* The DSCA notified Congress of the potential sale of three Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks to Mexico, in a deal potentially worth $110 million. That there are only three Black Hawks in the deal is surprising, as the application appears to have gone in with five requested. Slovakia is also poised to receive nine of the same model.
* In related Black Hawk news, Sikorsky saw a $93.3 million contract modification today for eight “Green” UH-60M helicopters for the Tunisian government.
* In F-35/paint news, the Air Force and Texas Research Institute have developed a new, particularly resistant, coating for combat aircraft, which will reportedly be capable of saving the Lightening II program about $14 million in life cycle cost savings. Every little bit helps in a program slated to cost approximately $1.5 trillion.
* The Pentagon has set up a panel to assess Electronic Warfare requirements across the U.S.’s entire spectrum of military capabilities.
* Turkish defense manufacturer Aselsan today announced the opening of a $167 million radar and Electronic Warfare manufacturing plant. The company recently contributed sensors to Turkey’s new ATR-72 maritime patrol planes.
* The Netherlands has been experimenting. The Royal Netherland Air Forces has been using “modifications and operational techniques” to convert their fleet of AH-64 Apache helicopters from their traditional ground-attack and CAS roles to a more ISTAR-oriented platform. Details of exactly what these special changes are remain to be seen.
* Austria is set to upgrade its fleet of Pandur APCs with a new remote weapon station, with plans outlining the Austrian Ministry of Defense’s intention to field twelve of the upgraded vehicles by August of this year. The modernization contract is reported to amount to €23 million.
* The UK Ministry of Defence announced that it intends to reposition one of its five Skynet 5 communications satellites. The satellite – manufactured by Airbus – is to be repositioned above the eastern Asia-Pacific region.
* Harris Corp is to supply software-defined tactical radios to an undisclosed Middle East customer in a $47 million deal announced today. Harris sells most of its hardware in the Middle east to Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and UAE. The firm has received five other major radio orders from the Middle East in the past two years totaling $225 million, none of them attributed to a specific nation.
* India’s M-MRCA fighter saga remained ambiguous today, with the Indian Defense Ministry confirming that no ‘final decision’ has been made in ongoing negotiations, despite French and Indian Defense Ministers having met last month in an attempt to break the deadlock. The Rafale’s selection in 2012 has since seen significant gridlock, with the latest major sticking point being the workshare between Dassault and HAL.
* In other Indian aerospace news, the Defense Research & Development organization is reportedly seeking to procure a supersonic aircraft to act as a Flying Test Bed for the testing of airborne systems. The move is likely to be a result of testing demands stemming from the M-MRCA program, as well as the future fifth-generation fighter currently under development with Russian fighter house Sukhoi. As yet, a tender has not been released.
* A Japanese Ground Self Defense Force ScanEagle UAV reportedly was destroyed in a previously-undisclosed crash in November last year. The Japanese Defense Ministry is currently investigating the crash, having grounded the fleet of four ScanEagles immediately following the crash.
* A Lancer bomber refuels above Iraq, showing off a new sensor…