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)

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)

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)

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.

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