The Department of Defense started off the new month with a bang Thursday (if you'll pardon the expression), announcing the award of 33 separate defense contracts, worth a combined $1.5 billion. One of the biggest winners was Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) , which walked away with three clean contract wins... and a piece of a fourth.
Lockheed's big win of the day was a $223-million deal to outfit Korean attack helicopters, built by Boeing, with a new advanced targeting system. As for the others:
- Lockheed won a $25.8 million contract modification to fund follow-on testing as part of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement program. PAC-3 MSE will upgrade the venerable Patriot missiles with new flight software, a more powerful motor, and larger fins "for more agility." The hope is that these changes will extend the missiles range by as much as 50%.
- In a related award, Lockheed also won a $9.6 million contract modification to perform unscheduled maintenance at the Army's PAC-3 Missile Support Center.
- Finally, Lockheed's Longbow LLC subsidiary -- a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC ) -- was awarded a $6.8 million contract modification to fund low-rate initial production of its Radar Electronics Unit and Unmanned Aerial System Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (Longbow UTA ). This latter device is a "two-way, high-bandwidth data link" through which the Army aims to use Apache helicopters as a sort of control ship for operating unmanned aerial vehicles -- forming joint manned-unmanned teams of warcraft that can cooperate in combat.