Given that FLIR Systems (NASDAQ:FLIR) shares jumped nearly 25% on news that the company was awarded a contract to provide infrared systems to a new Army helicopter, you'd have thought the deal was something new and special.

Yes, the potential $250 million, seven-year contract to provide Textron's (NYSE:TXT) new armed-reconnaissance Bell helicopters with thermal-imaging devices is the biggest contract in FLIR's history. But it's not really new, and it shouldn't have been a surprise. Bell won the $2.2 billion Army contract last year, and it was known then that FLIR was part of the contract team, along with Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL). The deal should have already been factored into FLIR's depressed stock price.

FLIR has suffered since those happier days, in which its stock hit a 52-week high of more than $36 a stub. Shares fell more than 40% after FLIR widely missed analyst expectations in the third quarter last year. Then, after recovering somewhat, FLIR stock tumbled again this past April, after skittish investors sold it off when the company missed expectations by just a penny. Yesterday's move was undoubtedly investors' attempt to hang their hats on any good news.

The company generates about one-third of its revenues from government contracts, and this one with Bell will provide a good boost for the next several years. Bell itself has been having some difficulties, narrowly getting reapproved to take on government work, but losing a major helicopter contract to troubled Airbus maker EADS and United Technologies (NYSE:UTX).

Imaging products, including the BRITE Star II system that will be incorporated into the helicopters, accounted for nearly two-thirds of FLIR's $508.6 million revenues last year, with the balance coming from its other thermography segment. FLIR competes against some huge corporations, like Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) and L3 Communications (NYSE:LLL), but those companies tend to focus primarily on the government sector. Uniquely, FLIR's products are built to government specs, but designed for commercial applications as well, giving them the opportunity to appeal to a wider market.

That opportunity almost didn't happen for the company. FLIR became embroiled in an accounting scandal in 2000, leading to the firing of its CEO and several other senior managers. It was subject to an SEC investigation, the usual shareholder lawsuits that follow in such an investigation's wake, and a threatened Nasdaq delisting. The company's fortunes have changed appreciably since then. It put a new management team in place and settled with the SEC without paying a fine or admitting or denying any wrongdoing. It was essentially placed on probation, with an admonition not to conduct similar infractions in the future.

So the Bell contract is a big deal for FLIR, and a notable sign of the progress the company has made in its turnaround. Indeed, it may even make the business more attractive as an acquisition target from someone like Raytheon. But in terms of sending the stock up 24% in one day on the news, the deal appears to be much ado about nothing.

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Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.