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Lockheed (LMT) Wins $122M Deal to Support Space Vehicles

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Lockheed Martin Corp.’s (LMT - Free Report) Space business unit secured a modification contract involving Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) Geosynchronous Space Vehicles. The award has been offered by the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command, Space Sensing, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA.

Details of the Deal

Valued at $122.2 million, the contract is projected to be completed by May 31, 2024. Per the terms of the deal, Lockheed will be involved in planning and preparation of post-launch activities for all three Next-Gen OPIR Geosynchronous Space Vehicles.

The latest modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $7.22 billion. Work related to the deal will be executed at Sunnyvale, CA.

Role of Spacecraft in Surveillance

In recent times, armed forces across the globe have been significantly relying on space-based capabilities in the fields of missile warning and missile defense. Additionally, space-based assets are being increasingly used for reconnaissance, weather tracking, communication and navigation, and more.

Notably, as the demand for space-based capabilities continues to mount, the Space-Based Infrared Surveillance (SBIRS) program by Lockheed Martin is developing infrared surveillance and missile warning satellites to conduct space surveillance.

LMT’s Next-gen Geosynchronous spacecraft have more powerful sensors and other features that make them more resilient against attacks and emerging threats than current satellites. Going ahead, such features will likely help the company capture more shares in the expanding spacecraft market.

Growth Prospects

In recent times, rising global tensions have enticed developing nations like the United States to further strengthen its military prowess within the space domain. This is evident from the U.S. government’s fiscal 2024 defense budget that includes a significant spending plan of $33.3 billion in vital space capabilities.

Such a stupendous budgetary amendment reflects massive growth prospects for Lockheed Martin and other defense players engaged in space science such as The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) , Northrop Grumman (NOC - Free Report) and Raytheon Technologies (RTX - Free Report) , in the days ahead.

Boeing is the prime contractor for the design, development, test and production of the space launch vehicle core stage and upper stages, as well as development of the flight avionics suite. On Nov 16, 2022, the space launch system (SLS) rocket was successfully launched as part of the Artemis I Mission, which was an uncrewed test flight to validate the rocket component and systems in preparation for future crewed missions.

Meanwhile, Boeing is building the core stages for Artemis II, III and IV, as well as the first Exploration Upper Stage, which will replace the Interim Cryogenic Upper Stage in future Artemis missions.

Boeing boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for BA’s 2023 sales indicates an improvement of 18% from the 2022 reported figure.

Northrop’s Space Systems is an industry-leading provider of end-to-end space and launch systems and capabilities serving national security, civil and commercial customers. The company supports NASA’s Artemis program by providing solid rocket boosters for the NASA Space Launch System and the abort motor and attitude control motor for the Orion spacecraft’s Launch Abort System.

NOC boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 3.8%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NOC’s 2023 sales indicates an improvement of 4.7% from the 2022 reported figure.

Raytheon Intelligence & Space unit’s end-to-end space solutions deliver mission breakthroughs ranging from missile warning and intelligence to weather, navigation and beyond. The Space segment includes the constellation of multiple satellites currently on orbit. The Control segment consists of ground-based stations that are responsible for tracking, monitoring and updating the satellites.

RTX boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RTX’s 2023 sales indicates an improvement of 8.3% from the 2022 reported figure.

Price Performance

In the past year, Lockheed’s shares have gained 7.2% compared with the industry’s 1.2% growth.

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Zacks Rank

Lockheed carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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