The Department of Defense issued 18 contracts worth a total of $870 million on Wednesday. Many of these contracts went to publicly traded defense contractors, for example:
- DENTSPLY International (NASDAQ: XRAY ) was awarded a second (of four possible) option-year exercise worth up to $31.2 million. This contract has DENTSPLY supplying "a wide range of general dental supplies" to U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps customers.
- Raytheon (NYSE: RTN ) was awarded a $10.3 million contract modification to conduct an Engineering Analysis on U.S. Army and Air Force AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Missile Systems. Raytheon will perform "program protection implementation plans" as well as technical studies and services. This contract will run through March 2014.
- Britain's BAE Systems (NASDAQOTH: BAESY ) (LSE: BA ) won a $7.6 million contract modification to provide engineering, logistics, and maintenance support on various instrumentation radars for both U.S. and foreign clients under the U.S. Air Force's Instrumentation Radar Support Program (IRSP). BAE will be performing this work through Sept. 30, 2014.
But perhaps the most interesting contract of all went to a privately held company -- Waltham, Massachusetts-based robotics firm Boston Dynamics. This award, a $10 million contract modification, funds Boston Dynamics' work on the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) program, a.k.a. "AlphaDog" or "Big Dog," whereby the company is attempting to perfect a "legged robot can unburden dismounted squad members by carrying their gear, autonomously following them through rugged terrain, and interpreting verbal and visual commands." In particular, these funds will be used to harden the robot against small arms fire, and to make it move more quietly, so as to be better suited for "stealthy tactical operations." Boston Dynamics will be working on this through March 31, 2015.