(GD) General Dynamics Takes Off with Rocket Order

General Dynamics Corp. (GD) said it has won a $286 million contract from the U.S. Army to manufacture air-to-ground rockets. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, exercising option for fiscal year 2011 on an existing contract.

Under the contract, General Dynamics’ Armament and Technical Products wing will produce the Hydra-70 rockets and deliver by April 2015. The Army orders are for all branches of the U.S. military and select allies.

The Hydra is a cost-effective, versatile, combat-proven weapon that enhances the survivability, protection and success in missions of the U.S. military and its allies. The Hydra-70 rocket is about 2.75-inch (diameter) in size and is composed of two main components: the MK66 rocket motor and the warhead.  The rocket is fired from U.S. Army’s Apache and Kiowa Warrior helicopters, as well as helicopters and aircrafts of other armed forces.

The rocket motor is approximately three-and-a-half feet in length and weighs nearly 15 pounds.  General Dynamics even assembles the motor of the rocket. The rocket’s warhead varies to meet the wide range of mission requirements of all branches of the U.S. military. General Dynamics and other suppliers manufacture these varied warheads, which are attached to the rocket motor either at the Arkansas facility or by the warfighter in the field.

General Dynamics said the Hydra rockets will be produced at its facility in Camden, Arkansas. This facility has been the sole manufacturer of the Hydra since 1996 and employs over 300 people.  System engineering and program management for the Hydra will be performed at General Dynamics’ technology center in Williston, Vermont, which employs about 400 workers.

General Dynamics recently delivered its four-millionth Hydra rocket and looks forward to deliver the five-millionth, fulfilling its commitment to deliver a high-quality product to warfighters in the field.

General Dynamics currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank (short-term Buy rating).  The company competes with The Boeing Company (BA) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), both of which presently retain a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold).

Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics operates in business aviation, land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions, shipbuilding and marine systems, and information systems and technologies.

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