Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now

Although we don’t believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes — just in case they’re material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of laser optics technologist II-VI (NASDAQ: IIVI  ) sank 12% today after its full-year guidance missed Wall Street expectations.

So what: II-VI’s third-quarter results — EPS of $0.25 on revenue of $145.2 million — were just slightly below estimates, but downbeat guidance for the rest of the year reinforces concerns over slowing growth going forward. In fact, management blamed the weak outlook on softening demand across several of its business segments, giving investors little hope for a near-term turnaround. 

Now what: Management now sees full-year EPS of $0.84-0.89 on revenue of $550 million-$555 million, well below the consensus of $0.93 and $563.7 million. “We have experienced some cyclical softening in the optical communication market addressed primarily by our Near-Infrared Optics segment,” CEO Francis Kramer cautioned. “In the Military and Materials segment, PRM continues to be affected by the start-up of its new rare earth product line. … Demand for selenium and tellurium products continues to be low and, therefore, the pricing environment is a challenge.” Of course, with the stock hitting a new 52-week low today and trading at a forward P/E of about 12, much of those headwinds might already be baked into the price.

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Airbus Group NV (EADSY)

Airbus Group NV, known as European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS NV, is a Netherlands-based company active within the aerospace and defense sector. The Company manufactures aircrafts, helicopters, commercial space launch vehicles, missiles, satellites, defense systems and defense electronics, and offers services related to these activities. The Company oprates four divisions. The Airbus division comprises the Airbus Commercial and Airbus Military segments, which develop, manufacture, market and sell commercial jet aircrafts, military transport aircrafts and special mission aircrafts, among others. The Eurocopter division develops, markets and sells civil and military helicopters. The Astrium division develops, manufactures and sells satellites, orbital infrastructures and launchers, as well as provides space-related services. The Cassidian division develops, manufactures and sells missiles systems, military combat and training aircrafts, among others. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Boeing have gained 1.9% to $127.89 at 2:07 p.m. today, but are still off 6.3% so far this year. Shares of Airbus (EADSY) have dropped 5.4% this year after rising 1.3% to $18.19 today, while Embraer’s (ERJ) 0.7% rise today puts it up 11% in 2014.

  • [By Vanina Egea]

    The aerospace industry has received another blow with the crash of an Eurocopter AS350 in Seattle, on March 18. However, the episode had no repercussions on the stock market. As a matter of fact, Eurcopter’s parent company, Airbus Group (EADSY), saw a sudden stock price increment. This counter intuitive phenomenon has many explanations. Most interestingly, it seems to point at a certain weakness on the part of competitors. In other words, competitors are expected to acquire an advantage from each other’s mishaps. This particular incident challenges common knowledge and offers a good excuse to see what and how are Airbus Group’s competitors performing. In this opportunity, I would like to take a look at Textron (TXT).

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Boeing have dropped 8.9% this year, after gaining 84% in 2013. Airbus (EADSY), by comparison, has fallen 9.2% in 2014, after gaining 94% last year, while Embraer (ERJ) has gained 6.4% this year after rising 14% in 2013.

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Exelis Inc (XLS)

Exelis Inc. (Exelis), incorporated on May 4, 2011, is engaged in Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) related products and systems and information and technical services, which the Company supplies to military, government and commercial customers in the United States and globally. The Company’s customers include the United States Department of Defense (DoD), including the United States Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, and its prime contractors, the United States Government intelligence agencies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allied foreign governments and domestic and foreign commercial customers. As a prime contractor, subcontractor, or preferred supplier, the Company participates in many high priority defense and non-defense programs in the United States. In January 2013, it acquired C4i Pty. Ltd. In February 2014, Exelis, Inc purchased FareSight , ARC’s Web-based tool for corporate air travel optimization.

The Company operates in two segments: C4ISR Electronics and Systems, and Information and Technical Services. The Company’s C4ISR Electronics and Systems segment provides communications, electronic warfare, imaging and image-processing, radar and sonar systems, space systems, and aerostructures for government and commercial customers globally. The Company’s Information and Technical Services segment provides a range of systems integration, network design and development, cyber, intelligence, operations, sustainment, advanced engineering, logistics, space launch and range-support solutions for a range of the United States military and government agency customers. The Company has successfully completed and integrated several acquisitions over the last five years, which has broadened its product and technology portfolio and expanded its customer base.

C4ISR Electronics and Systems

Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) is a Electro! nic Warfare Countermeasures (ECM) and engaged in space microelectronics, mine-defense solutions and antennas. IEWS develops, produces and sells electronic warfare solutions to DoD services, classified customers and to allied nations. IEWS is a key player on platforms, such as the strike fighter, the F-18, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) MH-60s and MH-47, and also holds electronic warfare positions on the B-1B, B-52, CV-22, C-130 and F-16 (International) platforms. The Company is a provider of mechanical and combined influences mine sweeping devices to the United States Navy. IEWS is engaged in Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA), fielding systems on the B-1, B-52, F-16, F-18, SOF C-130s and the EA-6B. Communication Systems and Force Protection Systems (CFPS) is a engaged in the design and manufacture of radio frequency (RF)-based systems. The business has fielded more than 25,000 CREW Vehicle Receiver/Jammer (CVRJ) systems, in use by the United States Army, Marine Corps, Na vy and Air Force. The Company also specializes in tactical, satellite, wireless and special mission communications systems; information assurance and cryptographic systems; Global Positioning Systems (GPS); mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) solutions, and integrated C3 solutions for the United States and allied forces, as well as many government agencies. Products include SINCGARS, deployed military tactical radio program globally with more than 650,000 units in use in more than 35 countries. CFPS is also the developer of the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW).

The Company’s Night Vision and Imaging business is a engaged in image intensification, sensor fusion and digital night vision technology, integrated power and sensing devices, and decision support software and services solutions, which manage, exploit, analyze, visualize, interpret, and disseminate image related data. The Company is a developer, producer, and supplier of Generation 3 images intensification tech nology for the United States and allied military forces, as ! well as t! he federal homeland security market, and the Company is a producer of night vision products globally. The Company provides AN /PVS-14 and AN /PVS-7 ground night visions goggles and spare image intensifier tubes to the the United States military and allies, through foreign military sales, and the Company is a supplier to the United States military for the AN/AVS-6 and AN/AVS-9 aviation night visions goggle, which provides rotary- and fixed-wing pilots the ability to operate in extreme low-light situations. The Company is a supplier of the 2nd generation ENVG(O) system, the Spiral Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (SENVG), to the United States military. In addition the Company offers integrated software solutions, which scientists, defense and intelligence professionals, Geographic Information System users, researchers, and medical researches professionals use to turn complex data into useful information. The Company delivers streaming imagery and video data in an environment chall enged by information overloads.

The Company’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems business serves a range of government, civil and commercial customers with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, provide actionable data, and protect property and human life. The Company’s capabilities include remote sensing payloads for ground, air and space, offering active and motion imaging, which provide data processing, exploitation, and dissemination and system performance modeling and simulation. The Company also provides solutions, which map and monitors the earth for a range of commercial and governmental users. The Company’s sensors provide the commercial resolution space-based imagery in the United States.

Radar, Reconnaissance and Acoustic Systems (R2A) provides radio frequency (RF) and acoustic surveillance sensors for both domestic and international defense customers, with a portfolio of related technology-based p roducts in the commercial area. R2A’s capabilities include d! efense su! rveillance radars, air traffic control radars, command and control, towed and hull mount sonars, tactical data links and airborne multifunction radars. The R2A business also provides electronic warfare and signal intelligence systems for reconnaissance and surveillance, with monitoring and signal processing systems and equipment for Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) applications.

Integrated Structures (IS) is a designer and producer of aircraft-armament suspension and release equipment, weapons interface systems, and advanced composite structures and subsystems for military and commercial customers. IS is an advanced designers and manufacturers of lightweight advanced fiber-reinforced composite structures. The Company has supplied composites to aerospace prime contractors, including Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky and BAE Systems.

The Com pany’s Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) business is a total GPS navigation systems supplier providing GPS payload, receiver and control solutions. The next generation Global Positioning System Operational Control System (GPS OCX) provide command, control and mission support for current and future GPS satellites based on a modern, service-oriented architecture, which will integrate a government and industry open system standard. The Company is providing the key navigation processing elements and precision monitors station receivers during the current phase of the GPS OCX program, which includes advanced anti-jam capabilities, and system security, accuracy and reliability.

Information and Technical Services

The Company’s Communication, Command and Control Systems (C3S) business provides systems engineering, lifecycle sustainment, logistic support, modernization, and operations and maintenance for the United States military launch, test and t raining ranges, NASA’s Ground Communications Networks and ot! her the U! nited States Government assets globally. C3S supports complex mission requirements, which covers a spectrum of support, from facilities maintenance to reverse engineering of legacy systems. Key areas of support include system engineering, sustainment, logistics, depot maintenance, software engineering and configuration management for range instrumentation, such as tracking, telemetry, optical, weather, communications, and command & control networks and systems. The Company is a contractor on NASA’s Space Communications Network Services (SCNS) contract for the Goddard Space Flight Center, which provides communications and tracking services for a range of Earth-orbiting spacecraft, such as the International Space Station. The Company operates, maintain, and sustain the communications networks and infrastructure, which supports deep space exploration missions, such as the Cassini mission to Saturn and the Mars Rovers. The Company is also the contractor for the Joint Spectrum Ce nter’s (JSC) Electromagnetic Spectrum Engineering Services contracts, where the Company provides engineering systems support, technical analysis, test support, and long-term strategic planning. C3S also provides payload processing and launch services for numerous government agencies. These systems and assets are critical to the launch range and space communications network infrastructures, including air, land and sea training range for the United States Navy, the United States Air Force space launch ranges on the United States East and West Coasts and NASA’s space ground communications networks.

The Company’s Advanced Information Systems business serves a range of federal customers in defense, intelligence and homeland security. The Company serves missions in military and national intelligence, deterrence and defenses against chemical, biological, radiological nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) threats, strategic programs and other core defense programs. The Company develops information-enabled solutions for the United States! Governme! nt customers.

Afghanistan Programs (AP) consists of two contracts with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to provide facilities operations, maintenance and training services for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the Combined Security Transition Command in both Northern and Southern Afghanistan (ANSF Facilities Support programs). Under these two contracts, AP provides operations and maintenance support for more than 300 ANSF locations in Afghanistan, while simultaneously training Afghans to assume responsibility for the facilities at the completion of the contract. AP also supports the warfighter under the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), which provides logistics and supply operations, airfield operations and transportation support to the United States warfighter and to the Afghanistan National Security Forces.

The Company provides the FAA with engineering expertise and full system solutions in the development and implementation of a modernized air traffics system. The Company’s core program is the ADS-B system: the cornerstone program of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative to modernize from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management. As a contractor on ADS-B, the Company is designing, building and operating a nationwide system of radio communications, telecommunications networks, information technology and software to deliver accurate, networked, real-time surveillance data to the automated systems of the FAA. The Company is developing concepts under the Systems Engineering 2020 (SE2020) contract. The work spans all dimensions of a national effort to transform air traffic control, including ground systems, avionics, aircraft, air traffic control rules and procedures, human factors, safety and security, environmental processes and standards.

Middle East Programs (MEP) provides o versight and management for the Company’s teams working in t! hat regio! n. The core capabilities of the MEP include logistics, vehicle maintenance and repair, facility and utilities maintenance and repair services, civil engineering, minor construction, transportation services, base operations, guard services, and emergency fire and life support services. MEP also maintains a range of equipment, from small arms to Patriot missiles, performing maintenance tasks both domestically and overseas. Logistics services also include transport of soldiers and equipment for combat operations. The Company’s vehicle maintenance and repair contract is its Kuwait based Army Preposition Stock-5 (APS-5 Kuwait) contract.

The Communications and Information Systems (CYBER) business supports a range of the United States and Joint Forces military activities, as well as Federal civilian communications infrastructures globally, ranging from wideband satellite communications systems to network operations and management services. CYBER’s capabilities include network management; mobile and fixed satellite communications operations and maintenance (SATCOM O&M); help desk support; switch, node and router support; database development; engineering; furnishing and installation of communications systems; information assurance of protected military networks, and field and depot level maintenance of communications equipment. As the prime contractor for the United States Army Network Command’s Total Army Communications for Southwest Asia, central Asia and Africa program (TACSWACAA), CYBER maintains operational availability and information security for network resources in the battlefield network ever deployed. For the United States Southern Command, it operates and maintains tethered aerostats, which perform core drug interdiction and air sovereignty missions along the United States southern border. Communications support includes operations and maintenance for missions, such as the Defense Red Switch Network, which provides the Presiden t, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant co! mmanders ! and various agencies with secure communications technology and systems.

The United States and Europe Programs is centered on logistics, base operations and infrastructure support to multiple military and governmental agencies in the United States and Europe. The business consists of supporting contracts with the United States Air Force and United States Army, including bases in the United States and Germany. The Company provides full spectrum base operating support, logistics, supply, maintenance and security to each of these installations. United States and Europe programs also focus on the nature of surface, rail and air transportation services, all life support services, as well as civil engineering and minor construction services.

The Company competes with Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Boeing Company, Raytheon Company, General Dynamics Corporation, L-3 Communications Corporation, SAIC Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, Harris Corporation, BA E Systems, Inc., Thales Group, EADS N.V., Finmeccanica S.p.A., DynCorp, KBR and Fluor.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Michael Robinson]

    Exelis (XLS) is a leader in military technology, covering everything from surveillance to communications to advanced materials. The company became a stand-alone unit back in January 2011, when it was also spun-off from ITT Corp.

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    Exelis Inc. (NYSE: XLS) is a leader in military technology covering everything from surveillance to communications to advanced materials.

    For instance, it has 40 years’ experience building lightweight composite assemblies used in military airplanes and helicopters. Exelis also makes night vision goggles that provide voice and data communications in a secure format.

  • [By James Brumley]

    Equity investments provide little to no consistent cash flow, so new buyers can look forward to more debt-income in the future than previous buyers have enjoyed.

    Exelis (XLS)

    12/2 Price: $17.85

  • [By Rich Smith]

    U.S. defense contractor Exelis (NYSE: XLS  ) wants to help Italian soldiers see in the dark.

    On Wednesday, Exelis announced that it has been contracted by local Italian defense contractor Selex ES to supply Selex with binocular “i-Aware” Tactical Mobility Night Vision Goggles, which Italy will then incorporate into its “Future Soldier program.”

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Raytheon Company(RTN)

Raytheon Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides electronics, mission systems integration, and other capabilities in the areas of sensing, effects, and command, control, communications, and intelligence systems, as well as mission support services in the United States and internationally. It operates in six segments: Integrated Defense Systems, Intelligence and Information Systems, Missile Systems, Network Centric Systems, Space and Airborne Systems, and Technical Services. The Integrated Defense Systems segment provides integrated naval, air, and missile defense and civil security response solutions. The Intelligence and Information Systems segment offers intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, advanced cyber solutions, weather and environmental solutions, and information-based solutions for law enforcement and homeland security. The Missile Systems segment develops and produces weapon systems, including missiles, smart munitions, close-in weapon systems, projectiles, kinetic kill vehicles, and directed energy effectors for the armed forces of the U.S. and other allied nations. The Network Centric Systems segment provides net-centric mission solutions, including integrated communications systems, command and control systems, combat systems, and operations and precision components for the U.S. federal, state, and local government customers, as well as civil customers. The Space and Airborne Systems segment designs and develops integrated systems and solutions for missions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; precision engagement; unmanned aerial operations; and space. The Technical Services segment provides training, logistics, engineering, product support, and operational support services for the mission support, homeland security, space, civil aviation, counterproliferation, and counterterrorism markets. Raytheon Company was founded in 1922 and is based in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Philip Springer]

    This week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed a defense budget that would reduce the US Army to its smallest force since before World War II. And we were woefully under-prepared for that war.

    The proposals will face powerful resistance from members of Congress, veterans’ organizations, arms manufacturers and more. Complete details of the proposed federal budget are to be released next week.

    The timing is unfortunate. For example, consider this headline from last night: “Russia says it will respect the ‘territorial integrity’ of Ukraine.” Maybe. But such statements are meaningless.

    Amid considerable other global unrest these days, reducing our spending on defense seems imprudent. However, various constraints that have built up over time require it, or reductions elsewhere.

    Fifty years ago, the military made up nearly half of government spending. Now it’s about 17 percent. Entitlements were one-third of the budg et then. Now they’re approaching two-thirds. “This is a time for reality,” Hagel said.

    Under the new approach, the emphasis is to shift from the longstanding goal of being able to fight two wars simultaneously, such as in Europe and Asia; and toward such threats as cyber warfare and terrorism.

    For instance, the size of the active-duty military would decline by 13 percent and the reserves by 5 percent in coming years. But Special Operations forces would grow by 6 percent.

    Inevitably, this would mean increased risk in the event of a second crisis. “You have fewer troops, fewer ships, fewer planes,” Hagel said.  “Readiness is not the same standard. Of course there’s going to be risk.”

    The Army currently is scheduled to drop to 490,000 troops from a post-9/11 peak of 570,000. Under the new proposal, the Army would decline to between 440,000 and 450,000 based on the current mandate to impose a military spending cap of about $496 billion for fis

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Raytheon Corp. (NYSE: RTN) is also Neutral-rated at UBS. Despite large contract sales to the Saudi’s, the company may very well be another valuation call from the UBS team. Raytheon is also trading right near 52-week highs. Investors are paid a 2.3% dividend. The UBS price target is $90, and the consensus target is $97.28. Raytheon closed Wednesday at $95.16.

  • [By Rich Smith]

    One of my very favorite defense contractors reported earnings this past week: Raytheon (NYSE: RTN  ) . Its earnings “beat the Street.” Investors cheered. But I’m still not buying the stock. And now I’ll tell you why.

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Poly Shield Technologies Inc (SHPR)

Poly Shield Technologies Inc. (Poly Shield), incorporated on March 2, 2000, is a research, development and marketing company providing environmental, energy saving and durability solutions. The Company’s are designed and manufactured under the advanced bio-scrubber technology and includes a line of protective fluoropolymer coatings. Poly Shield’s fluoropolymer products are manufactured at a production facility in Florida. Poly Shield’s manufactured fluoropolymer coatings are used in a number of different industries including marine, aerospace, oilfield, industrial, commercial, and residential applications. In addition, Poly Shield offers a line of antimicrobial coatings for use in hospital or food industries. In December 2013, Poly Shield Technologies Inc sold New World Technologies Group, Inc. to Viveros.

The Company’s products include bio-scrubber, supershield, superiorshield and microshield. Its products are used in aerospace, cruise ship lines, marine , military, oil, and energy production industries. The Company’s bio-scrubber is designed to remove alkali metals from fuel in an effort to protect gas turbines from high temperature corrosion. The technology has been installed on active ships within the cruise line industry.

SuperShield is a fluoropolymer coating that is formulated to work with a variety of residential, commercial, industrial and marine applications. It is a fluoroplymer resin that offers weathering ability and the choice of temperature curing. Its flagship product, SuperShield 100, containing fluoropolymer resins provides up to a 50 year service life on a steel and metal surfaces. Its SuperShield S is superhydrophobic and superoleophobic, with characteristic complex micro and nanoscopic surface, which minimizes adhesion. SuperShield S100 is also superhydrophobic and superoleophobic. SuperShield S100 is provides 50 year service life. The ultimate anti-fouling coating for ship hulls, oilfield r igs, heavy equipment, airplanes, bridges, etc.

! SuperiorShield is protective and energy saving roof coatings. Its superiorShield coating reduces heat transfer through infrared radiation, conduction and convection. SuperiorShield has the capability to reflect 90% of the suns ultraviolet (UV) rays.

MicroShield is a anti-microbial coating. MicroShield is an active antibacterial destroying the cell membrane and inducing oxidative deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and protein damage of microbes. It also acts as a bacteriostat, virostat and fungistat, inhibiting bacterial, viral and fungal growth.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap stocks Soul and Vibe Interactive Inc (OTCBB: SOUL), Globalstar, Inc (OTCMKTS: GSAT) and Poly Shield Technologies Inc (OTCBB: SHPR) have been getting some attention lately in various investment newsletters or investor alerts with at least two of these stocks being the subject of some sort of paid stock promotional or investor relations type of activities. With that in mind, just how hot are these three small cap stocks for investors or traders? Here is a quick reality check:

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Erickson Air-Crane Inc (EAC)

Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated (Erickson) is engaged in the operation and manufacture of the Erickson S-64 Aircrane (Aircrane), a heavy-lift helicopter. The Company operates in two segments: Aerial Services and Manufacturing / MRO. Aerial Services offers a range of heavy-lift helicopter services through the Company’s worldwide fleet, including firefighting, timber harvesting, infrastructure construction, and crewing services. Manufacturing / MRO manufactures Aircranes from existing airframes, manufactures new components on a contract basis, and provides customers with Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certified maintenance, and MRO services in the Company’s AS9100 certified facility. In October 2012, the Company purchased the Sun Bird Aircraft and associated spare parts inventory and accessories from San Diego Gas & Electric Company. In May 2013, Erickson Air-Crane Inc acquired the entire share capital of Evergreen Helicopters Inc. In Sep tember 2013, Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated announced the completion of its acquisition of Air Amazonia Servicos Aeronauticos Ltda and certain related assets from HRT Participacoes em Petroleo S.A.

In February 2012, its Malaysian subsidiary, Erickson Aircrane Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., entered into an amendment to its existing logging contract with Syarikat Samling Timber Sdn. Bhd. (Samling Global) to extend the contract term to January 31, 2013. Pursuant to the amended contract, it began providing aerial timber harvesting services in Malaysia on February 1, 2012 to Samling Global. In January 2012, its Canadian subsidiary, Canadian Air-Crane Limited, amended its existing agreement with Western Forest Products Inc. (Western Forest Products), a Canadian forest products and timberlands management company, to establish the terms for one year of aviation services.

The Company offers a full spectrum of heavy-lift helicopter solutions, including the design, engi neering, development, manufacturing, and testing of the Airc! rane, as well as Aerial Services and MRO services. It has production, maintenance, and logistics facilities in Central Point, Oregon. It maintains a year-round international presence with operations in Canada, Italy, Malaysia, and Peru, and an operating presence in Australia and Greece.

It owns the Type and Production Certificates for the Aircrane, granting us exclusive design, manufacturing, and related rights for the aircraft and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components. It has made more than 350 design improvements to the Aircrane since acquiring the Type Certificate and it has developed Aircrane accessories that enhance its aerial operations, such as its firefighting tank system and snorkel, timber heli harvester, and anti-rotation device and hoist.

Aerial Services

The Aircrane has a lift capacity of up to 25,000 pounds and is a commercial aircraft built specifically as a flying crane without a fuselage for internal loads. The Airc rane is also a commercial heavy-lift helicopter with a rear load-facing cockpit, combining an unobstructed view and complete aircraft control for precision lift and load placement capabilities. It owns and operates a fleet of 17 Aircranes, which it uses to support a variety of government and commercial customers worldwide across a range of aerial services, including firefighting, timber harvesting, infrastructure construction, and crewing. The Aircrane is capable of providing heavy-lift solutions to a wide variety of industries, including firefighting, timber harvesting, infrastructure construction, oil and gas and energy related construction, disaster recovery, and emergency response. It leases its aircraft to customers for specific missions, with customers generally paying for the aircraft, maintenance, and crewing services, as well as fuel expense. In addition, it provides crewing for aircraft it has sold. Its Aircrane accessories include Fire Tank and Pond Snorkel, Fire Tank and Sea Snorkel, Foam Cannon, Hydromulch Loading Manifo! ld, Heli ! Harvester, Hydraulic Grapple, Long-Line Shock and Pendant, Anti-Rotation Device and Hoist and Material Transport Bucket.

The Aircrane Helitanker has provided firefighting services in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, and Australia. Its firefighting customers include federal, state, local, and international government agencies who hire the Company to be available as needed. Under its firefighting contracts, aircraft are deployed to locations prone to seasonal fires and remain on standby throughout the fire season. For these contracts, which it refers to as exclusive-use contracts, it typically charge on a per-day basis for availability and on a per-hour basis for actual aircraft use.

Aircrane is engaged in timber operations in a number of regions, including the United States, Canada, and the tropical forests in Malaysia. Its customers uses its harvesting solutions primarily for timber, such as tropical hardwoods and fo r remote area harvesting in locations that would otherwise require road construction or prohibit ground-based harvesting. Timber is vertically lifted and transported with its hydraulic grapple.

The Aircrane’s rear load-facing pilot seat makes the aircraft particularly for infrastructure projects that require extreme precision in load delivery, such as electricity transmission and broadcasting towers, oil and gas pipelines, wind turbines, mining conveying systems, industrial equipment, emergency shelters, and ski-lift equipment. The Aircrane can be configured to transport heavy machinery and equipment, such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) units, automotive equipment, and other cargo items.

Aircraft Manufacturing and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (Manufacturing/MRO)

The Company manufactures Aircranes and related components for sale to government and commercial customers and provide aftermarket support and mainten ance, repair, and overhaul services for the Aircrane and oth! er aircra! ft. It also offers cost per hour (CPH) contracts pursuant to which it provides components and expendable supplies for a customer’s aircraft at a fixed cost per flight hour. Through its Manufacturing / MRO segment it manufactures Aircranes from existing airframes, manufacture components on a contract basis, and provide customers with FAA- and European Aviation Safety Agency-certified MRO services

The Company has manufactured a total of 33 Aircranes for its own use and for sale to customers, and has sold one for domestic construction operations and eight for international firefighting operations. It also builds and manufactures Aircranes for its own use and owns, operates, and maintains 17 Aircranes. As the owner of the S-64 Type and Production Certificates, it also has the authority and ability to manufacture an Aircrane entirely from new parts. It manufactures aluminum main and tail rotor blades and have partnered with OEMs to design and manufacture composite ma in rotor blades. While it provides MRO services to its own Aircranes, it continues to provide parts and maintenance and overhaul services to every Aircrane it has sold. It also performs similar operations on engines and other components for owners of other aircraft platforms. Its FAA-certificated repair station offers an array of services from small repairs to extensive heavy airframe maintenance.

The Company competes with Columbia Helicopters, Helicopter Transport Services and Siller Brothers.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Blake Bos]

    In the following video, Motley Fool industrials analyst Blake Bos takes a question from a Fool reader on Facebook, who asks, “What’s your Foolish take on Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated (NASDAQ: EAC  ) ?”

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK)

Alliant Techsystems Inc. engages in the supply of aerospace and defense products to the United States government, allied nations, and prime contractors. The company also supplies ammunition and related accessories to law enforcement agencies and commercial customers. Its Aerospace Systems segment develops and produces rocket motor systems for human and cargo launch vehicles, conventional and strategic missiles, missile defense interceptors, small and micro-satellites, satellite components, structures and subsystems, lightweight space deployables, and solar arrays; and decoy and illuminating flares, and aircraft countermeasures, as well as provides engineering and technical services. Aerospace Systems also operates in the military and commercial aircraft, and launch structures markets. The company?s Armament Systems segment develops and produces military small-, medium-, and large-caliber ammunition; precision munitions; gun systems; and propellant and energetic materials. It also operates the U.S. Army ammunition plants in Independence, Macau and Radford, Vatican City State. Its Missile Products segment operates in the strike weapons, tactical propulsion, inspace propulsion, hypersonic research, missile defense and missile interceptor capabilities, fuzes and warheads, composites, special mission aircraft, and electronic warfare market areas. The company?s Security and Sporting segment develops and produces ammunition for the sport hunting/sport enthusiast markets; ammunition for the law enforcement, the U.S. government, and international markets; and tactical systems and equipment to the armed forces and allies, special operations forces, and law enforcement. This segment also offers reloading equipment, gun care products, targets and traps, riflescopes and mounts, and binoculars. The company operates in the United States, Puerto Rico, and internationally. Alliant Techsystems Inc. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minne sota.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva] B/E Aerospace Inc. (BEAV), and being able to maintain a competitive position in the market, shows ATS´s ability for great evolution and profitable growth.

    Alliant also benefits from a narrow economic moat. Having long-term contracts with its customers, that generate consistent revenue for years, is a great advantage. The long-term programs have high switching costs for the customer. For example, ATK produced the composite materials for the Hellfire missile for years.

    In addition, leading the solid rocket propellant market should ensure increased annual revenue. The new Space Launch System (SLS), for which ATK is working with the NASA, is expected be as successful as the Space Shuttle program years ago.

    Most important, Alliant is the biggest supplier of small-caliber ammunition for the U.S. military. Furthermore, ATK has managed to get new contracts in the U.S. military sector, such as the second full-rate production of the advanced anti-radiation guided missiles. This contract with the U.S. Navy was signed for a total of $102.4 million.

    New Contracts and acquisitions should increase profitability

    Alliant has developed a composite technology that brought in new customers such as Airbus Group NV (EADSY) and Boeing Co (BA). In addition, the company’s composite material is required for the production of the F-35 jets. ATK produces around $1.8 million of the content in every F-35 jet that is constructed and generates $1.2 million worth of every A350.

    New acquisitions create great expectations for shareholders, and this is the case of Alliant. The acquisition of Bushnell Group Holding Inc., that was completed in November of 2013, will amplify the customer base of Alliant´s Sporting Group even further, and is projected to increase earnings for the company.

    Good Outlook for the Company’s Future Performance

    The future looks bright for Alliant Techsystems Inc. The company´s financial position will improve due to a b

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE: ATK) is one of just two defense stocks still rated as a Buy at UBS. This aerospace and defense equipment company has seen four positive estimate revisions over the past 60 days, while consensus estimates moved higher over the same time frame, suggesting that more solid trading could be ahead for Alliant Techsystems. Investors are paid a 1% dividend. The UBS price target is $160. The Thomson/First Call estimate is $145.40. Shares closed Wednesday at $129.53.

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC)

Northrop Grumman Corporation (Northrop Grumman), incorporated on January 16, 2001, provides products, services, and integrated solutions in aerospace, electronics, information and services to its global customers. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated in four segments: Aerospace Systems, Electronic Systems, Information Systems and Technical Services. The Company conducts most of its business with the United States Government, principally the Department of Defense (DoD) and intelligence community It also conducts business with local, state, and foreign Governments and domestic and international commercial customers. Effective as of March 31, 2011, the company completed the spin-off of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII). HII operates the Company’s former shipbuilding business. In September 2012, it acquired M5 Network Security Pty Ltd.

Aerospace Systems

Aerospace Systems is engaged in the design, development, integration and produ ction of manned and unmanned aircraft, spacecraft, high-energy laser systems, microelectronics and other systems and subsystems. Aerospace Systems’ customers, primarily domestic government agencies, use these systems in a number of different mission areas, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; communications; battle management; strike operations; electronic warfare; missile defense; earth observation; space science; and space exploration. The segment consists of four business areas: Strike & Surveillance Systems; Space Systems; Battle Management & Engagement Systems; and Advanced Programs & Technology. Strike & Surveillance Systems designs, develops, manufactures and integrates tactical and long-range strike aircraft systems, unmanned systems, and missile systems. Key programs include the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance system, B-2 stealth bomber, F-35 Lightning II (F-35), F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighter, Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballis tic Missile (ICBM), MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft syste! m, and Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP).

Space Systems designs, develops, manufactures, and integrates spacecraft systems, subsystems and electronic and communications payloads. Its main programs include the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) payload and many restricted programs. The Battle Management & Engagement Systems designs, develops, manufactures, and integrates airborne early warning, surveillance, battlefield management, and electronic warfare systems. Key programs include the E-2 Hawkeye, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system, EA-6B Prowler and its next generation platform, the EA-18G Growler, and Long Endurance Multi Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV). Advanced Programs & Technology creates advanced technologies and concepts. Its programs include the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (N-UCAS), and other di rected energy and advanced concepts programs.

Electronic Systems

Electronic Systems is engaged in the design, development, manufacture, and support of solutions for sensing, understanding, anticipating, and controlling the environment for its global military, civil, and commercial customers and their operations. Electronic Systems provides a variety of defense electronics and systems, airborne fire control radars, situational awareness systems, early warning systems, airspace management systems, navigation systems, communications systems, marine systems, space systems, and logistics services. The segment consists of five business areas: Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance Systems; Land & Self Protection Systems; Naval & Marine Systems; Navigation Systems; and Targeting Systems. Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems delivers products and services for space satellite applications, airborne and ground-based surveillance, multi-sensor processing, analysis, and dissemination for com! bat units! and national agencies both domestically and internationally, providing battlespace awareness, missile defense, and command and control. Key products include the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), Defense Support Program (DSP), ground processing, exploitation and dissemination systems, the TPS-78/703 family of ground based surveillance radars, and the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar.

Land & Self Protection Systems delivers products, systems, and services that support ground-based, helicopter and fixed wing platforms (manned and unmanned) with sensor and protection systems. These systems perform threat detection and countermeasures that defeat infrared and radio frequency (RF) guided missile and tracking systems. The division also provides integrated electronic warfare capability, communications, and intelligence systems; unattended ground sensors; automatic test equipment; and advanced thre at simulators. Key programs include the U.S. Marine Corps Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) multi-mission radar; the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and strategic international and NATO allies; the AN/ALQ-131(V) electronic countermeasures pod; the LR-100 high-performance radar warning receiver (RWR)/electronic support measures (ESM)/electronic intelligence (ELINT) receiver system; the U.S. Army’s STARLite Synthetic Aperture Radar for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs); the U.S. Army Vehicle Intercom Systems (VIC-3 and VIC-5); the U.S. Army Next Generation Automated Test System (NGATS); the U.S. Air Force Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) training range system; and the Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER) system that enable airborne platforms to track individual persons or vehicles.

Naval & Marine Systems delivers products and services to defense, civil, and commercial customers supporting smart navigation, shipboard radar surveillance, ship control, mac! hinery co! ntrol, integrated combat management systems for naval surface ships, high-resolution undersea sensors (for mine hunting, situational awareness, and other applications), unmanned marine vehicles, shipboard missile and encapsulated payload launch systems, propulsion and power generation systems, and nuclear reactor instrumentation and control. Key products include Integrated Bridge and Navigation Systems, Voyage Management System, Integrated Platform Management Systems, Integrated Combat Management System, AN/WSN-7 Inertial Navigator, anti-ship missile defense and surveillance radars (Cobra Judy, AN/SPQ-9B, AN/SPS-74), propulsion equipment, missile launch, and sonar systems for the Virginia-class submarine, and launch system support for the Ohio-class submarine.

Navigation Systems delivers products and services to defense, civil, and commercial customers supporting situational awareness, inertial navigation in all domains (air, land, sea, and space), embedded Glo bal Positioning Systems, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, acoustic sensors, cockpit video monitors, mission computing, and integrated avionics and electronics systems. Key products include the Integrated Avionics System, the AN/TYQ-23 Aircraft Command and Control System, Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensors, and a robust portfolio of inertial sensors and navigation systems. Targeting Systems delivers products and services supporting airborne combat avionics (fire control radars, multi-function apertures and pods), airborne electro-optical/infrared targeting systems, and laser/electro-optical systems including hand-held, tripod-mounted, and ground or air vehicle mounted systems. Key products include fire control radars for the B-1B, F-16 (worldwide), F-22 U.S. Air Force, and F-35; AN/APN-241 navigation/weather radar; the AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING family of targeting pods; Distributed Aperture EO/IR systems; and the Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder (LLDR). In addition, the Electronic Systems segment also includes the Advanced Co! ncepts & ! Technologies Division (AC&TD), which develops next-generation systems and architectures.

Information Systems

Information Systems is a provider of advanced solutions for the DoD, national intelligence, federal civilian, state and local agencies, and commercial and international customers. Products and services focus on the fields of command, control, communications, computers (C4) and intelligence; airborne reconnaissance; intelligence processing; air and missile defense; decision support systems; cybersecurity; information technology; and systems engineering and integration. The segment consists of three business areas: Defense Systems; Intelligence Systems, and Civil Systems. Defense Systems is a provider of net-enabled Battle Management, C4 Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, decision superiority, and mission-enabling solutions and services in support of the national defense and security of our nation and its allies. Defense Systems is a developer and integrator of many of the DoD’s programs-of-record, particularly for command and control (C2) and communications for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and Joint Forces. Major products and services include C4ISR Integration, Mission Systems Integration, Military Communications and Networks, Battle Management C2 and Decision Support Systems, Tactical and Operational C2, Ground and Maritime Combat Systems, Air and Missile Defense, Combat Support Solutions and Services, Enterprise Infrastructure and Applications, Defense Logistics Systems, Identity Management and Biometric Solutions, Cloud Computing, Maritime Mission Systems and Force and Critical Infrastructure Protection. Systems are installed in operational and command centers worldwide and across all DoD services and joint commands.

Intelligence Systems is focused on the delivery of intelligence-related systems and services to the United States Government and the int ernational security community. Intelligence Systems focuses ! on missio! n areas, including Airborne Intelligence, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Systems, Cybersecurity, Geospatial Intelligence, Pervasive Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Ground Systems, Multi-Source Intelligence Data Fusion, and Dynamic Cyber Defense. Its offerings include intelligence sensing, processing, exploitation and dissemination systems, extremely Large-Scale Data Information Management, Intelligence and Prime Systems Integration, Knowledge Discovery Processes, ISR/Communications Quick Reaction Capability Solutions, Sensor Systems, Support to Special Operations, Cyber-SIGINT Mission Management/Multi-Intelligence, Language Services/Intelligence Analysis, Cyber Exploitation, Satellite Ground Stations, Weather Services, Geospatial Systems, Product Generation and Dissemination, Counter Narco-Terrorism, Drug Enforcement Operations, Geo-Intelligence Tradecraft Training, Enterprise Information Technology, Ground-Based Sensing, Studies and Analysis, Sustainment , Operations and Maintenance. Civil Systems provides specialized information systems and services in support of critical civilian government missions, such as homeland security, health, cybersecurity, civil financial, law enforcement and public safety. Primary customers are federal civilian agencies with some state and local and international customers. Civil Systems develops and implements solutions that combine a deep understanding of civil government domains with core expertise in prime systems integration, enterprise applications development, and high value information technology service, including cybersecurity, advanced networking and cloud computing.

Technical Services

Technical Services is a provider of logistics, infrastructure, and sustainment support, while also providing an array of modernization, high technology, and training and simulation services. The segment consists of three business areas: Defense and Government Services; Traini ng Solutions; and Integrated Logistics and Modernization. De! fense and! Government Services provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of combat vehicles, engineering and high technology services for nuclear security and space missions, civil engineering work, military range work, launch services, and range-sensor-instrumentation operations. The division’s customer base includes the United States Army, Department of Energy, the DoD, NASA, and the intelligence community. Training Solutions provides training to senior military leaders, international and peacekeeping forces. The division designs and develops future conflict training scenarios, and provides warfighters and allies with live, virtual, and constructive training programs. The division offers training applications ranging from battle command to professional military education. Primary customers include the DoD, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security. Integrated Logistics and Modernization provides life cycle product and weapon system sustainment and modernizati on. The division is focused on providing direct support to warfighters and delivering aircraft MRO; subsystem MRO and modernization; supply chain management services, warehousing and inventory transportation, field services and mobilization, sustaining engineering, maintenance, repair and overhaul supplies, and on-going weapons maintenance and technical assistance. The division specializes in quick reaction capability and deployed operations in support of customers. Primary customers include the DoD, as well as international military and commercial customers.

The Company competes with Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Boeing Company, Raytheon Company, General Dynamics Corporation, L-3 Communications Corporation, SAIC, BAE Systems Inc., EADS and Finmeccanica SpA.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Smith]

    What it means to investors
    If the A-10’s backers in Congress are successful in saving the A-10, that would be good news for Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC  ) , which has served as prime contractor for A-10 upgrading and maintenance work since 1987. (Israel’s Elbit Systems (NASDAQ: ESLT  ) actually owns the remains of Fairchild Republic, which built the A-10. But Northrop bought Fairchild’s A-10 business.)

  • [By Philip Springer]

    This week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed a defense budget that would reduce the US Army to its smallest force since before World War II. And we were woefully under-prepared for that war.

    The proposals will face powerful resistance from members of Congress, veterans’ organizations, arms manufacturers and more. Complete details of the proposed federal budget are to be released next week.

    The timing is unfortunate. For example, consider this headline from last night: “Russia says it will respect the ‘territorial integrity’ of Ukraine.” Maybe. But such statements are meaningless.

    Amid considerable other global unrest these days, reducing our spending on defense seems imprudent. However, various constraints that have built up over time require it, or reductions elsewhere.

    Fifty years ago, the military made up nearly half of government spending. Now it’s about 17 percent. Entitlements were one-third of the budg et then. Now they’re approaching two-thirds. “This is a time for reality,” Hagel said.

    Under the new approach, the emphasis is to shift from the longstanding goal of being able to fight two wars simultaneously, such as in Europe and Asia; and toward such threats as cyber warfare and terrorism.

    For instance, the size of the active-duty military would decline by 13 percent and the reserves by 5 percent in coming years. But Special Operations forces would grow by 6 percent.

    Inevitably, this would mean increased risk in the event of a second crisis. “You have fewer troops, fewer ships, fewer planes,” Hagel said.  “Readiness is not the same standard. Of course there’s going to be risk.”

    The Army currently is scheduled to drop to 490,000 troops from a post-9/11 peak of 570,000. Under the new proposal, the Army would decline to between 440,000 and 450,000 based on the current mandate to impose a military spending cap of about $496 billion for fis

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Hexcel Corp (HXL)

Hexcel Corporation (Hexcel), incorporated in 1948, is a composites company. The Company develops, manufactures and markets composites, including carbon fibers, reinforcements, prepregs, honeycomb, matrix systems, adhesives and composite structures, for use in Commercial Aerospace, Space and Defense, and Industrial Applications. Its products are used in a variety of end applications, such as commercial and military aircraft, space launch vehicles and satellites, wind turbine blades, automotive, bikes, skis and a variety of other industrial applications. Hexcel has two segments: Composite Materials and Engineered Products. The Composite Materials consists of carbon fiber, reinforcements for composites, honeycomb core and matrix product lines. The Engineered Products consists of composite structures and specially machined honeycomb product lines.

Composite Materials

The Composite Materials segment manufactures and markets carbon fibers, fabrics and specialt y reinforcements, prepregs, structural adhesives, honeycomb, composite panels, molding compounds, polyurethane systems and laminates that are incorporated into many applications, including military and commercial aircraft, wind turbine blades, recreational products and other industrial applications. HexTow carbon fibers are manufactured for sale to third-party customers, as well as for its own use in manufacturing certain reinforcements and composite materials. Carbon fibers are woven into carbon fabrics, used as reinforcement in conjunction with a resin matrix to produce pre-impregnated composite materials. Carbon fibers is also used in filament winding, hand layup, automatic tape layup and advanced fiber placement to produce finished composite components. Its carbon fibers’ product applications include structural components for commercial and military aircraft, space launch vehicles, and certain other applications, such as recreational and industrial equipment.

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Industrial fabrics and specialty reinforcements are ma! de from a variety of fibers, including carbon, aramid and other polymers, several types of fiberglass, quartz, ceramic and other specialty fibers. These reinforcements are used in the production of prepregs and other matrix materials used in primary and secondary structural aerospace applications, such as wing components, horizontal and vertical stabilizer components, fairings, radomes and engine nacelles, as well as overhead storage bins and other interior components. Hexcel’s reinforcements are also used in the manufacture of a variety of industrial and recreational products, such as wind energy blades, automotive components, boats, surfboards, skis and other sporting goods equipment.

HexPly prepregs are manufactured for sale to third-party customers and for internal use by its engineered products segment in manufacturing composite laminates and monolithic structures, including finished components for aircraft structures and interiors. Prepregs are manufact ured by combining reinforcement fabrics or unidirectional fibers with a resin matrix to form a composite material with structural properties not present in either of the constituent materials. Reinforcement fabrics used in the manufacture of prepregs include glass, carbon, aramid, quartz, ceramic and other specialty reinforcements. Resin matrices include bismaleimide, cyanate ester, epoxy, phenolic, polyester, polyimide and other specialty resins.

Other fiber reinforced matrix developments include HexMC, a form of quasi-isotropic carbon fiber prepreg that enables small to medium sized composite components to be mass produced. HexTOOL is a specialized form of HexMC for use in the construction of high temperature composite tooling. HexFIT film infusion material is a product that combines resin films and dry fiber reinforcements in production and enables the manufacture of contoured composite structures, such as wind turbine blades.

Polymer matrix ma terials are sold in bulk and film form for use in direct pro! cess manu! facturing of composite parts. Resins can be combined with fiber reinforcements in manufacturing processes, such as resin transfer molding (RTM), resin film infusion (RFI) or vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) to produce composite components for both aerospace and industrial applications. Hexcel manufactures and markets a range of Redux film and paste adhesives. These structural adhesives, which bond metal to metal and composites and honeycomb structures, are used in the aerospace industry and for many industrial applications.

HexWeb honeycomb is a cellular structure consisting of nested hexagonal cells. The product is similar in appearance to a cross-sectional slice of a beehive. It can also be manufactured in asymmetric cell configurations for more specialized applications. Honeycomb is primarily used as a lightweight core material and acts as an energy absorber. When sandwiched between composite or metallic facing skins, honeycomb increases the st iffness of the structure, while adding very little weight. The Company produces honeycomb from a number of metallic and non-metallic materials. Its metallic honeycomb is made from aluminum and is available in a selection of alloys, cell sizes and dimensions. Non-metallic materials used in the manufacture of honeycomb include fiberglass, carbon fiber, thermoplastics, non-flammable aramid papers, aramid fiber and other specialty materials. During the year ended December 31, 2011, revenues for the Composite Materials segment to third-party customers represented approximately 77% of its total revenues.

Engineered Products

The Engineered Products segment manufactures and markets composite structures and precision machined honeycomb parts for use in the aerospace industry. Composite structures are manufactured from a variety of composite and other materials, including prepregs, honeycomb, structural adhesives and advanced molding materials, using such man ufacturing processes, as autoclave processing, multi-axis nu! merically! controlled machining, heat forming, compression molding and other composite manufacturing techniques. During 2011, revenues for the Engineered Products segment to third-party customers represented approximately 23% of its total revenues. The Engineered Products business unit has a 50% ownership interest in a Malaysian joint venture, Asian Composites Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Smith]

    This series, brought to you by Yahoo! Finance, looks at which upgrades and downgrades make sense, and which ones investors should act on. Today, our headlines include a pair of aerospace upgrades for European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (NASDAQOTH: EADSY  ) and Hexcel (NYSE: HXL  ) . But it’s not all good news, so let’s start off by finding out why.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Hexcel (NYSE: HXL  ) reported earnings on July 22. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended June 30 (Q2), Hexcel met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc (WAIR)

Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Inc., formerly Wesco Holdings, Inc., incorporated on July 21, 2006, a holding company for Wesco Aircraft Hardware Corp. The Company is a distributor and provider of supply chain management services to the global aerospace industry. Its services range from traditional distribution to the management of supplier relationships, quality assurance, kitting, just-in-time (JIT), delivery and point-of-use inventory management. The Company operated principally in three geographic areas, North America, Europe and markets, such as Asia, Pacific Rim and the Middle East. Wesco Aircraft Hardware Corp, its wholly owned, primary domestic operating subsidiary, Wesco Aircraft Europe, Ltd., its primary foreign operating subsidiary, and certain other foreign operating subsidiaries, in connection with the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding stock of Wesco Aircraft Hardware Corp., Wesco Aircraft Israel and the European entities of Flintbrook Ltd., Wesco Aircraft Franc e and Wesco Aircraft Germany by Wesco Aircraft. In July 2012, the Company completed the acquisition of Interfast Inc. In March 2014, Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc completed the acquisition of Haas Group Inc from certain investment funds affiliated with The Jordan Company, L.P.

Kitting involves the packaging of an entire bill of materials or a complete ship-set of parts, which reduces the amount of time workers spend retrieving parts from storage locations. Kits can be customized in varying configurations and sizes and can contain up to several hundred different parts. JIT supply chain management involves the delivery of parts on an as-needed basis to the point-of-use at a customer’s manufacturing line. The Company supplies approximately 450,000 different stock keeping units (SKUs), including hardware, bearings, tools, electronic components and machined parts. During the fiscal year ended September 31, 2010 (fiscal 2010), sales of hardware represented 80% of its ne t sales, with highly engineered fasteners constituting 83% o! f that amount. The Company serves its customers under three types of arrangements: JIT contracts, which govern outsourced supply chain management services; long term agreements (LTAs), which set prices for specific parts; and ad hoc sales. JIT contracts and LTAs, together consists of approximately 63% of its fiscal 2010 net sales. The Company supplies products to approximately every Western aircraft in production, including the B-787, B-737, B-747, A-320, JSF and V-22.

Hardware

Sales of C class aerospace hardware represented approximately 80% of its fiscal 2010 product sales. Fasteners are its product category, consisting of approximately 83% of its hardware sales in fiscal 2010. Fasteners include a range of engineered aerospace parts that are designed to hold together two or more components, such as rivets (both blind and solid), bolts (including blind bolts), screws, nuts and washers. Many of these fasteners are designed for use in specific aircr aft platforms and others can be used across multiple platforms.

Bearings

The Company offers aerospace bearings. Its product offering includes a variety of standard anti-friction products designed to both commercial and military aircraft specifications, such as airframe control bearings, rod ends, spherical bearings, ball bearing rod ends, roller bearings and bushings.

Electronic Components

The Company offers interconnect and electro-mechanical products, including connectors, relays, switches, circuit breakers and lighted products. The Company also offers value-added assembled products, including mil-circular and rack and panel connectors and illuminated push button switches. The Company maintains connector components in inventory, which allows the Company to respond to customer orders. In addition, its lighted switch assembly operation affords customers same day service, including engraving capabilities in multiple languages.

Machined Parts and Other

Machined par! ts are de! signed for a specific customer and are assigned original product manufacturers (OEM)-specific SKUs. The machined parts, the Company distributes include laser cut or stamped brackets, milled parts, shims, stampings, turned parts and welded assemblies made of materials ranging from high-grade steel or titanium to nickel based alloys. The Company stock a range of tools needed for the installation of its products, including air and hydraulic tools, as well as drill motors, and the Company also offers factory authorized maintenance and repair services for these tools. In addition to selling these tools, the Company also rents or leases these tools to its customers.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By alicet236]

    Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. (WAIR): Chairman, President and CEO Randy J. Snyder Sold 70,000 Shares

    Chairman, President and CEO of Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. (WAIR) Randy J. Snyder sold 70,000 shares during the past week at an average price of $19.77. Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. has a market cap of $1.86 billion; its shares were traded at around $19.71 with a P/E ratio of 18.50 and P/S ratio of 2.10.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Stallard sees KEYW Holding (KEYW) and Textron (TXT) potentially missing earnings, while Honeywell (HON),  Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Lockheed Martin (LMT), Raytheon (RTN) and Wesco Aircraft (WAIR) could beat.

Best Defense Companies To Watch In Right Now: Implant Sciences Corp (IMSC)

Implant Sciences Corporation (Implant Sciences), incorporated in August 31,1984, develops, manufactures and sells sensors and systems for the security, safety and defense (SS&D) industries. Its technologies are used worldwide in security and inspection applications. Implant Sciences has developed technologies used in explosives trace detection (ETD), and and narcotics trace detection (NTD) applications and market and sell handheld ETD and benchtop ETD and NTD systems that use its technologies. The systems are used by private companies and Government agencies to screen baggage, cargo, vehicles, other objects and people for the detection of trace amounts of explosives. Implant Sciences have developed explosives detection systems designed for use in aviation and transportation security, high threat facilities and infrastructure, military installations, customs and border protection, and mail and cargo screening. The systems use the Quantum Sniffer technologies, including phot on-based, non-radioactive ion source in combination with ion mobility spectrometry, a detection tool sensitive to the speeds with which ions of various substances move through the air to electronically detect minute quantities of explosives vapor and particles.

Quantum Sniffer QS-H150 Portable Explosives Detector

The Quantum Sniffer QS-H150 Portable Explosives Detector employs a vortex collector for the simultaneous detection of explosives particulates and vapors with or without physical contact and in real-time. The QS-HS150 can detect vapors and nanogram quantities of explosives particulates for explosives substances considered to be threats. The substances include military and commercial explosives, improvised and homemade explosives, and propellants and taggants.

The QS-H150 has automatic and continuous self-calibration. It monitors its environment, senses changes that would affect its accuracy, and re-calibrates accordingly. The system requires no user intervention and no calibration cons! umables. The detection process begins with the collection of a sample with its vortex collector. After collection, the sample is ionized photonically and analyzed using ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) technology. The presence of a threat substance is indicated by a visible and audible alarms. The threat substance is then identified and displayed on the integrated liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. When detecting a threat substance, the QS-H150 rapidly alarms. This real-time detection limits equipment contamination and allows for fast clear-down.

Quantum Sniffer QS-B220 Benchtop Explosives and Narcotics Detector

QS-B220 Benchtop Explosives and Narcotics Detector uses dual IMS with non-radioactive ionization for the detection and identification of a range of military, commercial, and improvised explosives as well as narcotics. The QS-B220 uses a sample trap which is wiped on the surface to be interrogated for explosives or narcotics particles.

The QS-B220 has automatic and continuous self-calibration. It monitors its environment, senses changes that would affect its accuracy, and re-calibrates accordingly.

Quantum Sniffer TM QS-Hx Portable Explosives Detector

The Company is focusing in developing a next-generation handheld detector that will use dual IMS non-radioactive ionization for the detection and identification of a range of military, commercial and improvised explosives, as well as narcotics. The QS-Hx will have automatic and continuous self-calibration, multi-level password-protected data security and will include a data management interface with data export to a network for recordkeeping, providing a link with the central command centers and logistics systems used by carriers.

Miniature Mass Spectrometer

The Company’s acquisition of Ion Metrics enabled it to obtain miniaturized quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS) detector technology. The QMS detector is roughly the size of an AA battery and has low manufactur! ing costs! . When used in conjunction with an IMS, the QMS detector senses the molecular weight of the chemical species resulting in an orthogonal detection method in which a more fundamental characteristic of a substance is measured. It is developing interfaces for integrating the QMS detector into its future products.

Hyphenated Detectors

Depending on the application and the number of interfering background chemicals, it may be necessary to incorporate additional orthogonal detection methods. The combination of multiple sensors in series is known as employing hyphenated methods. By measuring different properties of the same species, interferents are separated from target species for a deterministic detection and identification and have minimum rates of false alarms. It is developing hyphenated systems employing conventional ion mobility, differential mobility and quadrupole mass spectrometry. As of June 30, 2012, it has one patent issued in real-time trace d etection by IMS and QMS and two hyphenated system patents pending.

The Company competes with Morpho Detection, Inc., NucTech Company Limited and Smiths Detection, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    It’s not an uncompetitive market. Names like Implant Sciences Corporation (OTCMKTS:IMSC) and NXT-ID (OTCBB:NXTD) are battling in the security and facility-defense arena as well; IMSC makes explosives-detection and drug-detection hardware, while NXTD designs 3D image-rendering software that caters to the unique needs of prison security personnel, though the same technology has been proven in more traditional functions like building-security systems that keep certain people out rather than in. Neither Implant Sciences nor NXT-ID compete directly head-to-head with View Systems, however … fortunately for them. See, VSYM is considered by some to be the best in the industry.