Northrop Grumman first quarter profits fall; revenue hit by F-35 issues

By Dawn Lim

April 26, 2012

Northrop Grumman Corp., maker of Global Hawk unmanned systems, reported 4.5 percent declines in first-quarter profits yesterday. Sales from aerospace systems, the defense contractor’s largest source of revenue, fell 8 percent.

The company attributed the decline to its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which has experienced delays and cost overruns. The company changed accounting methods for the program in early 2011, company filings indicate.

Earnings also were dampened by fewer deliveries of the F/A-18 fighter aircraft and lower sales of the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, an aircraft that conducts ground surveillance and supports strike operations for the military.

Adding another hit to the books: the termination of the Defense Weather Satellite System, which has been delivering weather data for military use. Northrop Grumman has been the program’s prime contractor.

Separately, General Dynamics Corp. posted a 9 percent drop in first-quarter earnings and a 3 percent fall in revenue. Sales from its information systems, its largest revenue stream, dropped while aerospace sales rose.

Boeing Company's defense, space and security business saw an 8 percent rise in revenue, boosted by F-15 fighter sales to Saudi Arabia.


By Dawn Lim

April 26, 2012

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