Saturday, September 5, 2015

Air Force searching for World War II B-25 to train test pilots

The Air Force Test Center (AFTC) Contracting Directorate at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is looking for a World War II B-25 bomber to help train test pilots, according to contract documents released Friday.

“The objective of this program is to provide test pilot training (not initial or recurring training) for up to 50 U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS) students and staff members through up to two Qualitative Evaluation (QE) deployments per year,” Air Force officials said in contract documents. “Additional aircrew or passengers (such as photographers) may be added at the discretion of the TPS Program Manager, with concurrence of the contractor. This training is expected to be conducted at Edwards Air Force Base. There will usually be 5-10 QE flights per deployment, and deployment durations are expected to be one-two weeks."

The contractor shall provide a B-25 aircraft with all required equipment operative and in good working order. The primary objective of the program is to demonstrate flying characteristics of World War II bombers, with a focus on the suitability. Some operational tasks (such as max-performance takeoffs and simulated bombing runs) will be performed by the students in addition to typical performance and flying qualities flight test techniques.

Companies interested in supporting the program should contact the AFTC Contracting Squadron at Edwards AFB no later than Sept. 17.

Most popular posts August 2015

1.) Urgent request for maintenance work on US Marshals aircraft - The Federal Aviation Administration, Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Group, issued an urgent requirement in August to establish a contract with a qualified vendor to perform heavy maintenance inspections on aircraft used to transport prisoners. [Full story] 


2.) Seven new airtankers planned for US Forest Service - The U.S. Forest Service is contemplating acquiring up to seven new production commercial aircraft to serve in a multi-mission capacity. [Full story


3.) Retired F-15 jet going on display at Joint Base Lewis McChord - The U.S. military plans to relocate, paint, and assemble a retired F-15 fighter jet from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., and place the aircraft on static display. [Full story] 

4.) NASA: Cracks found in SOFIA aircraft engines - NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California has a requirement for repair of two Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7 engines which have been removed from the aircraft and preserved with Mobil AVREX M-Turbo gas turbine lubricant. [Full story]

5.) UH-1N Replacement Program meeting this month - The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, held an Industry Day meeting in August to provide details on the planned replacement of the Air Force's fleet of UH-1N aircraft. [Full story]

Friday, September 4, 2015

Raytheon awarded SeaVue radar contract

Raytheon Co., in McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a $25 million contract for the procurement of Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) AN/APS-148 SeaVue radar system components, engineering services, spares and repairs.

The MPRA is the primary maritime surveillance aircraft operated by the Navy. Functions and duties include anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; command, control, communications, computer, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance; search and rescue; drug interdiction; and exclusive economic zone protection.

The work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by September 2020. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Indiana, managed the contract award.

Pratt & Whitney gets F-35 spare parts contract

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney, Military Engines in East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded $249 million to a previously awarded contract to procure low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 9 propulsion system initial spares for the global spares pool to include initial spare engines, initial spare modules, and initial spare parts required in support of the LRIP Lot 9 F-135 propulsion systems for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The work will be performed in East Hartford (93 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (6 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (1 percent). The contract is expected to be completed in July 2018.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., arranged the contract award.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

US Forest Service plans review of airtanker bases

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is planning to analyze current and potential airtanker bases to determine infrastructure capabilities and deficiencies, according to a Request For Information (RFI) announcement released Wednesday.

The USFS currently utilizes a number of airtanker bases throughout the United States (approximately 59 - 65) where it performs large operations. In an effort to determine the viability and needs of current airtanker bases, an assessment of the facilities, operations and personnel will be necessary to help make determinations for future improvements. Specifically, the agency will look into adequacy of airtanker base design, airtanker base operations, geographic/range efficiency, and airtanker base personnel staffing, qualifications and training regarding the utilization of commercial grade jet aircraft as "Next Generation" airtankers.

“Part of the assessment will include travel to the airtanker bases, interviews with key stakeholders, review of agency handbooks and operational guides, providing recommendations and cost estimates (for improvements),” USFS officials said in the RFI document.

Companies interested in supporting the “Air Tanker Base Review/Assessment” should contact USFS by Sept. 16.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ScanEagle demonstrates fire monitoring capability over Olympic National Park

While more than 625,000 acres of wildfires burned throughout the Pacific Northwest, crew members of the Insitu Rapid Response team launched a ScanEagle unmanned aircraft into the hazy skies above the Paradise Fire in Washington's Olympic National Park. The event marked the beginning of an operational demonstration designed to show how unmanned aircraft technology can be a powerful force multiplier in the fight against wildfires.

ScanEagle flew six operations, delivering more than 37 hours of infrared video in real time to Incident Command personnel. Insitu's suite of motion imagery software provided enhanced video and geo-registration capabilities that enabled fire officials to pinpoint the fire's perimeter and identify areas of intense heat. ScanEagle also assisted helicopter assets with evaluating water drop locations.

"This exercise demonstrated our ability to collect, process and deliver information that helps fire officials achieve better outcomes,” said Insitu President and CEO Ryan Hartman.

ScanEagle flew within an emergency certificate of authorization issued to the Department of Interior from the Federal Aviation Administration that permitted its operation within the confines of the temporary flight restriction.

NASA seeks science investigations for Earth Venture Mission - 2

This week, NASA's Science Mission Directorate will release an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to solicit Principal Investigator-led space-based science investigations for the Earth Venture Mission - 2 (EVM-2) element of the Earth System Science Pathfinder Program.

Earth Venture investigations must address NASA's goals to acquiredeeper scientific understanding of the components of the Earthsystem, their interactions, and the consequences to life of changes. “All investigations proposed in response to this solicitationmust be implemented through the provision of a complete spaceflightmission,” NASA officials said in contract documents released Tuesday.

The term "spaceflight missions" for this EVM-2 AO is defined as Earth orbital and deep-space missions in a dedicated spacecraft or as a hosted payload; it specifically excludes International Space Station payloads and suborbital missions, such as those flown via sounding rockets, balloons, and aircraft. These spaceflight missions will be used to conduct innovative, integrated, hypothesis, or scientific question-driven investigations addressing pressing Earth system science issues.

The key dates for this AO are:

Baltimore university selected for NASA cooperative agreement

NASA's Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) has selected nine universities for cooperative agreement awards totaling $3.6 million to create and operate a NASA MUREP Aerospace Academy.

The universities will receive as much as $160,000 per year for two years and up to $1 million for a third year. The aerospace academies will engage historically underserved and underrepresented students in grades K-12 through hands-on activities that reflect each of NASA’s four mission directorates: science, aeronautics, space technology and human exploration and operations. The academies will also provide access to NASA technology through an Aerospace Education Laboratory, and encourage families and communities to get involved through the Family CafĂ©, an interactive forum with activities, workshops and guest speakers.

The universities selected for Aerospace Academy grants are:
  • California State University, Fresno
  • Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland
  • Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina
  • Hartnell College, Salinas, California
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore
  • Tennessee State University, Nashville
  • Texas State University, San Marcos
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
  • York College, City University of New York
MUREP awards promote STEM literacy and enhance and sustain the capability of institutions to perform NASA-related research and education. The goals of the program are to expand the nation's base for aerospace research and development, increase participation by faculty and students at minority serving institutions, and increase the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees in NASA-related fields awarded to students from minority serving institutions.