Courtesy of Roger Wicker, U. S. Senate, R-Mississippi
Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) – Courtesy Photo
Wicker: Air Force Awards $48M Contract to Develop Unmanned Aircraft in Columbus, Miss.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, today congratulated Aurora Flight Sciences for winning a $48 million Air Force contract to continue development of Orion unmanned aircraft. These systems are built in Columbus, Miss. In 2014, Orion set the world record for unmanned aerial systems flight endurance by remaining aloft for 80 hours.
“I am pleased that the Air Force continues to have confidence in developing Aurora’s ultra-long endurance Orion military drone,” Wicker said. “Orion will provide vital information to military commanders and our troops once it is deployed. Congress should approve the proposed FY18 funding for these aircraft, so that an entire deployable system will be coming off the line in the next 18 months.”
MSU’s Unmanned Aviation Program is Flying High
MSU Ag Drone (courtesy photo, MDA/Mississippi Works)
Courtesy of MDA/Mississippi Works
Unmanned flying drones have become more complex, and more popular, over the past several years, and Mississippi is now leading the push to develop better and better units. The FAA has named Mississippi State as the home of the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, making it *the* place to be for research of this kind. Mississippi’s will be working with the Center of Excellence is to help introduce UAV and UAS technologies to our nation and to the world in a safe, responsible manner. MSU collaborates with ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence), which is made up of over 20 research universities from around the world and industry partners.
The applications of this technology are myriad, and its potential economic impact on the state and nation are expected to be both far-reaching and very significant.Over one hundred aerospace companies have chosen to hedge their bets with the state of Mississippi, including international industry leaders such as Aurora Flight Sciences, Northrop Grumman, Stark Aerospace, and many more.The state’s competitive edge in aerospace brought them here; the expertise and drive of the people who work with and for them in Mississippi has kept them here.
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City of Columbus Waives Debt for Local Business
THE DISPATCH –
The city of Columbus has agreed to forgive about $80,000 clothing manufacturer American Power Source, located at 826 17th Ave. S., owes on its property note. In exchange, the company must pay property taxes and note payments that are delinquent and keep its employment at a minimum of 30 jobs. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff
City Attorney Jeff Turnage reported that the city and Golden Triangle Development LINK worked out an agreement which would see military clothing manager American Power Source Inc. repay roughly $66,000 worth of back taxes and note payments to the city, the county, and the city school district, in exchange for the deed to the manufacturer’s property and other considerations. The agreement also requires that the company continue to do business at their current location, as well as maintaining current employment for local workers.
“In the past three to four years,” the agreement states, “APSI has unfortunately experienced a substantial reduction in orders and sales volume for U.S. military uniforms that it produces due, at least in part, to a shift in the production of such uniforms to U.S. prisons.” Because of slumping production, American Power Source has missed several note payments and ad valorem tax payments for 2014-16. The resolution notes a “substantial likelihood” the company would fail to make the remaining note payments.
Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner, who cast the one opposing vote, did so because he said he didn’t feel it was in the best interest of his ward or the city as a whole. He encouraged people to research the company and agreement, and said he felt more people should have been involved before the final decision. “It could have been much better if more people were involved for the disclosure of what was going on,” Turner said. “It could have been much better. I don’t just necessarily disagree with everything, but if we would have had a better deal, then I would have went along with it . . .It seems like the government is leaving the ordinary people out of the discussion, and their representatives are just voting just to vote,” he added.
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West Point’s Navistar Plant Going Strong
WEST POINT, Miss. (AP) – Navistar International Corp. has been awarded a $35 million contract to deliver 40 armored vehicles to Pakistan from its Mississippi plant.
The U.S. Army announced the contract Thursday, saying Navistar, based in Lisle, Illinois, had made the only bid for the mine resistant ambush protected MaxxPro Dash DXM trucks.
Work is supposed to be done at Navistar’s plant in West Point, as well as in Pakistan, and is estimated to be finished by Oct. 31, 2018.
Although the West Point plant had laid off all its workers in 2013, it has since won a series of contracts to build or refurbish vehicles for the U.S. Army and foreign militaries, hiring several hundred workers.
Courtesy of WCBI
Aurora Flight Services recently announced that they have beat out several high-end competitors – including Boeing – for am $89 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract. They will be designing and constructing a VTOL drone, which could also be modified to accommodate a pilot, for future use in the military.
Aurora reports that they have been working on a design for such a craft for about two years now, and that they will be able to go ahead and create the actual “LightningStrike” plane, as it has been dubbed, in anticipation of a 2018 test flight series. It is hoped that the whole process will help to bring a number of additional jobs to this area. Aurora has roughly twenty years of experience creating VTOL aircraft, so the project is in good hands.
“Aurora is proud to support DARPA on what we all hope to be a truly historic breakthrough in aviation technology,” Aurora chairman and CEO John Langford said in a statement. “If successful, the VTOL X-Plane’s radically improved flight capabilities could lead to revolutionary advancement of the U.S. military’s future missions capabilities.”
For more info, and a video, check the link here: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=49332