* Does SpaceX have lessons to teach NASA? After it spends under $400 million to do what would have taken NASA around $4 billion, Congressional testimony says “yes!”, and SpaceX underscores its cost positions. Next step? Falcon 9 Heavy, which aims to challenge the current Boeing/Lockheed EELV heavy lift platforms on cost and payload.
* FLIR Systems, a supplier of thermal imaging and threat detection systems, agrees to pay $39 million to two former executives to settle litigation related to its 2004 acquisition of Indigo Systems.
* US Army honors the MQ-5B Hunter UAV as “the little program that could,” with a history going back to 1989. Hunters still serve on the front lines, and some are now armed with GBU-44 Viper Strike mini-weapons.
* China’s submarine buildup is creating pressure on Asian countries to improve their anti-submarine capabilities – and add subs of their own. Given the volume of Chinese shipping that must pass through narrow chokepoints in and around Indonesia, it’s not a good strategic trade for China.
* Crews for India’s ordered Scorpene diesel-electric submarines are due to begin training in France, soon. The goal is now delivery by 2015, with all 6 delivered by the end of 2018.
* Loose or broken bolts caused South Korea to suspend operations for its 3 type U214 subs through much of 2010, and into 2011. The problem was fixed, and contracts to build its next set of 6 more U214s continue.