Saturday, July 20, 2019

Week in review (7/14 to 7/20)

It was 50 years ago today that Apollo 11 touched down on the moon, and hours later Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface. Now we are entering an era where space travel is again gaining wider interest.

In the Gulf Coast region, work is being done on NASA’s Space Launch System in East New Orleans, and in nearby Stennis Space Center, Miss., propulsion systems are being tested for NASA and commercial companies. On top of that, newcomer Relativity Space is setting up a rocket factory at SSC, where it’s also testing its own rocket engines.

The moon and planets are beginning to look closer again.

Now for your week in review:


MRO
The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration is investing $12.25 million in the city of Pensacola to help establish a new aircraft maintenance training facility at Pensacola International Airport.

The money will be matched by more than $36 million in local and state funds. The new facility, a 175,000 square foot hangar, will be used for commercial and technological aviation and will create 400 jobs.

Mayor Grover Robinson says this is a part of "Project Titan," which will eventually include four hangars, the one already operating, the one announced Thursday and two more at the PNS campus.

The new hangar will be similar to the first, but a significant difference will be the attachment of a 65,000 square-foot support services center.

“The Support Services Center will enclose all of our customer reps’ offices; it will have our engineering areas, it will have our procurement, our logistics management will be there,” said Bill Hafner, president of ST Engineering in Mobile, Ala. (Post)


Military
U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, announced officers selected for the 2020 air show season.

The selected 2020 officers are F/A-18 demonstration pilots, Marine Corps Maj. Frank Zastoupil, of Kingwood, Texas, an F-35 Lightning II pilot currently assigned to the “Warlords” of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, and Navy Lt. Julius Bratton, of Woodlawn, Tenn., an F/A-18 Hornet pilot currently assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron 106.

C-130 pilots chosen are Marine Corps Capt. William Huckeba, of Hoover, Ala., a C-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to Officer Candidate School Quantico, and Marine Corps Capt. Rick Rose, of Napa, Calif., a C-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to the “Sumos” of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152.

Previously selected to join the 2020 team was Commanding Officer and Flight Leader, Navy Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, of Fargo, N.D., who was most recently the commanding officer of the “Sunliners” of Strike Fighter Squadron 81. The new team members will officially begin their training for the 2020 show season following the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Nov. 9. (Post)

-- The Air Force chief of staff announced the assignment of Brig. Gen. William G. Holt III, special assistant to the commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida, to director, joint exercise and training, J-7, U.S. Space Command. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $34.7 million contract to develop and deliver an engineering change proposal to enable the production cut-in of the Fuselage Station 425 Bulkhead structural modification required for F-35A and F-35C to allow full-envelope internal carriage of aft heavy weaponry. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in July 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $23.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for providing a replacement joint air to surface standoff missile (JASSM) anti-jam GPS receiver with a new JASSM Anti-Jam GPS Receiver (JAGR) due to obsolescence. This contract provides replacement for the current JAGR due to obsolescence. Work will be performed at Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2023. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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

Despite the rough weather caused by Hurricane Barry, the Blue Angels performed before the crowds Friday and still planned a limited show Saturday afternoon. The storm was reclassified as a Category 1 as it approached the Louisiana coast Saturday morning.

But the system and its impact stretched to the east and west of the storm, causing rough seas and on and off rain at Pensacola Beach, where the Navy flight demonstration team was schedule to perform.

Here’s your week in review:


Airbus
Airbus delivered to Delta Air Lines its 50th A320 series aircraft produced in the Airbus U.S. production facility in Mobile, Ala. This A321 is the first of a total of 20 aircraft being delivered with a blend of sustainable jet fuel over the next year.

The jet fuel is certified compliant with the sustainability requirements of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) and the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC).

Delta is the second U.S customer to have aircraft delivered by Airbus from Mobile using a blend of sustainable fuel. Airbus offers this option to its customers in order to promote a more regular use of sustainable aviation fuels within the industry. (Post)


Unmanned
The Navy declared initial operational capability for the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter on June 28. It clears the way for the unmanned air vehicle to begin fleet operations and training.

The MQ-8C is to deploy aboard the USN’s littoral combat ships in FY2021, and is intended for intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as precision targeting.

The airframe is the commercial Bell 407, with seats and other manned avionics equipment stripped out and replaced with remote controls and extra fuel tanks. Over the next few years, Northrop Grumman plans to deliver 38 MQ-8Cs to the Navy. Final assembly and flight testing of the MQ-8C is done in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded two contracts in connection with the F-35 during the week. In one, the company was awarded a $41.3 million modification to a previously awarded order placed against a basic ordering agreement. This modification exercises an option for the design, procurement and integration of flight test instrumentation and data processing solutions for F-35 Lightning II development test aircraft to support the Tech Refresh-3 and the Follow on Modernization Block 4 mission systems configuration. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in February 2021. In the other, the company was awarded a $21.3 million modification to a delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for modification kits, special tooling and installation labor for the modification and retrofit of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in May 2024. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for both contracts. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of an F-35 training center, as well as reprogramming labs.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Week in review (6/30 to 7/6)

I have strong memories of Fourth of July celebrations when I was a kid – the fireworks, the parades, the marching bands, the hot dogs and burgers. It was all great fun, and it’s not until you get older that you really understand what it’s all about.

But even as a kid I got a hint. One memory that stands out is a parade in our town in New York, when my Dad was driving a shiny new Lincoln convertible – it wasn’t ours – from the dealership where he worked. In the back were local dignitaries, waving to everyone. I didn’t know who they were, nor did I care.

For me, all I saw was the driver, my very own dignitary, a World War II veteran who fought for our country then came home to work hard raising a family. Later in the parade there was a group of soldiers from a nearby Army base. I focused on just one of them, the man who was dating and would soon marry my sister.

Yes, you can have an elaborate national celebration, it’s all part of what we do in this country to mark the day we declared independence from Great Britain. But look around you. It’s those who are close to you, those who defended us and those who were defended, who make us understand the significance of the day.

Happy birthday, America. We are one people, and should act like it more often.

Now for your week in review:


Airbus
Airbus Canada Limited Partnership marked its first anniversary on July 1, a year after Airbus became the majority partner in the A220 aircraft program.

Highlights of this first anniversary include orders and commitments signed for more than 230 A220 aircraft, the ground-breaking for a new A220 manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala., and expansion at the Mirabel manufacturing facility in Canada.

In total, the A220 ends the first year of Airbus leading the program with a firm order book of over 500 aircraft, plus 80 additional commitments announced at this year’s Paris Air Show. (Post)


Space
Mississippi is starting a new economic development effort to lure companies connected to space exploration. The announcement came less than a month after California-based Relativity announced it would build its Terran 1 space rockets using 3D print technology at Stennis Space Center, where it has already been testing rocket engines.

Gov. Phil Bryant announced the Space Initiative early in the week during an event at Infinity Science Center, near Stennis Space Center in coastal Hancock County. SSC is where NASA and many commercial space companies test rocket engines.

The leader of the economic development effort will be Patrick Scheuermann, former head of Stennis Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center. Bryant also announced formation of a Mississippi National Guard Space Directorate. (Post)

This is not the first effort by Mississippi to leverage technologies at Stennis Space Center. In 1998 Mississippi formally began an effort to create a geospatial technology cluster. It created the Mississippi Space Commerce Initiative, which in 2003 became the Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions.

That was a highly targeted effort, and this one appears to be far more inclusive.


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $348.2 million for a modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification is for production non-recurring, special tooling and special test equipment in support of low-rate initial production Lot 12 F-35 Lightning II aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) partners and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in multiple locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Canada, and Turkey. Work is expected to be completed in August 2022. … The Rockhill Group Inc., Molino, Fla., was awarded a $12.2 million contract for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) aircrew instruction instructor support required by the 492 Special Operations Wing and operational wings. Work will be performed at Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Duke Field, Fla.; Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019. The 765th Specialized Contracting Flight, Air Force Installation Contracting Center, Hurlburt Field, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Week in review (6/23 to 6/29)

The shipment of Space Launch System test articles from Michoud to Huntsville; a new commander for Eglin’s 33rd Fighter Wing; the release of a draft environmental assessment for bringing new training helicopters to Whiting Field; the loss of some state money for the expansion of the ST Engineering campus; and FAA money for some local airports were among the Gulf Coast aerospace stories during the week.

Here’s your week in review:


Space
The last of four structural test articles for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) was loaded onto NASA's Pegasus barge Wednesday at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

The barge will deliver the liquid oxygen (LOX) tank structural test article to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for structural testing.

The LOX tank is one of two propellant tanks in the rocket's core stage that will produce more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help send Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft and SLS, to the Moon.

The nearly 70-foot-long test article is structurally identical to the flight version. SLS is being developed to send astronauts back to the Moon and beyond. (Post)

-- NASA selected 363 proposals from small businesses and research institutions across 41 states to help advance the types of capabilities needed for future missions. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards have a value of some $45 million.

They include seven SBIR projects and two STTR projects tied to Stennis Space Center, Miss. More than 20 percent of the businesses are from underrepresented communities, including minority and women-owned businesses. (Post)


Military
The Navy released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) detailing the impact of a new training helicopter to replace the TH-57. The Advanced Helicopter Training System, called TH-XX while the Navy considers bidders for the contract, will provide 130 newer, more capable, more reliable helicopter and training system to Training Air Wing 5 and would meet the advanced helicopter and intermediate tilt-rotor training requirements through 2050.

The new helicopter will require an additional 33 training personnel at Whiting Field. The replacement helicopter has not yet been determined, but will be a commercially available helicopter.

Training will transition to the TH-XX beginning in 2021 and completed by 2025. Training operations would generally be similar to existing training. However, there would be an increase in the number of annual flight operations, to include training involving night vision device training, flying in formation at night, and search and rescue. (Post)

-- The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., welcomed a new commander June 18. Col. Jon Wheeler took over as the newest Nomad One from Col. Paul Moga, who heads to an air staff position at the Pentagon. Wheeler had been one of only 10 fighter pilots selected to serve in the inaugural cadre of F-35 instructor pilots at the 33rd FW. (Post)

-- A new Fat Albert C-130 was chosen for the Pensacola-based U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The Navy awarded a $29.7 million contract to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense for a Royal Air Force C-130J Super Hercules. The Navy said purchasing the used British aircraft as the new Fat Albert is about $50 million less than the cost of a new aircraft. (Post)


Airports
Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $131 million of proposed spending from this year's budget, including $1.5 million for the expansion of the ST Aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul campus at Pensacola International Airport.

ST Engineering already has one hangar at the airport, but the $210 million project will add three additional hangars and supporting buildings. Pensacola City Administrator Chris Holley said the state has been helpful with the project, and it's hard to be critical of a veto over $1.5 million when the state came up with money from the Department of Transportation a few months back to move the project forward.

Holley said the expansion project is moving forward and is still expected to create more than 1,300 jobs when operations begin in 2022. The project has a five-year time frame for build-out, which Holley says is plenty of time to go back to the Legislature next year and present their case once again. (Post)

-- Fifteen airports in the Gulf Coast I-10 region will receive 16 airport infrastructure grants totaling $34.5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. They were among 358 grants awarded to 327 airports in 46 states and the Pacific Islands.

In the Gulf Coast region, the largest grant went to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, which was awarded $11.5 million to expand an apron and terminal building. The Mobile Downtown Airport received two separate awards, one for updating the master plan study and one to acquire equipment and rehabilitate runway 14/32. (Post)

-- In Panama City, Northwest Beaches International Airport recorded its second-highest monthly passenger total in its nine-year history in May, with 128,087 people either arriving at or departing from ECP. The only time the airport recorded more passengers in a month was last July, when 128,254 passengers either emplaned or deplaned at the facility. Last month’s passenger total was just under a 32 percent jump over the May 2018 total. (Story)


Corporate
Bombardier Inc. is selling its money-losing regional jet business to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) for $550 million in cash, in a deal marking the Canadian plane and train maker’s exit from commercial aviation.

As part of the deal, expected to close in the first half of next year, the Japanese firm will also take over a $200 million debt. Montreal-based Bombardier will continue to assemble its regional jet planes (CRJ), but will stop making the aircraft in the second half of 2020 after it finishes delivering its remaining orders.

Bombardier last year agreed to make Airbus a majority partner in a partnership that builds the A220, the former Bombardier CSeries. A new production line is being built in Mobile, Ala. (Post)


Contracts
United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $358.5 million modification to a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract. This modification provides for eight initial spare F135-PW-100 propulsion systems and one initial spare F135-PW-600 propulsion system for the Global Spares Pool, including initial spare modules and initial spare parts. Work will be performed in East Hartford (93%); Indianapolis, Ind. (6%); and Bristol, United Kingdom (1%), and is expected to be completed in June 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/28/19). Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded a $15.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF). The contract modification is to make changes to the AEHF Mission Planning Element software to provide capability improvements. Work will be performed at Sunnyvale and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2020. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity. Work on the AEHF core propulsion system is done at Stennis Space Center, Miss. … Med-Eng LLC., Ogdensburg, N.Y., was awarded an $11.5 million modification from a previously awarded contract for the delivery of a full bomb suit ensemble and associated accessories for explosive ordinance disposal personnel. Work will be performed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and is expected to be completed by March 2023. The 772d Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Innovative Technologies International Inc., Lynchburg, Va., was awarded a $7 million contract for Katana Hardware Fabrication effort. The contract provides for concept design analysis and advanced fabrication capabilities to rapidly manufacture products meeting specific characteristics through a partnering arrangement by fulfilling research, development, test and evaluation requirements for Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with organization-specific tasks. Work will be performed at Lynchburg and is expected to be completed by June 25, 2024. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Week in review (6/9 to 6/22)

We've had a lot of aerospace news since I last wrote my column on June 8. I took a break from the column so we could go to our grandson's wedding. So let's get right to it.

California-based Relativity announced June 11 that it will build 3D rockets at Stennis Space Center, Miss., a decision that will create 200 jobs for an investment of $59 million.

Relativity secured an agreement with NASA and an incentive package from the Mississippi Development Authority to expand facilities and infrastructure at the space cener. Relativity will build and integrate a robotic 3D printing rocket factory and an expanded testing facility to produce Relativity's Terran 1 rocket launch vehicles.

The agreement with NASA includes exclusive use of 220,000 square feet within building 9101 for a nine-year lease. The facility includes an 80-foot high bay, multiple bridge cranes, and extensive industrial infrastructure. The agreement also includes an option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years.

Relativity’s partnership with the MDA is supported by a significant cost reimbursement and tax incentive package for Relativity's employment and capital investments for advanced aerospace manufacturing and technology development in the state. Relativity will be building out first stage assembly, engine integration and testing, and a full 3D printing and robotics-enabled production line at the site.

With the expansion at Stennis, Relativity is increasing infrastructure fourfold to over 280,000 square feet of operations, production, testing, and launch facilities and is on track to reach over 350,000 square feet of space in 2019. In the past year, the company increased team size over 6 times from 14 to 90 employees. (Post)


Airbus
The first large aircraft components for the first A220 that will be built in Mobile have been delivered to the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. The major component assemblies (MCAs) are the aft fuselage and cockpit, which arrived by truck.

Wings, vertical and horizontal tail planes, tail cones and landing gear will arrive in coming weeks. Aircraft production is scheduled to begin in the next couple of months, even as construction on some of the A220-specific buildings on the campus continues over the next year. Employees for the new A220 production line will be returning from training in Mirabel, Canada in time for production start. Hiring for A220 and A320 production is continuing. (Post)

-- Delta Air Lines has ordered five additional A220-100 aircraft, bringing to 95 the total number of orders placed, including both the A220-100s and A220-300s. The airline is the first to select the new increased maximum takeoff weight option for its entire fleet from 2020.

Airbus announced in May that it would increase the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) for the A220. The new MTOW will increase the maximum range capabilities. Delta was the U.S. launch customer for the A220, placing an initial order for 75 aircraft in 2016 and booking an additional 15 in December 2018.

With this latest order, Delta’s orders total 45 A220-100s and 50 A220-300s. Delta’s A220-100s are produced in Mirabel, Qu├ębec, Canada, while the A220-300s will be built at a new U.S. assembly plant now under construction in Mobile, Ala., adjacent to the existing Airbus A320 assembly facility. (Post)


UTC-Raytheon
United Technologies and Raytheon are joining forces in one of the biggest corporate mergers of 2019. They agreed to combine in an all-stock deal they termed a "merger of equals." The new company would have annual revenue of about $74 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, United Technologies shareholders would own 57 percent of the combined company, with Raytheon shareholders owning the rest.

UTC is an industrial conglomerate, and makes everything from jet engines to elevators. It owns the Pratt & Whitney engine maker as well as Collins Aerospace. Raytheon is rooted in defense, and produces missile defense systems and cybersecurity solutions. Both companies are Airbus and Boeing suppliers.

The combined company will be named Raytheon Technologies Corporation and based in Boston. It will be second in size to Boeing in the U.S. and tied for third in the world with Airbus. UTC and Raytheon have almost no overlap, with most units likely being able to stay more or less as-is. One of UTC's three companies is Collins Aerospace, which does jet engine podding work in Foley, Ala. It has 1,100 employees. (Post)


Research
The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and Andrews Research and Educations Foundation (AREF) have announced partnership to conduct research projects together. They signed an agreement to collaborate on human-performance research.

IHMC and AREF will share office and lab spaces at their Pensacola and Gulf Breeze facilities. The scientists and doctors will collaborate on research into area ranging from optimizing physical and cognitive performance to developing technologies aimed at helping high-performing humans like professional athletes, astronauts and fighter pilots.

They'll work together to study ways to help human movement, vision and reaction in extreme environments. Immediate plans include IHMC and AREF personnel working together on current ongoing research projects as well as developing proposals for future projects and grants. (Post)


Publications
Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2019-2020 was published June 11 and is available for download at our website. The 100-page reference book has chapters on aircraft assembly and maintenance in the central part of the corridor, military aviation, space activities, education, airports and a summary of aerospace activities in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The book can be found on the homepage, which takes you to a page where the entire book or individual chapters can also be downloaded. In addition, the June issue of the bimonthly Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter is available for download at the same website. The eight-page bimonthy in this issue summarizes the content of the just-released book.


Contracts
Management Services Group Inc., doing business as Global Technical Systems, Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded a $20 million contract for Mid-Size Munitions (MSM) technology effort. Work will be performed at Virginia Beach and is expected to be completed by June 17, 2024. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. ... Advanced Concepts and Technologies International LLC, Waco, Texas, was awarded a $7.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the 505th Training Group academic and training support. Work will be performed primarily at Hurlburt Field, Fla., as well as various other locations worldwide, and is expected to be complete by June 9, 2020. Air Combat Command Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Hurlburt Field, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Week in review (6/2 to 6/8)

Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2019-2020, the seventh edition of our reference book, will publish next week. The six-chapter, 100-page book provides an update of aviation activities in the Interstate 10 region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida.

The last issue was published in 2017, and the two years since then has seen a lot of activity, including a second passenger jet assembly line in Mobile, an expansion of the maintenance, repair and overhaul campus in Pensacola and a number of new aerospace and aviation education and training programs.

Much of the reference book involves updating numbers from the previous issue, like the replacement value of the military properties in the Gulf Coast region. We also have updated figures for the number of contracts and value of those contracts in each of the counties and parishes in our coverage area.

We have one chapter that highlights the fast-growing Mobile-Pensacola metro areas in the center of the corridor, where we have two overlapping clusters, one for aircraft manufacturing and the other aircraft maintenance. It’s the hot-spot for aviation jobs, with more than 2,000 that will be needed in the next couple of years.

Our chapter on military aviation details the activities at the Navy and Air Force bases that dot the region, and the changes that are resulting from the pounding Tyndall Air Force Base took from Hurricane Michael in 2018. Among other things, the F-22 training has gone away, but the region will be getting more F-35s.

The education chapter will update the wealth of information that was published in October 2018 in the special 36-page edition of our bimonthly newsletter. Since that newsletter, several training programs have been launched to help meet the demand for workers in the aerospace industry.

Out space chapter will fill you in on our region's contribution to both government and commercial space ventures. It has information on the huge technology park NASA is eyeing for the region, and the move by one group to get an airport licensed as a spaceport.

We also have for the first time since 2014 a chapter on airports in the region. They are often the first places visitors see, and they are magnets where a lot of the aerospace and aviation development is taking place.

So visit our website Tuesday and download a PDF copy. It’s free, thanks to the underwriters who support the project.

On a solemn note, this past week was the anniversary for two significant events from World War II. June 6 was the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, where so many brave soldiers lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy. Some 11 months later the war in Europe was over.

June 7 was the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The decisive U.S. naval victory came six months after Pearl Harbor at a time when we were still not at our peak strength and badly needed a win.

World War II will always stand out in my mind. My dad was in the Army Air Corps and fought in Europe with so many others. Other relatives also served. The generation that followed owed everything to them. So I will never forget. Thank you.

Now for your week in review:

Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $1.8 billion contract for continued design maturation and development of Block 4 capabilities in support of the F-35 Phase 2.3 Pre-Modernization for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps; and non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants. Work will be performed in Fort Worth and is expected to be completed in August 2026. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … NASA has selected four companies to provide real property master planning (RPMP) for the agency, as needed for all 10 NASA centers. The companies are: HB&A – The Schreifer Group Joint Venture of Colorado Springs, Colo.; The Urban Collaborative of Eugene, Oregon; Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. of Atlanta; and Michael Baker International Inc. of Moon Township, Pa. The maximum potential value of this contract will not exceed $24 million for work that starts June 15, 2019, and extends for five years, with three one-year options.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Week in review (5/19 to 5/25)

Airbus during the week marked the delivery of its 12,000th aircraft in its 50-year history. The aircraft was an A220-100, assembled in Mirabel, Canada, and handed over to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines.

The aircraft is the 12th A220 delivered to date to Delta Air Lines since the first A220 in October 2018. Delta is the first U.S. airline to operate the A220 and is the largest A220 customer, with a firm order for 90 aircraft.

Ground was broken in January this year in Mobile, Ala. for the construction of a second A220 final assembly line, set to start deliveries to U.S. customers in 2020. (Post)

Meanwhile, Airbus has emerged as the newest potential buyer for Bombardier’s plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bombardier announced in early May that it was seeking to divest its facilities in both Northern Ireland and Morocco.

According to a report from the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the Airbus CEO said that this would be an option for Airbus, effectively leading to the manufacturer taking control of the wing production for its A220 airliner, as well as engine covers for its A320 series.

Purchase of the Belfast operation would add to Airbus’s operations in the UK, which include wing manufacture for most of its commercial aircraft products at Broughton, North Wales, as well as production and design of wings at Filton, near Bristol. (Post)

Speaking of the A220, Airbus announced that beginning in the second half of 2020 the jetliner will be offered with a longer range. It will allow the A220 to reach markets that cannot be served by other small single-aisle aircraft types. (Post)


Blue Angels
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team is retiring its existing C-130T Fat Albert cargo plane, but the Fat Albert program isn't going away. The Department of Defense is looking at replacement options. The team announced during the week that Fat Albert had reached the end of its flying life after 17 years with the team, accumulating more than 30,000 flight hours. The Blue Angels are based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (Post)


Contracts
Vectrus Systems Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded a $16.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Base Operations Support services. This modification provides for the exercise of the third option period. Work will be performed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2020. The 81st Contracting Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $11.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification exercises an option for deployment and operation of test aircraft in support of the F-35 development, production, and sustainment for the Air Force, Navy, and non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants. Work will be performed in Lakehurst, N.J. (70 percent); and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, Md., was awarded a $7.8 million delivery order against a previously awarded contract for serviceable components and subsystems for Instrumentation Tracking Systems (ITS). This delivery order provides for a 5.5 KVDC transmitter power upgrade for Phased Array Radar. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by March 17, 2021. The 45th Contracting Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Alfab Inc., Enterprise, Ala., is awarded a $127.9 million contract to provide new and refurbished Airfield Matting 2 (AM2) packages in accordance with Naval Air Systems Command drawing packages. Work will be performed in Enterprise and is expected to be completed in May 2024. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $24.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile System Improvement Program software architecture and design risk reduction efforts to counter evolving threats. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2022. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Week in review (5/12 to 5/17)

Since we have one location in the Gulf Coast region seeking a license to become a space port, this item might be of interest to Hancock County, Miss. It’s from late last week, and shows the importance of patience.

Spaceport America in southern New Mexico is finally getting its anchor tenant since its official opening in 2011. Billionaire Richard Branson said at a news conference May 10 that Virgin Galactic will relocate its headquarters and flight operations from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port to Spaceport America.

The move will be this summer, in anticipation of commercial spaceflights beginning by the end of the year. More than 100 Virgin Galactic flight personnel and support staff are expected to move. Virgin Galactic affiliate, manufacturer The Spaceship Company, will remain in Mojave.

Spaceport America, near Truth or Consequences, has hosted close to 50 private suborbital launches since its official 2011 opening. Taxpayers invested some $200 million with the idea that Virgin Galactic would be the anchor tenant. The facility is on the northwestern edge of the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range. (Story)

The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission hopes to make Stennis International Airport in Kiln, just outside Stennis Space Center, one of the nation’s licensed spaceports. It’s no doubt a long road. But every journey begins with the first step.


Contracts – F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded three contracts in connection with the F-35 program during the week. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity for all three contracts. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., trains F-35 pilots and maintainers.

One was a $21.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract that will provide initial repair material for the Electronic Warfare Digital Channelized Receiver/Techniques Generator Tuner Insertion Program, Fuel and Life Support systems at multiple F-35 depots within the continental U.S. Work will be performed in New Hampshire, Texas, and the United Kingdom and is expected to be completed in January 2022.

The company also was awarded an $11.9 million modification to a delivery order previously issued against a basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for modification kits and special tooling required for the modification and retrofit of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in support of the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (non-U.S. DoD) participants; and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2023.

The company also was awarded an $18.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification authorizes the procurement of Diminishing Manufacturing Sources redesign activities in support of the F-35 aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in January 2024.


Other contracts
Sikorsky, Stratford, Conn., was awarded a $1.1 billion modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the procurement of 12 Lot II and Lot III low-rate initial production CH-53K aircraft, including programmatic support, logistics support, and peculiar support equipment. Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will handle 1.11 percent of the work. Other work sites are in Connecticut, Kansas, Utah, Missouri, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, the United Kingdom and Canada. Work is expected to be completed in December 2023. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Co., Keyport, Wash., was awarded a $20.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise options for maintenance and support of AN/AQS-20 Sonar Mine Detecting Set. The AN/AQS-20 is a towed, mine hunting and identification system for Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants. Panama City, Fla., will handle 5 percent of the work. Other work sites are in Rhode Island and Washington. Work is expected to be completed by May 2020. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, is the contracting activity. … EMR Inc., Niceville, Fla., is awarded an $18.9 million task order under a multiple award construction contract for the design and construction of P855 expeditionary combat skills student berthing at Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Miss. Work will be performed in Gulfport and is expected to be completed by June 2021. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Week in review (5/5 to 5/11)

Facing a need for a lot more workers in the coming years, Airbus during the week announced the launch of two new programs designed to employ applicants with little-to-no previous aerospace experience.

The programs, FlightPath9 and Fast Track, are intended to train candidates to become workers on the company's A320 and A220 jetliner assembly lines in Mobile. FlightPath9 is a nine-month program for high school seniors. It will be run by Flight Works Alabama, which has partnered with Airbus, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Cintas, Snap-On Tools, Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment, and the National Coalition of Certification Centers.

Students will attend training after school during their senior year. Upon graduation, students who complete the program can start their career with Airbus through the second program, Fast Track.

Fast Track is a 12 to 15-week program for people with no aviation experience. It provides them with the skills needed for a career in aerospace maintenance. "When they come out of that training, the employee graduates to on-the-job training on A220 an A320 aircraft," said Daryl Taylor, vice president and general manager of the A320 manufacturing facility in Mobile.

Fast Track, while targeting Mobile-area residents, can be attended by others from the region. The announcement was attended by Gov. Kay Ivey, who congratulated each of the first class of 25 students who signed up for FlightPath9.

Airbus, which already has its A320 line up and running, is expanding that line and building a second assembly line for A220s, and expects to need 600 to 700 new workers in the next few years. (Post)

The Mobile-Pensacola portion of the aerospace corridor will be adding a lot of aviation jobs in the near future. In addition to the 600-700 in Mobile, some 60 miles to the east in Pensacola, Fla., there will be a need for 1,200 maintenance, repair and overhaul workers at the ST Engineering campus at Pensacola International Airport.


Military
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the preferred alternative to receive an additional F-35A training squadron. Eglin was the location of the F-35 initial joint training site hosting Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps F-35s, but the Marine Corps relocated its F-35Bs in 2014 and the Navy announced its plans to relocate F-35Cs in 2019.

“By basing the next F-35A training squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, we are taking advantage of existing facilities and training air space,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

Additional F-35As are expected to begin arriving in the fall of 2021. The new squadron is expected to reach full operational capability by spring 2023. Eglin will only receive the additional F-35 training unit if the F-22 Raptor formal training unit temporarily operating at Eglin is permanently moved to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

In March, the Air Force acknowledged plans to move the F-22 training unit to JB Langley-Eustis, pending the outcome of the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory and planning processes. This F-35 basing action is also dependent on completing the environmental analysis. (Post)

Eglin got the F-22 training unit after Tyndall Air Force Base, to the east of Eglin near Panama City, was hit hard by Hurricane Michael. The base is being rebuilt, and now Tyndall is being recommended by the Air Force to receive up to three operational F-35 squadrons. If approved and funded by Congress, the squadrons would arrive in 2023.


Airports
Two Louisiana airports, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and Lafayette Regional Airport, were awarded $15 million and $10.5 million grants, respectively, by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lafayette will use the money from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program for taxiway improvement projects. The Lafayette airport is undergoing an $80 million construction project to build a new terminal. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. In Baton Rouge, the funding will be used for runway, safety, and other development projects included in the airport’s master plan. (Post)


Contract
United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $55.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides additional funding for F135 long lead items to support the production delivery schedule, exercises an option for additional initial spare parts, and provides program administrative labor for the global spares pool in support of the Navy; Air Force, and Marine Corps, non-U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in East Hartford (67 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (26.5 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (6.5 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Week in review (4/28 to 5/4)

Blue Air Training, which provides training for military close air support personnel, has opened a facility at Pensacola International Airport. It’s the company’s fourth facility in this country.

Founder and CEO James Barlow said the company has more than 20 employees in Pensacola right now. But he's looking to grow that number. The company’s aircraft fleet is composed of fixed-wing A-90 Raiders, BAC-167 Strikemasters, IAR-823 Brasovs and rotary-wing AH-6 Little Birds.

Blue Air Training, headquartered in Las Vegas, began because Barlow, a former Air Force A-10 pilot, saw the need for more in-depth, hands-on close air support training for people who are on the radios.

The company received permission in 2011 to begin training Air Force attack controllers and fighter pilots. Barlow retired from the Air Force to lead the company full-time. The other U.S. operations are in Yuma, Ariz., and Oklahoma City, Okla.

Blue Air Training also has bases in South America and Wales. (Post)


Contracts
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $1.1 billion contract for sustainment services in support of the F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, non-U. S. Department of Defense (non-U.S. DoD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (60 percent); Orlando, Fla. (24 percent); Greenville, S.C. (7 percent); Samlesbury, Preston, United Kingdom (5 percent); and El Segundo, Calif. (4 percent). Work is expected to be completed in December 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $7.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract to establish organic depot component repair capabilities for the F-35 Lightning II Air Interceptor System in support of the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. Work will be performed in Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom (81.6 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (18.4 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2023. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $19.3 million modification to previously awarded contract for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) production program. Work will be performed in Tucson, and is expected to be complete by April 15, 2021. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Week in review (4/21 to 4/27)

How important is aerospace to the Gulf Coast region? Important enough that we produce a biennial reference book that highlights the industry that's continuing to grow in the region between South Louisiana and Northwest Florida.

We're in the process of compiling Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2019-2020, the seventh edition of our biennial reference book. While we do track aerospace and aviation developments in our daily news feed, this weekly column and our bimonthly newsletter, so much occurs that we need to put it all in focus every couple of years. That's the purpose of the book, a must-read for anyone interested in the field.

One chapter we're taking up this year is the growth of aircraft assembly in recent years. Jetliners are built by Airbus in Mobile, Ala., unmanned helicopters are built by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss., and in 2021 Kopter Group will assemble helicopters in Lafayette, La. In addition, if Bell wins a Navy contract, training helicopters will be built in Ozark, Ala. Why is this happening, and can we expect the growth to continue?

We'll also have updated chapters on space activities, military aviation, commercial airports, education and innovation. The book will be published in June as a 100-page PDF that will be available on our website. It will be free to readers, thanks to the support of our underwriters who back it because they recognize this is an important story to tell. A printed version will also be available at cost plus shipping from our print-on-demand provider.

Speaking of underwriters, if you're a company interested in having your name associated with this worthwhile, unique publication, give me a call or email me and I'll provide you with details. Just think of all the students and potential future workers this will reach.

Now for your week in review:


ST Engineering
ST Engineering secured around $959 million in new contracts in the aerospace sector. The Singapore group says that among the new contracts is a 10-year service agreement with a long-time, unidentified North American operator, to provide heavy maintenance checks for its fleet of Airbus A300s and Boeing 757s.

The contract will cover over 160 widebody and narrowbody aircraft, to be serviced at its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in San Antonio, Texas, and Pensacola, Fla., starting in 2020.

ST Engineering has one MRO hangar in Pensacola and plans are to build three more. ST Engineering also has an operation in Mobile, Ala. (Post)


Bell
Bell has announced that, if it is selected to build the U.S. Navy’s Advanced Helicopter Trainer, it will assemble the aircraft in Ozark, Ala., where it currently does some of the assembly work for the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter.

The company would build the Bell 407GXi, and final assembly would take place in Ozark, according to Bell’s parent company Textron. Ozarks is near Fort Rucker, where the Army trains its aviators.

The Navy wants about 130 aircraft for the program. Bell’s workforce at the Ozark site could grow by 25 percent to a total of 100 workers if the company wins the competition, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.

If selected, the Bell 407GXi would replace the Navy’s TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopters, which Bell first introduced in the 1970s. A decision from the Navy is expected later this year. Bell is competing against Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo Helicopters. (Post)


Contracts – F-35
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $117.1 million modification to a delivery order previously placed against a basic ordering agreement. This modification provides for air vehicle initial spares to include a deployment spares package, afloat spares package, and associated consumables to support air vehicle delivery schedules for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in support of the Air Force and Marine Corps. Work will be performed in a variety of locations in the United States and Europe. Work is expected to be completed in August 2023. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded $90.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification will stand up organic depot repair capabilities for the F-35 integrated core processor. Work will be performed in a variety of locations in the United States and is expected to be completed in October 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.


Contracts – other
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $127.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the B61-12 Life Extension Program. This modification provides for the initiation of an undefinitized contract action for Lot 1 and Lot 2 Long Lead items. Work will be performed in Saint Charles, Mo., and is expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2020. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Korte Construction Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $31.3 million contract to design and build an Integrated Training Center Academics Building at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Work will be performed in Okaloosa County, Fla., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2021. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Week in review (4/14 to 4/20)

As the editor of several Gulf Coast aerospace publications, I’m never sure when I go to events that are not specifically focused on aerospace what, if anything, I’ll come back with.

That was the case with the 22nd Gulf Power Economic Symposium, held Wednesday and Thursday at the Sandestin Resort in Miramar Beach. I go every year – there were 638 participants this year – because the event is always interesting and informative, with good speakers. And I usually get something out of it that’s aerospace-related.

Besides, I get to see folks I know who I don't get a chance to see on a regular basis.

I went Wednesday for just part of the day, then returned Thursday for the entire half-day event, where there were talks about innovation, public/private partnerships and what factors might make a company pick one site over another.

Thursday also included remarks by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who talked about the trend of people, businesses and wealth moving from highly taxed, highly regulated states to places like Florida. He said Florida has low taxes, reasonable regulations and conservative spending. "I think we're seeing more and more people who want to come and invest in Florida for those reasons," he said.

DeSantis also talked about the state's approach to preparing workers for the future. He said that while Florida's university system is ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report, the university path is not the only road to success.

"We set a goal to make Florida No. 1 in workforce education by 2030," he said, noting that the state is now in the middle of the pack. (Post)

After his talk, DeSantis spent a few minutes with reporters to answer questions. Needless to say, I took the opportunity to focus on aerospace, and asked him how the state is doing compared to other states as an aerospace power.

"I think that in many respects we're leading the way," he said. He pointed out that the growth in commercial space activity is "a very big deal," and said many of those companies have chosen Florida to set up operations. They use Florida not only for launches, but for manufacturing.

And he’s also interested in getting Florida on the radar for the Space Force – should that happen.

“I've been talking with the president about locating the combatant command for U.S. Space Force in Florida. He is definitely considering it ... I think Florida is uniquely positioned for that. We already have three combatant commands,” he said.

Getting the space force would not only be good substantively, but symbolically. “That would kind of show, hey, Florida is the place to be for space.”

I also asked him how Florida does compared to other states in K-12 education. After all, he said in his talk that the state’s higher education system ranks high, and that he intends to make it No. 1 in workforce training.

The governor pointed out that Florida is a diverse state, and K-12 education varies, but pointed out that the state’s NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores have improved in the last 20 years, and recently made the top 10.

The need as he sees it is to focus on the basics, and to put more emphasis on vocational training at the high school level. One of his concerns is civics education, a very important part of schooling that ensure youth understand the basics and the nation’s foundation.

I couldn’t agree with him more. A 2016 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that only 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of government, a significant decline from previous years. And that's just one part of a host of basics that any good citizen should know.

Without an understanding of the structure of government, our rights and responsibilities, and the different methods of public engagement, civic literacy will continue to plague our nation. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that young people become knowledgeable citizens. The increased focus on math and reading in K–12 education, while important, shouldn’t push out civics and other important subjects.

And while we're at it, how about more history, which should go hand-in-hand with civics. An educated public is the best way to ensure our future.

The next Gulf Power Symposium will be held in February 2020, again at Sandestin.


Corporate
ST Engineering has been given approval by regulators in the United States to acquire GE Aviation’s nacelle unit. The Singapore group is acquiring Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS) in a deal worth an estimated net price of $440 million.

ST Engineering’s U.S. subsidiary, Vision Technologies Aerospace, is acquiring all the shares of Baltimore, Md.-based MRAS, the sole supplier of certain nacelle equipment for GE engines powering the Airbus A330, Boeing 747-8, 767, Comac ARJ21 and Embraer 190.

It specializes in the development, production and aftermarket support of nacelles, thrust reversers and aerostructures and employs around 800 staff. ST Engineering has maintenance, repair and overhaul operations in Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla. (Post)


Contracts
Pratt and Whitney Engines, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $201.9 million modification to the previously awarded advance acquisition contract. This modification provides for long-lead materials, parts, and components for Lot 14 F135 Propulsion systems for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in support of the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (non-U.S. DoD) participants; and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in East Hartford; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Bristol, United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed in April 2022. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $65 million contract for Small Diameter Bomb Increment I miniature munitions. This contract provides for integration, sustainment and support of the Small Diameter Bomb Increment I miniature munition and carriage system on various Foreign Military Sales aircraft platforms. This support includes all testing, engineering, management, technical, and logistical activities associated with Small Diameter Bomb Increment I weapon system with various aircraft and associated systems. Work will be performed in St. Louis, various Air Force test ranges, and in each respective country. Work is expected to be complete by April 15, 2029. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $19.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) production program. This modification provides for upgrade and commonality of AMRAAM production test equipment being produced and utilized
under the basic contract. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by April 15, 2022. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Week in review (4/7 to 4/13)

Alabamians voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, and are probably among his most ardent supporters. That’s unlikely to change, but that support may come more grudgingly, at least in Southwest Alabama, if the president’s plan to impose $11.2 billion in tariffs on imports from the European Union comes to pass.

That’s because the targeted items include the aircraft sections that are shipped from Europe and used in Mobile to assemble the A320 series of jetliners. What it might do to the Mobile operation should the tariffs happen is unclear, but it will no doubt benefit Airbus rival Boeing.

The call for tariffs comes at a time when Boeing is under a spotlight over the crash of two 737 Max jetliners within a five-month span that killed more than 350 people. Both crashes were traced to a problem with sensors on the nose of the planes.

Pilots for years have relied on sensors to warn them of dangerous stalls. But in the Boeing Max the sensors go beyond warning and force the nose down automatically. A review of public databases by Bloomberg News shows that since the early 1990s, there are at least 140 instances of sensors on U.S. planes being damaged by equipment on the ground or bird strikes.

While Boeing is working on a fix, its Max planes have been grounded. So the tariffs are, for Boeing, a bit of good news. At least for the time being, because the EU is planning its own retaliation.

Airbus and Boeing compete for industry dominance. Both sides have been judged by the World Trade Organization to have paid billions in subsidies to gain advantage, and have been asked to stop or face potential sanctions.

In Brussels during the week, European Union countries gave initial clearance to start formal trade talks with the United States. Both sides have won partial victories at the WTO but disagree on the amount involved and whether each has complied with earlier WTO rulings.

According to Reuters, the European Commission has drawn up a list of U.S. imports worth around $22.6 billion that it could hit with tariffs over the transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute, EU diplomats said Friday.

The final amount decided by the WTO arbitrator could also be lower. The EU had also initially requested that the WTO authorize countermeasures of $12 billion.

The arbitrator’s decision may not come before March 2020. In the U.S. case a WTO decision could come in June or July this year.


Military
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, the last living member of the WWII bombing mission by the Doolittle Radiers, died April 9 in Texas at the age of 103. Cole was one of 80 Army Air Corps personnel that volunteered for the mission, a team led by then-Lt. Col. James Doolittle to strike Japan on April 18, 1942, after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

Sixteen B-25 bombers launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. The team trained at Eglin Field in Florida for two weeks. Damage from the raid was slight, but showed that Japan was not beyond the reach of American air power. Seven of the raiders lost their lives in the mission. Cole bailed out of the B-25 after the raid while trying to reach a landing site in China.

He will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. (Post)

-- Air Force Maj. Gen. Marc H. Sasseville has been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region; and commander, First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Sasseville is currently serving as deputy director, Air National Guard, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. (Post)


Space
NASA conducted a successful hot fire test of an RS-25 engine during the week, the culmination of four-plus years of testing for the RS-25 engines that will send the first four Space Launch System (SLS) rockets into space.

The RS-25 rocket engine test era began Jan. 9, 2015, with a 500-second hot fire of RS-25 developmental engine No. 0525 on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis. NASA tested the first SLS flight engine on March 10, 2016.

Altogether, the agency has conducted 32 developmental and flight engine tests for a total of 14,754 seconds, all on the A-1 stand at Stennis. Having launched 135 space shuttle missions, these main engines are considered the most tested engines in the world. When the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011, NASA still had 16 engines that ultimately were modified for SLS. (Post)


Newsletter
The Gulf Coast Reporters League/Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter for April is available at the website Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor for download.

There's a story about the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, which is piquing the interest of young people in the aerospace and aviation fields at a time that the industry is facing shortages of workers. There's also a story about the new helicopter simulators at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, near Milton, Fla., as well as an analysis on the growth of the region's aircraft assembly footprint. (Post)


Contract
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., has been awarded a $21.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator sustainment. Work will be performed in St. Louis and is expected to be complete by July 18, 2023. This modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $26.4 million. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Week in review (3/31 to 4/6)

The April edition of the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor/Gulf Coast Reporters League newsletter will publish this coming Tuesday.

This issue will fill you in on the importance of the National Flight Academy at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., at a time when the aerospace industry is concerned about getting the next generation of aviation workers. For the immediate Mobile-Pensacola area, some 2,000 new jobs will have to be filled in the next few years.

We also have a story on the new high-tech simulators that are going to Naval Air Station Whiting Field near Milton, Fla., plus additional stories about the Navy’s search for a new training helicopter and an update on Santa Rosa County’s work to create Whiting Aviation Park.

There’s also a piece on the new SHO9 helicopters that will be assembled in Lafayette, La., by the Kopter Group of Switzerland. It adds another layer to the aircraft assembly operation in the region. Included in that story is an update on happenings at the Mobile Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala.

The eight-page publication will be sent to the inbox of subscribers – it’s free – and others can grab it at our website. Now for your week in review:


Education - attraction
What’s it like to be launched in space?

The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., has a new Apollo 11 virtual reality (VR) attraction designed to let visitors walk in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

The 5-minute, $10 experience includes climbing aboard the rocket, actually a row of a dozen seats facing a replica Houston Mission Control.

The seats move, by the way, shaking and pitching, like you might experience in a spacecraft. After launch, riders get a 360 degree view of earth and space while heading to the moon.

Animation of the historic 1969 landing allows guests to see what the astronauts might have witnessed and felt. This year is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. (Post)

Many of us who are, uh, old timers, remember the landing, watching it on television. Some of us even made younger siblings look at the historic landing – even though they had other things they’d rather do.


Military
Cmdr. Brian Kesselring will be the Blue Angels flight leader and commanding officer for the 2020 and 2021 show seasons. Kesselring will replace current Blue Angels commanding officer Capt. Eric Doyle in November 2019, when the show season ends.

Kesselring will lead the Pensacola, Fla.-based team during its 75th anniversary season in 2021, and will likely oversee the transition from the F/A-18 Hornet to the Super Hornet. The Navy expects the change to happen in 2021.

It will mark the first time in 35 years the Blue Angels have changed aircraft. (Post)

If you haven’t seen the Blue Angels perform, you’re missing something special. A few years ago we took a visitor to see the team practice at Naval Air Station Pensacola. If you’ve never seen a practice session, it’s quite enjoyable – especially hearing the volunteers who give a play-by-play in front of the visitors sitting in the stands.


Contracts - NASA
NASA has awarded a task order to CenturyLink, of Va., to provide support of NASA’s core backbone services including Optical Wavelength Service (OWS) and ethernet interfaces. The task order has a performance period consisting of an 18-month base period plus four two-year option periods, for a total order value of $11.4 million. … NASA also has awarded a contract to Seventh Sense Consulting LLC, of Woodbridge, Va., to provide Agency Wide Acquisition Support Services (AWASS) to all NASA centers. The $24.6 million contract has a one-year base period beginning July 1, and four one-year options which run through June 30, 2024 if all options are exercised. Both contracts will be administered by the NASA Shared Services Center at the agency’s Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Contracts - DoD
Boeing Defense Space and Security, St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $250 million contract for Joint Direct Attack Munition/Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM/LJDAM) technical services, aircraft integration, and sustainment. This contract provides for JDAM/LJDAM-specific activities including, but not limited to, technical services, aircraft integration, and sustainment. Work will be performed in St. Louis, and is expected to be complete by March 2029. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $151.3 million modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract. This modification provides for the procurement of long-lead items for the manufacture and delivery of 21 F-35 Lightning II Lot 14 low-rate initial production aircraft for the governments of Australia (15) and Norway (6). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $12.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification upgrades three MQ-4C Triton aircraft from a baseline Integrated Functional Capability (IFC) 3 software configuration to a Multi-IFC 4 software configuration. Fourteen percent of the work will be performed in Moss Point, Miss., and is expected to be completed in October 2021. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $7.2 million advance acquisition contract modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification extends the period of performance and provides additional funding to procure long lead components, material, parts and associated efforts required to maintain the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System planned low rate initial production, lot 4 production schedule. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Fuselage work on the Tritons is done in Moss Point, Miss. … AECOM Management Services Inc., Germantown, Md., was awarded $30.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the procurement of aviation support equipment in support of the Fleet Readiness Centers. New Orleans is one of the work locations with five percent. Work is expected to be completed in April 2022. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity. … Peerless Technologies Corp., Fairborn, Ohio, was awarded $47.2 million for advisory and assistance services to support the Air Force Civil Engineering Center energy directorate. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by April 10, 2024. The Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, is the contracting activity.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Week in review (3/24 to 3/30)

The Pensacola City Council approved the new lease for ST Engineering and authorized the mayor to borrow up to $20 million to float the cash until the city begins receiving grants approved to fund the $210 million project.

The vote clears the way for ST Engineering's expansion of its aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul hangar, although the city has yet to identify funds for the last $4.8 million needed to fully fund the project.

The loan authorization will allow the mayor to provide cash flow to pay contractors building the three new hangars and administration building. ST Engineering opened a hangar at the airport last year and is in the process of hiring 400 workers. Once the three additional hangars are built, the company will hire another 1,325 workers.

Construction of the first new hangar could begin this year. (Post)


Airbus
HPM announced the selection of teams for construction of the Airbus A220 assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

BL Harbert International of Birmingham teamed with the design firm FSB and have been selected for Package 3 of the project, design-build services for four additional hangar bays. It's targeted for completion in the third quarter of 2019.

H.O. Weaver and Sons of Mobile has been awarded the Enabling Works Package of preparations to make a building site ready for construction. It covers activities from site preparation, creation of access routes, and the installation of facilities like security fencing, ramps, and signage placement. It's targeted for completion in early 2019.

Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie teamed with Huntsville-based design firm BRPH has been selected for Package 1 of the project, design-build services for the building of the new A220 final assembly line and existing logistic center expansion. It's targeted for completion in mid-2020.

HPM, which has offices in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Florida, is responsible for managing all aspects of the design and construction of the new facility, as well as expansion of Airbus’ current facilities to accommodate increased A320 family production on the site. HPM continues to work with its long-time industry partner, Mott McDonald, providing program management services for the A220, as both firms did for the A320 campus. (Post)

-- The first employees of the new Airbus assembly line in Mobile reported for work early in the week, according to the company. The assembly line itself is in the early phases of construction.

When complete, it will be one of two sites in the world where Airbus produces the A220 series, a single-aisle, twin-engine line of jets that's smaller than the A320 jets that Airbus already assembles in Mobile.

The company announced in a Facebook post that a group of employees began new hire orientation training Monday at the AIDT facility in the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. Those workers will eventually travel to Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, to train for three months with workers on the A220 assembly line.

In another development, the Airbus-Bombardier partnership to produce the A220 has been renamed the Airbus Canada Limited Partnership. (Post)


Airports
In Alabama, the new downtown Mobile airport at the Mobile Aeroplex on Michigan Avenue is just a few weeks away from opening.

Chris Curry, president of the Mobile Airport Authority, said there will be five ticket counters at the $6 million, 22,000 square-foot terminal, with plans to expand. The first flight, a Frontier flight, is scheduled to fly out May first. (Post)

The other carrier planning to use the terminal, Via Airlines, has put on hold flights from Mobile to Birmingham due to a lack of commitment from business leaders in the communities. Don Bowman, director of planning and business development for the Orlando-based airline, said he’s hopeful the commitments will happen. (Story)


Space
The President has nominated to the Senate Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond as the Commander, United States Space Command (USSPACECOM). If confirmed, Raymond will lead the soon-to-be established USSPACECOM, which will focus on conducting all joint space warfighting operations, and ensuring the combat readiness of global forces.

If confirmed, and upon establishment of USSPACECOM, Raymond will remain dual-hatted as Commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

The 20th Space Control Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is a unit of the 21st Space Wing of Peterson AFB. The squadron detects, tracks, identifies, and reports near earth and deep space objects in earth's orbit, and provides space object identification data in support of United States Strategic Command's space control mission. (Post)


Bases
The Air Force issued a notice in the Federal Register of March 26 to advise the public of its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed action to permanently bed-down its F-22 Formal Training Unit (FTU).

The unit had been based at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., but was temporarily moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., after Hurricane Michael damaged Tyndall. The base is currently being rebuilt.

With this notice, the Air Force is initiating its scoping process and inviting the affected public to attend meetings in locations near Langley Air Force Base, Va., Eglin and Tyndall. The dates, times and locations for the scoping meetings will be announced locally, but not later than May 15.

The EIS will assess the potential environmental consequences of the proposed action to bed-down the F-22 FTU at Langley AFB, and the No Action Alternative, which consists of continuing F-22 FTU operations from a combination of Eglin and Tyndall. There is only one F-22 FTU and it consists of F-22 aircraft of the 43rd Fighter Squadron and its associated T-38 aircraft in the 2d Fighter Training Squadron at Tyndall. (Post)


Contracts
Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $20 million modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification increases the ceiling and extends the period of performance of the contract to provide additional TH-57 logistics support services and materials for organizational and depot level maintenance in support of the TH-57 fleet. Work will be performed in Milton, Fla., and is expected to be completed in May 2019. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $9.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract to develop and integrate the Digital Channelized Receiver/Techniques Generator and Tuner Insertion Program into the F-35 Australia, Canada, United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory and deliver other development upgrades to the facility. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed in March 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. … Support Services LLC, Cape Canaveral, Fla., was awarded a $23 million modification under a previously awarded contract to exercise Option One for base operations support services at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and outlying areas Saufley Field, Corry Station, and Bronson Field. The work to be performed provides for all management, supervision, labor, equipment, materials, supplies, and tools necessary to perform facilities management, facilities investment, facility maintenance services (non-family housing), utility plant and distribution system operations and maintenance (chiller, electrical, gas, wastewater, steam and water), environmental services, and base support vehicles and equipment. Work will be performed in Pensacola and work for this option period is expected to be completed March 2020. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., was awarded a $317 million contract for the Precision Strike Package program. This contract provides contractor logistics support for the Precision Strike Package in support of the AC-130W and AC-130J. Work will be performed at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; and Hurlburt Field, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2026. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. … General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., was awarded a $9.2 million contract for the United Kingdom MQ-9 Reaper contractor logistics support effort. This contract provides for ongoing sustainment of the UK MQ-9 fleet. Work will be performed at multiple stateside and international locations, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2019. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. Note: Hurlburt Field, Fla., is getting an MQ-9 squadron in late 2019. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Annapolis, Md., was awarded a $10.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise options for the accomplishment of depot level repair, maintenance, and modifications of the AN/AQS-24 Mine Detecting System to support the Navy for the currently deployed airborne mine countermeasures legacy systems. Northrop Grumman Undersea Systems will provide depot repairs and incorporation of engineering change proposals, including the updates of all integrated logistics support documentation to support the conversions and sustainment. Work will be performed in Annapolis, and is expected to be completed by April 2020. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla. is the contracting activity.