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More Guided Weapons From Lockheed

by: Matthew Potter
September 7, 2011

Category: Business Line, Companies, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, production program | RSS 2.0

The U.S. military has invested in and used a great deal of advanced guided weaponry since 9/11. This includes systems such as Hellfire anti-tank missiles, Excalibur laser and GPS guided artillery shells as well as a great deal of ordnance delivered from aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Aerial weapons included GPS systems like the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) which is a bomb with a guidance kit as well as the more traditional laser guided systems.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) a few months ago was awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force for the production of Paveway Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) kits. This was a five year contact worth almost $500 million if all options were exercised.

Now the Air Force has exercised the first production option with a $134 million award for the production of the Paveway kits. The kit consists of a seeker and guidance unit as well as an air foil component that actually flies the bomb. The bombs rely on gravity and are not powered. They basically glide into the target homing in on a laser from either an aircraft or ground unit.

Since these attacks are carried out on individual houses or vehicles and the U.S. wants to minimize collateral damage as much as possible guided weapons are the primary attack option. The Paveway kit may be fitted to bombs of different sizes as well so as to allow better weaponeering and targeting options.

As the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq winds down the demand for these types of weapons will also be reduced as they will not be used as much. The production of ordnance and ammunition has increased greatly over the last ten years and it can be expected to drop just as dramatically as the U.S. will need less of it.

For a company like Lockheed cut backs in one product line may be balanced out with other programs but there will be some companies that primarily produce ordnance that may be seriously affected.

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