The Department of Defense started off the new month with a bang Thursday (if you'll pardon the expression), announcing the award of 33 separate defense contracts, worth a combined $1.5 billion. One of the biggest winners was Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), which walked away with three clean contract wins... and a piece of a fourth.

Lockheed's big win of the day was a $223-million deal to outfit Korean attack helicopters, built by Boeing, with a new advanced targeting system. As for the others:

  • Lockheed won a $25.8 million contract modification to fund follow-on testing as part of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement program. PAC-3 MSE will upgrade the venerable Patriot missiles with new flight software, a more powerful motor, and larger fins "for more agility." The hope is that these changes will extend the missiles range by as much as 50%.
  • In a related award, Lockheed also won a $9.6 million contract modification to perform unscheduled maintenance at the Army's PAC-3 Missile Support Center.
  • Finally, Lockheed's Longbow LLC subsidiary -- a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) -- was awarded a $6.8 million contract modification to fund low-rate initial production of its Radar Electronics Unit and Unmanned Aerial System Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (Longbow UTA ). This latter device is a "two-way, high-bandwidth data link" through which the Army aims to use Apache helicopters as a sort of control ship for operating unmanned aerial vehicles -- forming joint manned-unmanned teams of warcraft that can cooperate in combat.

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. 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.