Saturday, December 7, 2019

Week in review (12/1 to 12/7)

While there were multiple important stories during the week for the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor, the one that caught the most attention was the slaying of three people at Naval Air Station Pensacola and the death of the shooter.

The shooter has been identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force. Authorities are trying to determine if the shooting in the large school complex was terror-related, but even before that, there are multiple troubling reports about the shooter that have been published. The Associated Press is reporting that Alshamrani hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings.

NAS Pensacola, the nation’s first air station, is a key training facility for the Navy. Parts of the base look like a college campus, including Building 633, where the shootings occurred. The base is where 60,000 members of the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard receive training each year in multiple aviation-related technical fields. Students at the base include a couple hundred from U.S. partner nations. (Post)

The shooter used a handgun to kill his victims. The FBI is leading the investigation into the shootings. Officials did not say how long the gunman had been training at the base. Building 633 where the shooting occurred is multi-story and houses schools for aviation technical training. (Post)

The eight people injured were sent to area hospitals.

The shooting occurred before 7 a.m. CST. The base has 16,000 military and 7,400 civilians and is a key Navy technical training base. It’s also home of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, Barrancas National Cemetery, and the National Naval Aviation Museum, which is also the location of the National Flight Academy. (Post)

One of victims of the shooting has been identified by his family. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis this year and arrived in Pensacola two weeks ago for flight training. According to his brother, he was shot multiple times but made his way outside to tell first responders where the shooter was. (Post)

Over in Mississippi, Lockheed Martin is expanding its operations at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County in a $20.9 million investment that will create 30 jobs.

Lockheed Martin Mississippi Space and Technology Center’s primary activity at SSC is to design and build satellites and spacecraft for government and commercial customers. It opened in 2002 and provides thermal blankets and installs the engines that maneuver satellites in orbit.

For the expansion, Lockheed Martin is centralizing select thermal production capabilities to its Stennis location and will begin manufacturing products that are key components of all spacecraft currently manufactured by the company.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building renovations. The project qualifies for tax abatements under the Hancock County Board of Supervisors’ current incentives program. (Post)

Also in Mississippi, Pearl River Community College broke ground Tuesday on the Phil Bryant Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy in Hancock County, across from Stennis International Airport.

It received a $2 million grant from the Department of Economic Development Administration, matched with more than $3.9 million in state and local investments and is expected to help create 469 jobs, retain 550 jobs, and generate $5 million in private investments.

The academy will be an estimated 25,000 square feet and represents a new and expanded presence for PRCC in Hancock County. It will consist of eight classrooms, five labs, reception area, faculty and staff offices, and more.

The academy will include a hangar of some 18,000 square feet and will consist of two classrooms with labs, open hangar area with hands-on lab stations. The facility is expected to be complete in 2021.

Among other things, students will be able to study welding, precision manufacturing, instrumentation, industrial electronics, and more. (Post)

United Airlines has placed a firm order for 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft as it begins to phase out older models and launches an expansion of transatlantic routes from its key U.S. hubs in Newark/New York and Washington D.C.

United plans to take delivery of the first A321XLR in 2024 and expects to begin international service with the aircraft in 2025. The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo series of aircraft to meet market demand for an increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft.

It will allow service from the U.S. East Coast to a much larger selection of European destinations. At the end of October 2019, the A320neo Family had accumulated more than 7,000 firm orders from over 110 customers worldwide. Many of these aircraft will likely be built in Mobile, Ala. (Post)

Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $988.8 million modification to a previously-awarded contract for Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon critical design review, test and production readiness support. Work will be done in Orlando and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2022. 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 $153.4 million modification to a previously-awarded contract. This modification procures special tooling and special test equipment required to meet current and future F-35 Lightning II low-rate initial production as well as full-rate production rates. Work will be performed in Italy, California, Texas, Utah, Georgia, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Vermont, Norway, and New York and is expected to be completed in December 2023. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of an F-35 training center. … BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Md., was awarded a $12.6 million contract modification to a previously-awarded contract to exercise Option Two. The contract modification extends the contract term for an additional 12 months in order to continue providing diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages support for Air Force and non-Air Force users supporting the Air Force, to proactively reduce mission capability impacts to improve logistics support and weapon system sustainability. Work will be performed in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., as well as Utah, Georgia, and Oklahoma, and is expected to be completed by June 20, 2021. The Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

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