the work locations is Hurlburt Field, Fla. Other sites are in the United Kingdom, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska, and Japan. … Broadleaf Inc., Haymarket Va., was awarded a $22 million contract for base level software support services. This contract provides for services to purchase software and manage software licenses. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by July 31, 2021. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Week in review (7/16 to 7/22)

Another commercial space company is using Stennis Space Center, Miss., to test rocket engines. Relativity Space of Los Angeles is still keeping mum about its work, but the co-founder and CEO Tim Ellis during a Capitol Hill meeting said the company is testing at SSC.

The meeting was before the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competiveness and the focus was on public-private space partnerships.

"Relativity has begun testing of our liquid oxygen/liquid methane engine with over six dozen hot fires across multiple test articles at NASA Stennis Space Center, with plans for continued routine testing," said Ellis, a former engineer with Blue Origin. His partner, Jordan Noone, was formerly with SpaceX. (Post)

Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is the largest rocket engine test facility in the nation. Engines for NASA projects, as well as those of private companies for their own projects, are conducted at the center, which has a huge buffer zone. Rolls-Royce also tests jet engines at the facility.


Bases
Rear Adm. Kyle J. Cozad took the helm of the Naval Education and Training Command during a ceremony during the week at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Cozad, a P-3 Orion pilot who helped lead the Navy’s recent transition to the P-8 Poseidon, took over from Rear Adm. Michael S. White.

The command includes more than 12,500 military, civilian and contract employees who support 236 detachments worldwide. About 30,000 students are in training provided by the Pensacola-based command on any given day. (Post)


Airports
Frontier Airlines announced during the week that it is adding new service in New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla. The company, based in Denver, announced 21 new cities that will be served by the low-fare carrier as part of their nationwide network expansion.

Beginning in the spring of 2018, Frontier Airlines will offer non-stop service to Denver, Colo., from Pensacola International Airport. In New Orleans, the airline is adding flights to Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Islip, N.Y., and Providence, R.I. The announcement increases the number of destinations served by the carrier by 30 percent and double the number of total routes. (Post)


Contracts
Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $75 million contract for Small Diameter Bomb II technical support. Contractor will provide lifecycle technical support throughout engineering and manufacturing development, production, and sustainment phases. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by July 25, 2024. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Williams Electric Co. Inc., of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was among three companies awarded a $270 million contract for personnel, equipment, tools, materials, supervision, non-personal services and other items necessary to procure, install, service and maintain electronic security systems. The other two companies are Indyne Inc., of Reston, Va., and Spectrum Solutions Inc., of Madison, Ala. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated
completion date of March 20, 2022. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Support Center, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity. … CYE Enterprises Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., was awarded a $25 million contract for the repair and/or replacement of roofs. This contract provides for the furnishing of all plant, labor, materials and equipment, and all other items or services necessary to perform all operations in connection with the repair and replacement of roofs on an as-needed basis at various facilities. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by July 31, 2022. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Week in review (7/2 to 7/8)

One story that got a lot of attention during the week was the fire at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in the air-handling system of a building near the McKinley Climatic Laboratory. The fire caused the release of a toxic chemical, methylene chloride.

Just how much was released won’t be known for a while, but it did lead to a number of people going to hospitals to get checked out. The fire did cause a large, dark plume near the lab.

Methylene chloride is used to lower temperatures in the lab where tests are conducted to gauge the impact of extreme temperatures on everything from snow tires to airplanes. The refrigerant is a known carcinogen.


Bases
Naval Air Station Whiting Field secured an easement to help protect the training mission of the installation last month. The contract provides for an easement over 163 acres of undeveloped property adjacent to the northern boundary of Navy Outlying Landing Field Pace.

The easement issues protections that ensure incompatible development of the land cannot occur in the future. The property is under flight tracks for the helicopter training that occurs at NOLF Pace, helping to ensure that future construction does not occur under Accident Potential Zones (APZs) or clear zones.

The easement was purchased for $571,000, with 75 percent paid by the Navy. Santa Rosa County picked up the rest of the cost. (Post)

-- Members of Eglin’s 33rd Fighter Wing are at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to participate in a major training exercise. Officials aid 120 members of the F-35 squadron will join the Red Flag exercise. It’s the first time the Nomads have taken part in a Red Flag since the squadron began flying F-35s in 2009. (Post)

-- The first F-35A pilot has been chosen to join the Air Force Thunderbirds. He’s Capt. Stephen Del Bagno of the 58th Fighter Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., who will fly the No. 4 slot position. The commander of the Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes, officially selected seven pilots on June 30 to join the flying demonstration team for the 2018 season. The 58th FS is part of the 33rd Fighter Wing, which trains pilots and maintenance personnel. (Post)


Airports
The Mississippi congressional delegation announced 42 grants valued at $7.54 million for airports throughout the state, including at two in South Mississippi. Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport will receive $2.35 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for taxiway widening, runway rehabilitation and security enhancement.

The grant also provides partial reimbursement for work completed in 2014. The City of Picayune was awarded $162,540 for the Picayune Municipal Airport to fund Phase 2 and 3 of a taxiway construction program to improve access to aircraft hangars, including design and wetlands mitigation. (Post)


F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded multiple contracts during the week, including one for $5.6 billion, related to the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter.

The $5.6 billion contract was a modification to a previously awarded low-rate initial production Lot 11 advance acquisition contract. It provides for the procurement of 74 fiscal 2017 aircraft, comprised of 48 F-35A aircraft for the Air Force, 18 F-35B aircraft for the Marine Corps, and eight F-35C aircraft for the Navy and Marine Corps.

Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland, the United Kingdom and Italy, and is expected to be completed in December 2020.

The company also was awarded a $50 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the F-35 fighter verification simulation (VSim) / F-35 in-a-box software model development, integration and support. Work will be performed in Texas, Maryland and California and is expected to be completed in April 2018.

The company also was awarded a $44 million modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract. It provides additional funding for long-lead time materials, parts, components, and effort for production of five additional low-rate initial production Lot 12 F-35B aircraft. Work will be performed in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland, the United Kingdom and Japan, and is expected to be completed in December 2017.

Finally, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. was awarded a $30 million to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract for additional engineering and hardware assembly services in support of the F-35 low-rate initial production Lot 11 aircraft for the government of Japan under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Japan and Maryland, and is expected to be completed in December 2018.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for all four contracts.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Week in review (6/25 to 7/1)

The first time I heard about it was back in November 2016 during the Aerospace Alliance Summit in Gulfport, Miss. The "it" I'm talking about was the plan by Gulf Power to use unmanned aerial vehicles to inspect power lines.

Now it's gone beyond a plan.

Pensacola-based Gulf Power has started using drones for inspections. Some line workers are being trained as drone pilots to get pictures or video of structures that are difficult to see, according to a story in the Santa Rosa Press Gazette.

Gulf Power's parent company, the Southern Company, started investigating drones for power line work in 2015. Gulf Power spokeswoman Kimberly Blair said the company started using the drones this year. Recently they were used to inspect the new lines that are part of the Gulf Coast Solar Center projects at Naval Air Stations Whiting Field and Pensacola, Saufley and Holley Outlying Fields and Eglin Air Force Base.


Bases
The 95th Fighter Squadron of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., achieved a major milestone June 26 by flying its 10,000th F-22 Raptor sortie. Since its first Raptor flight Jan. 21, 2014, the 95th FS deployed to Europe in August 2015 and later saw combat action over the skies of Iraq and Syria. Tyndall has the largest contingent of F-22 Raptors in the world. (Post)

-- Instructor pilots will resume flying the T-45C with the on-board oxygen generator system in early July, with students resuming flight training later in the month. That’s the word from air boss Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, who visited bases in Kingsville, Texas, Meridian Miss., and Pensacola, Fla., during the week with the news as well as to introduce the new Chief of Naval Air Training, Rear Adm. James Bynum. Bynum assumed command of CNATRA June 23. (Post)

-- Training Squadron THREE at Naval Air Station Whiting Field was recently recognized as the top primary training squadron in the Navy for fiscal year 2016. The Chief of Naval Air Training announced the winners of the Cdr. Theodore G. Ellyson Aviator Production Excellence Awards, which recognize a unit’s ability to produce the right number of pilots, on schedule, and within the approved syllabus time. VT-3, which uses the T-6B Texan II, trains aviators and pilots for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and several allied nations. (Post)


F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $257.8 million modification to a previously awarded F-35 advance acquisition contract. This modification provides the procurement of 129 alternate mission equipment for the Air Force (54); Navy and Marine Corps (11); foreign military sales (FMS); and international partners (39); 468 pilot flight equipment for the Air Force (203); Navy and Marine Corps (131); and FMS and international partners (134); and 94 red gear for the Air Force (44); Navy and Marine Corps (11); FMS; and international partners (39), to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter production.

Work will be performed in Inglewood, Calif. (60 percent); White Plains, N.Y. (25 percent); St. Petersburg, Fla. (5 percent); Orlando, Fla. (5 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2020. This order combines purchases for the Air Force (47.7 percent); Marine Corps (15.6 percent); Navy (4.0 percent); international partners (23.4 percent); and FMS customers (9.3 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program.

Lockheed Martin Corp. also was awarded $22.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract for interim contractor support for the Navy and Marine Corps in support of F-35. Support to be provided includes capabilities and services associated with Autonomic Logistics Information System maintenance, system administration, database administration, networks administration and operational mission software administration.

Work is expected to be completed in December 2017. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both contracts.


Contracts
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Linthicum, Md., was awarded $10.5 million for a job order under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement. The requirement is for spare parts to be used to repair the AN/ALQ-240 Electronic Support Measures system at intermediate-level repair sites. The AN/ALQ-240 provides rapid detection, classification and geographical location of ground-based radar systems to provide situational awareness to the P-8A aircraft. Work will be performed a a variety of locations, including Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and is expected to be completed by October 2020. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity. … SA Technical Services Inc., Niceville, Fla., Advanced Concepts Enterprises Inc., Shalimar, Fla., and Streamline Defense LLC, Tampa, Fla., have each been awarded a combined $12 million modification to a previous contract for Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) V services. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Sauer Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., was awarded a $10.9 million contract for construction of a Joint Reserve Intelligence Center (JRIC) at Naval Air Station New Orleans. The work to be performed provides for a design bid build project to construct a single-story addition to existing Building 558. Work will be performed in New Orleans and is expected to be completed by February 2019. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, is the contracting activity. … The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $10,217,915 delivery order for joint direct attack munition (JDAM) high compact telemetry modules. Contractor will provide flight test instrumentation hardware, which is used to gather real-time JDAM weapon data during testing. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be complete by April 2019. This contract involves foreign military sales to Japan, Republic of Korea, Israel, and Singapore. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week in review (6/18 to 6/24)

The Paris Air Show is wrapping up this weekend, and the folks from this region who were there for the trade days – where all the business deals are done – are back now.

In the coming weeks we'll talk to our region's economic development folks to get a sense of what they took away from the 2017 Salon international de l’aeronautique et de l’espace de Paris-Le Bourget.

Some highlights from the show this year included a pilotless air taxi being developed by Airbus as well as talk of a return of a Concorde-like supersonic passenger jet. But the real star may have been the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The fighter has been at previous air shows, but this was the first time it did maneuvers showing just how capable it is, including vertical climbs and even square loops. While the plane was never intended to excel as a dogfighter – it's designed to kill the enemy from an extreme distance – it demonstrated at the air show that it’s got what it takes for close quarters fighting.

That demonstration was no doubt watched closely by the folks at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Now for your week in review:

Airbus/Safran
An electric taxiing solution called "eTaxi" received "authorization to market" approval by Airbus and Safran, for the A320 series of jetliners. eTaxi’s electric motors in the main landing gear, powered by electricity from the auxiliary power unit, allows an aircraft fitted with it to taxi without using its jet engines or requiring airport tractors or tugs.

eTaxi would be marketed as a money saving device that’s also more efficient than the usual method of moving a jetliner on the ground. As you know, both Airbus and Safran have operations in Mobile, Ala. (Post)


Bases
The 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., received a new commander during a ceremony during the week. Col. David Abba replaced Col. Adrian Spain. This marks a return to Eglin for Abba, who served in the 58th Fighter Squadron from January 2004 to June 2006. The 53rd Wing, the sole operational test wing for the U.S. Air Force, develops, tests, evaluates and delivers weapons systems. (Post)

-- The Air Force announced Friday that Brig. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris, selected to the grade of major general and the director of the Armament Directorate for the AF Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin will be going to command the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico. Also, Col. Anthony W. Genatempo, selected to the grade of brigadier general and currently the senior materiel leader and F-22 systems program manager for the Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, will be reassigned to Morris’ post at Eglin Air Force Base. (Post)


Airports
​Allegiant airline is returning to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport with twice-weekly, nonstop flights to Orlando beginning Aug. 30. Allegiant served the Gulfport-Biloxi market in 2007 but left a year and a half later. The state lured back the airline with a revenue guarantee administered by the Mississippi Development Authority. In the Gulf Coast I-10 region, Allegiant also serves New Orleans and Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (Post)


Contracts
Speegle Construction Inc., Niceville, Fla., was awarded a $13.6 million contract for facility additions at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Work will be performed in Hurlburt Field, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 13, 2018. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Corp. Rotary and Mission Systems, King of Prussia, Pa., was awarded a $7.2 million contract for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) Enterprise Management System (JEMS) 6.0. Contractor will provide enhancements to the software package known as the JASSM JEMS. Work will be performed in King of Prussia, and is expected to be complete by July 31, 2018. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Dynetics Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $10.9 million contract for Small Glide Munition (SGM) all-up-rounds (AURs). Work will be performed in Huntsville and is expected to be complete by June 29, 2018. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Week in review (6/4 to 6/10)

The week started out with the release of the sixth edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor book, and it's now available for download. The 100-page book, free to readers, details the aerospace and aviation activities in the region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida. To access the book, visit the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor website.

But there was a lot more aerospace news during the week. Here's your weekly review:


F-35
The Air Force temporarily grounded a squadron of F-35s at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., after five pilots reported symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, the service said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing canceled local flying operations for its F-35A fighters after five incidents since May 2 where pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation. Each time the F-35's back-up oxygen system kicked in and pilots were able to land the plane.

Flight operations are scheduled to return Monday. F-35 operations at five other bases are not affected. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. (Post)

Navy T-45s recently has also had issues with oxygen deprivation.


Airports
Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport will receive $2.1 million and Pensacola International Airport will receive $43,796 in grant money from the Department of Transportation. The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport will use the money to rehabilitate 2,000 feet of taxiway, and Pensacola International will use its grant to remove obstructions on land acquired for further airport development. The money is expected to be disbursed before September. (Post)


Space
Air Force Reservist Lt. Col. Robert Hines Jr., a test pilot at the 84th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was among 12 selectees named to the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class.

Hines serves as an F-15E Strike Eagle program test director and test pilot at the F-15 Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force for the 84th TES. In civilian life, Hines is a full-time NASA research pilot. Hines, who has flown 76 combat missions, will report for duty in August for two years of astronaut training. (Post)


Education
One hundred and nine graduates received degrees last weekend as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide held its Pensacola commencement exercises June 3 in the Blue Angels Atrium of the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The Pensacola campus, located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as undergraduate certification. (Post)


Bases
Col. Debra Lovette took command of the 81st Training Wing at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., during a June 2 ceremony. The outgoing commander, Col. Michele Edmondson, will be the new executive officer to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

The 81st TRW provides technical training for officers, enlisted and civilians of the Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves and other Defense Department agencies. (Post)

-- Two 815th Airlift Squadron crews from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., participated in a six-ship multinational airborne mission in the Normandy region June 4, 2017 to commemorate D-Day 73.

C-130J Super Hercules crews from the 815th AS joined the 37th AS from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as well as French and German C-160s to drop 451 U.S., French, British, Dutch and German paratroopers and re-enactors. The aircraft followed the same route C-47s did to drop paratroopers on D-Day.

The 815th AS, assigned to the Reserve 403rd Wing at Keesler, is one of nine historical units that took part in various events and ceremonies throughout the region. Now a C-130J tactical unit, the 185th AS was the 815th Bombardment Squadron during World War II.

It was in 1944 that paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Infantry Divisions dropped into France in the opening moments of what would become known as “The Longest Day.” (Story)


Contracts
Woolpert Inc., Dayton, Ohio, Stanley-UC-Cardo JV, Muscatine, Iowa, HDR Engineering Inc., Omaha, Neb., have been awarded a combined $40 million multiple award contract for architectural-engineering services. Work will be performed at various U.S. and international locations including Hurlburt Field, Fla., and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2022. The 765th Specialized Contracting Flight, Hurlburt Field, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Week in review (5/28 to 6/3)

Want to get a better handle on all the aerospace and aviation activities in the Gulf Coast region?

The sixth edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor book will be published next week, and it's filled with updated information about the aerospace and aviation activities in the Interstate 10 region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida.

The first book was published in 2011, and it was an annual until 2015, when we shifted to biennial publication for the 2017 issue.

You'll be able to download a copy next week at the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor website. So how much does it cost? It's free to readers, thanks to the support of our underwriters. Many of them have supported this ongoing research project for multiple years. We also have some new underwriters this year.

I should also mention our underwriters provide support sight-unseen. They all believe in the value of a third party telling the story. So, forgive me if I say, we wrote the book.

Now for your week in review:

Relocation
The 524th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., is relocating to Duke Field near Crestview. Once here, it will become part of the 492nd Special Operations Wing.

Cannon celebrated the heritage of the 524th SOS and the C-146 Wolfhound at an end-of-mission ceremony May 31, where the squadron guidon was turned over the 492nd SOW. The move to Duke Field has been under discussion for more than four years. (Post)

Contracts
L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss.
, was awarded an $83 million modification to a previously awarded contract activity to exercise an option for the organizational and depot level logistics services required to support and maintain the TH-57 fleet. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Fla., and is expected to be completed in May 2018. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $413.8 million contract for Lot 15 Joint Air-to -Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) production. Contractor will provide 360 JASSM-ER missiles and tooling and test equipment. Work will be performed at Orlando and is expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2020. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $244.3 million modification to a previously awarded delivery order issued against a basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for the procurement of initial air vehicle spares in support of the F-35 for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense participants, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Texas, California, New York, the United Kingdom, New Hampshire, Florida, Iowa, Arizona, Connecticut, the Netherlands, Illinois and Georgia. Work is expected to be completed in June 2021. … Geocent LLC, Metairie, La., was awarded a $15.6 million contract for platform integration and systems engineering support to provide design, engineering, integration, and advanced concept development for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for the Department of Defense. All work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and work is expected to be completed May 31, 2019. … Global Connections to Employment Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $10.5 million modification to a contract for dining facility and cooking support services for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Week in review (5/21 to 5/27)

The announcement late in the week that Northrop Grumman would expand its unmanned systems center in Moss Point, Miss., had intriguing information that the company would add a mix of additional work, including sub-assembly work for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The announcement was made by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant during the annual investors meeting of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation in Pascagoula.

Northrop Grumman opened its systems center in Moss Point at the Trent Lott International Airport originally to work on Fire Scout unmanned helicopters. But even before it opened the plant was expanded to 101,000 square feet and work on Global Hawk fuselages was added.

The company and Jackson County economic development leaders have said from the start that Northrop expected to bring more work to the plant, which had room to expand if needed. The expansion will add 60 jobs and represents a company investment of $3.7 million. The state will contribute $7.5 million in BP restoration money to harden the runway at the airport. (Post)


Military
The White House's proposed budget for 2018 budget released during the week calls for a new round of military base closures in 2021. It's likely to get some resistance from a Congress that so far has rejected the Pentagon's calls to close bases because of a roughly 20 percent excess capacity.

The last Base Realignment and Closure round was in 2005. The Gulf Coast has multiple military bases, including many with aviation missions. In past BRACS the region has done pretty well. It's lost some missions, but has also gained some from other bases. (Post)


Space
Aerojet Rocketdyne was picked to build the main propulsion system for a reusable hypersonic aircraft, the XS-1, being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and Boeing.

The company said it will produce two AR-22 engines using parts from previous versions of the space shuttle main engine that have remained in the company and NASA inventories.

Aerojet Rocketdyne will conduct assembly and ground testing work on the two engines at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss. Boeing and DARPA entered into an agreement to build, design and test a technology demonstrator earlier in the week as part of the agency’s Experimental Spaceplane program. (Post)

Speaking of engines, NASA engineers successfully conducted the second in a series of RS-25 flight controller tests during the week. The test was rescheduled after a facility issue, subsequently resolved, forced rescheduling of a May 16 hot fire.

The 500-second test – more than eight full minutes – was on the A-1 Test Stand and is designed to test the controller, the key modification to the former space shuttle engines. The Space Launch System will be powered by four RS-25 engines. The first flight controller was tested in March for installation on one of the four EM-1 engines. (Post)


Contracts
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded $64.5 million for a modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for operator, maintenance, logistic support and sustainment engineering services in support of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator (BAMS-D) program. Work will be performed in Maryland, California and various forward operating locations and is expected to be completed in June 2018. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $19.8 million for a modification to delivery order issued previously against a basic ordering agreement. This modification procures work on the aircraft memory system and panoramic cockpit display in order to alleviate diminishing manufacturing sources constraints projected under F-35 production Lot 15 for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and international partners. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in March 2019. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Raytheon Co., Keyport, Wash., was awarded a $14.7 million contract to provide maintenance and support for the AN/AQS-20 sonar mine detecting set to maintain and improve system sustainability. The AN/AQS-20 is a towed, mine hunting and identification system for Program Executive Office, Littoral Combat Ships. Five percent of the work will be done in Panama City, Fla. Other work locations are in Rhode Island and Washington state, and is expected to be completed by May 2018. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, is the contracting activity.