A day after it won the competition to build the Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber, Northrop Grumman reported upbeat third quarter results on Wednesday and raised its earnings per share outlook for the rest of the year.
In a major victory for the Falls Church-based company, Northrop beat out a “dream team” of Boeing and Lockheed to win the contract, valued at nearly $60 billion, and build 100 of the stealthy bombers, which are expected to enter service in the 2020s.
On Wednesday, the company announced third quarter net earnings of $516 million, or $2.75 per diluted share, a 9 percent increase over the third quarter of 2014. And it raised its earning per share guidance to $9.70 to $9.80 from $9.55 to $9.70.
But as the company cheered its success, some defense analysts warned that the hard work is just beginning.
Boeing and Lockheed Martin are not yet conceding the fight, and in a terse but strongly worded statement Tuesday said they want to know more about why their bid came up short. A formal bid protest, should they chose to file one, could hold up the program.
Even if it doesn’t, “the long and potentially perilous development phase of the acquisition process is just beginning,” according to Todd Harrison and Andrew Hunter, defense analysts with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
They warned that Congress could suffer “sticker shock” when members realize that the costs laid out by Air Force officials could grow when interest and other factors are included.