The Department of Defense awarded three defense contracts worth $158.7 million Friday, but only one of them went to a publicly traded company. This defense contractor, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN), was awarded a $52.1 million contract modification funding engineering and technical support work on the Navy's Phalanx, SeaRAM, and Land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems through January 2015.
The Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) is an automatic "terminal defense" weapon system designed to detect, track, engage, and destroy anti-ship missiles that have already penetrated outer defense envelopes. As such, it's a ship's last method of defense before being struck by a missile.
"C-RAM," short for "Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar," is essentially a Phalanx gun system that operates on land.
The similar-sounding SeaRAM, meanwhile, can be thought of as "Phalanx with rockets." A ship-based defense system like Phalanx, the SeaRAM Anti-Ship Missile Defense System operates a bit farther out than the Phalanx CIWS, and engages targets with a battery of 11 missiles rather than Phalanx's familiar 20mm Gatling gun.
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Raytheon Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.