Monthly Archives: January 2010

Real-Time Flight Information Market to Soar

In the aerospace industry there a number of consumer trends that are causing a paradigm shift away from the status quo. One of the key factors for change is the growing accessibility of flight data.

Whether business and leisure travel numbers are up in the coming year or not, flight data provider FlightView anticipates that the market for real-time flight status and airport information will grow in 2010, as mobile travel services gain traction and become more sophisticated. As a leading innovator in the emerging space for travel information, FlightView cites two trends driving this opportunity: First, travelers will continue to demand better, more useful information to make more informed decisions about their plans. Second, they’ll use a mobile device to retrieve, view and act on that information.

A recent report from PhoCusWright found that 62 percent of leisure and 71 percent of business travelers use a mobile device with internet access while they are traveling. In 2009, hundreds of mobile travel applications and web sites were launched, including FlightView’s own award-winning applications for the three largest smartphone vendors and highest-ranked flight tracking mobile web site. These numbers are likely to increase as smartphone vendors, travel management companies, airlines, airports and others seek to improve service and gain competitive advantage.

“The one thing that all travelers share is an overwhelming need for information that makes their travel experience better,” said Mike Benjamin, president of Boston-based FlightView. “Nothing does that like knowing where their flights are and how that information affects their plans –it’s an incredible value-add that a wide variety of players in the travel market can use to their advantage.”

Based on its success in building partnerships that capitalize on the potential for real-time flight information on mobile devices, FlightView expects growth in several key areas:

  • Travel management companies and online travel agencies such as Travizon will move quickly to provide a more holistic range of services. Enhancing mobile offerings by integrating real-time flight tracking tools is an easy and fast way to give travelers what they want – after they’ve booked their trip: the ability to take matters into their own hands and make the changes they need and get to where they’re going.
  • More airports will follow the lead of FlightView customers BWI and The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey with Web site upgrades. Birmingham and Little Rock airports bring information to customers’ mobile devices, tapping the industry’s most trusted resource for real-time flight tracking as the technology provider.
  • Advertisers will move aggressively to seize the opportunities with the captive – and lucrative – travel demographic that relies heavily on mobile travel services. Targeted ads tied to flight information, ranging from local restaurants and attractions to recommended destinations for the next trip, will help travelers make the most of their trips – or delays.

Aconex Selected for US Navy and Air Force Projects

Aconex, a provider of project collaboration solutions to the construction industry, has been selected to service Pacific West Builders’ portfolio of government projects. Pacific West Builders will use the Aconex system to streamline collaboration with its project partners and to manage large volumes of information more efficiently.

Pacific West Builders, a general construction contracting firm based in San Diego, is primarily engaged on the design-build of federal facilities. The company has delivered more than 50 defense-related projects and its clients include the US Navy, and the US Air Force.

Aconex will provide Pacific West Builders and its business partners with a web-based system for managing project information such as drawings, documents and correspondence. The system replaces hard copies and email by allowing all the parties involved in a project to access, distribute, track and store their data using a single, common platform.

Patricia Romero, CEO of Pacific West Builders, said, “When we undertake design-build projects for the Navy and Air Force, a tremendous amount of documentation is generated and exchanged. Because of this, we wanted a centralized, standardized system for managing information.

“We previously used in-house tools – MS Word, spreadsheets and Outlook – to communicate and manage information; however we found that, with so many external parties involved, this could be cumbersome and lacked the tracking capabilities we required.

“Particularly since our work is government-related, our main reason for selecting Aconex is to ensure that our documentation is in order and that robust data security measures are in place.” Romero added, “The system is user-friendly and easy to navigate.”

Pacific West Builders often needs to coordinate a project team of more than 50 people, including consultants based across several locations.

“As well as pulling together the local participants, we may be working with a mechanical engineering firm from Missouri or electrical engineers from Chicago. Because of this, the fact that Aconex is web-based is important, as it will provide a more collaborative environment.”

All items stored on Aconex are securely archived and can be instantly retrieved using a search engine or drop-down filters. The system maintains an audit trail of every transaction so that, at any time, Pacific West Builders will be able to track the status of document reviews and correspondence.

“On each project, we collaborate with government personnel, the design team and subcontractors, and are charged with keeping everyone on task,” said Romero. “In the past, projects have sometimes experienced delays because we haven’t been able to track items – such as which documents have been reviewed and whether RFIs have been responded to – as well as we’d have liked. Being able to track all this through Aconex will mitigate these risks and help keep our projects on track.”

A Laptop Ready for Battlefield Conditions

The military has always been a breeding ground for new and exciting technologies, and it continues to be so for a number of new devices. Xplore Technologies has announced the launch of its new iX104C4M Military Tablet PC. “It was a significant undertaking engineering a COTS product to meet the stringent requirements of battlefield conditions. This milestone achievement is one that we are very proud of and further complements our product portfolio,” said Mark Holleran, President and Chief Operating Officer of Xplore.

“The need for rugged battlefield computing devices continues to grow. Based on customer input and that of our key partners, we developed the iX104C4M to be a computing tool addressing the difficult extremes of most military situations – whether for command and control or situational awareness, in a vehicle, on the flight line or in a tank,” said Holleran. “We recently debuted the product at the AUSA Conference in Washington, D.C. It was demonstrated in a network of partner booths including VT Miltope, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems and was very well received by the end users who took part in the demos.”

The iX104C4M design implements best in class indoor/outdoor AllVue Xtreme display technology with Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) compatibility, a flexible user interface with Dual Mode functionality, Intel Core Duo technology, Windows 7 and Military Standard 461F (MIL-STD-461F) compliance for battlefield computing. The iX104C4M’s key features include:

  • 1.2 GHz Intel® Core™ Duo processor
  • AllVue Xtreme LCD technology for viewing in all lighting conditions
  • NVIS Compatibility
  • MIL-STD-461F compliance
  • Extended Thermal Operating ranges
  • Customizable mounting solutions for Military vehicles such as MRAP/M-ATV, Buffalo, and Stryker

URS Awarded U.S. Army Environmental Remediation Services Contract

In more government contact news this past week, URS announced that the Company is one of seven firms that has been awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract by the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center to provide worldwide environmental remediation services. The contract, which has a two-year base period, followed by three one-year options, has a maximum aggregate value to all seven awardees of approximately $945 million over the full five-year term.

Under the terms of the contract, URS can compete for, or be assigned, task orders to provide a variety of services for projects at Department of Defense installations worldwide. Potential services include the elimination of conventional munitions and chemical warfare material; environmental compliance and remediation services; and other munitions-related services.

Commenting on the contract award, Gary V. Jandegian, President of Infrastructure & Environment for URS, said: “We are pleased by this award, which demonstrates URS’ expertise in providing a variety of munitions-related services. We look forward to expanding our work with the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center and helping them meet their important objectives.”

Body Armor Orders Continue to Grow

With the additional military being sent to the Middle East, it should be not a surprise that body armor orders continue to grow. Ceradyne announced that it has received a $12.4 million order for SAPI (Small Arms Protective Inserts) lightweight ceramic body armor. The order was issued by the U.S. Army RDECOM, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. The Company expects shipments to be completed in the first quarter 2010. The order is a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) requirement.

So who is Ceradyne? Ceradyne develops, manufactures, and markets advanced technical ceramic products and components for defense, industrial, automotive/diesel, and commercial applications.

David Reed, President of North American Operations had this to say about the news: “We are very pleased to receive this additional FMS body armor order. We believe that the government placed this order with Ceradyne, at least in part, due to its reliable delivery, quality performance on previous SAPI procurements and competitive pricing. This is a new order from the U.S. Army and should not be confused with the XSAPI/ESAPI 5-year procurement previously announced.”

CPI Aerostructures 2009 New Contract Awards Approximated $23.4 Million

In the government contract industry news, CPI Aerostructures announced that 2009 new contract awards approximated $23.4 million. Of this amount, approximately $10.6 million, $6.9 million and $5.8 million were government prime contract awards, government subcontract awards and commercial subcontract awards, respectively.

As reported last month, CPI Aero received two contracts from Lockheed Martin Corporation to produce aircraft structural assemblies for the U.S. Navy’s P-3 “Orion” aircraft. With other orders and Spirit AeroSystems contract adjustments for the Gulfstream G650 business jet, fourth quarter awards added $8.4 million to the $15.0 million of new orders as of September 30, 2009.

Edward J. Fred, CPI Aero’s CEO & President, noted, “It is important to note that although the total new orders for 2009 as a whole, were down considerably from 2008’s record level of $55.4 million, orders in the fourth quarter were significantly higher compared to the previous quarters of the year, a trend which we hope continues in 2010. These orders include work on multi-year programs with significant option and follow-on potential.”

He went on to say, “We expect 2010 to be another year of growth and we plan to issue our guidance when we announce results for the 2009 fourth quarter and year.”

Dell Awarded $42 Million Army Contract

Dell Perot Systems announced today that its Fairfax, Va. – based Government Services Business Unit was awarded the Rock Island Arsenal contract – a five-year, $42 million agreement to provide command, control, communications, computer and information management (C4IM) services to the Army arsenal. Recently acquired by Dell Corporation, Perot Systems has been providing services to the Rock Island Arsenal for the past four years, helping the base accomplish a number of leading Army IT initiatives including consolidating the base’s Directorate of Information Management (DOIM) centers into a single DOIM while simultaneously migrating the base’s networks to the Army’s first Area Processing Center (APC). The successful APC migration was one of the first of its kind in CONUS [the contiguous 48 U.S. states] and created a process blueprint for future installations. The successful migration has also helped the base improve service delivery as well as strengthen security by reducing entry points.

Lee Carrick, Vice President of Dell Perot Systems’ Government Services Unit had this to say about the contract, “We’re excited about the Army’s decision to award us with this contract and look forward to continuing to provide the Rock Island Arsenal with the highest quality of service. We’re also proud to have been one of the first teams to help the Army migrate a base to the APC, which gave us a firsthand knowledge of the challenges that arise in migrations and how to avoid or resolve those issues during future migrations.”

For the new contract, Dell Perot Systems will continue to provide network operations, desktop services, email, information assurance, telephones, and connectivity to long-haul communications.

Alion Receives a $1.9M Air Force Task Order for Flight-Critical Structures

The U.S. Air Force awarded Alion Science and Technology, an employee-owned technology solutions company, a task order valued at $1.9 million to enhance the safety of flight-critical airframe structures. To support the Air Force’s efforts to modernize, the program will focus on improving non-destructive inspection (NDI) methods used to evaluate the integrity of fielded aircraft structures. NDI is employed to identify defects in materials and structures under various conditions without harming the component’s integrity during the inspection process.

The NDI Improvement Program Phase II task order was awarded under the Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Testing Information Analysis Center (AMMTIAC) contract. On this task order, Alion will evaluate more than 125 inspections and recommend improvements to current NDI procedures. Additionally, Alion will develop new inspection tools and validate their performance through a probability of detection study. The study will determine the likelihood of finding defects, such as cracks, and will help accelerate the transition of new technology and inspection equipment.

This award follows Alion’s independent audit of NDI procedures on flight-critical structures across the Air Force fleet. During this previous effort Alion recommended improvements to more than 90 NDI procedures and developed two new NDI tool kits with more than 20 new NDI probes.

“Alion’s non-destructive inspection expertise, experience and procedure audits will help the Air Force enhance its inspectors’ abilities to more reliably detect structural defects. This in-turn will improve safety fleet-wide,” said Chris Amos, Alion Senior Vice President and Manager of the Technology Solutions Group. “Alion’s subject matter experts will support the development and validation of new NDI technology, such as probes and tool kits, which will lead to modernizing the Air Force’s inspection procedures and tools.”

Aerospace Stocks Begin to Climb

With the economy on the rebound, it is great to see aerospace stocks leading the way with shares of publicly traded companies making great strides for the first time in several years.

And one of the key reasons why these companies are growing is due to the defense contracts that the government is supplying to the industry. Forbes had this to say about the economic rebound,

“So, how to hedge your bet? With economic recovery now a fact, the mixed suppliers such as Boeing and Rockwell-Collins, which derive about half their business from defense programs, should do pretty well even under the big cut case. The 787 Dreamliner ramp should offset most defense stagnation, which in the case of Boeing came in the form of numerous big-ticket weapons system cancellations last year. Without a successful 787, Boeing would be in a world of hurt but it now looks full speed ahead.”

Some of the brigh spots in the aerospace industry are:

  • United Technologies (UTX)
  • Goodrich (GR)
  • Precision Castparts (PCP)
  • BE Aerospace (BEAV)
  • Spring AeroSystems
  • Hexel (HXL)

As the war expands, it appears that the current rebound is simply the start of a great expansion in the aerospace marketplace.

RRC Receives $46.0 Million Air Force R&D Contract Award

Rome Research Corporation (RRC), a wholly owned subsidiary of PAR Technology Corporation, announced that it has been awarded a $46.0 million contract for research and development, testing and evaluation expertise to operate the far field antenna test ranges, anechoic chambers, other laboratory facilities for the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate and conduct exercises and training missions on Air Force fielded technologies in combat. Under the five-year contract, work will be performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory facilities located in Rome, Newport, and Stockbridge, NY, and other field locations.

“Rome Research Corporation is proud of its long-term technical partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Rome, New York. Our company was founded to provide research and development services to the laboratory,” commented Steve Lynch., President of PAR’s Government Operations. “As the mission of the AFRL Information Directorate has evolved, Rome Research has adapted and expanded its capabilities along with it. The innovative technical solutions we provide will enable the Air Force Research Laboratory to fulfill its mission to meet the Air Force’s unique requirements for Information Dominance and its transition to aerospace systems. We are pleased to continue to provide assistance to the AFRL in meeting its continuous and critical mission.”