As defense spending priorities shift due to cutbacks and an evolving defense strategy, smaller contracting companies are adjusting their strategies and services.
In particular, companies in North Texas that provide ancillary services to larger defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, are adjusting to slow-down in the large F-35 and 787 programs and altering their strategies.
In one instance, after H.M. Dunn was selected by Lockheed to manufacture key structural parts for the F-35 program warplane, the company invested more than $20 million in equipment to upgrade its machining capabilities. The company has failed to see returns on the investment after Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered that F-35 purchases be cut back dramatically. Now the company is actively seeking new defense projects.
Yet the Pentagon’s request for $671 billion in the 2012 budget proposal sent to Congress last week includes new opportunities smaller defense contractors hope to capitalize on. $128 billion of the budget proposal is for airplanes and helicopters, ships and trucks, and rockets, missiles, bullets and bombs.