Here’s your week in review:
Space Stratolaunch will test engines at NASA's Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. That's according to an agreement signed in September. NASA published the agreement on its website as part of a provision in a NASA authorization act signed into law this year to disclose such agreements. An annex to that agreement specifies that it involves "testing of its propulsion system test article element 1" at Stennis's E1 test stand.
That facility has supported engine tests by a number of companies in the past under similar agreements that provide access to test stands there on a non-exclusive basis. Stratolaunch plans to deliver the test article to Stennis for "fit tests and checkouts" by the end of May 2018, with the test series completed by the end of 2018. Stratolaunch will pay NASA $5.1 million under the reimbursable agreement to cover costs of the test campaign, including an upfront payment of $1 million. (Post)
The A320 assembly line at the Mobile Aeroplex, which was already scheduled to build jetliners for Frontier Airlines starting next year, will now build even more thanks to a major deal between Airbus and Indigo Partners.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Airbus and Indigo Partners for 430 additional A320neo aircraft. The commitment is comprised of 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos worth $49.5 billion at list price. The agreement was announced at the Dubai Airshow.
"Any A320 order placed anywhere in the world is good for Mobile because it means a strong order book and solidifies the U.S. Manufacturing Facility's role in Airbus' global production network," wrote Kristi Tucker of Airbus' Mobile operation, in an email. "It's extra special when there's a direct connection to the order, such as this one." (Post)
The aircraft would go to airlines in Indigo's investment portfolio: Frontier Airlines of the U.S., Mexico's Volaris, European carrier Wizz Air Holdings and JetSmart, which began operating this year in Chile. Airbus builds the A320 family of jetliners in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, Ala. (Post)
Bombardier Inc. is forecasting it plans to spend $300 million on its C Series assembly facility in Mobile, Ala., creating as many as 2,000 jobs in the U.S. Airbus and Canada-based Bombardier announced in October that they had agreed to form a partnership to build Bombardier's C Series passenger jets in Mobile.
The C series project would create 400 to 500 direct jobs and 550 to 700 indirect jobs at supplier and support companies. The forecast was part of a regulatory filing. Still to be determined is the fate of the proposed import duties of 300 percent on the C Series tentatively imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in response to a price-dumping claim made by Boeing. (Post)
The Bell Boeing V-22 fleet of tiltrotor aircraft, including both CV-22 and MV-22 variants, has surpassed the 400,000-flight hour milestone. The V-22 Osprey has been continuously deployed since entering service in 2007 with the United States Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command in 2009.
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is a joint service, multirole combat aircraft that uses tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its nacelles can be rotated to transition the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. (Post)
-- Capt. Ryan Bernacchi turned over command of the Navy Blue Angels to Cmdr. Eric Doyle at a ceremony last Sunday at the Blue Angels Atrium inside the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola. About 500 people attended the event. (Post)
-- Air Force Col. William W. Whittenberger Jr. has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Whittenberger is currently serving as the mobilization assistant to the director of strategic plans, programs and requirements, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. His was among a series of appointments made by the president and announced today by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. (Post)
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded an $11.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for QF-16 full-scale aerial target lot 5B. Work will be performed in St. Louis, with an estimated completion date of April 27, 2021. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Bell-Boeing JPO, Amarillo, Texas, was awarded $10 million modification to a previously issued task order, placed against a basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for field representative and logistics support services in support of the V-22 aircraft for the government of Japan. Work will be performed at Camp Kisarazu, Japan (85 percent); Philadelphia, Pa. (11 percent); and Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (4 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2019.