September 7, 2011 / 4:45 PM / 6 years ago

Northrop sees global sales opportunities

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), which supplies the Global Hawk surveillance plane, can bolster its international sales in unmanned systems and other areas, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Northrop CEO Wes Bush also said he felt the U.S. government was taking steps to try to loosen export curbs on some arms.

“The administration has been working hard on export control reform,” Bush told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington. “We’d all like to see it move faster, but I believe it is heading in a very positive direction.”

    The Obama administration has been consulting Congress on plans to sell remotely piloted Global Hawks to South Korea, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing people familiar with the matter.

    Northrop’s Bush has said in the past that export curbs on unmanned systems harm U.S. industry without making the country any safer.

    International sales currently account for less than 10 percent of Northrop Grumman’s overall sales.

    He reiterated that Northrop, which spun off a shipbuilding division this year and now supplies unmanned spy planes and intelligence work, is focused on improving performance. He said Northrop currently was not seeing a lot in terms of potential acquisition candidates that could bolster its capabilities.

    Reporting by Karen Jacobs, editing by Matthew Lewis

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