These 3 Defense Giants Will Battle to Produce the Next Generation of Unmanned War Machines

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The Pentagon’s research arm has awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), and General Atomics to develop an air-launch, missile-packed drone. The money involved, at least for now, is small, but competitions like this one are likely to have long-term ramifications on future government development efforts.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) handed out the contracts for Phase I design work on the “LongShot” unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The program is designed to use UAVs to deploy multiple air-to-air weapons, extending the range from which the military can use drones to attack foes and, in the process, lessening the risks for crewed fighter jets.

Artist rendering of the LongShot UAV in action. Image source: DARPA.

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