The Strategic Issues of Lockheed Martin

Modified: 7th Sep 2021
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Lockheed Martin is a global security Company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. It was formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. It has its Headquarters in Bethesda, MD (Maryland). The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion, a backlog of $78 billion, and cash flow from operations of $3.2 billion.

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Lockheed Martin is one of the biggest Defense Contractors in the world. One of the biggest news in 2010 was that the United States had decided to buy up to 2443 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. The F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is the U.S. defense department’s costliest weapons purchase at up to $382 billion over the next two decades. This makes it the biggest military deal ever. All this helps to pose an interest in this company.

Cost Surge: The Lockheed Martin F-35 program is facing manufacturing inefficiencies, part problems and at least six engineering technical challenges as stated by the U.S Government Accountability Office (GAO). As such costs have grown and scheduled extensions are likely.

Company’s contribution to the National Economy

A large part of Q2 GDP performance, +0.39% of total GDP growth 1.6% for the U.S owes thanks to wars and general defense. The defense sector of which Lockheed Martin is a part has contributed heavily to the country’s overall GDP. Lockheed Martin is also involved in other public activities.

Company’s contribution to the Regional Economy

Lockheed Martin is a global security organization with its reach in countries and regions like Canada, United Kingdom, Africa, Europe, and Middle East, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Australia. Lockheed Martin has customers around the world and has partners in more than 50 countries outside the United States. Furthermore it has helped countries like Turkey by enhancing their defense capabilities.

Recent Strategic Choice

Lockheed Martin completed the divestiture of its Enterprise Integration Group business to Veritas Capital on November 23rd, 2010 for $815 million and also plans to sell off PAE in 2011.

Source of Information on the Company:

Executive Summary

This assignment basically tells about the Defense Industry, discussing one of the major Defense contractors in detail in the world and other variables linked to the industry and the company alike. This project covers a lot of areas, using various tools for the purpose of analysis based on facts and our judgment. There are a few models used in this project to assess the state of the company and the industry alike; the first being the Industry Life Cycle which specifies where the defense industry currently stands whether it is introduction, growth, maturity or decline.

Another model used such as the Key Factors for Success is used to determine basically what factors any given company needs to survive in the defense industry. Another one would be Porter’s Five Forces which determines the forces affecting the company. These are models based on factors relating to the industry. The other three models used are based on the company itself including SWOT which analyzes a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; SFAS which take the most critical two factors of the lot; and TOWS Matrix which helps to devise new strategies in regard to SWOT factors.

After an in depth analysis, the current company performance is assessed based on efficiency, effectiveness and return to investors in regard with their recent strategic choice. Review of options is the next step in the project which takes into account the strategies formulated in the TOWS Matrix and determining which ones are the most important or critical to implement. The next area which is implementation of strategies provides an overview of if the future strategies can be deployed effectively and efficiently based on factors like structure, systems and policies. And the last part of the project determines the usefulness of all the six models used in the project.

The Defense Industry as you see is in the Growth phase of the Industry Life cycle. A few leading firms in the industry and the ones that are surviving are huge firms like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. These leading giants continue to innovate and create new products and services and refine old ones in order to stay in the game. The defense industry is basically a never dying industry due to the global conditions and national security challenges faced by the different nations of the world.

Companies like Lockheed Martin have been there for 16 years now. There are several reasons on why the Defense Industry is in the growth stage. To begin with, despite the time the defense companies have been around, they continuously monitor customer needs and introduce new products and technologies into the market. This leads to increase in sales and growth. For example, the recent development of the F-35 fighter jet which was made possible with the collaboration between Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems has given the defense industry a new source of life.

It is a new innovative product, which will intrigue customers to buy it and hence resulting in increased sales and ultimately growth.

Technology development, innovation and engineering are the core areas of the defense industry. Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing analyze these areas and respond accordingly. They keep up with changing times by introducing new products and technologies keeping the Defense Industry well in the Growth phase. Moreover it can be said that the Defense Industry is in the High Growth part of the Growth phase. Why it can be said so is because although the sales are increasing, the increase in sales is not exceptionally high. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the Aerospace and Defense sector in the period 2005-2009 was 8.7%. The sector grew by 0.4% in 2009 compared to 10.4% in the previous year.

As said before, the Defense Industry is a never dying Industry and it continues to grow year by year by providing new technologies, weapons and advanced warfare systems.

These Key Factors listed above are very important to survive in the Defense Industry.

Taking Innovation and Technological advancement first, these are two of the most important factors for success in the Defense Industry. The giants in the industry like Boeing and Lockheed Martin have to keep up with changing times by providing or innovating new technologies and products. The National demands for defense technology are very high. And hence, the defense companies need to have advanced technology and innovative and creative personnel in order to deliver to the nation and hence succeed in the defense sector. The quality of the products is also very important. Customers can switch between defense contractors if they are not satisfied with the quality.

The reliability of the products is also an important factor in the Defense Industry. As the products are designed for Warfare, product reliability is very crucial. Cost effectiveness is also among the most important factors in the Defense Industry. Every country has a defense budget. The Defense companies have to comply with the budget. Companies also need to have a skilled workforce in order to deal with complicated tasks including the likes of manufacturing military aircrafts. Diversification is also a very important factor to survive in the defense industry. Companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing are heavily diversified into related markets including manufacturing naval shipbuilding, aircrafts, helicopters etc. Also, Defense companies need to have government contacts in order to carry out Lobbying.

Overall Lockheed Martin is fairing pretty well in the Defense Industry. Although, compared to Boeing and Northrop Grumman, it has a few shortcomings in areas like being Cost Effective; it is handling the other key factors very well. It is well above the average level of operations in the defense sector.

Porter’s Five Forces

Threat of New Entrants (Low)

The threat of new entrants is quite low in the Aerospace and Defense Industry. Few factors like very high capital requirements to sustain operations, having highly differentiated products act as entry barriers into the industry. The defense industry has a few big firms including Lockheed Martin, Boeing etc. who are very well established. Their products are highly differentiated, acting as a barrier; also the customers are reluctant to switch to a new company’s product because personnel have to be trained again in order to use the new products raising switching costs.

Companies in the defense industry need to have a huge amount of capital in order to sustain activities like building military aircrafts, naval ships etc. A new company will not have a large customer base and hence won’t achieve economies of scale in order to reduce per head costs.

Rivalry among Existing Firms (High)

The rivalry among existing firms in the Defense industry is quite high. The leading Defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman have intense competition over winning defense contracts. As the firms in this Industry are few, they analyze each other’s move very carefully and issue counter moves accordingly. Firms in the defense sector use innovation and new technology to in order to differentiate their service and deliver better than the competitor which ultimately increases competitive rivalry.

Threat of substitutes (Low)

There are actually no real substitutes for the defense industry. The military aircrafts, equipments, and other systems cannot be replaced with anything else. For example, considering the commercial aircraft segment in the Aerospace and Defense Industry, there are alternatives like Rail Transport which may act as a possible threat due to factors like global warming and carbon footprints. But, the Defense Sector doesn’t have any substitute. For example, a country’s Air Force cannot be replaced by zero emission gliders; it has to be military aircrafts. It is because they cannot serve the same purpose. A nation’s Defense Sector cannot be substituted as they are the only ones who can serve the National Security purpose.

Bargaining power of Buyers (Low)

The bargaining power of buyers is low in the Defense sector. Although, the buyers have some financial muscle as they are mostly Government organizations, this power is somewhat diluted as the government needs the defense systems and programs. It is very important to the government. Now, companies in the Defense Industry like Lockheed Martin don’t just provide military aircraft and hardware like missiles and other weapon systems but also cater to the repair and logistic needs of their buyers. This means that it increases switching cost for the buyers and hence reduces buying power. The differentiated products provided by the Defense companies also decreases buyer power. For example, a product specially designed by Lockheed Martin like the Exoskeletal Load Carrier HULC cannot be designed by Boeing and vice versa.

Bargaining power of Suppliers (Low)

The bargaining power of suppliers is low in the Defense Industry. Firstly, there are many suppliers to choose from. Also, there is no switching cost considering the suppliers which makes the power of the suppliers weak. The supplier costs also don’t form a large part of the organization. In the defense industry, the defense company’s major costs are in regard with R&D, advanced technology and skilled workforce rather than supplier price. The major suppliers of the defense industry like Steel and aluminium manufacturers cannot forward integrate and compete directly with the defense companies. For Example, a steel manufacturer cannot build complex aircrafts and weapons. This further reduces supplier power.

Relative power of Stakeholders (High)

The relative power of stakeholders is pretty high in the Defense Industry. Stakeholders like the Government, customers and suppliers can affect the company majorly. Taking into consideration the government, the government has strict laws and regulations for each company to follow. In case of a breach or due to any other viable reason, the government has the power and to match it the authority to terminate contracts and transactions. This may lead to losses in the company. The suppliers and customers can also affect the company.

Internal Factors


Lockheed Martin has quite a number of strengths. Having a well diversified portfolio has enabled Lockheed Martin to not be over dependent on a single market segment and also serving a large customer base. Lockheed Martin is strong financially as per the stats given over the years. It had shown an increase of 5.8% in revenues in 2009 compared to the fiscal year 2008 and is also the largest defense contractor by revenue as of FY2009. In addition, it is one of the leading companies in providing tactical and transport aircraft and other defense systems. Lockheed Martin serves a very large customer base, which provides for economies of scale. And also the company is very advanced technologically, its recent achievement being the JSF F-35 program.


Lockheed Martin also lags in a few areas. In 2009, about 85% of the net sales were made to the US government. This shows over dependency on one customer which would affect its growth. Another area it has to consider is cost. It is not really a cost effective firm. A recent example would be the high developmental costs for the JSF F-35 project. Plus, the employee attitude is poor in Lockheed Martin. And the turnover rate is also pretty much near high. Lockheed Martin also ranks no. 1 in federal misconducts. This affects the reputation of the company and the scenario of future contracts.

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External Factors


One of the opportunities that Lockheed Martin can capitalize on is the rise in defense spending by the US. The DoD has seen consistent growth within the last ten years as it grew from $300 billion to almost $550 billion. Further, the congress agreed to fund military operations in various countries. Also, the US space and military market has witnessed strong growth and the trend is likely to continue. Another point could be the space business initiatives. Lockheed Martin is a prime contractor for a number of space business initiatives initiated by NASA. More initiatives will create new business opportunities for Lockheed Martin. One other point is the easing of export controls by the US with India in order to trade with the country. Another one would be the cyber security needs which are increasing globally to deal with cyber warfare.


There are quite a number of threats that Lockheed Martin is facing. Lockheed Martin deals with numerous government agencies and entities, and as a result has to face regulations relating to disclosure of cost and acquisitions. Also, Lockheed Martin has to deal intensely with competitors like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and BAE systems in regard to competitive factors such as technical superiority, reputation, price, etc. Also, The Company is involved in environmental and potential proceedings relating to soil and groundwater contamination, disposal of hazardous waste etc. which impact the company’s profitability. Substitutes like the Russian MIG fighter jets and others can act as a possible threat to the company. Also, Lockheed Martin has to keep up with changing times by innovating new products and services and acquiring new tech to keep up with rapid technological changes.

Strategic Factor Analysis


The fact that the US military market is going to grow may be viable for a short period or an intermediate period. So the company has to look for other viable opportunities which would be there for a long term. For the short term, it is definitely an opportunity which the company should capitalize and ultimately as a result it will benefit the company in different ways like for example increase in sales.


A factor like not being dynamic is in the intermediate segment. Not being dynamic or not being very agile to change is a weakness which will affect the company in medium term. This is because issues like these need to be addressed in the medium term at least if not in the short. If not done so, the company may not be able to deliver accordingly and lose out to the competition. Same is with the factor of substitutes. They can be there for an intermediate term. Lockheed Martin’s main competitors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman are always there with new innovations and products. So, in order to stand up to the competition, Lockheed Martin has to bring in new technologies and unique products every time. As discussed earlier, the rivalry is intense and companies come out with new and unique products to stay ahead in the game.


Factors in the long run considers all the four; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Considering financial performance, a company like Lockheed Martin earns about 80% of its revenues from military sales. It receives many of the defense contracts and if delivered as supposed to, it will stay in a good position financially. It is also in a position to acquire some other firms. An example would be Gyrocam Systems LLC on 31st august, 2009. Also, all the companies have to be advanced technologically in order to meet the demands of the customer. They have to provide distinctive products which are not possible without advanced technology. Factors like export control easing by the US towards India are also in the long run. Once eased, it will trade with the nation for quite some time. Government regulations also stay for a long time.

TOWS Matrix

Strengths (S)

  • Financial stats
  • New Technology
  • Well balanced Portfolio
  • Economies of scale
  • Strong market position

Weaknesses (W)

  • Dependence on the U.S government
  • Cost management
  • Not agile to changing conditions
  • Employee attitude
  • Contract misconducts

Opportunities (O)

  • Rising defense spending
  • Growing military and space market
  • Space business initiatives
  • Export-control easing
  • Cyber Security needs

SO Strategies

  • Expand business into India by acquiring firms
  • Use advanced technology to deliver new and unique products to the growing market

WO Strategies

  • Reduce the dependence on US government by expansion into other countries
  • Change employee attitude to deliver better products

Threats (T)

  • Government contracts and regulation
  • Intense competition
  • Environmental compliance costs
  • Substitutes
  • Technological changes

ST Strategies

  • Regular and timely Upgrades of systems and technology to stay competitive
  • Acquisition of firms to gain new technology in order to deal with substitutes

WT Strategies

  • Be dynamic to keep up with rapid technological changes
  • Reduce costs in order to comply with the regulations

SO Strategies (Maxi-Maxi)

SO strategies are formed considering the use of a company’s strengths to capitalize on the opportunities. According to the figure above, I have devised two strategies which will do so. As the US has eased its export controls towards India, Lockheed Martin can expand its business there by acquiring firms and so on. This can be done as the company is financially strong and is in a position to do so. Another strategy that can be used is that Lockheed Martin can use its advanced technologies and systems to capitalize on the opportunity of the growing military and space market by offering new and differentiated products.

ST Strategies (Maxi-Mini)

Now, ST strategies are formed by considering the use of a company’s strengths to minimize the threats. Two strategies have been devised. The first one is to regularly upgrade the systems and technology of Lockheed Martin in order to deal with threats like rapid technological changes. In the defense sector, big players like Boeing and Northrop Grumman may have better tech compared to Lockheed Martin and so in order to compete it has to have timely upgrades of its own technology. Also another strategy to be considered would be an acquisition strategy. In the defense sector there are quite a number of substitutes. Lockheed Martin can acquire more firms in order to gain access to new technologies and minimize the threat of substitutes. These strategies are possible because of the strong financial position of Lockheed Martin.

WO Strategies (Mini-Maxi)

WO strategies are formed by considering the capitalization of opportunities by overcoming weaknesses. One of the strategies that can be considered is reducing the dependence on the US government by expanding overseas. Recently, US eased its export controls towards India, which means Lockheed Martin has the opportunity to make sales in the latter. This can reduce the over dependence on the US government for sales. Another would be changing employee attitude by providing a better work environment, which in turn will help to develop better products for the growing military and space market and hence increasing sales.

WT Strategies (Mini-Mini)

WT strategies are formed by considering the minimization of weaknesses and avoiding threats and are basically defensive. One of the strategies would be to be more dynamic to changing conditions. By being more dynamic, Lockheed Martin can stay up with changing times and avoid the threat of rapid technological changes. By analyzing the conditions and acting, for example, Lockheed Martin upgrading its systems and technology, the company will be able to stay competitive. Another would be to effectively reduce costs by using methods that are efficient, so as the excess costs are not transferred to the final products. In case of Lockheed Martin, it has to comply with government regulations regarding costs and any default may result in termination of contracts and transactions.

Assessment of current Company performance


Lockheed Martin was very efficient in its recent strategy of divesting its business in EIG (enterprise integration group). It also plans to sell most of its PAE business unit. Lockheed Martin was very efficient in using the Divestiture strategy. Lockheed Martin had an after tax gain of $184 million ($0.51 per share). Not many resources were required to do so as EIG was a very high quality segment of their business associated with the support of organizations like the National Reconnaissance Office, other elements of the intelligence community. Lockheed Martin did not require much effort and resources in order to carry out their divestiture strategy.


Lockheed Martin was very effective in carrying out the divestiture strategy. There were many prospective buyers for the business unit. Lockheed Martin effectively made the sale to Veritas capital without much hassle from either side. The cash generated from this transaction was effectively deployed in various ways like in the specific 4th quarter of 2010; 13.2 million shares were repurchased for $916 million, discretionary contributions of $840 million to the pension trust, cash dividends totalling $269 million which is an increase from the previous year in the same quarter and expending capital of $426 million.

Return to Investors

Lockheed Martin paid a total dividend of $269 million in the fourth quarter which shows a $29 million increase from the payout in the 4th quarter of 2009. Also the total dividend payout in 2010 being $969 million showed an increase of $61 million over the previous year’s total payout. It clearly shows that Lockheed Martin’s profits had gone up in 2010 by quite a good margin.

The corporation was paying out more dividends makes it clear, that quite some money was being made by it. The share value also went up after the divestiture was completed by $0.51 per share.

Review of Options

Lockheed Martin can consider the use of various strategies devised above in order to deal with major threats and weaknesses by using opportunities and strengths. One of the most critical strategies that should be considered as an important option by Lockheed Martin is the expansion strategy. Adopting this strategy will help Lockheed Martin to capitalize on a valuable opportunity and at the same time, help it to reduce its excess dependence on the US government. Lockheed Martin can expand in to other countries by using either acquisitions or maybe they can enter into a Joint Venture with some other companies.

Another strategy could be the acquisition strategy. Lockheed Martin can consider acquiring firms in order to get new technology. This will help them to stay very competitive in the market, deal with the competition and at the same time help them to deal with a major threat of substitutes. Another strategy that would be recommended is being more dynamic to change. By being more dynamic, Lockheed Martin will analyze the market constantly and keep up with changing trends and factors like rapid technological changes. Being a defense contractor, it has to keep up with such changes in order to keep up with the competition.

Another one would be the changing of employee attitude towards the organization and work. This can be done by providing a cooperative and healthy work environment and proper training of personnel. This in turn will benefit the organization in the long run by providing dedicated and motivated personnel which will help to produce higher quality products and services.

Implementation of Strategies


Now, in order to carry out the most critical strategies that are stated above, the company should analyze their structure and make changes if they have to. The current horizontal structure of Lockheed Martin can well serve the purpose. Lockheed Martin gives all the employees initiative to work and deliver better results. There is an immense sense of team work and team spirit. Lockheed Martin enables its employees to make decisions at their respective levels and hence shows decentralization of power to a certain extent. It is useful in motivating employees and efficiently catering customer needs.


Lockheed Martin basically has all the system facilities to deliver the strategies. In order to deliver the expansion strategies Lockheed Martin needs to develop software(s) and systems for the place where they are expanding. Lockheed Martin has all the necessary systems in place in order to deliver the most critical strategies. It can enhance its capabilities by upgrading systems factors like software(s) and machines in order to cater better to the strategies.


In order to comply with the strategies above, Lockheed Martin should adopt a recruitment policy. Specially in using the expansion strategy, Lockheed Martin needs to employ new workers in order to sustain such strategies. Employing dedicated and motivated personnel would surely benefit Lockheed Martin. Another policy that can be adopted by Lockheed Martin is a reward policy. Lockheed Martin can reward individuals by using factors like pay increments and bonuses. Cooperative teamwork and appropriate rewards will help to change employee attitude and motivate them to deliver better products.

Usefulness of Models

Industry life cycle

The industry life cycle was very helpful in assessing the specific stage of the life cycle in which the defense industry currently is. More importantly it has helped in analyzing the fact that why the defense industry is in that specific stage. Industry life cycle is an important tool in the analysis of an industry’s life. It has given us an in depth view of where the industry is and also what the companies in the industry are doing to stay alive.

Key factors for success

The second model is very useful in assessing the most critical factors that a company needs to survive in the specific industry, in this case the defense industry. It was useful because it gave us an overview of the industry in regard with the factors required to succeed in it. It told us what a company needs to survive, how their competitors are fairing in the core areas and which areas can the company make changes.

Porter’s five forces

Porter’s five forces helped us to analyze the six crucial and constant forces that affect the industry. It has helped us to analyze how the industry is affected by these six forces and what stand do the companies have in consideration to these forces.


SWOT analysis was very useful as it helps is assessing the company’s internal factors; strengths and weaknesses and external factors; opportunities and threats. It helped us to look into the company in depth to find out where it lags and where it excels. Also it helped us to look into valuable opportunities which the company can capitalize on to grow or expand and also threats which the company faces.

SFAS matrix

The SFAS matrix is basically derived from the SWOT. But what makes it very useful is that it helped us to choose the most critical factors of the four points; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It has helped us to analyze what are the critical strengths and opportunities for our company and how long are they going to stay there. Also, It helped us to analyze our weaknesses and threats and how much time we should take to address them. Overall, it was a very important tool in assessing the critical factors to which the company should respond accordingly to grow and stay competitive.

TOWS matrix

Another model derived from SWOT. This was very useful in basically formulating the best strategies possible for our company that they can deliver in accordance with the four factors.


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