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23 Feb 07. In an apparent reversal, Lockheed Martin Corp. eliminated a business unit it had created to harness diverse expertise within the defense contractor and to capture more government communications-network business. The Bethesda, Md., defense giant said it will merge most of the company’s Integrated Systems and Solutions unit into its information-technology and services division, reducing the number of overall business units to four from five. In what Lockheed said was an unrelated development, Stan Sloane, 56 years old, head of the discontinued unit, will leave Lockheed for a position at another company. Mr. Sloane declined to comment. The realignment will greatly enhance the role of Lockheed executive Linda Gooden, 53, who will oversee the newly named Information Systems and Global Services division. The division will include 52,000 of Lockheed’s 140,000 employees. The unit’s two predecessors together accounted for about $9bn of the company’s $39.62bn in sales last year. When Lockheed formed the integrated-systems unit in 2003, it said the unit was being created to leverage the company’s expertise in large-scale systems engineering and “serve as the focal point” to design broad research and business-development strategies in the emerging market for communications networks. At the time, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was pushing the concept of “network-centric warfare,” which emphasizes information flow as a weapon in itself. Lockheed’s new unit won business from a variety of Pentagon and intelligence customers, but it remained the smallest division by sales at $4.39bn last year. The unit suffered a high-profile setback last year when a contract for the development of an Army spy plane was canceled, in part because company managers chose an aircraft that was ill-suited for the job. More recently, the integrated-systems unit won big contracts to develop a communications network for a planned satellite system and to modernize and standardize Air Force air- and space-command centers. Lockheed said the realignment aims to “increase the corporation’s integration of resources in areas of solid growth potential,” meaning information-technology services that underpin many Pentagon and intelligence programs. Spokesman Tom Jurkowsky said the rationale behind the integrated-systems unit remains valid, but company officials now believe it makes more sense for it to be a part of the IT division, which will lead work on “seamless solutions, from IT architecture to maintenance.” (Source: WSJ)

15 Feb 07. Thales, Dassault Report 2006 Results. Two major French defense companies, Thales and Dassault Aviation, this week released their financial results for 2006. Thales reported Feb. 14 that 2006 sales were steady at €10.26bn ($13.4bn), with fourth quarter sales down 1.7 percent at €3.38bn from €3.44bn a year earlier. New orders fell by 15 percent to €10.82bn from the 2005 figure, which had been boosted by an exceptionally large order intake, the company, based here, said in a statement. None of the 2006 new orders was worth more than €200m; eight were worth more than €100m. The company’s total order backlog stood at €20.68bn, 2 percent up from a year earlier and a record high. The figure represented two years of sales. Dassault Aviation on Feb. 15 reported a decline in 2006 net attributable profit to €281m from €305m a year earlier, on sales of €3.3bn, down from €3.43bn. The Saint-Cloud-based company’s military side, which builds the Rafale fighter jet, accounted for 38 percent of Dassault’s total sales, with the remaining 62 percent from orders for the Falcon business jet. New orders totaled €5.29bn, up from €4.53bn, of which 10 percent came from military contracts. Dassault booked a record 158 Falcon orders in 2006, up from 123 in the prior year. The order backlog totals €12.81bn, up from €10.82bn in 2005. (Source: Defense News)

22 Feb 07. The only practical solution to the strategic stalemate at European airliner Airbus

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