The Department of Defense awarded 13 defense contracts Friday, worth a total of up to $590.4 million.

Two of the largest -- and most ambiguous -- awards went to groups of companies winning contracts to do work for the U.S. Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division.

In the first contract, with a stated "estimated combined value" of $232.9 million, seven companies have won places within a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award contract for "development, product improvement, prototyping, qualification and production support" -- although what exactly is being developed, improved, prototyped, qualified, or supported is not stated. The value of the contract to each contractor depends, in part, on whether the Navy exercises certain "options" to extend the contract's duration past its anticipated February 2015 end date, and, in part, on how many individual task orders the contractor bids for and wins. The contractors winning places in this contract include:

  • Chemring Group (LSE:CHG) subsidiary Hi-Shear Technology, expected to win $33.4 million
  • Danaher (NYSE:DHR) subsidiary Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials, $36.7 million
  • General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), $30.4 million
  • Four privately held companies -- receiving perhaps $132.3 million combined.

The second, similar contract is also a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contract, is valued at perhaps $66.2 million, and involves -- again unspecified -- work in the areas of "quality evaluation/surveillance program support." The winning contractors here are:

  • Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials, expected to receive $13 million
  • General Dynamics, $15.9 million
  • Science Applications International Corp (NYSE:SAI), $9.6 million
  • Two privately held firms.

 Again, unless options are exercised to extend its duration, this contract will probably wrap up in February 2015.

Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Dynamics. 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.