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Major defense establishment Raytheon Company (RTN - Analyst Report) won a contract worth $11.5 million for upgrading the Weather Data Analysis (“WDA”) System from the U.S Air Force. The contract involves modernization of the existing meteorological satellite capability, the agency's analysis capabilities along with enhancement of the legacy systems of the Air Force Weather (AFWA) program.

The WDA system was first developed on the Increment 2 Program under contract with the U.S. Air Force in March 2003, followed by the successive completion of Increment 3 and Increment 4, Build A for further capability development purposes.

The WDA program is AFWA’s core provider of weather data and products. With new sophisticated hardware, open source database and better application servers, the current contract on Increment 4, Build B will offer advanced net-centric infrastructure for integrating maximum shared data in the weather centers. This will enable next generation satellites like the Suomi NPP and JPSS-1 and 2 to collect and distribute maximum data by the agency.

The system is expected to offer accurate and reliable weather forecasting capabilities which would allow soldiers to make informed decisions based on critical environmental and situational awareness intelligence in war missions. Also, this new improved WDA will aid in lowering sustainment costs.

This contract marks Raytheon’s 40 years of supplying weather information related products and services as well as providing expertise in terms of collecting and analyzing weather data to support missions for the U.S. Air force.

We anticipate Raytheon’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; air & missile defense systems; air traffic management; training and homeland security and cyber security units to act as growth catalysts in the near term. However, defense budget austerity will continue to limit opportunities. Hence, Raytheon shares a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) along with its peers, Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC - Analyst Report).

Raytheon pared its full-year 2012 sales guidance to the range of $24.3 billion to $24.7 billion from its previous expectation of $24.5 billion to $25 billion. It revised its adjusted earnings guidance for 2012 to the range of $5.85 to $5.95 per share from its prior expectation of $5.70 to $5.85.

The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the fourth quarter and full year 2012 are currently pegged at $1.29 and $5.51 per share, respectively.

Raytheon Company, along with its subsidiaries, offers electronics, mission systems integration, and other capabilities in the areas of sensing, effects, and command, control, communications, and intelligence systems, as well as a range of mission support services in the United States and internationally.

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