LONDON Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), the Pentagon's biggest supplier by revenue, is drawing together its overseas sales efforts in a new international arm as it tries to win more contracts outside the United States.
Like its rivals Boeing Co (BA.N) and Raytheon Co (RTN.N), Lockheed has made foreign sales a priority as it grapples with billions of dollars of U.S. defense budget cuts in recent years.
But it remains more exposed than its competitors to the domestic market.
The new unit, to be called Lockheed Martin International (LMI), will be led by Patrick Dewar, who was previously Lockheed's senior vice president for corporate strategy and business development.
"We recognized that we need a unified approach to how we go to market in the global market place," Lockheed's Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson told reporters in London on Monday.
The maker of the F-35 stealth fighter jet and Aegis missiles made about 17 percent of its $47 billion of revenue abroad in 2012, or $8 billion. It expects that proportion to grow to over 20 percent, Dewar told Reuters last month.
That would still fall short of Raytheon, which makes about 26 percent of its sales abroad, and Boeing Co's (BA.N) defense division, which says about 42 percent of its backlog is outside the United States. Both rivals are targeting 30 percent foreign revenue.
Dewar said that the company's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would have as many international orders as U.S. ones in the next five years, and that he expects Lockheed's offset obligations, which sees the company funneling investment into the buyer country, to grow with its international push.
LMI will have dual headquarters in London and Washington D.C., Hewson said, with corporate offices in Ottawa, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Canberra as well as regional offices in Tel Aviv, New Delhi, Tokyo and Seoul.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Kate Holton and Tom Pfeiffer)