Planes, drones, special missions aircraft on display at Sierra Nevada Industry Day

MERIDIANVILLE — A cost-effective solution for retrofitting old Black Hawk helicopters with the most technologically advanced electronics and equipment was unveiled recently by Sierra Nevada. The event was held during Sierra Nevada’s Industry Day at the company’s facility at the Huntsville Executive Airport.

SNC acquired the older model Air Force UH-60L Black Hawk through Huntsville’s Black Hawk Exchange & Sales Team (BEST) program. They removed the outdated analog gages and Marconi strip radar system and replaced it with an all glass cockpit, a fully certified state-of-the-art digital avionics suite, and mission-specific equipment including an external mounted camera, rescue hoists, and a 200-gallon auxiliary fuel tank. Now known as the Sierra Force Rotary-Wing Aircraft, the newly retrofitted helicopter is valued at an estimated $19 million.

“At the end of the day, each Sierra Force aircraft returns a significant portion of the production cost to the U.S. government,” said Bill Morris, vice president of business development for Sierra Nevada. “We make it possible for the U.S. Air Force to acquire the most cost-effective replacement aircraft available.”

Also, on exhibit was a King Air 350ER Mission Enhancement Kit.

King Air 350ER Mission Enhancement Kit with five-blade propellers that enable the aircraft to climb to 30,000 feet in 17 minutes.

“We bought the standard King Air as a green aircraft,” he said. “… using the Independent Research and Development (IR&D) program to determine what modifications were needed, we created a Mission Enhancement Kit that involves installing a new engine, an electronic braking system, and a light weight battery that removes 20 pounds from the aircraft, while increasing the capacity to fly at airspeeds up to 340 knots.”

Morris said Sierra Nevada replaced the four-blade propeller with five blades, which enable the plane to climb to 30,000 feet in 17 minutes instead of 40 minutes. It mitigates a lot of the noise from the engine so passengers can have a reasonable conversation without headsets.

“On an ordinary 90-degree day at 7,000 feet, you would have only about 30 minutes of fuel available,” said Morris. “With our newly designed kit, you can fly for eight hours under the same conditions – a significant increase for our Army forces who fly very long distances on manned surveillance and intelligence missions.”

The King Air and the SNC Scorpion Aircraft are fully-integrated multi-role special mission aircraft whose configurations include a lightweight interior, LED lighting, an extended nose to accommodate camera and sensors that surveil targets on the ocean up to 200 nautical miles; and a Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) satellite communications system on top that transmits data in real time to a ground station.

Also on display during Industry Day was a battery-operated surveillance drone. The aircraft is housed in a case with a Unified Ground Control Station, a hand-held controller and manned and unmanned teaming functions.

Powered by software designed by Kutta Technologies, the unmanned aircraft system can be dropped from an aircraft and deployed remotely from ground or air and has autonomous landing capabilities. It has a payload bay and a powerful camera that can see around corners. The drone can be programmed with waypoints or set to loiter and wait for updates from the controller.

 

EOS selects Huntsville for flagship manufacturing facility

Electro Optic Systems (EOS), a leading Australian technology company in the aerospace and defense markets, has selected Huntsville for its flagship U.S. manufacturing facility.

The company made the announcement Wednesday, joined by state and city leaders at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.

“EOS is very happy to have the opportunity to formally join the Huntsville community,” said Phil Coker, the company’s U.S. president. “North Alabama is an area of incredible people, outstanding institutions and immense potential and we are thrilled to have the chance to establish a business in this area.

“We look forward to working with the Defense Department, federal, state and local government leaders and local businesses to improve the community and serve our country and its citizens.”

Within the first year of operation, EOS will hire up to 100 full-time employees. A state-of-the-art production facility on Wall-Triana Highway has been scaled to grow to at least 250 employees if contract awards continue on the current trajectory.

“EOS is a natural fit for the Huntsville community, and we’re pleased our new Australian partners chose Huntsville as their preferred place to invest and do business,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “This addition continues our momentum to add more manufacturing in support of Huntsville’s excellent research and development capabilities.”

EOS is a leader in the development and production of robotic or remotely controlled weapons systems (“RCWS” or “RWS”) where it has built a strong reputation as a major provider for more than 25 years to the U.S., NATO and ANZUS markets. EOS products currently dominate the global market for next-generation lightweight weapon systems with unprecedented accuracy and firepower.

“EOS’ decision to locate its new manufacturing center in Alabama is a reflection of the state’s attractive business climate and its skilled workers, who prove their capabilities each and every day,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Huntsville will make a great home for the company because Alabama’s ‘Rocket City’ offers every advantage a business needs to succeed.”

EOS, which is based in Hume, ACT, operates in military space, missile defense and surface warfare sectors. Its products incorporate advanced electro-optic applications based on EOS core technologies in software, lasers, electronics, optronics, gimbals, telescopes, beam directors, stabilization and precision mechanisms.

“Huntsville serves as a critical hub for high-tech defense work, and that makes the city a smart choice for EOS as it develops a flagship U.S. manufacturing facility,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “We look forward to building a strong partnership with the company and seeing it grow both its business and its workforce in coming years.”

More information visit, http://www.eos-aus.com/

 

South Huntsville selected as Main Street Alabama Community

South Huntsville has been designated a Main Street Alabama community, according to a statement Friday from the nonprofit Main Street Alabama organization.

The area of Huntsville will join a statewide effort to build stronger communities through effective downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization.

Main Street Alabama uses a national model with a 40-year track record of success to designate the towns and neighborhoods after a rigorous application process.

According to State Coordinator Mary Helmer, Main Street Alabama will immediately provide intensive board development, goal-setting, work-planning, market study with implementable economic development strategies, targeted technical assistance, and quarterly training related to downtown development.

“When a community is ready for Main Street, as South Huntsville is, the time-tested Four Point Approach works,” Helmer said. “It brings jobs, dollars and people back to neighborhood commercial districts.”

Helmer said the interview panel was impressed by the presentation from the South Huntsville Business Association and civic leaders that demonstrated a love of their community, a vision for what they could be, and the drive to make it happen. She said South Huntsville demonstrated strong community partnerships, an impressive organizational structure with exceptional leadership, and ability to financially support a program, which made them stand out in the field of applicants.

Developed starting in the 1950s, the era of the atomic ranch house, mid-century modern architecture reigns supreme in this community and recalls its historic connection to the nearby Redstone Arsenal (and Marshall Space Flight Center) and the golden era of space exploration,” the Main Street Alabama announcement said. “As home to numerous scientists throughout its history, this community’s residents produced scientific advancements that were the envy of the world. Over the past decade, (Huntsville) has been Alabama’s growth engine, and this local commercial district has become the preferred daytime destination for 40,000 employees at the … arsenal.

“Local residents and business owners have done their research and discovered a formula to develop connectivity between its natural resources and business assets, with greenways, river access and a natural preserve. They are ready to apply our UrbanMain Street approach, and we welcome this group of innovators, otherwise known as the South Huntsville Business Association, to our program. We know you will take your community to new heights!”

Each designated community reports its success by tracking reinvestment statistics. Main Street Alabama’s Designated communities have reported 488 net new businesses; 1,932 net new job; $282,679,772 in private investment; $74,257,229 in public improvements; and 61,201 volunteer hours in their districts collectively since June 2014.

For towns interested in becoming a designated Main Street Alabama community, application workshops will be held in January. Until then, communities interested in downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization can participate in Main Street Alabama’s Network.

Visit mainstreetalabama.org for information.

Cyber Job Fair to be held during National Cyber Summit in Huntsville

With cybersecurity threatening businesses, large and small, as well as our national security, the demand for cyber security professionals is ever increasing.

A local effort to reduce that employment gap and connect cyber security professionals and students with employers is the National Cyber Summit Cyber Job Fair, held Wednesday, June 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is part of the annual National Cyber Summit on June 5-7 in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.

The job fair is a hiring event for cleared and non-cleared cybersecurity professionals as well as college-level students in a cybersecurity degree program. Hosted by ClearJobs.Net and CyberSecJobs.com, the job fair features national and local employers filling cyber security positions including Decisive Analytics, Deloitte, Fulcrum, IBM, Parsons, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, SAIC, Scientific Research and more.

For more information and to register, visit https://www.nationalcybersummit.com/Program/Cyber-Job-Fair

Miley named associate director of Marshall Space Flight Center

Steve Miley has been named associate director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

“With three decades of government acquisition and management experience, Steve is well prepared for his new position on the center’s senior leadership team,” said Marshall Center Director Todd May. “The leadership skills he has displayed while working with NASA Headquarters, other NASA field centers, the U.S. Air Force, government agencies and partners has been, and will continue to be, invaluable to Marshall and the nation’s space exploration efforts.”

Stephen Miley

As associate director, Miley will manage and lead development of business operations, guide daily business decisions and oversee Marshall’s operational policy and processes. In addition, he will serve as a senior adviser in advancing the direction of the center’s future.

The Dayton, Ohio, native most recently served as director of Marshall’s Office of Procurement. Named to the position in December 2015, he managed the organization responsible for all aspects of the contracting and procurement processes at Marshall, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and associated contractor facilities.

Marshall, one of NASA’s largest field installations, has almost 6,000 civil service and contract personnel, an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion, 4.5 million square feet of infrastructure and a broad spectrum of human spaceflight, science and technology development.

A 21-year Air Force reserve officer, Miley received his commission through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2008.

He and his wife Dana live in Huntsville.

Madison sets groundbreaking for development, baseball stadium

MADISON — The first pitch won’t be thrown for another two years, but progress continues to round the bases for Madison’s multi-use development, including a baseball stadium for the city’s new minor league team.

City officials have set a groundbreaking for June 9 at the site of Town Madison, adjacent to I-565 and Zierdt Road. The event, which will feature ballpark fare such as popcorn and hot dogs, starts at 5 p.m. and the public is welcome.

“Breaking ground on this project is momentous, and we appreciate the work that has led us to this point,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “Celebrating with our community while enjoying free ballpark food like hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy is a fantastic way to rally together to start the process.”

A $46 million stadium, which will be the home of the minor league team, is the keystone of the development and is scheduled to be completed late next year.

BallCorps LLC, the owner of the Southern League’s Mobile BayBears, is moving the team to Madison and it will begin play in the 2020 season.

“Minor league baseball belongs back in North Alabama and we are thrilled to be a part of its return to the region,” said BallCorps Managing Partner and CEO Ralph Nelson. “We are excited to reveal more details about the team, its total integration into the community and to celebrate the start of construction.”

There will be a contest to name the team and commemorative baseballs will be given out to those who attend the groundbreaking celebration.

Trade secrets and your employees’ passwords

Most businesses are overloading their budgets with expensive security options, the best technology and software, even hiring professional fraud companies to analyze their level of security, but sometimes, you really have to make sure the small things are covered first.

Huntsville locksmiths work to build your trust

A Huntsville Locksmith's key collection

By Alex Ramirez, Armor Lock and Key

While small business owners take the decision to allow keyholder access very seriously, when a business needs the services of a locksmith many will simply call the locksmith that can complete the needed task the cheapest or the soonest. And while there are instances that immediate service is vital it is also imperative to build a trusting relationship with a local locksmith.

Build a relationship with a Huntsville locksmith

While it’s not always possible, selecting a locksmith before you find yourself in an emergency situation is a good idea. Check with your local consumer protection agencies and the Better Business Bureau, ask your friends and family for recommendations, and speak to your selected locksmith company on the phone.

Huntsville and north Alabama like most communities are served by locksmiths with brick and mortar stores focused on traditional lock and key services and newer mobile locksmiths that come to your location anywhere in Huntsville or the surrounding area to service cars and door access.

Be wary of locksmiths with catchy low-priced advertisements that show up at the top of your search, locksmiths with multiple ads that look similar but with different names, and businesses answering the phone with “locksmith services” instead of a company name. These could be indicators that you’ve reached a fake locksmith. Such operations are scam companies, and your call will be forwarded to an out-of-town dispatcher who will then “immediately” send a “locksmith” to your location. The locksmith is often untrained, may demand cash up front, and may damage the lock beyond repair then charge you for a new one. The final blow is often an inflated price once the job is finished.

Most legitimate locksmiths arrive in a clearly marked vehicle and carry photo identification – ask to see it – more than anyone the locksmith understands the importance of your asking for verification of credentials.

Be wary of the drill

While there may be situations where drilling is the only solution, it should always be considered as a last resort. Most experienced locksmiths have the tools and the training to unlock almost any lock without drilling.

Ask for proof of insurance before any work is done. If your property is damaged during a repair — or if faulty work leads to later loss or damage — the locksmith’s insurance will cover your losses.

Never sign a blank form authorizing work in advance. Doing so could mean you’ve agreed to allow an unscrupulous locksmith to damage your lock and then charge you a high price to replace it. If you must sign first, please read the fine print. Get an estimate up front, and pay only when the work is completed.