Saturday, October 21, 2017

Week in review (10/15 to 10/21)

The announcement that a new jetliner will be built in Mobile and a public rocket engine test in South Mississippi were just two of the news items during the week involving the Gulf Coast aerospace region. Here's your week in review:

Airbus SE agreed to acquire a majority stake in Bombardier Inc.'s C Series jetliner program. The project includes assembling the C Series at Airbus’ plant in Mobile, Ala. But the details on the assembly have not been released.

Under the agreement, Airbus will provide procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support expertise to the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), the entity that manufactures and sells the C Series. At closing, Airbus will acquire a 50.01 percent interest in CSALP. Bombardier and Investissement Québec (IQ) will own about 31 percent and 19 percent respectively.

CSALP’s headquarters and primary assembly line and related functions will remain in Québec, Canada, with the support of Airbus’ global reach and scale. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of next year. (Post)

The deal comes weeks after the United States said a 300 percent tariff would be imposed on the C Series following a complaint by Boeing that the plane, developed with government subsidies, is being sold with a huge discount.

But will the tariff be imposed on a plane assembled in the United States? Many observers say it won’t, but Boeing says it will make no difference. We’ll have to wait and see how all this plays out.

More than 1,500 people watched a verification test of an RS-25 rocket engine during an open house at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi during the week.

Engine E2063, one of the engines that will power the Space Launch System (SLS), was tested for 500 seconds, the same duration the engine will power during an actual launch. Engine E2063 is scheduled for use on NASA’s second mission of SLS and Orion, known as Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2).

The first integrated flight test of SLS and Orion, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), will be an uncrewed final test of the rocket and its systems. The EM-2 flight will be the first to carry astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft. (Post)

In another Stennis Space Center related item, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif., was awarded a $40.8 million contract modification for the development of the Raptor rocket propulsion system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

Work will be performed at NASA Stennis Space Center, as well as Hawthorne, Calif.; McGregor, Texas; and Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.; and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2018. The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif., is the contracting activity. (Post)

Frontier Airlines will begin service from Pensacola International Airport (PNS) this spring with nonstop, low-cost flights to Denver International Airport (DEN) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) as part of its nationwide expansion. Service to Denver will begin April 22, 2018 while service to Chicago O’Hare is scheduled to begin May 12, 2018. (Post)

In another news item related to the Pensacola airport, VT MAE will host an information session Oct. 27 at 9:00 a.m. regarding its current operations, upcoming hiring needs, employment application procedures, and available subcontracting opportunities at its new aircraft maintenance facility being built at Pensacola International Airport.

The information session is at the Pensacola State College Hagler Auditorium, which is Building 2, 1000 College Blvd. in Pensacola. The event is for subcontractors and those seeking employment opportunities. (Post)

Aermor LLC, Virginia Beach, Va.; American Systems Corp., Chantilly, Va.; and Qualis Corp., Huntsville, Ala., were awarded a $93,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center test services. The contractors will provide advisory and assistance services in support of operational test and evaluation that include a broad range of engineering, technical, and analytical services. Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, both in Florida, are among the work sites. Other locations are in New Mexico, Colorado, California, Washington, Utah and Nevada, and is expected to be complete by Oct. 19, 2022. Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., is the contracting activity. … Textron Systems Marine and Land Systems, New Orleans, La., was awarded a $332.9 million contract for the procurement of up to 255 mobile strike force vehicles and related fielding hardware and field representative services for system de-processing. U.S. Army Contracting Command Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $11.6 million delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This order provides support for the first of class flying trials and the release of the military permit to fly for F-35B aircraft to operate from Queen Elizabeth class carriers in support of the government of the United Kingdom. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Reliance Test & Technology, Crestview, Fla., was awarded a $27.3 million modification for Eglin operation and maintenance services. Work will be performed at Eglin Test and Training Complex, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2026. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded $15.2 million for modification to a previously awarded contract for the integration of the original equipment manufacturer ZPY-8A/N radar into the MQ-8C Fire Scout. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; Ozark, Ala.; San Diego; Edinburgh, United Kingdom; and Santa Clarita, Calif., and is expected to be completed in May 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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