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.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Week in review (5/7 to 5/13)

At first glance it looked like the good folks at Airbus had sent an old press release. The headline said Airbus was building its first A320 in Mobile, odd considering the first one was last year.

But that momentary thought left quickly when I realized it was actually building its first A320 member of the A320 series, or "family" as the company calls it. So far all 27 jetliners that have been built and delivered at the plant have been the A321, the largest member of the A320 series.

The major component assemblies for the A320 recently arrived from Europe. This aircraft will be delivered to Spirit this summer. The plant, which began production in July 2015, is equipped to assemble A319, A320 and A321 passenger jets. (Post)

Later this year the U.S. Manufacturing Facility will begin building its first Airbus with the new engine option, a more fuel-efficient aircraft.

In another Airbus story during the week, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has placed an incremental order for 30 A321ceo aircraft. This order follows three previous Delta orders for the Current Engine Option version of the largest Airbus A320 series.

The airline took delivery of its first A321 in March of last year. Delta now has ordered a total of 112 A321s, each powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International.

Many of Delta’s A321s are being delivered from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile. By the end of 2017, the Airbus facility in Mobile is expected to produce four aircraft per month, most going to Airbus’ U.S. customers. (Post)

Then there's this interesting Airbus item. The company announced during the week that it is launching a new drone aerial imagery service in Atlanta. The subsidiary, called Airbus Aerial, plans to sell its imagery services to a variety of industries, including insurance, oil and gas, utilities and others.

It plans to partner with others to provide the needed service. It will use drones and satellites to capture imagery. Airbus announced the new service at a drone conference during the week in Dallas. (Press release)


Bases There was a changing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., during the week when the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center was deactivated and the 492nd Special Operations Wing activated.

Like the organization it replaces, the 492nd SOW's mission is to train, educate and equipping special operators and perform test and evaluations of special operations programs and equipment.

The wing's forerunner is the 492nd Bombardment Group, which flew special operations missions in World War II in Europe. (Post)

-- Airmen, Marines, sailors and soldiers came together May 6 to honor and remember their fallen explosive ordnance disposal brethren during the annual memorial ceremony at the Kauffman EOD Training Complex at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Six new names were added to the engraved lists that now contains 326 people. The 2017 event marked the ceremony's 48th year. Each year, a wreath is placed in front of each branch of service's list of names before they are read aloud. (Post)

-- Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich wants to honor Keesler Air Force Base with the return of an Air Force plane along U.S. 90. Gilich proposes moving a decommissioned 1956 F-104 jet on display at Keesler to the center median of U.S. 90 near White Avenue, down the street from the base. Keesler supports the idea and has offered logistical support for the move. (Post)


Space
A piece of test hardware for NASA's Space Launch System was damaged May 3 at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The hardware damaged was the bottom dome of a test Liquid Oxygen Tank. It was not welded to the rest of the tank at the time. NASA and prime contractor Boeing have both formed independent assessment teams. The impact on the SLS development calendar is unclear. There were no injuries. (Post)


Economic development
State and local leaders gathered at the new GKN Aerospace facility near Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport this week to welcome the new arrival. In February the aircraft supply company announced it would build a manufacturing facility in Bay County. It’s the company’s first site in Florida. GKN Aerospace will create at least 170 new full-time equivalent jobs y the end of 2020. (Post)


T-45
The House Armed Services Committee wants more information from the Navy as part of its ongoing probe into problems with T-45 training aircraft used at Naval Air Station Pensacola and bases in Mississippi and Texas. The committee wants to schedule of all tests and evaluations of equipment associated with the trainer, as well as the Navy’s actions in response to test results. Pilots had complained about oxygen issues with the jet, which is still flying with limitations on maneuvers. (Post)


Airports
The number of passengers passing through Pensacola International Airport have steadily grown over the past five years. Departures during this year’s first three months are 4.7 percent higher than in the same span in 2013. March performed particularly well, with 7.4 percent more departures this year over 2016. (Post)


Contract
Raytheon Missile Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $7.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide life of type buys, obsolescence components under the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile Lots 28-30 production. Work will be performed at Tucson and is expected to be complete by March 31, 2019. This contract involves foreign military sales to Japan, Norway, Romania, Turkey, and Australia. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Week in review (4/30 to 5/6)

Last week I wrote that the Gulf Coast Reporters’ League is currently compiling the sixth edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor book, the first since we shifted from an annual to a biennial. One chapter focuses on the considerable space-related activities we have in the Gulf Coast region, thanks to Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Many of you may think of NASA when it comes to space, and that's certainly true and continues to be true. But a growing part of the field of space that's incredibly exciting is the commercial activities in the field, and our region is in the thick of that. We devote a chapter of our June 2017 book to take an in-depth look at this important field.

The reason I mention that chapter is that Aerojet Rocketdyne at Stennis Space Center recently conducted hot-fire tests to validate the design of the preburner for the AR1 rocket engine, which is being developed to replace the Russian-built RD-180 engine currently used to launch most U.S. national security payloads.

The preburner, a component that drives the engine’s turbomachinery, was built using state of-the-art techniques, including 3-D printing. With the design now confirmed, Aerojet Rocketdyne has cleared one of the major technological hurdles to fulfill the congressional mandate to end U.S. dependence on Russian engine technology for military launches. (Post)

Rocketdyne has been a long-time fixture at Stennis Space Center. Once a division of North American Aviation, Rocketdyne later became part of Rockwell International, then Boeing, then United Technologies, where it became Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. It became Aerojet Rocketdyne when UTC sold it to GenCorp.


Education
With the growth of aerospace and aviation activities in the Gulf Coast region, there was some news out of Alabama that bodes well for the future of the sector in our region.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced plans during the week to create the Alabama Aviation Education Center near the Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile. It is designed to bolster Alabama's workforce development efforts and inspire young people to pursue careers in the state's growing aerospace cluster.

The $6.5 million center at the Mobile Aeroplex, developed in partnership with Airbus, will provide aviation-themed activities and STEM-focused educational programs to visitors. It will have classrooms, workshops and innovation rooms, along with exhibits, aircraft models, videos and more.

Airbus will play a central role in developing the educational programs offered at the center. The facility will be managed and operated by Airbus Americas Inc., which will collaborate with educators, universities and other aviation companies operating in Alabama to develop flight-themed educational programs for the center.

The facility will be open to the public, with a minimal entrance fee to help offset its operating costs. (Post)

That gives the region yet another science/aviation experience designed to pique the interest of young people. Over in Pensacola there's the National Flight Academy, and in Mississippi there's Infinity Science Center, but there's a lot more. For parents who want to spur the imagination of the upcoming generation, take a look at an article we published in the July 2016 edition of the Gulf Coast Reporters’ League Business Quarterly, pages 24-37. You can download the magazine PDF here.


Airbus
Speaking of Airbus, the company has appointed Laurent Blattner as President of Airbus DS Military Aircraft, Inc. Blattner will lead a 70 plus employee operation in Mobile that continues to increase its service and support capabilities in maintenance, repair and overhaul of various Airbus military aircraft and components.

Blattner’s most recent position was with Airbus Services as CEO of Cassidian Aviation Training Services SAS and Aviation Defense Service. Prior to joining Airbus, Blattner served 28 years in the French air force as a colonel where he was in charge of maintenance units dedicated to fighter aircraft.

For two of these years he served as an exchange officer at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Blattner succeeds Juan Uriarte, who has been CEO for ADSMAI in Mobile since 2014. Uriarte is returning to Airbus in Europe. (Post)


Contracts
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. of San Diego, Calif., was awarded two contracts this week related to the Fire Scout and Global Hawk unmanned aircraft built in part in Moss Point, Miss. The company was awarded $32.9 million for a modification to a previously awarded contract for integration of the original equipment manufacturer radar into the MQ-8C Fire Scout. Work will be performed in California and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in May 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. The company was also awarded a $39.9 million contract for Battle Field Airborne Communications Node (BACN) for EQ-4B Global Hawk. Northrop will provide BACN payload modification, integration, and installation onto the EQ-4B. Work will be performed at San Diego and Palmdale, both in California, and is expected to be complete by May 2, 2018. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Week in review (4/23 to 4/29)

It's that time of year again for the Gulf Coast Reporters' League. We're in the midst of compiling the sixth edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor book.

The 2017 edition is the first since we shifted from an annual to a biennial, and it will be packed with new and updated information for those who follow aerospace and aviation activities in this region.

A lot has happened in the I-10 aerospace corridor since the last edition was published in 2015, not the least of which is the production of jetliners in Mobile, Ala. So you won't want to miss this issue to add to your collection and keep up to date on this growing sector.

As in the past, this book will be free to readers, thanks to the underwriters who are coming on board. All our underwriters recognize the value of this ongoing study, and they want it to be shared with a wide audience. Making it free to readers is the best way to ensure that.

Now for your week in review:


Airbus
Airbus continues to reserve judgment on any progress Pratt & Whitney has made in resolving several production problems plaguing its PW1100G turbofan. Deliveries of Pratt-powered A320neos remain stunted and the first Pratt-powered A321neo sits undelivered more than four months after certification.

Out of an expected 200 A320neo-family deliveries by the end of the year, Airbus shipped 26 during the first quarter, including the first CFM Leap-1A-powered A321neo. The A320 series plant in Mobile, Ala., will eventually build neo planes in addition to the current engine options. (Post)


Military
The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels were in the same location at the same time for some joint training during the week – something that happens rarely.

The two elite flight demonstration teams are seldom in the same place at the same time because the Department of Defense wants to cover as much territory with the two teams as possible.

But they were both at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., during the week, something they haven’t done in Pensacola for more than 15 years. The two teams practiced Tuesday and Wednesday, and treated beach crowds to flyovers Wednesday. (Post)


Space
NASA selected 399 research and technology proposals from 277 American small businesses and 44 research institutions that will enable NASA's future missions into deep space. The awards have a total value of approximately $49.9 million.

These include 13 projects tied to Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi.

NASA received 1,621 proposals in response to its 2017 solicitation for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. From those, NASA selected 338 SBIR and 61 STTR Phase I proposals for contract negotiations.

The SBIR Phase I contracts last for six months and STTR Phase I contracts last for 12 months, both with maximum funding of $125,000. (Post)


Lockheed
It was a big week for contracts for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, with multiple contracts related to the F-35. That’s of interest to the region since Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the F-35 integrated training center.

The largest was a $1.37 billion contract for long-lead time materials, parts, components, and effort for 130 low-rate initial production Lot 12 F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense participants, and foreign military sales customers. In addition this contract provides long-lead time materials, parts, components, and effort for 110 Lot 13 and 14 F-35 aircraft for the non-U.S. DoD participants and foreign military sales customers.

In a second huge contract, the company was awarded a $422.7 million modification to a previously awarded low-rate initial production Lot 10 F-35 advance acquisition contract. This modification provides the procurement of production non-recurring special tooling and special test equipment to support the F-35 production.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics also was awarded a $109.6 million modification to a previous delivery order against a basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for the procurement of 567 modification kits for offboard system hardware and turnaround assets, and also recurring labor for the completion of hardware and software upgrades in support of the F-35 Lighting III Block 3F upgrade for Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and international partners.

In two other F-35-related contract, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $10.8 million modification to a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract for additional hardware modules and racks in support of the F-35 low-rate initial production Lot 11 aircraft for the government of Israel under the Foreign Military Sales program. It also was awarded an $18.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide additional sustainment, integration and test, training, and database production in support of the F-35 for the government of Japan under the Foreign Military Sales program.

In a non-F-35 contract, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $31.1 million modification to previously awarded contract for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile production support, systems engineering, and tooling and test equipment. This contract consists of foreign military sales to Poland. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.


Other contracts
DynCorp International, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a contract for contractor operated and maintained base supply services for the T-6A/B/D Texan II aircraft. The contractor will provide serviceable aircraft material and support equipment to support Air Force, Navy, and Army Texan II aircraft. Among the bases where work will be performed is Naval Air Station Pensacola and Naval Air Station Whiting Field, both in Florida. … HX5 LLC, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $67.9 million contract modification for a system support representative contract that will provide for the entire spectrum of mission planning support for ninety Air National Guard flying missions. Work will be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2018. … Harris Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded a $10.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract for system sustainment of the FPS-85 Phased Array Eglin radar, which provides space situational awareness data for tracking space objects. Contractor will provide sustainment services which include weapon systems management and engineering, core sustainment for the field service teams, requirements development modeling and analysis, engineering support and technical orders support. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and is expected to be complete by March 31, 2018.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Week in review (4/16 to 4/22)

NASA on Tuesday will show off to the media the first completed core stage structural test article of the Space Launch System rocket built at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

This test article will be shipped on the barge Pegasus from Michoud to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where it will undergo structural testing.

The engine section, the bottom of the 212-foot-long core stage, has to be strong because all four RS-25 engines and the SLS's two solid rocket motors are attached to it and produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust at lift-off.

After the structural tests at Marshall, Pegasus will transport the entire flight core stage to NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., for testing, and then on to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration into the SLS vehicle and launch. (Post)


Bases
At Hurlburt Field, Fla., two Special Tactics airmen received the Air Force's highest combat medal at the same time for separate missions in Afghanistan. One Air Force Cross was given to retired MSgt. Keary Miller, and the other was given to SSgt. Chris Baradat.

Miller in 2002 helped care for critically wounded service members during a 17-hour battle against Al Qaeda forces. In 2013 Baradat, serving as a combat controller, directed air strikes during three hours of fighting against the Taliban.

Both were originally awarded a Silver Star, but during a review of awards they were upgraded to the Air Force Cross. The Air Force Thunderbirds kicked off a special ceremony at Hurlburt Field with a flyover. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein presided over the ceremony. (Post)

-- A Boeing 747 VC-25A, one of two VC-25As assigned to the Presidential Airlift Group, 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., was on the flightline April 19 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It’s known as "Air Force One" whenever it’s used by the president, though any U.S. Air Force plane he’s aboard receives that radio call sign. The aircraft was completing a maintenance cycle and is undergoing an operational test regimen before being certified to return to presidential service. (Post)

-- At Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the youth center hosted the opening of its new Boys’ & Girls’ Club Center for Innovation.

The center will provide members access to advanced technologies and focus on STEM-related subjects and activities, including a robotics kit, 3D printers, a makerspace with a giant tool wall, invention- and computer- building kits that will offer hands-on learning opportunities to explore and advance understanding of scientific and mathematical concepts.

The program is made possible by a grant from Raytheon to cultivate interest in the STEM fields, which are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as any other field by 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Eglin is the third Air Force youth center to benefit from the grant. (Post)

-- The Navy resumed T-45 training flights at Naval Air Station Pensacola and two other bases after halting the flights because of concerns about the oxygen system. Training can continue as long as pilots remain below an altitude of 10,000 feet to avoid using the onboard oxygen generator system. Normally, training is done at altitudes of 14,000 feet.

Pilots at NAS Pensacola, Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss., and Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, had complained about experiencing episodes of hypoxia and training was temporarily suspended. The investigation is continuing. (Post)


Unmanned
Mississippi State University in Starkville was chosen by the Department of Homeland Security as a base of operations for drone research. Much of the work on how to best to use the devices will be done in South Mississippi.

Operations are expected to begin in the fall. Sites that will be used are Camp Shelby, which is the Army National Guard’s national drone-training center; buffer zone areas at Stennis Space Center, which is used for Department of Defense special-operations training; and the maritime environment accessible from the U.S. Coast Guard facilities on Singing River Island in Jackson County. (Post)

-- An autonomous helicopter designed to boost intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for ship crews at sea has completed a successful first flight from the deck of a littoral combat ship underway.

Earlier this month, the MQ-8C Fire Scout took off from the Independence-Class LCS Montgomery during a two-week series of tests off the coast of California. The flight came two years after the Fire Scout was first delivered to the Navy in December 2014 and marked a milestone in proving out the reliability and safety of the small drone.

A Fire Scout had previously conducted an at-sea flight off an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the Jason Dunham, in December 2015. Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)


Contracts
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $202.2 million contract for depot level maintenance, logistics, and sustaining engineering services in support of the C-12 utility lift aircraft for the Navy and Marine Corps. Three percent of the work will be done in Belle Chasse, La.. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $100 million contract for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) production support. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Jacobs Technology Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $7 million modification to a previously awarded contract for services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. … Longbow LLC, Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $10.8 million modification to a contract to exercise options for Hellfire engineering services. Work will be performed in Orlando, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Huntsville, Ala. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $64.6 million option to a previously awarded contract for the Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) program. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Linthicum Heights, Md., was awarded a $7.5 million contract for logistic support of the AN/ASQ-236 aircraft pod. One of the work sites is Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Week in review (4/9 to 4/15)

A massive bomb developed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., during the Iraq war was used for the first time in combat this week against a target in Afghanistan. It reportedly destroyed three underground tunnels, weapons and ammunition, and by Saturday reports indicated more than 90 ISIS fighters perished.

The GBU-43 Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb is 21,600 pounds and is nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” an appropriate nickname given that Saddam Hussein, a week before the first Gulf War in 1991, promised the fight against the United States and its allies would be the "mother of all battles."

Well the GBU-43 was never dropped on Iraq, but it was dropped during the week by an Air Force Special Operations C-130 in the Achin district of the Nangarhar Province. Guided to its target by GPS, it's considered a "smart bomb."

The GBU-43 is one of the bombs from a family of massive bombs first developed during the Vietnam War to clear landing zones. During its development, the GBU-43 was dropped twice at the Eglin Air Force Base bombing range.

While the GBU-43 is the most powerful of the lineup, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal is the 30,000-pound GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator. That bomb, also developed by the Air Force Research Lab Munitions Directorate at Eglin, is designed to blow up after penetrating the hardened target. (Post)

The GBU-43 and GBU-57 have different blast profiles. The air blast or air burst bomb is designed to detonate before impact, which sends a good deal of its explosive energy out to the sides. A penetrator bomb's energy is sent upward and downward.

Nangarhar is the same province where a soldier assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base died earlier in the week. Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Md., died April 8 of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations. (Post)


Jobs
One hundred thirty defense contractors at L3 Crestview Aerospace have been laid off. The aviation firm assembles, fabricates, and repairs aircraft parts. The layoffs are the result of cyclical work-contracts. The workers will receive severance packages and information on job opportunities within L3 Aerospace. (Post)


F-35
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Italian government and the Okaloosa County School district. As part of the the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program at Eglin Air Force Base, the Italian air force is establishing a permanent presence in the area and will enroll Italian students into Okaloosa County schools. The Italians will establish the Italian Cooperative Program into select districts schools. The program will offer Italian education taught by its natives. In all, 600 American and Italian students will participate in the program next year. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded two contracts during the week in connection with the F-35. It was awarded $372.9 million for a modification to a previously awarded low-rate initial production Lot 10 F-35 advance acquisition contract. It provides the procurement of F-35A and F-35B variants including deficiency corrections for non-U.S. Department of Defense (non-U.S. DoD) participants. Work is expected to be completed in March 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. In the other contract, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. was awarded a $9.5 million modification to a previously awarded low-rate initial production Lot 9 F-35 advanced acquisition contract. This modification provides for the delivery of hardware and engineering services for the government of Japan. Work is expected to be completed in October 2018. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Vectrus Systems Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded a $97.3 million contract for the acquisition of base operations support services. Contractor will provide base operations support for 11 functional areas to include, installation and mission operations management, installation and facility engineering, emergency response management, grounds maintenance, supply services, community services, vertical transportation equipment, human resources support, and weather services for Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Work will be performed at Keesler and is expected to be complete May 31, 2018. The Air Force Installation Contracting Agency/338th Specialized Contracting Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Week in review (4/2 to 4/8)

The April edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Newsletter will be published Tuesday. In this issue, we fill you in on the two economic development projects that were announced since our last issue: GKN Aerospace setting up shop in Panama City, Fla., and Continental Motors, consolidating its sprawling operation at the Mobile Aeroplex into a single building.

In another story, we fill you in on the replacement value of every base and military property in the region. And it’s huge – more than $22 billion. We also have a story about the new budget for NASA, and what it means for NASA projects in the Gulf Coast region.

Finally, we have an analysis about some of the key aerospace stories for our region that occurred since the last issue. If you’re not signed up to get a copy, reach out and let me know and I’ll add you to our list of subscribers. And you can’t beat the price, it’s free thanks to our underwriters: Santa Rosa Economic Development, Gulf Power, Mobile Airport Authority, and FloridaWest.

Now for your week in review:

T-45C
The Navy has extended the operational pause for T-45C flights. The pause was initiated after pilots expressed concern about physiological episodes blamed on possible oxygen issues while flying. The extension will allow the Navy to review engineering data and develop a path forward for the fleet that will ensure the safety of its aircrew.

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces, has visited T-45C training commands to address recent concerns. He went to Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, NAS Pensacola, Fla., and NAS Meridian, Miss., to talk with instructor and student pilots.

On March 31 roughly 40 percent of flights in the T-45C training commands in Meridian, Pensacola and Kingsville were canceled because of the operational risk management issues raised by instructor pilots. (Post)

The T-45C Goshawk is a two-seat, single-engine, carrier-capable jet trainer aircraft used by the Navy and Marine Corps for intermediate and advanced jet training. The T-45 has been in service since 1991. The Navy currently has 197 based at Kingsville, Meridian and Pensacola. (Post)

Fox News first reported the issue last week. (Post)


Assignments, promotions
The Blue Angels during the week announced Cmdr. Eric Doyle as the next leader of the flight demonstration squadron, which is headquartered in Pensacola, Fla. He will join the team for his two-year tour in November, taking over from current flight leader, Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi. (Post)

-- Air Force Brig. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris has been nominated to the grade of major general. Morris is currently serving as the Air Force program executive officer for weapons and director, Armament Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Post)

-- Col. Evan C. Dertien, selected to the grade of brigadier general, has been assigned as commander, 96th Test Wing, Air Force Materiel Command, Eglin Air Force Base. He’s currently vice commander, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (Post)

-- Col. Lance R. Pilch, selected to the grade of brigadier general, has been assigned as vice commander, 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces and Chief of Staff, Air Component Command, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. He’s currently commander, 33rd Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command, Eglin Air Force Base. (Post)


Contracts
Security Walls, Knoxville, Tenn., was awarded a potential five-year, $45.3 million contract to provide a range of protective services at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans. … Siemens Industry Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., was awarded a $48 million contract for the Switchgear Replacement Effort program. Contractor will provide supply and installation of gas insulated switchgear. Some of the work will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by April 5, 2022. Air Force Test Center, Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., is the contracting activity. … Rockwell Collins Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded a $21.3 million modification to exercise the option on a previously awarded contract to support the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS). Contractor will provide the second production lot of the CRIIS for upgrading the test and evaluation instrumentation at Air Force, Navy and Army test ranges. This second production lot will help complete range installations and activations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., and Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $129.4 million modification to a delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This order provides for additional work on the TR-3 integrated core processor and related subsystems 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. … NWF Contractors Inc., Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $9.2 million contract to construct concrete targets. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by April 2, 2022. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Week in review (3/26 to 4/1)

An expansion for Continental Motors, a historic first for SpaceX, drones at the Dauphin Island's airport, F-35 and military aircraft maintenance contracts, and a possible jet trainer plant in Alabama were some of the aerospace news items of interest to the Gulf Coast region during the week.

Here's your aerospace week in review:

Economic development
Continental Motors will spend more than $60 million on a new facility at Alabama's Mobile Aeroplex in an expansion that's not expected to add jobs, but will ensure the company stays put in Mobile and Fairhope.

Officials hope to break ground this summer on a 225,000-square foot facility at the intersection of Broad Street and Michigan Avenue. The building design will be finalized by fall and manufacturing equipment installed in 2018, with full operational by the end of 2019.

Continental and parent company AVIC International Holding Corp., of China, will spend up to $30 million developing the new site, and about $40 million on new manufacturing equipment for the building, which also will house their global business headquarters. The company builds engines for small aircraft. (Post)

-- If Leonardo wins the T-X competition with its T-100 trainer, the company will build the aircraft in Alabama at Moton Field in Tuskegee. Upward of $200 million will be spent on construction including buildings, infrastructure and equipment, according to a joint news release from the governor's office and Leonardo.

The Italian company, when it was partnered with Raytheon, had planned to assemble the trainers, based on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346, in Meridian, Miss. But the partnership ended and Meridian was out of the picture.

The Alabama plant will perform structural sub-assembly, integration, final assembly and conduct research and testing at the site, according to the release. Leonardo would lease a new facility built by a public-private partnership. Plans call for creating 750 jobs over 10 years. (Post)


Space
SpaceX successfully launched and then retrieved its first recycled rocket late in the week. It was the first time SpaceX tried to fly a booster that had been used in a previous mission.

The Falcon 9 core landed on the bull's-eye of the ocean platform following liftoff with a broadcasting satellite for the SES company of Luxembourg. Founder Elon Musk foresees dozens if not hundreds of repeat flights for a booster and rocket turnarounds of as little as 24 hours, perhaps by next year.

SpaceX is developing Raptor, its next-generation engine, at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)

-- Delays in the development of Orion's European-built service module, and damage to NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans from a February tornado are the key schedule risks for the first Space Launch System mission, agency officials said.

The schedule for the launch of Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), currently planned for late 2018, remains uncertain regardless of the technical issues as NASA studies the possibility of putting a crew on the flight, which would likely delay it by up to a year. (Post)

-- From its final orbit location 22,000 miles above the equator, the third Lockheed Martin-built Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite recently sent its first images back to Earth.

The satellite was launched on Jan. 20 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and is the third in a series of Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites that the U.S. Air Force uses to provide faster and more accurate missile warning data to the nation and its allies.

The next satellite in the series will undergo final assembly, integration and test at Lockheed Martin's satellite production facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., prior to its launch planned for later this year. The satellite’s core propulsion system and thermal blankets are integrated by Lockheed Martin at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)


Military
The National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., is paying tribute to the Doolittle Raiders by refurbishing a B-25 B Mitchell bomber as a replica of the one flown by Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle.

Sixteen Army bombers with 80 airmen flew off the carrier to hit Japan four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They trained at nearby Eglin Air Force Base. The bomber will go on display outside the museum's Blue Angels Atrium on April 18 to mark the 75th anniversary of the raid. (Post)

-- Dauphin Island's airport will be used by the Navy for a project to demonstrate the use of drones to survey littoral areas. The Mobile County Commission approved a memorandum of understanding with the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory of Mississippi State University, which is working with the Naval Meteorological and Oceanographic Command at Stennis Space Center, Miss., on the project.

The demonstration will use an Outlaw SeaHunter equipped with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system to measure water depth in coastal areas that are too shallow for survey vessels. The demonstration will be held from mid-May to early June. Manned aircraft equipped with LIDAR are currently used to survey coastal areas. (Post)

-- Navy Lt. Ryan Rankin, a Naval Air Station Pensacola instructor pilot, has set out to fly a different plane for every week of 2017. "I feel drawn to it. It is a feeling that I cannot describe. When I don't fly for a while, I miss it," said Rankin, 33, who is taking advantage of shore duty and using his military leave time to reach his goal of flying 52 different planes before the end of the year. A network of vintage aircraft enthusiasts is helping him find the various aircraft. (Post)


F-35 Three contracts were awarded during the week in connection with the F-35 program. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center and reprogramming labs.

In one, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $581.8 million delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for air vehicle initial spares to include F-35 common spares; F-35A, F-35B and F-35C unique spares, and aloft spares packages/deployment spares packages and reprogramming lab spares required to support the air vehicle delivery schedule for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and foreign military sales customers.

In another contract Lockheed Martin was awarded $95.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide technical and logistics services, training, maintenance and repair services, and supply chain management in support of F-35 joint strike fighter for a non-Department of Defense participant.

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

In addition, SOLPAC Construction, San Diego, Calif., was awarded $15.6 million for a task order under a previously awarded contract for construction of an F-35C engine repair facility at Naval Air Station Lemoore.

The project includes reinforced concrete masonry unit walls, built-up roof, and pile foundation. Built-in equipment includes bridge cranes and support rails, stacker storage system, and elevator. The project also includes facility paving and site improvements, utilities, and environmental mitigation features.

Work will be performed in Lemoore, Calif., and is expected to be completed by June 2018. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, is the contracting activity.


Aircraft maintenance
Two contracts were awarded during the week in connection with aircraft maintenance at military bases in the region.

Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded $106.9 million for modification to a previously awarded contract to provide intermediate, depot-level maintenance and related logistics support for about 209 in-service T-45 F405-RR-401 Adour engines.

Work will be performed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas (46 percent); NAS Meridian, Miss. (42 percent); NAS Pensacola, Fla. (11 percent); and NAS Patuxent River, Md. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2018.

In another contract, L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $16.1 million contract for maintenance, repair, and logistics support for the Chief of Naval Air Training aircraft’s intermediate maintenance.

Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (60 percent); and Corpus Christi, Texas (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2022.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity for both contracts.


Other contracts
Electronic Metrology Laboratory LLC, Franklin, Tenn., was awarded a $10.5 million modification under a previously awarded contract to exercise Option 3 for base operations support services at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., and outlying fields. Work will be performed in Milton, Fla. (80 percent); and outlying fields (20 percent), and work is expected to be completed March 2018. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. … QuantaDyn Corp., Ashburn, Va., was awarded a $27 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTC TRS). Some of the work will be done at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity. … United Launch Services LLC, Centennial, Colo., was awarded a $270.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract for launch vehicle production services involving a Delta IV Heavy and transportation. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity. The Delta IV uses RS-68 engines assembled and tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. … The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $15 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) technical support and aircraft integration. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Reliance Test & Technology, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded an $11.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Eglin operation and maintenance support service. This modification increases government provided values of cost reimbursable items supporting the National Radar Test Facility. Work will be performed at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2026. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded a $142.4 million contract for procurement of the Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS Inc II) environment improvement of the air combat training with rangeless air combat and secure air-to-air and air-to-ground data link. This contract will include participant subsystems; ground subsystems; remote range units; peculiar support equipment; enhanced threats; platform interfaces; an internal rack-mounted subsystem capability for fixed wing and rotary aircraft; and an internal subsystem for the Joint Strike Fighter. Work will be done in Cedar Rapids (65 percent); Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (20 percent); Richardson, Texas (10 percent); and various locations within the continental U.S. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2022. Fiscal 2017 research, development, testing and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $8,318,444 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.