* Analyst says move aimed at improving ties with Pentagon
* Lockheed says Carvalho has strong record of achievement
* Carvalho lauded for more personable approach
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON, March 18 Lockheed Martin Corp
, the Pentagon's largest supplier and maker of the new
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has named Orlando Carvalho the new
head of aeronautics in place of Larry Lawson, the defense
contractor said on Monday.
Carvalho, 54, will take over immediately as executive vice
president of the aeronautics business area. Lawson, 55, was set
to retire on April 5, after 26 years with Lockheed.
Lockheed also named Lorraine Martin, 50, as vice president
and general manager of the F-35 program, succeeding Carvalho at
the helm of a program that will eventually account for about 20
percent of Lockheed's revenue.
"This is part of an effort by the company to put its
relationship with the Pentagon on a better footing," said Loren
Thompson, a Virginia-based defense consultant.
Lockheed has had an often tense relationship with the
Pentagon over the controversial $396 billion F-35 fighter jet,
the most expensive U.S. weapons program.
Lawson's departure comes just weeks after the Pentagon's
F-35 program chief, Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan,
accused Lockheed and another contractor of trying to "squeeze
every nickel" out of the U.S. government for the planes.
"Larry's decision to leave Lockheed Martin is personal and
has absolutely nothing to do with the F-35 program," said
company spokeswoman Jennifer Whitlow.
Lawson moved into his position a little less than a year
ago, after heading the F-35 program for two years and before
that Lockheed's F-22 fighter jet program for six years.
He was seen not only as a tough negotiator, but one who
could be argumentative, according to industry executives who
worked with him over the past two decades.
In a statement announcing Carvalho's promotion, CEO Marillyn
Hewson noted that under his leadership the F-35 program exceeded
flight test plans, improved on-schedule delivery of software and
delivered 30 aircraft while lowering costs.
"Orlando is a proven leader with nearly 33 years of
experience with Lockheed Martin, a strong record of achievement,
and a keen understanding of our customers and their mission,"
Defense officials told Reuters that Carvalho has been lauded
for bringing a more personable approach to his negotiations.
Carvalho previously led Lockheed Martin's mission systems
and sensors business before joining aeronautics in 2011, where
he has been responsible for the performance of all aspects of
the F-35 Lightning II program.