Then, using both a laser sensor to measure distance and location, along with two infrared sensors that have been pre-programmed to search as they float down for fixed or moving targets meeting a specific set of IR requirements, each individual skeet identifies a target.
Once the target is found — let’s say, for instance, a tank — the skeets use a directed charge to propel themselves downward, penetrating the tank’s outer armor and exploding inside.
If a target isn’t found — and this is key to the heated cluster bomb debate — the skeets either detonate in the air or self-destruct after a preset time interval on the ground, leaving no unexploded ordnance behind on the battlefield.
If this seems like something straight out of Iron Man, remember the BLU-105 isn’t even that new. In fact, it was first used quite effectively during Operation Iraqi Freedom back in 2003, and was featured on the hit show Future Weapons in 2008.
In the end, don’t forget defense systems aren’t Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT)’s only business. Among its other subsidiaries are Bell Helicopter, Cessna, EZ-GO, Jacobsen (think lawn mowers), Greenlee hand tools, and AAI, the maker of the Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle.
As a result, while my own position in Textron remains small, it’s hard to claim the stock is overvalued while trading at just 14.9 times last year’s earnings and 11.5 times next year’s estimates — especially now that the company is no longer overexposed to the threat of its troublesome financial segment, which almost singlehandedly proved Textron’s undoing when the market hit the fan back in 2009.
Now, however, thanks to big contract wins with innovative products like the BLU-105, I’m convinced investors are left with a solidly profitable business that is positioned for decent growth down the road.
The article Textron’s Cluster Bombs Are Anything But Ordinary originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Steve Symington.
Fool contributor Steve Symington owns shares of Textron. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lockheed Martin and Textron.
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