Saturday, October 5, 2019

F/A-18C jet gets Blue Angel airframe upgrade

The Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md., intends to award a sole source contract to The Boeing Company to install Airframe Change (AFC-483) A1 and A2 kits (Blue Angel modification) to a F/A-18C jet, BUNO 163747. The contract award was announced Friday.

This aircraft must be delivered no later than 30 June 2020 to support the Blue Angels 2020 show schedule,” the Navy said in contract documents.

In order to install this modification, the required support equipment must be on site by contract award.  Additionally, an 8,000 foot runway must be in place with a flight and ground operations staff to support Functional Check Flights (FCF) after completion of the modification and before aircraft delivery. The government will provide the FCF pilot. The place of performance for this requirement must be within 25 miles of the Cecil Commerce Center in Jacksonville, Fla.

Boeing was awarded the contract to retrofit nine Block 1 F/A-18E Super Hornets and two Block 1 F/A-18F Super Hornets for the Blue Angels team from the current crop of F/A-18C/D fighters, according to an article published in 2018 by the U.S. Naval Institute.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

US nuclear administration seeks to replace Bell helicopters

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Nuclear Incident Response (ONIR), is hosting an Industry Day meeting in Las Vegas this month to discuss the replacement of two Bell 412HP helicopters with a new rotary wing aircraft. The meeting was announced in contract documents released in August.

“Information exchanged during this event will be used to help refine the acquisition strategy and obtaining innovative approaches, solutions, and technologies to meet the government requirements for replacing two helicopters with new rotary wing aircraft,” NNSA said in contract documents.

The ONIR is the premier technical leader in responding to and successfully resolving nuclear and radiological incidents or accidents. Technical teams are prepared to search for radioactive material, and help manage the consequences of a release of radioactive material into the environment. One of these assets, NNSA's Aerial Measuring System, has specialized airborne radiation detection systems that provide real-time measurements of low levels of air and ground contamination. The equipment, aircraft, and trained experts maintain a state of readiness to respond to a radiological emergency at any time. The aircraft operations are at Joint Base Andrews, Md., and Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nev.

To perform these aerial surveys, flights are performed from 50 to 3,000 feet above the ground at speeds from 60 to 80 knots. The crew consists of two pilots and two technical specialists that operate the detection equipment. Survey flight patterns are predominately parallel line patterns often performed over congested areas of the country.

The NNSA Industry Day meeting will be held at North Las Vegas Airport on Oct. 29.