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Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 weapons supplier, said on Tuesday its customers want to defend themselves against possible incoming missile attacks and are increasingly asking about missile defense systems.
"The level of dialogue around missile defense is now at the prime minister and minister of defense level," Tim Cahill, the vice president of Lockheed's Air and Missile Defense business, told Reuters in an interview.
Some countries are putting missile defense at the top of their list of desired capabilities, Cahill said. Interest has increased over the last 12 to 18 months, as have threats, he said.
Shares of Lockheed are up nearly 8 percent, to $300.10, since North Korea's first long-range missile test on July 4. The stock is up 20 percent year-to-date.
The increased demand could turn into sales over the coming years. The U.S. government sanctions weapons sales in a process that can take years and often requires the approval of U.S. legislators.
Lockheed sells security and intelligence products including ships, planes, and missile systems to the U.S. intelligence community, the military and NASA. The U.S. government accounted for about 70 percent of Lockheed's revenue in 2016. The company has been working to grow its international customer base, which accounted for 27 percent of revenue last year.