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Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK - Analyst Report) announced that it has delivered the 100th Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) to the U.S. Navy. With this delivery, this missile reached its full operational capability.

Alliant has developed AARGM jointly with other international players. The missile is the upgraded version of the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), used by the U.S. Navy.

The AARGM is a medium range air-to-ground missile. The missile is 417 centimeter long with diameter of 25.4 centimeter and weight of 361 kilogram. The AARGM has a wingspan of 112 centimeter.

In 2003, Alliant received a contract worth $223 million from the U.S. Navy to develop the AARGM. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Italian Ministry of Defense to jointly develop the AARGM.

The AARGM employs advanced technology, including a millimeter wave terminal seeker, advanced anti-radiation homing receiver and a global positioning system/inertial navigation system.

The main role of the AARGM is to target enemy air defenses. The missile can destroy enemy air defenses and time-critical mobile targets.

The AARGM is currently used by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Italian Air Force at their FA-18C/D Hornet aircraft, FA-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft, EA-18G Growler and Tornado ECR aircraft. The missile can also be used with F-35 and EA-6B.

The flexible and compatible missile can be used in different fighter jets, thus facilitating the U.S. Navy to deploy it in different missions and subsequently increasing demand for the missile. On Sep 2012, Alliant received a $71 million contract from the U.S. Navy to start a full rate production of the AARGM.

Despite constant pressure on the defense companies due to the U.S. defense budget cuts, Alliant has been able to beat the estimates post favorable performance in the past few quarters. The company has surpassed the estimates in the last couple of quarters driven by new contracts from the U.S. defense departments and private organizations.

Alliant currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Other stocks from the industry that are also presently performing well include Elbit Systems Ltd. with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and B/E Aerospace Inc. (BEAV - Snapshot Report) and Curtiss-Wright Corp. (CW - Snapshot Report), each with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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