* The Air and Missile Defense Radar, currently under development by Raytheon, has passed a Critical Design Review. the AMDR is now over 40% through its EMD phase, with the system completing a hardware CDR last year. Raytheon was awarded a $385.7 million EMD contract in October 2013, with protests from competitor Lockheed Martin following soon after; however these were dropped in January 2014.
* Raytheon suffered a setback this week with a federal judge freeing the Air Force to re-evaluate bids for the 3D Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DERLL), with the company initially winning the lucrative contract in October last year. Raytheon filed a lawsuit against the Air Force when it tried to open up the competition through re-evaluating its original decision, with competitors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman protesting the initial contract award. The value of the program could reach $1 billion, with the Air Force planning to buy sixty of the new radar systems.
* Defense News reported Tuesday that Italian firm Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, and Northrop Grumman have partnered in order to bring the European firm’s infrared technology into the US, as well as for potential Foreign Military Sales. The Infrared Search and Track technology developed by Selex ES is employed on the Eurofighter Typhoon, with the company recently signing a contract with Saab for sixty Skyward-G infrared search and track systems to equip the Gripen E. The new transatlantic team could challenge Lockheed Martin’s dominance of the North American market with its Legion infrared pod.
* A Colombian Army UH-60L Black Hawk crashed earlier this week, killing four and injuring another two. The helicopter went down in the central Meta department, with the accident being attributed to mechanical failure. The Colombians operate the fourth largest fleet of Black Hawks worldwide, with the government first requesting the L variant in 2005 and currently operating 56 of the model.
* Spain has grounded Airbus A400M test flights following the crash at the weekend. Other states have grounded their fleets, including the RAF, Luftwaffe and Malaysia. Airbus conducted another test flight on Tuesday in an attempt to quash safety fears, with an A400M flying from Toulouse to Seville, the scene of the crash.
* Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to supply the Romanian Air Force and Royal Thai Air Force with Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods. These will equip the F-16s of both air forces, with Romania acquiring a dozen of the jets in October 2013 from Portugal, with a Foreign Military Sale from the US following a month after for weapons, equipment and support. Thailand has been upgrading its sixteen-strong F-16 fleet for a number of years, including radar improvements in 2013.
* Russia is continuing to buy BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, despite the recent unveiling of the new Kurganets-25 vehicle, as well as promises of a contract in the near future. The Russian Defense Ministry has reportedly signed a three-year contract with the BMP’s manufacturer for “hundreds of vehicles”.
* Turkey and Russia have reportedly tested a jointly-developed short-range air defense system (SHORAD). The Russian Igla man-portable system has purportedly been integrated with a Turkish platform, with these thought to be naval assets.
* India’s planned procurement of Airbus A330 MRTT refueling aircraft is reportedly on track, with the Defence Minister telling Parliament that negotiations with the European manufacturer are at the “contract negotiation committee stage”.
* Pakistan has successfully test-fired its Chinese-manufactured HQ-7B/FM-90 air defense system, according to media reports. A Chinese clone of the French Thales/Thomson CSF Crotale air defense system, the Pakistanis first unveiled the SAM system in March.
* The A330 MRTT refuelling…