Sunday, March 25, 2018

Week in review (3/18 to 3/25)

A decision by Boeing not to appeal an ITC ruling, a new agreement between Stennis Space Center and Relativity Space, and another milestone for the F-35 were among the news items this week of interest to the Gulf Coast region.

Here's your week in review:

Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Los Angeles-based Relativity Space, a startup developing small launch vehicles using additive manufacturing technologies, have entered an agreement that authorizes the startup to have exclusive use of the E-4 Test Complex for 20 years.

The complex features four cells for engine tests and 15,000 square feet of office space, with the option to expand the use of the facility from about 25 acres to 250 acres. The new agreement will help Relativity expand its test efforts, which include the qualification and acceptance tests of up to 36 of the company's Terran small launch vehicles.

Relativity is under a separate Space Act agreement with Stennis for the use of the center’s E-3 test stand, which has supported 85 tests of the firm's Aeon 1 engine to date. Tim Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Relativity, said the startup will continue using E-3 while it builds up E-4, then use both facilities in parallel in the future.

Relativity's Terran rocket will work to carry up to 2,755 pounds of payload at $10 million per launch. Ellis said the company will develop a single manufacturing facility that would allow it to produce the Terran rocket, but the company hasn't decided where that facility will be located. (Post)

The decision to use the E-4 test stand is a major deal for SSC. Back in 2011 SSC started looking for industries that might be interested in using the under-utilized test stand, saying it was a "great opportunity."

The stand, in addition to the work area and offices, has a barge canal access. Projects conducted at the E-4 Test Facility also have the ability to access Stennis onsite amenities and support capabilities, including cafeteria, medical clinic, laboratory, component, information technology, institutional and other services.

Boeing won't appeal the U.S. trade commission ruling that allows Canada's Bombardier to sell its newest jets to U.S. airlines without heavy duties, according to a company spokesman. The decision puts the trade challenge to rest.

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted in January to reject Boeing's complaint and discarded a Commerce Department recommendation to slap a near 300 percent duty on sales of the 110- to 130-seat Bombardier CSeries jets for five years. The ITC felt the sale to Delta Air Lines had no impact on Boeing’s revenue since it doesn’t have a jet that competes with the CSeries.

The smaller end of the jet market is an increasing focus for the major manufacturers. Airbus has agreed to take a majority stake in the CSeries in a deal expected to close later this year where CSeries jets will also be assembled in Mobile, Ala. Boeing is in tie-up talks with Brazilian jet maker Embraer. (Post)

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) completed fleet carrier qualifications (CQ) for the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter program while underway March 17-21 in the Atlantic Ocean.

Pilots of the "Rough Raiders" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 at Lemoore, Calif., and the "Grim Reapers" of VFA 101 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., performed day and night CQs with 140 traps in anticipation of F-35C’s operational testing later in 2018.

By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier air wings are scheduled to consist of F-35Cs, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and carrier on board delivery logistics aircraft. (Post)

In addition, there were two contracts related to the F-35.

In one, United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $239.7 million advanced acquisition contract for long-lead materials, parts, and components for 137 low rate initial Production Lot 12 F135 propulsion systems for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. This includes 46 F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the Air Force; 20 F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for the Marine Corps; four F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the Navy; 63 F135-PW-100 and four F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for non-U.S. DoD participants and FMS customers.

In the other, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded and $8.5 million modification to a previously issued order against a basic ordering agreement. This order authorizes award of additional unique F-35 Joint Strike Fighter distributed mission training capability efforts for the Navy, Marine Corps, and the government of the United Kingdom.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both contracts.

Other contracts
Raytheon Missile Co.
, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $523.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile Production Lot 31. This contract involves foreign military sales to Japan, Kuwait, Poland, Indonesia, Qatar, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Dominance Contracting Office, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Airbus Helicopters Inc., Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $116.9 million contract modification for the procurement of 16 UH-72A aircraft. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 20, 2023. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity. … Atmospheric Science Technology LLC, Norman, Okla., was awarded a $7 million contract that will provide weather observing and forecasting services as required by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Work will be performed at a variety of sites, including New Orleans, La. (4.30 percent); Pensacola, Fla. (4.24 percent); North Whiting Field, Fla. (3.62 percent); and South Whiting Field, Fla. (3.06 percent). Other sites are in Washington, Virginia, Cuba, other locations in Florida, California, Texas, Maryland, Nevada and Mississippi. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk Contracting Department, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity. … Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., was awarded a $20 million modification to a previously awarded contract for AC-130J and AC-130W contractor logistics support for the Precision Strike package. Work will be performed at Canon Air Force Base, N.M.; and Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fla. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity.

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