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Aerospace and defense major Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT - Analyst Report) with its wide range of product offering continues to receive orders from defense establishments across the globe. The fundamental strength of the company is widely accepted in the market with its shares gaining nearly 12% from its second quarter release, closing at $130.84 yesterday.

Lockheed Martin received a $20 million sustainment contract from the defense department. Per the contact, Lockheed will continue to support air, space defense and missile warning missions for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Cheyenne Mountain Complex.

This is the second contract modification to the Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) program awarded in Oct 2012. Continuous upgrade and coordination of the missile warnings system has become an integral part of the U.S. defense strategy. This we believe is in response to the ongoing long range missile development programs being carried out by various countries with which the U.S. government does not have friendly relations.

Issuing air defense and missile warning is key to the mission, warning the President if North America is under attack. Moreover, the space mission system will also catalog space objects and perform conjunction assessments to provide manned space flight safety and protect other key space assets.

Lockheed will support these critical national defense missions at multiple locations worldwide. Under the ISC2 program all the regional combatant commands will be brought under a single strategic command and control system. This will increase the efficiency of the entire system.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 5.1% to $9.48 per share as 13 out of 14 estimates were revised higher over the last 60 days. For 2014, 12 out of 16 estimates moved north over the same time frame, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6.9% to $9.60 per share.

Lockheed currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  Other well-placed defense operators at the moment are Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC - Analyst Report), Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK - Analyst Report) and Elbit Systems Ltd. . Northrop has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) while Alliant and Elbit Systems currently retain a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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