Saturday, December 16, 2017

Week in review (12/10 to 12/16)

The December issue of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor newsletter will be published Tuesday and available for download at our website. Subscribers will receive it via email to their inbox.

The cover story highlights Mississippi's considerable aerospace and aviation activities, from training military pilots to building unmanned aircraft and testing huge rocket engines. It’s the second of a four-part series where we focus on the aerospace footprint of the four states that make up the Aerospace Alliance.

We also have a story about the Airbus Mobile assembly facility, which just delivered its 50th jetliner to Delta Air Lines. The plant at the Mobile Aeroplex is on a roll. It recently learned it will be building more jetliners for Delta. We'll also tell you what we know about the Bombardier C Series that officials plan to build in Mobile.

Finally, we'll tell you about the aerospace summit that was held in New Orleans just after our October issue was published. The summit attracted the movers and shakers from the Gulf Coast region, and we’ll provide you with some of the highlights, including what's in the works to create a research park in and around Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Now for your week in review:

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has placed an order with Airbus for 100 of the A321neo aircraft, most of which will be built at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Ala. The planes will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1133G-JM geared turbofan engines.

Delta's announcement on the A321neo follows several orders in recent years for the current engine option (ceo) version of the A321. Delta has ordered a total of 117 A321ceos, each powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International.

With more than 5,300 orders received from 96 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo family has captured some 60 percent share of the market. The Delta has taken delivery of 13 U.S.-manufactured Airbus aircraft since last year.

In addition, less than two years after Airbus delivered the first A320 family aircraft built in Mobile, the 50th aircraft built in Mobile was delivered to Delta this week. The milestone was celebrated by the facility’s employees, as well as Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor and members of the Delta Air Lines delivery team. (Post)

The Mobile factory produces four aircraft per month for delivery to Airbus’ U.S. customers. Plans for further production ramp up are currently being discussed. (Post)

NASA engineers wrapped up a year of Space Launch System testing with a final RS-25 rocket engine hot fire on Dec. 13 at Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi.

The 400-second test on the A-1 Test Stand was a "green run" test of an RS-25 flight controller. It marked the eighth RS-25 test of the year and the sixth flight controller to be tested for use on NASA's Space Launch System vehicle.

The engine tested also included a large 3D-printed part scheduled for use on future RS-25 flight engines. The part, a beach ball-sized pogo accumulator assembly, is a complex piece of hardware that acts as a shock absorber to dampen vibrations, or oscillations, caused by propellants as they flow between the vehicle and the engine.

Initial reports show the 3D-printed hardware performed as expected, opening the door for more components scheduled for future tests. (Post)

The Boeing Co., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded an $18.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the integrated sustainment support of the AC-130U gunships. This modification provides for the continuation of services for the development, modification, sustainment and maintenance of the AC-130U gunship. Work will be performed in Fort Walton Beach; Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan; and Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2018. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an $8.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide form-fit-function replace hardware assets to include guidance sections and integrated test vehicles under the advanced medium-range air-to-air missile lots 28-30 production. Work will be performed in Tucson with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2019. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a ceiling $6.7 million contract for F119 engine sustainment. Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is among the work locations. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. … L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a
$79.4 million contract for contractor operated and maintained base supply of the Air Education and Training Command fleet of 178 T-1A trainer aircraft. Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., is among the work sites. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker AFB, Okla., is the contracting activity … L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., also was awarded a $10.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for logistics support of the T-1A aircraft. Services include contractor-operated maintained supply, over and above, on-equipment maintenance, data and field service representatives. Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., is among the work sites. Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity.

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