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)

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)

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)

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.

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