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Defense News Roundup: V-22 Ospreys Take Wing, and 30 Apaches Head to Iraq

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). So far this year, though, spending has been exceedingly light, with roughly $10.4 billion in contracts awarded through the entire month of January. The trend continued into last week, with contracts adding up to "only" $2.52 billion.

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

Renewable energy for a "green" army
Remember how last summer, the Pentagon spent several weeks in a row announcing contract after contract awarded to fund renewable energy purchases? Seven billion dollars' worth of renewable energy purchases? Well, it turns out they still aren't done picking winners.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon named privately held California renewables firm Foresight Renewable Solutions, LLC, to participate in the $7 billion project, adding it to the list of companies that can bid on task orders for the Pentagon's green energy "Power Purchase Agreements." Authorized by a 2012 Renewable and Alternative Energy Power Production, Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC), the PPAs aim to buy $7 billion worth of "reliable, locally generated" wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy for the military over the course of the next 30 years, with the goal of getting 25% of the Pentagon's power requirements (1 gigawatt) covered by "renewable" sources by 2025. 

Hardened aircraft
Elsewhere in the high-tech arena, the Pentagon awarded General Dynamics (NYSE: GD  ) $24 million to continue doing R&D work under the U.S. Air Force's Hardened Materials Research and Survivability Studies Program. General Dynamics will be researching ways to "harden" aircraft, up-armoring them not only to resist shrapnel from anti-aircraft, but to protect planes and helicopters from "photonic light and electromagnetic energy" as well.

And speaking of planes and helicopters
One vehicle that is a little bit of both -- part plane, part helo -- is the V-22 Osprey that is jointly built by Textron (NYSE: TXT  ) and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) . The Osprey won $100 million in additional funding Thursday. The Pentagon awarded $10 million to the companies' Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office to pay for logistics work on USMC-variant MV-22 Ospreys and Air Force and Special Operations Command CV-22 Ospreys. A further $90 million went to Rolls-Royce to pay for 40 of the AE1107C engines that power the Ospreys.

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

On Monday, we learned that the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of plans to make a massive arms sale to the Government of Iraq. The Pentagon will rush dozens of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the front, to combat incursions into the country by al-Qaeda fighters from Syria. In the first wave, six Apaches will go to Iraq under a $1.4 billion lease deal. The Iraqi military will begin training to operate and maintain these helicopters, in preparation for a second wave of 24 Apaches that will be sold to the Iraqi military outright for an additional $4.8 billion.

Boeing will build the birds, General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) will build the T700-GE-701D engines to power them, and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) will supply upwards of 630 Hellfire missiles to arm them.

What good is an Apache without Hellfires to shoot with? Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

This contract hasn't been officially announced yet, and isn't common knowledge. Thus, few investors are factoring it into their valuations. Very few people know about it -- except that now, you do.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (2)

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.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 6:58 PM, ilsm50 wrote:

    Apaches to Iraq.......

    How well they did in Kosovo, how many were "ambushed" in the invasion in 2003.......

    An Apache for an RPG, really efficient!

    MV-22 good money after bad.

    Pentagon welfare checks: $5.6B a week.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 8:28 PM, Cool123 wrote:

    six Apaches will go to Iraq under a $1.4 billion lease deal. Are we stupid? Is the State Department really that Stupid? Apparently so... Who is going to fly and repair these helos...and "lease" really. We are giving away the helos. I spent two years in Iraq, it's called "Foreign Military Gifts" FMGs. Washington DC is full of greed and stupidity.

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Rich Smith

As a defense writer for The Motley Fool, I focus on defense and aerospace stocks. My job? Every day of the week, I'm monitoring the news, figuring out the winners and losers, and tracking down the promising companies for you to invest in. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for the most important developments in defense & aerospace, and other great stories.

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