April 26 (Reuters) - U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp reported a 15.1 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by higher sales in its aerospace systems business, which makes the center sections of the F-35 fighter jets.
The company's net earnings rose to $640 million, or $3.63 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $556 million, or $3.03 per share, a year earlier. (bit.ly/2q6NHam)
Adjusted for pension costs, Northrop's earnings were $3.13 per share, compared with $2.77 a year earlier.
Total sales rose 5.2 percent to $6.27 billion. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)