The Department of Defense announced 21 new defense contracts worth $2.96 billion million in aggregate on Thursday. The largest of these contracts -- $872 million worth -- went to a series of federally defined "small businesses" supplying fire and emergency services equipment to the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. But the contract that General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) won for itself was no small potatoes, either.

Worth $475 million in all, General Dynamics' cost-plus-incentive-fee contract will pay for research and development work to be performed under the U.S. Army's Warfighter Information Network -- Tactical Increment 3 program. According to the Army, "WIN-T" is a command and control system that will provide U.S. soldiers with a communications network comprising both satellite and terrestrial communications needed to enhance their maneuverability, firepower, and protection.

General Dynamics will build, assemble, and code items necessary to complete the research and development phase of the program, and to transition into the production and deployment of usable equipment.