On Friday, the Department of Defense announced that it has awarded privately held defense contractor Navmar Applied Sciences a $31.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract to establish and sustain Copperhead Unmanned Aerial Vehicle detachments.

Copperhead is the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization's designation for the L-3 Communications (NYSE:LLL) TigerShark UAV, when it has been equipped with a 1-foot Synthetic Aperture Radar for use in detecting insurgents engaged in burying IEDs.

Navmar's task will be to procure 42 such TigerShark Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Block III platforms, along with four ground-control stations and associated spare parts, and to provide personnel support in their operation in Afghanistan. The contract runs through next February.