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Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC - Analyst Report) has received a five-year service contract to support the polar ice breakers for the U.S. Coast Guard for $5 million. The company will provide navigation systems and software to support two Coast Guardvessels, the Polar Star and the Healy. The polar ice breakers are used to clear pathways for supply ships and support research missions.

Specifically, per the contract, the company will provide hardware configuration management, remote technical support and training classes. Also, the company will be responsible for tuning integrated bridge system ("IBS") equipment, upgrading autopilots, adjusting tolerances, improving software and replacing parts required for maximum system performance before the ice breakers are deployed for polar missions.

The company indicated that the assembly of the IBS hardware and related equipment will be done in Charlottesville. Installation and field testing will however be done directly on the ships.

The company has been supporting the Coast Guard's polar ice breakers since 1999. On the Polar Star, the task on the contract is expected to begin this month while on Healy, it will begin in the summer of 2014.

Now that the U.S. government shutdown has come to an end, defense players like Northrop, Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT - Analyst Report), Raytheon Company (RTN - Analyst Report) and General Dynamics Corp. (GD - Analyst Report) would again begin to receive Department of Defense contracts in bulk.

Despite the stalemate in the U.S. economy and the threat to defense budget, Northrop Grumman has emerged as one of the key winners. On Oct 15, 2013, the company received a contract for the installation of AN/APX-122A IFF Mode 5/Mode S Interrogators and AN/APX-123 IFF Mode 5/Mode S Transponders on board three French navy E-2C "Hawkeye" airborne early warning aircraft.

Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon carry a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) each.

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