Oct. 21, 2014, 5:30 PM
Oct. 7, 2014, 7:18 AM
- Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) overpowered both Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) for a contract to build a next-generation long-range radar system for the U.S. Air Force, replacing current TPS-75 radar, which has been in service since the late 1960s.
- The deal, valued at around $1B, kicks off the next phase of a program begun in 2009, when the Air Force funded work on full-scale prototypes by all three companies.
- Raytheon's initial $19.5M deal will cover continued development of the Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) program, and construction of three initial systems. The Air Force then plans to buy three more systems for a total of $72M.
- The value of the contract is likely to increase significantly due to additional orders from the Air Force and foreign military purchases.
Sep. 26, 2014, 3:27 PM
- Northrop Grumman (NOC +2.4%) is upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $145 price target at Deutsche Bank, which sees the down cycle in defense spending fading and the possibility of budget increases into FY 2017.
- The firm feels defense spending is bottoming as global tensions rise along with a shift in public sentiment on threats and priorities, and a turn in defense spending would benefit NOC more than its peers since 86% of the company's sales are tied to the U.S. government.
- DB also likes that NOC returns 100% of free cash flow to its shareholders; NOC increased its dividend by 15% in May, has bought back 17M million shares YTD, has retired 30M shares and plans to retire 30M more shares by year-end 2015.
Sep. 24, 2014, 7:49 AM
- U.S. Navy official Captain Jim Hoke says improved reliability may allow the Navy to purchase fewer than the 68 Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) Triton spy drones planned for maritime surveillance, but current estimates still call for the entire order.
- Hoke says he also has a team of people looking for other ways to reduce the cost of building and operating the unmanned plane. Each aircraft currently costs about $100M.
- The Navy aims to start using Triton drones by the end of 2017.
Sep. 19, 2014, 8:10 AM
- Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is narrowing in on a ~$4B deal with the Department of Defense for 43 more F-35 fighter jets that will lower the cost of the jet's airframe by 2-4%.
- The government buys the jets' engines separately from Pratt & Whitney, which said this week that contracts for the seventh and eighth batches of its F135 engines will result in prices 7.5%-8% cheaper than the firm's last purchase.
- Other initiatives are also being worked on to lower the plane's costs, including changes in manufacturing and "block buys" by some foreign countries with pending orders.
- Lockheed is also investing $170M in cost-cutting measures with suppliers BAE Systems (OTCPK:BAESY) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) to generate combined savings of $1.8B.
Sep. 15, 2014, 11:13 AM
- Northrop Grumman (NOC +0.1%) has received a $354M contract from the U.S. Air Force to expand their RQ-4 Global Hawk fleet by three aircraft.
- The contract also includes retrofit kits to add Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload sensors to two existing RQ-4.
- The new order will bring the Air Force RQ-4 fleet size to 37 in 2017, while the ASIP retrofit kits are scheduled for delivery in late 2016 and in 2017.
Sep. 10, 2014, 10:32 AM
- DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has selected Northrop Grumman (NOC +0.2%) to develop advanced wideband digital antenna technology for next generation radio frequency sensors using active electronically scanned arrays.
- Under an $11.9M contract, Northrop Grumman will begin phase one of the "Arrays on Commercial Timescales" program for the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office.
- The program will design key technologies for next-generation active electronically scanned arrays by designing a reusable digital common module that contains the necessary integrated circuits.
- Key subcontractors on the Northrop Grumman "Arrays on Commercial Timescales" team are Semtech (SMTC -0.4%) and Systems & Technology Research.
Sep. 6, 2014, 8:43 AM
- The "total" yield of a company combines the dividend yield and the buyback yield - that is the yield boost from reducing the total amount of shares outstanding. Together with S&P's Howard Silverblatt, Barron's puts together a list of the top 20 companies in the S&P 500 based on "total" yield.
- While buybacks don't guarantee a strong stock - witness consistent buyback champs like IBM and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) - Warren Buffett goes to bed at night praying for IBM's share price to go down so the company can buy back more stock for a given dollar amount (though The Oracle has said he doesn't expect this logic to win many fans).
- The flip-side are those companies - financials and energy come to mind - who tend to buy back stock at high prices only to find themselves forced to reissue it at lower prices when times get tough. A consistent plan helps, and Travelers (NYSE:TRV), under CEO Jay Fishman, has been maybe the best example of this - halving the share count since the end of 2006.
- ETFs? The Powershares Buyback Achievers Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PKW) gained 45.6% in 2013, 1,300 basis points better than the S&P 500. Since inception in 2006, it's up an annualized 9%, more than 200 basis points better than the S&P. A newcomer - the Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:SYLD) - has beaten the S&P by about 250 basis points since its May 2013 inception.
- The list (ranked in order of "total" yield): ADT, CAM, CF, MOS, MPC, VIAB, GLW, ITW, STX, IBM, NOC, CTL, TRV, VRSN, IR, CCE, KSS, NTAP, HES, DO.
Aug. 27, 2014, 10:47 AM
- Air Force and Navy unmanned aircraft from Northrop Grumman‘s (NOC -0.2%) "high altitude long endurance series" have surpassed 100,000 hours of service in combat and operational support.
- The Air Force Global Hawk fleet logged more than 88% of the global intelligence surveillance missions, while the Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator flew the remaining hours.
- The aircraft have been used on missions over countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria.
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Aug. 20, 2014, 8:27 AM
- Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC), Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic are developing a preliminary design and flight demonstration plan for DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's) experimental spaceplane XS-1 program.
- In addition to its reusable boosters which will afford low-cost launches, the XS-1 will serve as a test-bed for new generation hypersonic aircraft.
- Northrop Grumman is defining its concept for XS-1 under a 13-month, phase one contract valued at $3.9M.
Aug. 13, 2014, 10:22 AM
- Northrop Grumman (NOC +0.8%) has again been chosen for the systems engineering, management and sustainment contract which assists U.S. Air Force Weather operations with environmental information for mission planning and combat operations.
- The contract is valued up to $300M, and will continue to help U.S. Air Force Weather deliver a full range of terrestrial and space environmental information, products and services to military users worldwide.
Aug. 12, 2014, 11:09 AM
- Northrop Grumman (NOC -0.1%) has been awarded a nearly $3M contract from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to supply its space inertial reference system for the Solar Probe Plus program, which APL manages for NASA.
- Solar Probe Plus is expected to launch in 2018 and will explore the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, for the first time.
Aug. 6, 2014, 10:51 AM
- Northrop Grumman (NOC -1.2%) has received contracts from the U.S. Navy, General Dynamics (GD -0.6%) Bath Iron Works and Huntington Ingalls (HII -0.7%) to provide integrated bridge, navigation and steering gear systems to modernize Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.
- The U.S. Navy exercised options for the acquisition and testing of five integrated bridge and navigation systems valued at $11M.
- General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Huntington Ingalls jointly exercised options for six steering gear systems valued at $30M.
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