Lockheed Martin Corporation
) F-22 fighter jet flying limit between landing zones was limited
by a recent order to the U.S. Air Force by Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta. The curb on flying limit came on the heels of undiagnosed
safety problem for the fighter jet. The limit on flight distances
means the routine mission of patrolling U.S. airspace in Alaska
will be done by other aircraft.
The new restriction however does not affect the war effort in
Afghanistan because no F-22s are deployed there. The fighter has
never flown in combat with the only F-22s operating overseas are in
the United Arab Emirates, where they recently arrived for training
The Panetta order is an unusual intervention at the highest
level of the Pentagon in a service-specific problem, and it may be
seen by some - including critics of the F-22 program on Capitol
Hill - as a sign of the program's political vulnerability. However,
the move was necessary with media reports surfacing about an
increasing trend of pilots refusing to fly the radar-evading F-22
fighter citing oxygen-deficit problems in the cockpit. Pilots have
complained about oxygen-deficit problems causing dizziness,
blackouts and other symptoms that arise when the body doesn't
receive enough oxygen. The Air Force has been unable to determine
the root cause of the problem. To solve the problem Panetta ordered
an acceleration of an existing Air Force effort to install an
automatic backup oxygen system in every F-22 fighter jet.
The F-22 is a single-seat, twin-engine, fifth-generation super
maneuverable fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and is responsible for the
majority of the airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the
F-22. Its program partner, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, a
The Boeing Company
), provides wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training
Earlier in 2011, the Air Force had temporarily stopped the work
of its entire fleet of F-22 for more than four months due to
problems with regard to its oxygen-supply system. However, in
September 2011, it returned its F-22 back to flight.
Lockheed Martin is a major U.S. defense contractor with a
platform-centric focus. This guarantees a steady inflow of
follow-on orders. The company benefits from a leveraged presence in
the U.S. Army, Air Force and the Navy.
Going forward we expect Lockheed Martin to benefit from its
focus on platform programs, such as the C-130 Hercules & C-5
Galaxy transport aircrafts, F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role jet,
the Littoral Combat Ship, the AEHF and the Global Positioning
Satellite III system, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense
But we are skeptical about the limited military ammunition
orders, primarily for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, due to proposed
U.S. defense budget cutbacks. Lockheed Martin Corporation retains a
Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.
Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global
security and aerospace company that is principally engaged in the
research, design, development, manufacture, integration and
maintenance of advanced technology systems, products and services.
The company competes with
Northrop Grumman Corporation
BOEING CO (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report
LOCKHEED MARTIN (LMT): Free Stock Analysis
NORTHROP GRUMMN (NOC): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.