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:
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)
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)
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)
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.