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Raytheon Company (RTN - Analyst Report) was awarded a $59 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract.  The award will provide for the modification of an existing contract to support the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor.  Work will be performed in Andover, with an estimated completion date of September 28, 2013.  The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Alabama is the contracting activity.

Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Raytheon Company is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. The company provides high-tech electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services.

Raytheon is one of the best-positioned companies among the large-cap defense players due to its non-platform-centric focus, as well as its strong order bookings and order backlog of more than $33.9 billion at the end of the first half of 2012.

Raytheon plays an important role in missile defense and is ideally positioned to help the United States and its allies achieve current and future missile defense goals. Given the declining trend in the U.S. defense spending, the company is one of the best-positioned companies among the large-cap defense players.

Revenue and earnings growth continue to be driven by a strong presence in the areas of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; air & missile defense systems; border security; air traffic management; training and homeland security; and cyber security. Also, its non-platform centric focus insulates it from cancellation or deferral of any specific platform programs.

Looking forward, the company enjoys strong order bookings and order backlog, an improving balance sheet, and growing cash flow, besides operational improvements. Future growth will be driven by its focus on ISR unmanned systems, training, cyber security, Standard Missile-6, Patriot, Zumwalt and THAAD.

However, these positives are offset by apprehensions over the future growth of the U.S. defense budget, the fate of high-cost programs, risks related to key project executions and order cancellations. Thus, over the longer run, we maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy).

Some of its main competitors are L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL - Analyst Report) and FLIR Systems, Inc. (FLIR - Analyst Report).

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