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Lockheed Gets Apache Contracts

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Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT - Free Report) has received two production contracts totaling $161.7 million from the U.S. Army to continue the upgrades of the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) program for the Apache attack helicopter.

Per the contracts, Lockheed would supply 482 Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) Modernized Laser Rangefinder Designator (M-LRFD) kits and spares. Earlier in Feb 2012, the U.S. Army had ordered 92 M-DSA M-LRFD kits and spares, and the first of those units will be delivered in 2013.

With the addition of these contracts, production at Lockheed Martin's facilities in Ocala and Orlando, Florida, will be sustained through third quarter 2016.

Lockheed Martin is the largest U.S. defense contractor with a platform-centric focus and a steady inflow of follow-on orders due to its leveraged presence in the Army, Air Force, Navy and IT programs. However, the ongoing trend of governmental delays in program decisions and even program cancellations has affected the fortunes of the defense industry in general and Lockheed Martin in particular.

Lockheed Martin finished 2012 with $82.3 billion of order backlog, including $19.8 billion of new orders booked in the fourth quarter. Of this $30.1 billion belonged to the Aeronautics segment and $18.1 billion to the Space Systems segment. The rest is made up of $14.7 billion for the Missiles and Fire Control segment; $10.7 billion for Mission Systems and Training; and $8.7 billion for the Information Systems & Global Solutions.

Lockheed Martin is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock. The past 30 days have seen 10 of the 11 earnings estimates for full year 2013 moving up despite an industry-wide threat of budget cutbacks and effects of sequestration.

In the aerospace and defense industry we presently prefer the Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADSY - Free Report) , as well as the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (HII - Free Report) and FLIR Systems, Inc. (FLIR - Free Report) .

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