Based on the aggregated intelligence of 120,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, unmanned aircraft systems maker AeroVironment (NYSE:AVAV) has earned a respected four-star ranking. While five-star stocks have been the best performers, our data has shown that four-star stocks still outshine the market by a significant margin and shouldn't be taken lightly; conversely, low-rated stocks have woefully lagged the market average.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at AeroVironment's business, and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

AeroVironment facts

Headquarters (founded)

Monrovia, California (1971)

Market Cap

$708.61 million


Aerospace/Defense Products

TTM Revenue

$232.23 million


CEO Timothy Conver (since 1994)

CFO Stephen Wright (since 2002)

Return on Equity (average last two years)



Boeing (NYSE:BA),

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)

CAPS members bullish on AVAV also bullish on

General Electric (NYSE:GE),


CAPS members bearish on AVAV also bearish on


Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Over on CAPS, fully 82 of the 87 All-Star members who have rated AeroVironment -- some 94% -- believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include Ayax2006 and AirForceFool, both of whom are ranked in the top 3% of our community.

Last week, Ayax2006 tapped AeroVironment as a defensive way to play the defense sector:

Moving forces (and federal budget) from Iraq to Afghanistan/Pakistan...This is one of the few sectors unaffected by the current recession and depression risks. It is unlikely that the new admin will reduce spending in equipment for special ops., and it will most likely increase it.

In an earlier pitch from last month, AirForceFool agrees with that line of thinking, writing:

contracts rolling in... decent growth, but who knows in the current environment... even if the Dems want us completely out of Iraq, I imagine that it will take some time... good things heard about the new Pumas... in general the Army loves this kind of technology, and will need it where ever they fight... it will take time for them to ramp up of course, but unless there are some serious defense cut backs, these guys should do well.

What do you think about AeroVironment, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. More than 120,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so simply click here to get started.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.