Saturday, March 4, 2017

Week in review (2/26 to 3/4)

Northwest Florida as a region must commit to economic diversification if it wants to create the change its business leaders envision. That was the message from Jon Roberts for more than 100 people who showed up at Northwest Florida State College recently for a preview of the "blueprint" for successful regional diversification.

The plan is called Northwest Florida Forward. Key points are training a workforce capable of filling positions as new industry locates in the area, and taking advantage of existing regional industry clusters such as aerospace and defense.

"We designed this regional strategy to be a framework for prioritizing projects so everyone in Northwest Florida benefits," said Rick Byars, the chairman of the board of Florida's Great Northwest. (Post)

This is something that clearly needs to be done. I've always said the entire region, from Southeast Louisiana to Northwest Florida, has huge potential if the various organizations would work together. Doing something like this in one part of that region - Northwest Florida- certainly makes sense.

-- On another economic development front over in Mobile, Ala., Roger Wehner resigned as executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority. The authority said Mark McVay, director of finance, will serve as interim executive director while the board of directors conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

It was in 2013 that Wehner became executive director of MAA, which oversees operations of the Mobile Aeroplex and Mobile Regional Airport. He was involved in activities at MAA even before that, on loan to the agency from Alabama Power. During his tenure the Mobile Aeroplex saw considerable growth as aerospace companies came to the aeroplex to be close to the Airbus A320 final assembly line. (Post)

I just hope Wehner ends up staying in this region working in economic development in some capacity. His experience is crucial to our region.

It looks like the Air Force Special Operations Command will be installing and testing lasers on AC-130 gunships this year. That’s what Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, head of AFSOC, told Breaking Defense.

Webb said AFSOC, based at Hurlburt Field, Fla., hasn’t decided where the laser would go. The tests will help determine that, as well as which mix of weapons is most effective. Webb’s predecessor, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, had previously said the laser would probably go on the left side of the plane. (Post)

-- Speaking of Hurlburt Field, AFSOC is currently hosting Emerald Warrior, a joint military exercise involving 1,500 military personnel from the Air Force, Army and Marines, along with three partner nations.

It began Feb. 27 and ends March 11. Scenarios include operations involving inserting and removing troops from combat situations, direct assaults, military freefall, and live-fire events. In addition to the activities in Northwest Florida, training will be conducted at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, Melrose Range, N.M., and Fort Knox, Ky. (Post)

-- Halfway through their winter training in El Centro, Calif., the Blue Angels are getting ready to begin their 2017 season March 11 with their annual start-of-season performance at Naval Air Facility El Centro. The Blue Angels are based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (Post)

The 20th Space Control Squadron's Charlie Crew at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., successfully tracked India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Feb. 15. Loaded with 104 satellites, the Indian PSLV set the record for the most spacecraft launched by a single rocket.

Using the world's most powerful phased-array radar, the space surveillance squadron uses an integrated team of military and civilian airmen to track an estimated 23,000 near-Earth and deep-space objects each day. The AN/FPS-85 is the only phased array radar capable of tracking objects 40,000 kilometers away. (Post)

The Northwest Florida International Beaches Airport Authority is set to begin exit terminal security improvements. The board approved GAC Contractors to install glass-walled security corridors and a video-enabled exit lane breach control system from Tyco Integrated Security.

Tyco's system uses video analytics technology to immediately identify if an individual attempts to enter an airport exit lane from the wrong direction. It alerts security personnel and records the incident for instant playback. (Post)

The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility will be making more than A320 series jetliners next week. The production team will be making pink paper planes March 8 as part of the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week’s Guinness World Record Attempt. It’s designed to show Airbus’ support of women in the aviation industry. The plane throw will be at 11 a.m. CST. A minimum of 40 and up to 200 paper planes are expected to be thrown. (Post)

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded three contracts related to the F-35 program. It was awarded a $1 billion 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 (FMS) customers. It also was awarded a $20.6 million modification to the previously awarded low-rate initial production Lot 10 F-35 advance acquisition contract. The modification provides for airworthiness requirements, technical reviews, deficiency corrections, and chase maintenance for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (Non-U.S. DoD) participants, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. The company also was awarded an $11.6 million contract action against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This order provides for initial operational test and evaluation configuration support efforts in support of the F-35 aircraft for the Air Force and Navy, and international partner countries. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for all three contracts. … ECSC LLC, Panama City, Fla., was awarded a not-to-exceed $40,000,000 contract for paving requirements at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases in Nevada. The 99th Contracting Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., was awarded $15 million modification to a previously awarded contract for aircraft maintenance and logistical life cycle support for the C-12 utility lift aircraft. New Orleans will be one of the work locations (4 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, is the contracting activity. … Pride Industries, Roseville, Calif., was awarded an $18.4 million contract for base operations. Work will be performed in Fort Rucker, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2018. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Fort Rucker, is the contracting activity.

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