Boeing Wins!

"There are those that see JSF as the last manned fighter. I'm one that's inclined to believe that."
-- Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

"The solution to future threats is not something that has a pilot in it."
--
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Ah, but who will build this elusive "solution to future threats?" That's the question that bedevils investors. Will it be UAV pioneer and Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation AeroVironment (Nasdaq: AVAV  ) ? (Unlikely. The company's mysterious Switchblade UAV might be capable of taking out a child's kite in-flight, but I doubt it stand much chance of catching a MiG.) Or how about Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC  ) or United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) ? (Better luck there. But to be honest, I'm more interested in their prospects building robotic helicopters than fighter jets.)

No, it seems the company that's taken the single greatest lead in unmanned airpower dominance -- at least for now -- is Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) . Because after months of hemming and hawing, the U.S. Navy last week chose Boeing to build its hottest new UAV for use on-board ships: the small, tactical, unmanned aircraft system (or "STUAS/Tier II" in Pentagon Scrabble-speak.)

According to reports, Boeing has been awarded two low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts to build one "Integrator" STUAS system each for the Navy, and for the Marine Corps. Losers in the Navy's decision include rival bidders Raytheon, Textron (NYSE: TXT  ) , and General Dynamics. Winners include Boeing subcontractors L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL  ) , which is developing the Integrator's digital data link, and Harris Corp (NYSE: HRS  ) , which is doing the comms package.

What now?
Now begins a 24-month marathon of engineering, manufacturing and development work as Boeing and its partners attempt to get the Integrator ready for primetime. At the end of it all, according to the analysts, could be a payoff of as much as $450 million on the project.

But if I might make a small, Foolish request? Perhaps given 24 months to work with, Boeing can come up with a better name for its new bird? I mean, seriously, "Integrator" is a name only an engineer could love. Taxpayers deserve something more for their money -- or at least more poetic.

Suggestions, anyone? Drop 'em in the comments section below.

General Dynamics is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection, AeroVironment is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation, and Fool contributor Rich Smith also owns shares of AV. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1255405, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2014 8:01:07 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement