General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman: Flattish Revenue but Growing Order Book
- General Dynamics had basically flat Q3 2014 revenue, with total sales of $7.7B, masking a 13% drop in information systems balanced by growth of about 7% in aerospace, combat systems, and marine systems. Their total backlog reached $74.4B and has been robustly growing throughout the year, though most of that growth is unfunded.
- Like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman’s Q3 sales dropped by 2% YoY to $5.9B. However their total backlog grew by 8% to $38.5B thanks to $9B in new awards (a 150% book-to-bill ratio) led by the E-2D Hawkeye.
- Raytheon’s Q3 sales declined more, with a 6.3% drop to $5.5B. That’s mitigated by $5.9B in bookings, a 1.07 book-to-bill ratio. That takes the backlog to $33.2B, one billion dollars more than a year ago.
- Boeing’s Q3 sales [PDF] grew by 7.7% to $23.8B, again thanks to commercial aircraft as Defense, Space and Security’s revenue slightly declined by $100M to $7.9B, with book-to-bill barely above 50%, and a $60B backlog for the division, or less than 15% of the company’s total backlog.
- For perspective, Apple’s free cash flow for the same quarter was $9.3B, more than what defense primes pull in *revenue*, an an order of magnitude more than their free cash flow.
- The US Air Force released a draft RFP [FBO] for the development and production of its Advanced Radar Threat System Variant 2 (ARTS-V2), a “pre-Milestone B Program to develop and field a high fidelity threat emitter for live aircrew training for anti-access/area denial environments.” They will hold an industry day on Nov. 19 at Hill AFB, UT.
- Intelsat was awarded a contract by the USAF to study the commercialization of its Satellite Control Network which could help lower costs.
- Elbit announced an $85 million contract from an unidentified Asian customer for “an F-5 aircraft avionics upgrade program and… electro-optic and communications systems” over 3 years. Jane’s rules out previous upgrade customers Singapore and Thailand, but Thailand’s F-5T upgrades were a late 1980s deal, and Singapore’s F-5S variant achieved FOC in 1999. We wouldn’t rule either of them out.
- The Gatestone Institute, a think tank with neoconservative instincts, argues that fatalities have decreased while Hamas fired more rockets at Israel, ergo Iron Dome works.
- Sweden continues to hunt [National Post] an elusive, putative Russian sub, while Estonia says [AP] a Russian Ilyushin-20 surveillance aircraft crossed into its airspace on Tuesday, leading to the usual scrambling and intercepting dance [Reuters]. Support among Swedish political parties for increased defense spending may be rising [The Economist].
- A Chinese national who tried to fraudulently obtain technology from U.S. companies in 2003-06 was sentenced [FBI] to 15 months in prison. Will he get a medal for effort when he returns home, or punishment for getting caught?
- New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence released a report [PDF] on how to optimise industry involvement in the local defence sector. Defense spending is now two-thirds local, but that’s out of a small NZD 800M total (about $626M). And while operating expenditure is 80% local, 70% of capital expenditure is sourced abroad.
- 3 Afghan districts seem firmly under Taliban control and administration, according to the Long War Journal.
Developing Fast but Safe Rockets
- Today’s video from Los Alamos National Lab shows their work testing a new rocket design which tries to combine high-energy fuel and a motor design meant to provide safe performance: