Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

U.S. Navy Gets a New $2.6 Billion Toy

By Rich Smith - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 9:42PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's a robo-copter.

The unmanned aerial vehicle industry is moving so fast, if you blink at the wrong time, you might miss a $2.6 billion contract. And as a matter of fact, I did …

Among the many, many UAV variants out there, one that's always intrigued me is Northrop Grumman's (NYSE: NOC) remotely piloted helicopter drone, the Fire Scout. We've discussed this whirlybird before, covering its early test flights on drug patrol in the in the eastern Pacific. We’ve also noted its imminent upgrade, dubbed the Fire-X.

We knew the Navy was happy with the Fire Scout -- at one point officials exclaimed it was performing "wonderfully." But at some point, the U.S. Navy fell so in love with the Fire Scout that it ordered 168 of 'em, and offered to pay $2.6 billion. So reported the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

Why is this important? Boeing (NYSE: BA), Honeywell (NYSE: HON), and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) all have helicopter-based UAVs in various stages of development. But Northrop has grabbed air superiority over its rivals, and the lion's share of whatever Pentagon funds might still be available for buying this particular flavor of UAV.

Advantage: Northrop.

Put Northrop and its Fire Scout on your investing radar screen. Add it to your Fool Watchlist.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Northrop Grumman, but Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Northrop Grumman Corporation Stock Quote
Northrop Grumman Corporation
$470.31 (-0.60%) $-2.83
The Boeing Company Stock Quote
The Boeing Company
$167.88 (-0.67%) $-1.14
Raytheon Technologies Corporation Stock Quote
Raytheon Technologies Corporation
$93.15 (-0.29%) $0.27
Honeywell International Inc. Stock Quote
Honeywell International Inc.
$198.51 (1.15%) $2.26

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/11/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.