Shares of tiny defense contractor Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (NASDAQ: KTOS) climbed another 11.6% in the month of June, adding to the big 35% gain the stock enjoyed in May.
Why is Kratos' stock gaining altitude? Let me count the ways. Kratos had three big announcements come out last month, beginning with a June 6 order for six "High Performance Unmanned Aerial Drone System Aircraft" from an unspecified "government customer" for an unspecified price.
One week later, on June 13, Kratos announced that it would debut its XQ-222 Valkyrie and UTAP-22 Mako jet-powered combat drones. Both drones boast "near supersonic speeds" and the ability to carry weapons, and "are designed to function as wingmen to manned aircraft in contested airspace." Kratos noted that both drones will sell for between $2 million and $3 million per unit, with the higher figure presumably attaching to the larger Valkyrie drone. Valkyrie was developed to under Air Force Research Labs' Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) program. It is 30 feet long, and can fly more than 3,000 nautical miles before refueling. It's expected to make its first flight next spring.
Finally, toward the end of the month, Kratos confirmed that the U.S. Navy has placed an order for $34.6 million worth of its BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target (SSAT) Drone Systems, and awarded the company a further $2.5 million in funding to provide logistics support for the SSATs.
The SSAT contract in particular promises to push Kratos toward its promised goal of turning profitable in the second quarter of this year -- which is good news for investors, who may have difficulty valuing Kratos' stock with its currently negative P/E ratio. Meanwhile, the "high performance" and combat drone announcements hold out the promise of growing profits for years to come.
How fast those profits grow will determine whether Kratos' P/E ratio is justified -- once it finally turns positive.
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