Lockheed Martin Stock Steady Today Amid F-35A Rollout (NYSE: LMT)

Lockheed Martin stock is down 0.9% today (Wednesday) at $201.71 as the global aerospace titan rolled out its first highly anticipated F-35A Lightning II for the Norwegian Armed Forces.

lockheed martinDespite today's muted reaction, Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) stock will benefit as more F-35s are delivered across the world.

The F-35A Lighting II is an innovative fifth-generation fighter jet. Lockheed Martin describes it as "combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility." It also includes fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, and advanced sustainment.

The three variants of the F-35 will replace legacy fighters for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marines. It will also be used in at least 10 other countries.

In short, the F-35 is the largest military contract in history, with Lockheed as the principal contractor. It is part of the $1.4 trillion, 56-year F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project. Others involved include Northrup Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) and BAE Systems Plc. (OTCMKTS ADR: BAESY).

The fifth-generation F-35 fighter has been in development for 14 years. The Marine Corps fielded the first combat-ready squadron of F-35s this summer. The U.S. Air Force plans to introduce the plane next year. The Navy has a target date of 2019, at which time the aircraft is expected to enter full-rate production.

With the F-35s, the U.S. military is confident it is introducing a cutting-edge weapon system capable of outclassing even modern, super-maneuverable Russian and Chinese aircraft like the Sukhoi T-50.

And the F-35 isn't the only reason Lockheed Martin stock is one of the best defense stocks on the market now...

Why Lockheed Martin Stock Is a Buy Now

In addition to the F-35, Lockheed Martin's other strengths include cybersecurity, logistics, and tactical compunctions.

It's a leader in biometrics, helping travelers with vetted backgrounds move through expedited security lines at airports. Lockheed Martin also has a strong foothold in nanotechnology, which may hold the key to addressing some of the most pressing issues of sustainability, energy management, healthcare, and security.

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The Bethesda, Md.-based company is also adept at dealing with military spending cuts.

"These guys have learned from our history - at the end of every shooting war, defense budgets come under sharp attack in a politically tough environment," Money Morning Defense & Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson said. "Lockheed Martin's reach also includes space exploration, satellite systems, and climate monitoring. Not only that, but it's a whiz at biometric and cyber security, as well as the booming field of cloud computing."

In the last 12 months, Lockheed Martin stock has climbed 14.5%. That compares to a loss of 4.7% for the Dow Jones in the same time.

The Bottom Line: Lockheed Martin stock was mostly flat today as the company rolled out its highly anticipated F-35A Lightning II. Lockheed Martin has large contracts with the U.S. military and 10 other countries for the fighter jet. But that's not the only reason we recommend Lockheed Martin stock. The company is also a leader in cybersecurity, logistics, and other defense fields.

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