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DEFINED BENEFIT

Northrop Grumman to contribute $79 million to U.S. pension plans in 2016

Northrop Grumman drone

Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church, Va., plans to make about $79 million in required minimum contributions to its U.S. defined benefit plans in 2016.

The company announced the expected contributions in its 10-K filing on Monday.

In 2015, the company 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.

As of Dec. 31, the plans had $23.88 billion in assets and $29.13 billion in projected benefit obligations, for a funding ratio of 82%, according to the 10-K.

The company's contributions to its defined contribution plans in 2015 were $291 million, up from $282 million in 2014. Employees hired after June 30, 2008, are eligible to participate in a defined contribution program in lieu of a defined benefit pension plan.