Defense News Roundup: Spy Missions for South Korea, and Rockets for Kuwait

Here's our weekly rundown of the major stories in defense spending.

Jan 5, 2014 at 7:45AM

The U.S. military has a reputation as a somewhat secretive organization. But in one respect at least, the Pentagon is one of the most "open" of our government agencies. Every day of the week, rain or shine, the Department of Defense tells U.S. taxpayers what contracts it's issued, to whom, and for how much -- all right out in the open on its website.


So what has the Pentagon been up to this week?

DoD is budgeted to spend about $6.2 billion a week on military hardware, infrastructure projects, and supplies in fiscal 2014. (A further $5.6 billion a week goes to pay the salaries and benefits of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen.) The New Year got off to a slow start, however, with the generals spending only $2.7 billion through Friday, in a holiday-abbreviated week.

And what did they get for their (read: "our") money?

Missiles for Kuwait ...
In its role as intermediary between the U.S. government and foreign governments that want to buy our stuff, the Pentagon also brokered a $263 million deal to have Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) sell Kuwait 14 four-packs of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles, and seven launcher modification kits.

Launching a Patriot from a "four-pack." Source: Wikimedia Commons.

and spy planes for South Korea ...
Similarly, Lockheed landed a smallish $8 million contract modifying its duties in the mysterious "Peace Krypton Program." Under this project, Lockheed assists South Korea in running high-level surveillance and reconnaissance flights over "selected areas." These flights gather intelligence on the activities of hostile powers by taking snapshots with Synthetic Aperture Radar systems. Lockheed won the contract Dec. 31, on the final day of last year.

But for America, 1970s-era bombers ...
Meanwhile, in the week's biggest contract, Boeing (NYSE:BA) was awarded $750 million to perform "integrated engineering services" on the U.S. Air Force's fleet of B-1B "Lancer" supersonic strategic bombers. Over the next five years, Boeing will be performing maintenance on the planes, working on their computer networks, and performing other engineering tasks on the planes.


U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer. Source: Wikimedia Commons

... and engine tune-ups
Also winning contracts from the Air Force -- and from the Navy and Marines besides -- was United Technologies (NYSE:UTX). For $167 million, the company will perform maintenance on the F135 engines that power the F-35 stealth fighter jet. UTC will also keep the engines on Britain's small fleet of F-35s tuned up.

In a similar but unrelated contract, General Electric (NYSE:GE) was awarded $572.5 million to perform maintenance on its own F414 engine, which is used aboard U.S. Navy F/A-18E and -F fighter jets, and EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft besides.

Opportunities on the horizon
So much for the contracts that everyone knows about. Now, let's move on to two contracts that may not yet be incorporated into defense contractors' stock prices.

If you recall, back in September we told you about the possibility that India might soon place orders for a half-dozen of Lockheed Martin's best-selling C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft -- and six more Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transports besides. Well, as it turns out, India's Defence Ministry just confirmed that it will proceed with the purchase of the six C-130Js at an estimated price of $1 billion total. And now that that rumor has been confirmed, it lends credence to the other big contract rumored at the time -- the even bigger sale of $2.7 billion worth of Boeing's C-17s.

Mind you, neither of these contracts has been officially announced yet -- at least not in the United States. As such, few investors are factoring the near-certainty of an additional $1 billion in revenues for Lockheed, or the chance of $2.7 billion more for Boeing, into the stocks' valuations yet. Simply put, almost no one knows about this.

Except that now, you do.

Thanks for all the great stock tips, Pentagon!
You don't always have to look far to find good investments. Sometimes, profiting from our increasingly global economy can be as easy as investing in your own backyard -- and the Pentagon's helpful habit of publishing all its contracts daily as they're awarded certainly makes that easier. 

Want to find more "easy to understand" investments? Read The Motley Fool's free report "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World" shows you how. Click here to get instant access to one free copy.

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric and Lockheed Martin. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers