PHOTEX: “Into the blue!” US Navy blimp MZ-3A conducts orientation flight from Pax River

131106-N-PO203-262 PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Nov. 6, 2013) The Navy’s MZ-3A manned airship, assigned to Scientific Development Squadron (VXS) 1 of the Military Support Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, conducts an orientation flight from Patuxent River, Md. The MZ-3A is an advanced flying laboratory used to evaluate affordable sensor payloads and provide support for other related science and technology projects for the naval research enterprise. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

NAVAIR awards $508 million contract modifcation for F-35 propulsion systems

US Navy awards $508 million contract modifcation for F-35 propulsion systems.

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $508,214,419 modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightening II Lot VI low rate initial production advance acquisition contract (N00019-12-C-0090). This modification provides for the procurement of 18 F135 conventional take off and landing (CTOL) propulsion systems for the U.S. Air Force; six short take-off and vertical landing propulsion systems for the U.S. Marine Corps; and seven carrier variant propulsion systems for the U.S. Navy. In addition, this contract procures three F135 CTOL propulsion systems for Italy; two CTOL propulsion systems for Australia; one F135 CTOL spare propulsion system for Italy; and one F135 spare propulsion system for Australia. This modification also provides for program labor, engineering assistance to production, non-recurring sustainment efforts, service and country specific requirements, depot activation efforts, and long-lead hardware. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Conn. (67 percent); Bristol, United Kingdom (16.5 percent); and Indianapolis, Ind. (16.5 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2016. Fiscal 2012, aircraft procurement Air Force, fiscal 2012 aircraft procurement Navy, and international partner funding in the amount of $508,214,419 will be obligated at time of award, $422,680,150 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps ($211,858,131; 42 percent); the U.S. Air Force ($210,822,019; 41 percent); and the international partners ($85,534,269; 17 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

US Navy to stand-up 2 new electronic attack squadrons

SEAPOWER Magazine reports that the US Navy will be forming 2 new electronic attacks squadrons, both “expeditionary” indicating that they are available for overseas deployment. A typical VAQ squadron comprises 4 Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft.

New Electronic Attack Squadrons Now Slated for 2015 and 2016

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy has tentatively scheduled the stand-up months for two new expeditionary electronic attack (VAQ) squadrons.

According to a source familiar with the electronic attack community, the new squadrons, VAQ-143 and VAQ-144, will stand up about January 2015 and January 2016, respectively.

The two squadrons have been requested by the Navy in the 2014 Defense Department budget proposal, which still is going through the legislative process in Congress. If funded, the units would bring to five the number of Navy expeditionary VAQ squadrons, which would be based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., home to nine of the Navy’s 10 carrier-based VAQ squadrons as well as one Reserve VAQ squadron.

The new squadrons will operate the Boeing-built EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

The EA-18G Growler has been in service with the US Navy since 2006 when the first production aircraft was delivered to VAQ-129 and should fully replace the EA-6B Prowler which has been operational since 1971.

111220-N-MO201-236 SOUDA BAY, Greece (Dec. 20, 2011) A Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft takes off following a transient stop on Crete. The aircraft and four others assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138 are headed home to Whidbey Island, Washington, following completion of a six-month deployment to Iraq supporting Operation New Dawn. (U.S. Navy photo by Paul Farley/Released)