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Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT - Analyst Report) received a $47 million contract from the U.S. Army to develop technology, which will assist the unmanned cargo missions of the army.

Per the contract, Lockheed will partner with Kaman Aerospace (KAMN - Snapshot Report) to develop  unmanned technology using the K-MAX helicopter platform. The U.S. Army has been investing in the development of unmanned technology as these autonomous operations help to increase the army’s capability in accurate delivery while lowering the involvement of ground control station operators in the process.

The army is in express need of unmanned technology to make cargo supply safer and cheaper. The unmanned K-MAX on which this technology will be applied has the capability to carry and deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo at sea level and more than 4,000 pounds at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

This payload is heavier than any other rotary wing unmanned system. K-MAX’s four-hook carousel allows it to deliver more cargo to additional locations in one flight, compared to its peers.

Lockheed has been partnering with Kaman Aerospace since 2007 to cater to the urgent need of the defense establishments. In December 2010, this team received a $45.8 million contract from the U.S. Naval Air Systems to make two K-MAX air vehicles and three remote control ground stations for the U.S. Marine Corps. Recently, this team has started to work on a Cargo Unmanned Air Systems program of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Lockheed reported earnings per share of $2.14 in the second quarter of 2011 comfortably surpassing the year-ago results and the Zacks Consensus. Taking into account its strong performance, the company raised the 2011 earnings expectation to a range of $7.35 to $7.55 per share from the previous band of $6.95 to $7.25.

The Zacks Consensus Estimates for third quarter 2011, fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2012 are currently pegged at $1.80, $7.53 and $8.79 per share, respectively.

Lockheed Martin currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. Lockheed Martin’s major peers, General Dynamics Corporation (GD - Analyst Report) and The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report) also have short-term Zacks #3 Ranks.

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

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