LOCKHEED MARTIN'S win rate on competitions is now running at around 60%, as the group begins to take full advantage of the new scope and range of its merged operations says chief executive Norman Augustine.

The rate, which is around double the US industry average, is already being helped by the sharing of expertise around the group's six core divisions, he says.

Augustine points to the NASA X-33 programme, which he believes could not have been won without the ability to bring together the prototyping and development know-how from the Skunk Works with experience of running major Government space programmes within the Space & Strategic Missiles division.

The skills were brought together to form a "virtual company" to run the bid within the group, but it will disappear when it is no longer needed. Augustine says that this is how future bids will be run.

He adds that all of the group's various businesses, have now been absorbed into these six divisions, including the Loral units acquired earlier this year. In total, there are 17 different companies which have gone to make up Lockheed Martin, a fact which Augustine says has helped in creating a single new culture for the group without the risk of power struggles breaking out between rival factions.

"We found it was easier to combine 17 companies than two, because everybody comes from a minority company," he says.

With further merger opportunities narrowing within the US defence/aerospace sector, the group is now developing existing businesses into new markets. Augustine gives the example of adapting simulator technology for the video game market, or using military- recognition systems for identification applications in the civil sector.

Another push is into international markets, which account for only around 16% of the group's turnover. Augustine says that the group is "anxious" to form partnerships at any level, from business investments and joint ventures, through to teaming arrangements.

"We're very flexible," he says, but stresses that the aim is to establish ventures with global sales potential rather than simply as a form of offset work within a domestic market. He gives the example of UK involvement in the C-130J transport aircraft.

He also confirms the group's push to join with European partners in producing a successor to the C-141. "The market segment has been disregarded and all should be focused on looking for a successor, but it is not big enough for three different competitors," he says.

Source: Flight International