The F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, also known as Joint Strike Fighter, was a no show at the recent Farnsborough International Airshow. Supporters were disappointed, but other saw yet more evidence that the troubled program is nothing but a boondoggle.

The latest problems stemmed from the engines made by Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT).

But the F-35 is hardly the only major defense development program. Here is a quick peek at four other defense programs in various stages of development, as well as the publicly traded companies that have a stake in them.

Spaceplane

First, and perhaps most seemingly "out there," is the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1). The XS-1 vehicle is designed for quick, affordable and routine access to space to, among other things, deploy military, civilian and commercial satellites. This capability is seen as increasingly critical for both national and economic security.

Boeing (NYSE: NOC) are among the companies awarded contracts by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Goals for the SX-1 include flying 10 times in 10 days, flying to better than Mach 10 and launching a 3,000- to 5,000-pound payload for less than $5 million per flight. That would be dirt cheap compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars each satellite launch costs now.

Boeing shares are down almost 10 percent year to date to $122.32 at Tuesday's close. But shares of Northrop Grumman are up more than 10 percent in that time to $126.37.

Related Link: Lockheed Martin Demonstrates JAGM Dual-Mode Guidance Section In Second Flight Test

Iron Dome

The conflict between forces in Israel and Gaza has brought attention to the former's Iron Dome missile defense system, which the United States helped develop and fund. Interest is rising to add some kind of Iron Dome to the U.S.'s existing systems, or more specifically a Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.

The ongoing missile development efforts in North Korea have also had an impact on calls for a GMD. The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) developed by Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) is a key component of the system, although Boeing also has a stake in it.

Shares of Raytheon are about five percent higher than at the beginning of the year and closed Tuesday at $92.49. They have traded in a range of $71.06 to $102.33 in the past year.

Sky Shield

Israel-based electronics and defense company Elbit Systems (NASDAQ: ESLT) has created a new way of protecting commercial airliners from shoulder-fired missiles. When the Commercial-Multi Spectral Infrared Countermeasure (C-MUSIC) system, also known as "Sky Shield," detects an approaching missile, it fires a laser that foils the missile's guidance system. The system has been installed on all Israeli airliners, and the company says it has received orders from the Italian and Brazilian air forces.

Elbit's shares on the Nasdaq hit a 52-week high last week but have pulled back about three percent to end Tuesday at $62.85. The 52-week low from almost a year ago is $43.04.

Guided Bullets

Earlier this month, DARPA's Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program conducted its first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. These are the first ever guided small-caliber bullets, which are aimed at enhancing rifle accuracy and range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems.

Lockheed Martin and the Scientific & Imaging units of Teledyne Technologies (NYSE: TDY) were key to development of this program, though DARPA also faces competition from guided sniper rounds developed by Sandia National Laboratories.

Lockheed Martin shares traded near the 52-week high on Tuesday before giving up nearly all the day's gain to close the session at $169.33. Here too the 52-week low was about a year ago, at $119.32. Teledyne closed Tuesday at $92.85, in a 52-week range of $76.96 to $102.40.

Related Link: Raytheon Company Meets Q2 Earnings Estimates, Reaffirms View

Memory Restoration

Also earlier this month, DARPA selected University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Pennsylvania to initially lead its Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program. They will test electronic interfaces intended to sense memory deficits caused by brain injury, perhaps even Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy, and attempt to restore normal function. The implantable devices will be developed by Livermore National Laboratory and Medtronic (NYSE: MDT).

Medtronic's share price hit a year-to-date high of $65.50 back in June and closed Tuesday at $62.65. Its 52-week low is $51.22.

At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the mentioned equities.

Keep up with all the latest breaking news and trading ideas by following us on Twitter.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    How Much Coca-Cola Spends on Advertising

    Learn about Coca-Cola's ad spending and why the company has decided to spend the amount of money it does. Understand comparable companies and industries.
  2. Investing

    Welcome Back, Volatility

    Volatility is likely to resurface as the Federal Reserve gets closer to adjusting its monetary policy stance, even if that adjustment is a measured affair.
  3. Economics

    What Is The Labor Market Conundrum?

    We are facing a conundrum with investment implications: Why are wages still stagnant, when jobs are being created at the fastest pace since the late 90's?
  4. Investing

    Why Are Consumers In Hesitation?

    Diverging monetary policy globally and a stronger dollar continued to be key drivers of the recent underperformance and last week’s tumble in U.S. stocks.
  5. Economics

    Bulk Shipping Companies Struggle As Markets Soften

    The "soft" dry bulk shipping market that confronts shipping companies is a result of lower demand from China, and an excessive amount of bulk ships.
  6. Stock Analysis

    Sierra Wireless Benefits From These Megatrends

    We take a closer look at how Sierra Wireless' transition from 2G to 3G and 4G technologies, has impacted its business today, and the future expectations.
  7. Stock Analysis

    3 Growth Opportunities For ARM Holdings

    ARM Holdings highlighted several growth opportunities in its most recent roadshow presentation. Here are three of the large opportunities it talked about.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Is Cheniere Energy Still On Track For 2016?

    The energy boom in the U.S. has opened up a huge range of opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
  9. Stock Analysis

    What’s The Key To Costco’s Extraordinary Success?

    Costco has been one of America's most successful companies: It's growing, efficient, profitable and its long-term shareholders have benefited a windfall.
  10. Stock Analysis

    Can American Capital Agency Maintain Its Dividend?

    Dividend investors know that real estate investment trusts with REITs that invest in mortgage-backed securities produce double-digit dividend yields.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Fractal Markets Hypothesis (FMH)

    An alternative investment theory to Efficient Market Hypothesis ...
  2. Core Durable Goods Orders

    New orders for U.S. core durable goods, which are the total durable ...
  3. Investopedia

    One of the best-known sources of financial information on the ...
  4. Market Depth

    The market's ability to sustain relatively large market orders ...
  5. Closing Tick

    The difference between the number of stocks that closed higher ...
  6. Institutional Brokers' Estimate ...

    A system that gathers and compiles the different estimates made ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the long-term outlook of the metals and mining sector?

    An industry agency council was established by the World Economic Forum in 2014 to serve as an advisory board on the future ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the railroads sector?

    The railroads sector is comprised of publicly traded stocks for companies that operate railroad tracks and/or trains. Railroad ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Who are Amgen Inc.'s (AMGN) main competitors?

    Biotech giant Amgen Inc (AMGN) bills itself as one of the first biotechnology firms. It was founded in 1980 and has grown ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What's the most expensive stock of all time?

    Back in late August 2012, Apple’s (AAPL) stock price reached nearly $700 per share. The stock has since split but has yet ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!