The Top Defense Stock to Buy for 2018

top defense stocks to buyToday, we're bringing Money Morning Members the top defense stock to buy today - and it's a stock that's currently dominating the global drone market.

Drones have gone mainstream, from hobbyists flying their airborne cameras to the nightly news reporting on armed, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying missions over war zones.

While flying cars and personal jetpacks have been part of Hollywood for decades, real drones, in many forms, are here today.

It may sound like science fiction, but the growth rate is staggering...

Money Morning Director of Technology & Venture Capital Research Michael A. Robinson agrees. "The fact is, flying cars are coming - and fast."

One defense stock he has been following closely for decades is at the forefront of this industry. This company even bought a startup focused on self-driving air taxis.

That's part of the reason why this defense stock is the single best way to play this emerging tech trend.

The Top Defense Stock to Buy at the Forefront of This $21 Billion Industry

Drones are now being used in law enforcement, agriculture, and even in real estate sales.

Of course, the big topic of conversation is their use as delivery vehicles for products sold by companies from Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) to Domino's Pizza Inc. (Nasdaq: DPZ). Washington regulators have their hands full trying to keep up with the rapid growth and deployment of this new business model.

MarketsandMarkets says the drones sector is growing at roughly 20% a year. By 2022, the global sector will be worth roughly $21 billion.

Investing in Drones Will Be Like Investing in Smartphones in 2009: If you've thought of drones in military terms or just as toys, this is a wake-up call. Find out more.

But Robinson says that the real killer app is not in the delivery of things but in the delivery of people - the autonomous air taxi.

Late last year, TechCrunch reported self-driving cars - which, even while still not commercially ready, seem to be all the rage - might be exciting, but not nearly as much as what comes afterward. The technology for flying cars already exists, but it was not implemented because the human factor for error seemed to be too great.

Enter autonomous vehicles - flying cars - and the future suddenly changes for the better.

Driverless flying vehicles actually have an easier path than driverless land cars. In the air, there are no pedestrians, potholes, or construction to avoid. Live pilots are almost unnecessary. Indeed, commercial planes spend most of their flight time on autopilot already.

More than a dozen startups are developing flying cars. They're backed by such luminaries as Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) co-founder Larry Page, the ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc., and even the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

Then there's Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. The Manassas, Va.-based firm developed autonomous systems for military and commercial aircraft to be flown remotely. The firm's software provides the technology that automates a range of flight functions. Again, the application is in a drone carrying people - military and commercial people, in this case.

While there are numerous visionaries working to make flying vehicles a reality, one defense company is positioned perfectly to profit as the industry grows.

Here's the best defense stock to buy now to play this growing market, along with the $6.1 trillion commercial aircraft market...

The Top Defense Stock to Buy Now

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On Oct. 5, a multinational aerospace company announced that it bought Aurora. That company is The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), and it is ready to jump into this market with both feet.

Boeing and its team of global suppliers play a key role in a $6.1 trillion market. That's projected commercial industry aircraft demand over the next 20 years, according to an upwardly revised forecast from the firm.

Thanks to a stunning $11.1 billion spent on R&D in just the past three years, Boeing now offers the industry's most advanced jetliners.

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Boeing is also one of the top defense contractors to invest in today...

The Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDSS) division is a leading provider of jet fighters, helicopters, and, more recently, drones. While BDSS has seen its sales slip from its peak in 2010, it has still racked up an impressive $70 billion in revenue over the past five years.

And coming defense-spending plans suggest this figure should rise by double digits over the next five-year cycle.

Finally, Boeing has always been a major force in space. Robinson expects the value of the space industry to more than triple, from roughly $350 billion this year to $1.1 trillion in 2040.

The firm's satellite launchers, space shuttles, and support role in the International Space Station bring in high-margin sales and insights that can be applied across the firm.

The combination of all these strengths in commercial aviation, military hardware, and space applications positions the company perfectly. And its early push into autonomous air taxis is just one of the ways the firm plans to continue its march into the future.

It's been a winner for investors, too, with its stock gaining 67% year to date. The company generates huge amounts of cash and has earned nearly $21 billion over the past three years.

Nearly all of that is returned to investors. Boeing's dividend has risen at least 20% for four straight years and should keep growing at a fast clip.

If you want to be part of the next generation of transportation and delivery, there is no better way to participate than with Boeing stock.

Up Next: This Drone Company Could Net You Massive Gains; Learn More...

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