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Showing posts from January 6, 2013

Investing in Unmanned Naval Systems

The market for unmanned naval systems is growing by leaps and bounds.  Between air, surface, and subsurface platforms, a variety of companies big and small are competing for contracts to meet the demand of navies across the globe.  To provide some perspective on this market, NavalDrones has analyzed the performance of a theoretical portfolio of 12 publically-traded stocks during 2012.  These stocks range from well-entrenched defense giants like Lockheed Martin(LMT) and Boeing(BA) to mid-sized companies producing sensors and other components for naval drones including Griffon (GFF) and Cubic (CUB).  With $1,000 invested equally in each of the stocks at the beginning of 2012, the portfolio's initial investment of $12,000 would have been valued at $13,196.12 at the market's close on December 31, for a total return (inclusive of dividends) of 9.97%.  In comparison with our portfolio, the S&P 500 Index (SPY) returned 15.84% last year and the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace &a…

Dronenets and Navy Logistics

Futurist John Robb has posted some interesting ideas on a concept called Dronenet, where he envisions a peer-to-peer logistics service using small UAVs.  The primary constraints to this sort of idea taking off in the civilian sector are hardware and network standards, plus, some likely hesitance on the part of the general public to have quadrotors full of Chinese food deliveries zooming over their neighborhoods.

On the military side, we've seen a rudimentary version of a dronenet with the Marine Corps' apparently successful K-Max VTOL UAV logistics experiment in Afghanistan.  During the 1990s, the K-Max was used by the U.S. Navy as a contractor-operator aircraft for vertical replenishment at sea.  Every day, the Navy moves tons of ammunition, food, and other heavy stores via sling-load pallet from replenishment ships.  While smaller, higher value - and time critical deliveries - such as circuit cards for weapons systems are often moved inside of helicopters.  Could a network o…