Lockheed Martin (LMT) - Get Report, the world's largest defense contractor, said Tuesday that first-quarter operating profit fell sharply and that it had reached a tentative contract agreement with 2,300 workers striking its F-16 fighter aircraft operations.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed reported earnings of 12 cents a share, or $48 million, vs. 51 cents, or $194 million, a year earlier, before one-time adjustments. Analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

projected earnings of 10 cents a share. Overall, revenue fell 10% to $5.56 billion from $6.19 billion.

Lockheed said F-16 deliveries dropped to 14 from 28 in the year-earlier period and that it spent more money during the quarter to develop a new line of rockets.

Including one-time items, Lockheed on Tuesday reported first-quarter net income of $54 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $87 million, or 23 cents, in the year-ago quarter.

Lockheed shares fell 5/16, or 1%, to close at 25 9/16.

"The quarter's results reflect a corporate-wide effort to improve cash management and working capital levels,'' Vance Coffman, chairman and chief executive said in a statement. "Our executive team is driving a culture of managing for cash, investment discipline, and reducing debt.''

Based on an estimated increase in pension income, Lockheed said it had increased its 2000 outlook for earnings before one-time items to $1.05 a share from $1.00. Lockheed said it still expected a 15% to 25% annual increase in earnings per share from the base of 2000 results, including an expected reduction in pension income in 2001.

Separately, Lockheed and the

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

District 776 reached a tentative agreement late Monday that both sides said would end the strike at its Fort Worth, Texas operations.