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After retreating to a three-star rank for the past several months, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has swayed enough top-performing CAPS members to earn an upgrade to four-star status. Among the 1,499 members posting opinions on the defense company, many have offered analysis and commentary to explain their recent optimism.

Many investors think Lockheed will benefit from continued defense spending at home and abroad. Its F-35 fighter plane, with an engine built by United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), has become a top priority for the Pentagon, with the potential for Lockheed to produce as many as 3,000 of the planes.

Furthermore, experts believe that Lockheed will be a favorite over General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) to win a U.S. Navy contract to build the next 10 Littoral combat ships. Where Boeing (NYSE:BA) played a key role in the Bush administration’s plan for European missile defense, Lockheed and Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) are expected to benefit from the recent changes announced by the Obama administration. And some investors point to a growing trend of deals taking place with U.S. allies in the Middle East as yet another source of revenue.

Like Northrop (NYSE:NOC), Lockheed saw pressure on its earnings in the second quarter. But after Lockheed's shares dropped recently, Citigroup (NYSE:C) upgraded the stock. Many CAPS members like Lockheed’s long-term prospects, since the company has a good track record of being consistently free cash flow-positive.  And as a bonus, the company pleased investors by recently raising its dividend by 11%.                                                                                   

Do you think Lockheed Martin deserves its raised status? Add your thoughts in the comments box below on this page, or head over to CAPS to rate the company and check out all the information and opinions the community offers, absolutely free.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock recently upgraded his sock drawer with a few less holey pairs. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. General Dynamics is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy won't make you kneel and kiss its ring to gain favor.