Lockheed Martin has begun the promised disposal of non-core assets, with the sale of two armaments units to General Dynamics (GD)for an agreed price of $450 million.

Lockheed Martin's Defense Systems and Armament Systems units, both of which employ around 1,600 workers, were originally part of the GE Aerospace business, which was acquired by Martin Marietta.

Armament Systems produces Gatling guns for tactical aircraft and ammunition-handling systems, while Defense Systems builds turrets and transmissions for combat vehicles, as well as missile-guidance and naval fire-control systems.

GD was partially responsible for helping to kick-start US industry consolidation in the early 1990s as it sold off huge chunks of its aerospace-defence businesses, including its combat-aircraft, space and missiles units.

Lockheed and Martin Marietta were both buyers. GD's remaining business is built around the manufacture of tanks and submarines. Chairman James Mellor says that the new acquisitions help to "widen the defence business base into ordnance and naval fire-control systems".

Lockheed Martin chief executive Norman Augustine said earlier this year that the group would concentrate on core businesses in large-scale electronic systems and integration work, while selling off around $1 billion-worth of its smaller operations.

Source: Flight International