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Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC - Analyst Report) received an order from Wicklow, Ireland based Arklow Shipping to upgrade container vessels with VisionMaster FT Electronic Chart Display & Information Systems (ECDIS).

Per the contract, Northrop Grumman’s Sperry Marine business wing will perform the work on 12 container vessels. VisionMaster FT ECDIS will enable paperless navigation. The installation of VisionMaster FT ECDIS is slated to complete by the end of next year and will replace the existing NaviECDIS.

With the upgrades, these vessels will not only be able to meet the International Maritime Organization's mandates for paperless navigation, but will also be cost effective over the long term. The 12 ships being upgraded are multipurpose vessels ranging in capacity from 3,000 to 5,000 gross tonnage.

With worldwide headquarters in Charlottesville, VA, Sperry Marine is a unit of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems division. Sperry Marine provides smart navigation and ship control solutions for the international marine industry with customer service and support in numerous locations worldwide.

Overall, Northrop Grumman offers a strong program portfolio positioned to take advantage of several initiatives to ensure further alignment with its customers' need to increase affordability and cost competitiveness.

Going forward, with these contracts in hand and its cash deployment strategy, we expect the company to continue to generate strong earnings like it did in the first quarter.

The company’s backlog, which stood at approximately $39.4 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2013, is expected to see further upside in the near future through its strong focus areas of cyber security, modernization of defense and homeland security assets, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, advanced electronics and software development. Additionally, the proposed 25% increase in Northrop’s funding in the 2014 budget would encourage future opportunities.

The company is the fourth largest U.S. defense contractor behind The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report), Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT - Analyst Report) and General Dynamics Corp. (GD - Analyst Report) in terms of full year 2012 revenue. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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