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February 1, 2013

News Briefs February 1, 2013

Northrop Grumman fourth quarter net income falls 3 percent

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman said Jan. 30 its fourth-quarter net income fell 3 percent, hurt by lower government spending.

The Falls Church, Va.,-based company earned $533 million, or $2.14 per share, down from $548 million, or $2.09 per share, a year ago. The recent quarter’s results are based on 248.9 million outstanding shares, while those of the year-ago are based on 262.7 million.

Revenue was relatively flat at $6.48 billion compared with $6.51 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of $1.74 per share on $6.37 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Northrop Grumman said sales of aerospace systems rose 7 percent to $2.6 billion on higher demand for drone aircraft, but sales of electronic, information and technical systems all fell as a result of lower government sales volumes.

For the full year. Northrop Grumman earned $1.98 billion, or $7.81 per share, down from $2.12 billion, or $7.52 per share, in 2011. Revenue fell to $25.22 billion from $26.41 billion.

Northrop Grumman projected a 2013 profit of between $6.85 and $7.15 per share on revenue of about $24 billion. Analysts expect earnings of $6.97 per share on $24.37 billion in revenue. AP

Sierra Nevada gets partner to build spacecraft

Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Space Systems of Louisville is partnering with Lockheed Martin to help it build the next-generation Dream Chaser spacecraft that could soon ferry American astronauts into space.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. will be in charge of building the composite outer shell, while Sierra Nevada manages the contract, according to an announcement Jan. 30.

Sierra Nevada has been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars from NASA over the last few years to develop the Dream Chaser.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, the United States has paid millions of dollars for seats on the Russian Soyuz space capsule in order to reach the International Space Station after ending its own manned space program. AP

Groups appeal ruling to let Navy train near whales

Environmental groups are asking a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling that would allow the Navy to build an undersea training range close to waters where endangered right whales give birth each winter off the coasts of south Georgia and north Florida.

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed its appeal brief Jan. 30 with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Its attorneys say the Navy committed to building the $100 million range, where both submarines and surface ships would train, before it completed required studies on whether operating the range would harm right whales and other endangered species.

A U.S. District Court judge’s ruling in September agreed with the Navy that risks to right whales would be minimal.
The Navy wants to begin construction next year. AP

Navy hiring giant cranes to help remove ship

The U.S. Navy is hiring floating cranes to help with the dismantling and removal of a minesweeper that ran aground on coral reef off the Philippines.

U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Darryn James said Jan. 30 a contractor in Singapore is sending the cranes. The equipment should arrive on site in a few days.

It’s expected to take over a month to dismantle the USS Guardian.

Crews have already removed 15,000 gallons of fuel from the ship.

The Navy originally said the Guardian would be lifted by crane onto a barge and taken to a shipyard. But James says damage to the ship is ìbeyond economical repair.î The Navy now plans to dismantle the ship before it’s removed.

The Guardian ran aground before dawn on Jan. 17. AP

German Parliament extends Afghan-mission

Germany’s Parliament has voted to extend the country’s military mission in Afghanistan by 13 months.

Parliament approved the extension Jan. 31 by a vote of 435 to 111. The German contingent is being slowly reduced as the country prepares to bring all combat troops home by the end of 2014.

The new mandate foresees a drop from a current maximum of 4,500 troops to 3,300 troops, which are stationed primarily in northern Afghanistan.

Germany says even after the combat troops are gone the country will continue to provide Afghanistan with long-term non-military assistance.

The mission is generally unpopular in Germany but is supported by most political parties. Parliamentary approval is required annually. AP

NATO chief says security, economy are linked

NATO’s chief says the economic crisis could threaten the national security of members of the military alliance, and he’s urging them to maintain defense spending to close gaps in their military capabilities.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels that ìour security rests on our prosperity: you can’t be safe if you’re broke. But in turn, our prosperity rests on our security.

One concern in NATO’s annual report is the impact of national austerity measures on defense capabilities within the alliance. Total defense spending by NATO members is dropping while that of emerging powers is rising.

Fogh Rasmussen says if these trends continue, we could face serious gaps that would place NATO’s military capacity and political credibility at risk. AP




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Courtesy photograph

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