The Department of Defense awarded three defense contracts worth $158.7 million Friday, but only one of them went to a publicly traded company. This defense contractor, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN), was awarded a $52.1 million contract modification funding engineering and technical support work on the Navy's Phalanx, SeaRAM, and Land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems through January 2015.

The Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) is an automatic "terminal defense" weapon system designed to detect, track, engage, and destroy anti-ship missiles that have already penetrated outer defense envelopes. As such, it's a ship's last method of defense before being struck by a missile.

"C-RAM," short for "Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar," is essentially a Phalanx gun system that operates on land.

The similar-sounding SeaRAM, meanwhile, can be thought of as "Phalanx with rockets." A ship-based defense system like Phalanx, the SeaRAM Anti-Ship Missile Defense System operates a bit farther out than the Phalanx CIWS, and engages targets with a battery of 11 missiles rather than Phalanx's familiar 20mm Gatling gun.


Raytheon's SeaRAM in action. Source: Raytheon