Lockheed Martin Q1 profit grows significantly

Lockheed Martin’s profit rose to a forecast-beating $US 933m ($996m) in the first quarter and the company has raised its 2014 earnings guidance.

Dow Jones newswires reports that this is an increase of 23c per cent over the profit of $US761m ($811) for the same period last year.

The world's largest defence contractor is currently undertaking restructuring and has a record order backlog from an in-demand portfolio of fighter jets and missile-defence systems. This has helped to minimise it from the current weakness in the military budgets of the US and Europe.

As The Guardian reports, the news comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott and defence minister, David Johnston prepare to announce the $12.4bn purchase of 58 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in Canberra today.

The purchase will add to the two fighter jets already bought and the 12 already ordered. By 2050, the F-35 fleet will include 72 jets. The government will decide within in a few years whether to buy another 28 and bring the total to 100.

The Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) will take their first delivery of the F-35 in 2018. It will begin service in 2020.

“This takes us to a fifth generation of fighter aircraft, obviously the region does not have a fifth-generation aircraft at the moment,” Mr Johnston said.

“We see this aircraft as providing everything Australia needs in terms of aircraft capability until about 2050.”

Mr Abbott said that the purchase will benefit Australian economy and, specifically, it will be good for regional areas and the local defence industry.

According to the government, there will be benefits of about $1.5bn as a result of the purchase.

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