Rapid Fire: 2010-10-05

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* DARPA’s Prophecy project looks to stay a step ahead of virus evolution, something with strong public health relevance as well as defensive military uses. That’s good, because the US State Department’s new arms control compliance report shows that there is a lot we do not know about the world’s germ warfare programs. * Research and Markets: The South African defense industry is expected to continue its consolidation trend, with fewer firms competing for more international business. No surprise, given its weak domestic market. * F-35 flight tests suspended, due to issues with fuel-system software on all variants and with a door hinge on the Marines’ F-35B. * At least one person on Cryptome thinks the Stuxnet worm is too sloppy to be Israeli malware, and that the “myrtus” aspect of it has a non-biblical explanation. Meanwhile, Iran blusters – and may be about to implement the accompanying social hack. * Collateral Economy: US military’s 17 facilities in Maryland generate $36 billion annually in economic activity, according to a University of Baltimore report [PDF]. * Cleveland Rocks: Defense News reports that Cleveland Ship has bid for Northrop Grumman’s shipbuilding unit, which Bloomberg estimates to be worth up to $4.6 billion. […]

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