Hellfire missiles and 3-D printing: New contract wins show Lockheed’s range

In Lockheed Martin Corp.’s hierarchy of contractual needs, the F-35 joint strike fighter trumps all, and rightly so: It’s the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program ever.

But for additional insights into the business of the world’s largest defense contractor, it’s also instructive to look closely at Bethesda-based Lockheed’s (NYSE: LMT) contract wins that don’t grab headlines.

Consider two awards unveiled this week. One is a two-year, $5.8 million contract with the Office of Naval Research. That amount may as well be a rounding error for Lockheed, but the work could have major implications for components manufacturing. 

Lockheed and the Office of Naval Research are exploring how to apply artificial intelligence to train robots to independently oversee — and optimize — 3-D printing of complex parts. Specifically, it’s customizing multi-axis robots that use laser beams to deposit material. The team will develop software models and sensor modifications for the robots…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.