Military Electronics Firms Set To Weather Economic Storms

Business in the military electronics sector is generally steady and stable, in spite of an ever-changing landscape of suppliers. The reason for the stability could be arguable, of course, that the ultimate customers do not change, i.e., the military establishments of the world's various governments tend to stay in business with constant requirements in the area of electronics and technology for military applications.

The business landscape for military electronics is certainly never level or predictable. As of this writing, for example, Cobham plc ( had announced that it had completed its acquisition of the RF components and microwave subsystems business of M/A-COM (, one of the largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of microwave subsystems in the world, and a somewhat legendary brand name in the smaller world of RF/ microwave electronics.

While this action will make the M/A-COM name fade into the history books, it certainly strengthens Cobham's position in military electronics and increases shareholder value to the company's owners. And this is just one change in an industry where consolidation and change are almost routine. But in spite of the regular occurrence of changes, business goes on in an efficient and effective manner, unlike some other business sectors.

Underperforming companies in the military electronics sector do not look for help in the form of bailouts from the United States government. They do not appeal to the US Congress for a $700 billion loan when times get bad. More likely, an underperforming company with valuable technology will be acquired because of that value, and because of the awareness of companies within the military electronics industry in the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors.

The strength and stability of the military electronics industry was per haps best outlined in the executive summary of a 2007 market report, "Overview of the U.S. Defense Electronics Market," from the Hawkdatahub web site ( The report, which makes predictions for the period from 2007 through 2016, calls out a defense electronics market worth more than $107 billion over that period. While the report points to expected declines due to troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a coming to maturation of several programs that were pushed through in support of those conflicts, a steady growth in Homeland Security applications is expected to help bolster the defense electronics market in the US for the coming years.

Admittedly, the report does not include "dark" or classified programs, which will elevate the projected number. But it does state that, in spite of some fluctuations, the market should remain stable for the next several years. Can Wall Street make the same claims?

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