The Falls Church, Va.-based company said earnings rose to $300 million, or $1.49 a share, from $242 million, or $1.22 a share, in the same period last year.
Excluding earnings from discontinued operations of 2 cents a share in the latest quarter, the company earned $296 million, or $1.47 cents a share. A Thomson First Call consensus analyst survey had expected $1.40 a share.
"The business aviation group more than doubled its earnings over the year-ago period as a result of our cost curtailment efforts and tightened control over pre-owned activity. Information Systems and Technology and Combat Systems continued to provide strong revenue growth with healthy margins, and Marine Systems' year-over-year performance was significantly improved," said Chairman and Chief Executive Nicholas D. Chabraja.
Sales rose 21% to $4.8 billion from $3.9 billion a year ago, slightly beating the consensus estimate of $4.72 billion.
General Dynamics used its strong cash flow to reduce debt by almost $300 million in the second quarter.
The company said it expects 2004 revenue of $19 billion, below the $19.5 billion expected by the Street.
Shares of General Dynamics were recently up 35 cents, or 0.4%, to $98.