Lockheed Martin has improved its share outlook for 2007 after announcing that its third-quarter earnings are up 22 percent on last year’s figures.

Lockheed Martin’s chief financial officer Bruce Tanner says although the company stands by its previous revenue estimate of US$41bn to US$41.75bn, share earnings will increase by five cents to US$6.70 to US$6.85 per share.

He says the improvement comes from a “tweak” of corporate expenses.

The electronic systems division, which makes missiles and other warfare equipment, is up ten percent to US$2.83bn, information systems and global services revenue rose 24 percent to US$2.7bn and the space division increased 19 percent to US$2.2bn.

Despite overall positive results, Tanner says Lockheed expects a downturn in its aeronautics unit as big fighter programmes such as the F-16 are phased out and the new F-35 jet slowly ramps up.

He says aeronautic earnings for the fourth quarter could be down by US$500m from the third quarter and US$1bn lower than in 2008.

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Lockheed reported earnings of US$766m, up from US$629m for the same period last year.

Revenue is reported as US$11.1bn, up 16 percent from last year’s US$9.6bn.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh