The Navy successfully conducted the inaugural test flight of its new MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter at Naval Base Ventura County this week. The aircraft stayed airborne for seven minutes. The unmanned helicopter is the newest variant of the MQ-8B already in use by the Navy. With an internal payload capacity of 1,000 pounds, 400 more than the MQ-8B, the MQ-8C has approximately twice the capability of its predecessor, as it can fly 30 knots faster and stay seven to nine hours longer in the air. The aircraft was developed by the Naval Air Systems Command and several private sector players. Measuring 10 feet longer than the MQ-8B, the MQ-8C is not expected to replace its predecessor, but instead join the fleet by 2016, though some could deploy as early as next year.
In the government contracting space, several government services providers released earnings this week, many of which noted a decrease in revenues offset by flat or slightly higher than expected operating margins. Common themes discussed on the earnings calls were the challenge to operate within a two budget scenario environment, international expansion, reinvestment into research and development, the effects of the Afghanistan drawdown on programs and funding, and special dividend distributions.
TASER International Inc. (Up 11.8%) – Shares were up this up after the Company announced a strong third quarter. The Company reported earnings and revenues above consensus analyst estimates.
Ultralife Corp. (Down 13.9%) – Shares were down this week after the Company announced a poor third quarter with revenue down 22% from the same quarter last year.
Meggitt plc (Down 10.7%) – Shares were down this week after the Company lowered its full-year revenue guidance following a disappointing third quarter.
ESI Group SA acquired CyDesign Labs, Inc., a provider of simulation, analysis tools, and physics-based modeling systems for the aerospace, defense, and automotive industries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.