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Northrop Grumman plans $82 million contribution to U.S. pension plans in 2017

Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church, Va., plans to make about $82 million in required minimum contributions to its U.S. defined benefit plans in 2017.

The company announced the expected contributions in its 10-K filing on Monday. As of Dec. 31, the plans had $24.38 billion in assets and $30.41 billion in projected benefit obligations, for a funding ratio of 80.2%, down from 82% a year earlier, according to the 10-K. Northrop Grumman reduced its discount rate in 2016 to 4.19% from 4.53%.

In 2016, the company contributed the required minimum of $79 million. In 2015, it contributed the required minimum of $77 million, plus an additional voluntary contribution of about $500 million. The company contributed $78 million to the plans in 2014 and $579 million in 2013.

Employer contributions to the defined contribution plans were $311 million in 2016, $291 million in 2015 and $282 million in 2014, according to the 10-K. Northrop Grumman provides an employer match up to 4% of pay for employees hired by April 1, 2016. Some employees hired between July 2008 and April 2016 can participate in retirement account contributions instead of a defined benefit plan. Employees hired after April 1, 2016, and certain others are eligible for an increased company match of up to 7%.