Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Appointment announced

Air Force Col. William W. Whittenberger Jr. has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Whittenberger is currently serving as the mobilization assistant to the director of strategic plans, programs and requirements, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. His was among a series of appointments made by the president and announced today by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. (Source: DoD, 11/15/17)

Stratolaunch to test at SSC

An agreement to test engines at a NASA center in South Mississippi is the latest sign that Stratolaunch is considering developing its own launch vehicle for its giant aircraft. The Space Act Agreement between Stratolaunch and NASA's Stennis Space Center, signed Sept. 13, covers "reimbursable testing and related support services to Stratolaunch to support propulsion, vehicle, and ground support system development and testing activities." An annex to that agreement says it involves "testing of its propulsion system test article element 1" at the E1 test stand. Stratolaunch plans to deliver the test article to Stennis for "fit tests and checkouts" by the end of May 2018, with the test series completed by the end of 2018. Stratolaunch will pay NASA $5.1 million under the reimbursable agreement to cover costs of the test campaign, including an upfront payment of $1 million. (Source: SpaceNews, 11/15/17)

Mobile has role in huge order

MOBILE, Ala. – The A320 assembly line here, which was already scheduled to build jetliners for Frontier Airlines starting next year, will now build even more thanks to a major deal announced at the Dubai Airshow today. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Airbus and Indigo Partners for 430 additional A320neo aircraft, comprised of 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos worth $49.5 billion at list price. When added to existing A320 series orders, the new agreement will make Indigo partners one of the largest customers by order number for Airbus single-aisle aircraft. Airlines in the Indigo Partners family previously have placed orders for 427 A320 family aircraft. Engine selections will be announced at a later date. "Any A320 order placed anywhere in the world is good for Mobile because it means a strong order book and solidifies the U.S. Manufacturing Facility's role in Airbus' global production network," wrote Kristi Tucker of Airbus' Mobile operation. "It's extra special when there's a direct connection to the order, such as this one." (Source: GCAC, Airbus, 11/15/17) Previous

Airbus nears historic deal

Airbus SE is nearing the biggest deal in its history, negotiating to sell 430 A320neo single-aisle planes valued at more than $40 billion to U.S. investor Indigo Partners, people familiar with the matter said. The aircraft would go to airlines in Indigo’s investment portfolio: Frontier Airlines, Mexico’s Volaris, European carrier Wizz Air Holdings and JetSmart, which began operating this year in Chile. The Airbus-Indigo transaction is set to be announced Wednesday. Airbus builds the A320 family of jetliners in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, Ala. (Source: Bloomberg, 11/14/17)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

V-22 fleet tops 400,000 flight hours

The Bell Boeing V-22 fleet of tiltrotor aircraft, including both CV-22 and MV-22 variants, has surpassed the 400,000-flight hour milestone, Bell Helicopter and Boeing said today. The V-22 Osprey has been continuously deployed since entering service in 2007 with the United States Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command in 2009. It has seen extensive action in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and as part of a U.S. Central Command Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force supporting a long-range rapid reaction/crisis response force. The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is a joint service, multirole combat aircraft that uses tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its nacelles can be rotated to transition the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. (Source: Boeing, 11/14/17) The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Contract: Boeing, $11.3M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., has been awarded an $11,266,057 modification (P00176) to a previously awarded contract (FA8678-10-C-0100) for QF-16 full-scale aerial target lot 5B. Work will be performed in St. Louis, with an estimated completion date of April 27, 2021. Fiscal 2018 procurement funds in the amount of $11,266,057 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/13/17)

Contract: Bell-Boeing, $10M

Bell-Boeing JPO, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded $10,056,839 for modification P00008 to a previously issued cost-plus-fixed-fee task order 0112, placed against basic ordering agreement N00019-12-G-0006. This modification provides for field representative and logistics support services in support of the V-22 aircraft for the government of Japan. Work will be performed at Camp Kisarazu, Japan (85 percent); Philadelphia, Pa. (11 percent); and Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (4 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2019. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $10,056,839 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/13/17)

Blue Angels get new leader

NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. – Capt. Ryan Bernacchi turned over command of the Navy Blue Angels to Cmdr. Eric Doyle at a ceremony Sunday at the Blue Angels Atrium inside the National Naval Aviation Museum. About 500 people, including former Blue Angels commanding officers, team members and other naval aviation leaders, attended the event. The 2018 Blue Angels will head to El Centro, Calif., for the winter and return to Pensacola in March. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 11/13/17)



C Series impact outlined

Bombardier Inc. is forecasting it plans to spend $300 million on its C Series assembly facility in Mobile, Ala., creating as many as 2,000 jobs in the U.S. Airbus and Canada-based Bombardier announced in October that they had agreed to form a partnership to build Bombardier's C Series passenger jets in Mobile. The C series project would create 400 to 500 direct jobs and 550 to 700 indirect jobs at supplier and support companies. The forecast was part of a regulatory filing. Still to be determined is the fate of the proposed import duties of 300 percent on the C Series tentatively imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in response to a price-dumping claim made by Boeing. (Sources: multiple, including Montreal Gazette, 11/08/17; al.com, 11/09/17; Witchita Business Journal, 11/10/17)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Infinity displays Apollo module

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- An early artifact of America's moonshot program is now on display in Mississippi. Infinity Science Center is displaying the command module from Apollo 4, an unmanned 1967 mission that successfully demonstrated the full Saturn V rocket and the capsule that would carry men to the moon. The 9-hour mission showed the rocket's third stage would restart and that the command module's heat shield would withstand re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. The command module is on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum. The display is part of a redesign of the museum's space exhibits. The Saturn V rocket was among those tested at neighboring Stennis Space Center. The 8,000-pound module was stored for five years at Stennis out of public view. (Source: multiple, including AP via WREG-TV, Jackson Free Press, 11/06/17, Sun Herald, 11/10/17)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Contract: Lockheed, $34.6M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $34,622,661 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for weapons capabilities technology maturation and risk reduction pre-engineering, manufacturing and development activities for dual-capability F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft and small-diameter bomb 2 (SDB-II) in support of the Marine Corps and Air Force. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in July 2018. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $6,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-18-C-1004). (Source: DoD, 11/09/17) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.

Tyndall hosts large exercise

And airman pushes tools along the flight line.
Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Personnel and equipment from Air Force installations across the country have converged on Tyndall Air Force Base in Northwest Florida to participate in Checkered Flag 18-1, a two-week, large-scale exercise that integrates the war-fighting capabilities of fourth-and fifth-generation aircraft. It’s being held with the concurrently running Weapons Systems Evaluation Program, Combat Archer. Tyndall is hosting the 525th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; 131st Fighter Squadron, Barnes Municipal Air National Guard Base, Mass.; 393th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.; 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.; and 116th ACW, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. “What we have in our Checkered Flag airspace is an over water range that affords us the opportunity to be fully supersonic down to the ground,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Lee, 44th Fighter Group deputy commander and Checkered Flag 18-1 Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander. “This is not a capability that we have on a large scale at any other ranges within the United States.” The exercise wraps up Nov. 17. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing, 11/09/17)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Norway gets F-35 data file

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 53rd Electronic Warfare Group's Partner Support Complex delivered the F-35 mission data file to Norway Oct. 26. This is the first overseas delivery of Block 3F mission data to a foreign nation and was accomplished in anticipation of Norway's first F-35s, which arrived last week and will be marked by a Nov.10 ceremony there. The delivery of Block 3F mission data enables the F-35 to accomplish its primary missions of air interdiction, close air support, and suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses. Mission data files enable the aircraft to know what threats to search for and when, providing the F-35 its means of deciphering the environment. The men and women of the PSC are charged with programming this essential mission data software for eight F-35 partner nations, to include Norway, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Denmark. (Source: 53rd Wing, 11/08/17) Previous related

Contract: Reliance Test, $48M

Reliance Test & Technology, Crestview, Fla., has been awarded a $48,000,000 modification (P00022) to a previously awarded contract (FA2486-16-C-0002) for Eglin operation and maintenance services. The modification increases the government-provided value of cost-reimbursable, contractor-acquired property for contract line item number 0005. Work will be performed at Eglin test and training complex, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an expected completion date of Sept. 30 2026. Fiscal 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $48,000,000 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Nov. 7, 2017) (Source: DoD, 11/08/17)

Bridenstine supports SLS, Orion

WASHINGTON — As the Senate Commerce Committee prepares to advance his nomination as NASA administrator to the full Senate, Jim Bridenstine offered pledges of continuity for many key agency programs. In response to questions submitted for the record by several members of committee, Bridenstine said he believed the Space Launch System and Orion programs are critical to the agency’s exploration plans, as well as contributions from commercial space ventures. “SLS and Orion will serve as the backbone to our country’s Deep Space exploration architecture,” Bridenstine said in response to a question from Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., about how those programs would fit into NASA’s long-term exploration plans. He used the same language in similar questions from other senators about the future of those programs. (Source: SpaceNews, 11/07/17) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the SLS/Orion program as well as commercial space activities.

Airbus Americas getting new chief

HERNDON, Va. -- The leadership of European planemaker Airbus’ U.S. operations will change early next year when C. Jeffrey Knittel becomes chairman and chief executive posts at Airbus Americas. He will replace Airbus Americas CEO Barry Eccleston, who will retire on Feb. 28, 2018. Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas, will remain with the company as chairman emeritus. Knittel, who brings more than 25 years of global aerospace leadership experience to the position, will join the company at its Americas headquarters in Herndon Jan. 12. (Source: Airbus, 11/07/17) Gulf Coast note: Airbus Americas employs 5,000 people and its operations include an A320 series assembly line and Engineering Center in Mobile, Ala., and helicopter manufacturing facilities in Columbus, Miss., and Texas. Knittel is a trustee of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Terminal design to be shown

LAFAYETTE, La. – Design details for a new 120,000-square-foot, $90 million terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport are being unveiled this week during the airport commission’s regular meeting Wednesday. Lafayette Regional Airport was the fourth busiest in Louisiana in 2016 in terms of enplanements, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, but Airport Director Steven Picou said it operates with the smallest square-footage. “Every other airport in the state of Louisiana that has air carrier operations has had a terminal remodel or brand new terminal. Lafayette has not,” Picou said. “It’s kind of our turn.” (Source: Acadiana Advocate, 11/06/17) The airport in Lafayette, site of a Bell Helicopter facility, is along Interstate 10 west of New Orleans.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Contract: Raytheon, $17.3M

Raytheon Co. Missile Systems Division, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $17,255,491 modification (P00009) to a previously awarded contract (FA8675-15-C-0004) for High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile Targeting System (HTS) contractor logistics support (CLS) services. The contract modification provides for HTS pod CLS depot repairs and sustainment activities. Work will be performed in Tucson, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2018. Fiscal year 2018 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $12,825,015 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 11/06/17)

Flying Jennies ready again

C-130J over Keesler Nov. 3
U.S. Air Force photo by Shelton Sherrill
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – The 815th Airlift Squadron on Friday completed its quest to reach full operational capability, four years after the squadron’s future was uncertain. The squadron and its C-130J Flying Jennies are again ready to deploy and provide combat-ready airmen for airlift mission, said Lt. Col. Stuart Rubio, 815th AS commander. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, the Air Force announced plans to transfer 10 of the Air Force Reserve 403rd Wing's C-130J aircraft. But two years later the Secretary of the Air Force reversed that recommendation, beginning the programming and budgeting work to restore personnel and mission capability at Keesler. The squadron trains weekly for this mission, and in honor of the squadron reaching FOC status they did just that Friday and flew a three-ship formation. During the low-level tactical flight, they practiced airdrops, flew with night vision goggles and performed other tasks to prepare for missions in a deployed location, said Rubio. (Source: 403rd Wing Public Affairs, 11/05/17) The initial plan was to deactivate the 815th and move the aircraft to North Carolina, then later the relocation site was Arkansas. Previous: Keesler to lose planes, squadron; Move of Keesler C-130Js delayed; 815th remains at Keesler for now.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

College gets new student center

LAKE CHARLES, La. -- SOWELA Technical Community College showcased its newest addition Thursday, the Sycamore Student Center. SOWELA also introduced its newly restored Boeing 727 instructional jet. The aircraft will be used to give hands-on training to students in various aviation programs. The new student center provides a number of services to students, including admissions, financial aid, enrollment and testing. (Source: KPLC-TV, 11/02/17) The center near Chennault International Airport along the Interstate 10 corridor in Southwest Louisiana trains about 130 aviation-related students every year.