Monday, October 29, 2018

Week in review (10/21 to 10/27)

The annual summit of the four-state Aerospace Alliance will be held Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1-2, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Ala.

Now in its 10th year, the summit is hosted by Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The event includes presentations and panel discussions centered on subjects shaping the aerospace industry.

Thursday’s summit session begins at 1:30 p.m. and focused on education, workforce and research and development. There will be an aerospace company panel discussion, followed by an education and training best practices panel discussion. There will also be a session on how best to collaborate to meet the education and training needs of the aerospace region.

Friday’s summit session begins at 8:30 a.m., and will include an address about the Airbus A220 project in Mobile and an a talk about how autonomous technologies are changing aerospace. There will also be an education update and a talk about a decade of innovation.

During the Aerospace Alliance Summit last year in New Orleans, education was the focus of one of the meetings, and it’s important enough that it will play a major part of the upcoming summit.

The most recent Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter, created by an independent team of journalists, focused on aerospace and aviation education and training in the region. The special 36-page issue published Tuesday. (Post)

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $8.7 million order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This order provides support services to design a non-Department of Defense (DoD) participant strategic facility in support of the F-35 aircraft. Work will be performed in Missouri and Texas and is expected to be completed in March 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Week in review (10/14 to 10/20)

Next week we’ll publish the education and training special edition of the bimonthly Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter. And for those of you who regularly read the newsletter, you’ll be surprised to see the size and scope of this one.

We usually have an eight-page publication with three or four stories, and primarily focus on the slice of the region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida. And it’s usually published by mid-month.

The October issue is 36 pages, not surprising considering we took a look at aerospace training in all four states that have a piece of the I-10 corridor. It’s being published later in the month than normal because it’s a big research project.

There are 10 stories – including a cover story summary – and a master list of the schools and colleges that offer aerospace and aviation courses in the four states. Because our primary means of distribution is elesctronic, the PDF has active links. So in addition to seeing a high school or college, you’ll be able to click on a link to get more information.

A print version will also be available at cost if you feel the need to have something to hold in your hands. For technical reasons with the service we’ve used for years, the printed version has a cover, making it look more like a book than a newsletter.

The list of schools will also be accessible at the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor website. In addition to duplicating the list from our newsletter research, the list will be updated as we move forward. There’s a form that can be submitted so we can add schools and courses. Our plans at this point include doing a follow-up newsletter next year with stories we couldn’t get to this time around. And there are plenty.

The Gulf Coast Reporters’ League recognizes the workforce issue the aerospace industry faces, now and in the future, and the crucial role education and training plays in ensuring this region has the people who can fill these positions.

The newsletter will be sent to the inboxes of subscribers next week, and will be available for download at Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor on Tuesday. We expect it to be widely read in all four states.

Now for the rest of your week in review:

F-22 Raptor fighters were damaged when Hurricane Michael hit Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. About a dozen F-22s were trapped on the ground because they were in various states of maintenance and repair and had to ride out the Category 4 hurricane in a hangar.

As many as 17 of Tyndall’s F-22s might have sustained damage or been destroyed. Each F-22, a single-engine, single-seat fighter, costs $150 million. The rest of the F-22s based at Tyndall were sent to Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The hurricane’s destruction also forced the headquarters of the First Air Force to move to Virginia. The First Air Force, responsible for air security of the United States, will for now be run out of Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.

While the move is not permanent, it is expected to remain in Virginia for at least the rest of the year. (Post)

Most of the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter jets in the United States and around the world have cleared engine inspections and are now approved for flights.

Earlier, all U.S. and international F-35 fighter jets were grounded so that fuel tubes could be examined. The engines are made by Pratt & Whitney. (Post)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Week in review (10/7 to 10/13)

With so many military assets along the Gulf Coast Interstate 10 corridor region, anytime a hurricane threatens it puts billions of dollars worth of critical U.S. assets at risk. While aircraft, ships and personnel can be evacuated to safer locations, the bases have to withstand the onslaught - and have done so for years.

Tyndall took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael, one of the most destructive hurricanes on record, and like surrounding civilian locations, the base was devastated. Every building took a hit, and there are reports that aircraft that couldn’t be moved – like those in hangars for repairs or maintenance - were also damaged. (Post)

There were no fatalities at the base, which had a skeleton crew left behind to ride it out. The runway, crucial for the base to get supplies brought in, has been reopened, but when personnel and families can return is unclear at this point. But there’s a long road ahead for the base.

So what will it cost to rebuild? Tyndall’s plant replacement value is $1.637 billion, according to the Department of Defense Base Structure Report FY 2015. The plant replacement value (PRV) is what it would cost to replace all buildings, structures and linear structures at a facility, using that year’s labor and materials costs. Depending on the extent of damage, it's a pretty good indicator of the pricetag.

There are 45 bases and base annexes in the region between New Orleans and Panama City with a combined replacement value of nearly $22 billion. The most expensive is Eglin Air Force Base, with a PRV of $4.9 billion. In fact, all the replacement values have gone up since the 2015 report.

Beyond the actual cost, there’s the disruption to the mission. Tyndall is home of F-22 training and an operational F-22 squadron. It’s also were a lot of full-size drones, former fighters converted into target planes, are located.

The base, 12 miles east of Panama City and 16 miles west of Mexico Beach, is home of the 325th Fighter Wing and some 600 military families. It's also home to headquarters of the First Air Force, part of the Air Combat Command, responsible for air defense of the United States.

The Pentagon grounded all 245 U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marines F-35 fighters this week as part of an ongoing investigation into a jet that crashed in Beaufort, S.C., late last month. The cause is believed to be  problem with fuel tubes.

Eleven international partners who participated in the program also grounded most of their F-35s. Some that had already been inspected were back in service, according to reports.

A Navy board is charged with overseeing the investigation, and they are conducting a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube inside the engine of the F-35 aircraft, according to military officials. Joe Dellavedova, director of public affairs for the F-35 program, said that they will remove and replace any fuel tubes they suspect might be problematic.

Those planes that don't have the problem will be cleared to fly, he said, and they hope to have the inspections completed within 24 to 48 hours. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. (Post)

A team of operators conducted another 500-second RS-25 hot fire on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center on Oct. 11, the fourth in a series that will extend into 2019. Once again, the hot fire features an acceptance test of an RS-25 engine controller for use on a future flight of NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Four RS-25 engines, firing simultaneously, will provide a combined 2 million pounds of thrust to help launch the new rocket. NASA has been testing RS-25 engines at Stennis Space Center (SSC) for SLS use since early 2015. (Post)

Orbital Sciences Corp., Chandler, Ariz., was awarded a $791.6 million other-transaction agreement for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. The areement requires shared cost investment for the development of the OmegA launch system. Work will be performed in Chandler; Magna and Promontory, Utah; Iuka, Miss.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Sandusky, Ohio; and Michoud, La., with launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2024. The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $164 million contract modification to previously awarded contract for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Field Support Contract (TFSC). This modification will increase the total ceiling value from $561,200,000 to $725,200,000. The work will be performed in Huntsville, Ala.; Sunnyvale, Calif.; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Troy, Ala. The Missile Defense Agency, Huntsville, is the contracting activity.