The first quarter of 2019 has struck a welcome note for Lockheed Martin Corp. The Bethesda defense contractor reported $14.3 billion in net sales for the quarter Tuesday — a 23% gain over its first-quarter earnings from the prior year, backed by strong returns in both its contract backlog and sales of its missiles and fire control systems. “These strong results in sales and earnings and our focus on maximizing cash returns also allowed us to increase our full year outlook for cash from operations,” Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said on the company's earnings call. The strong results helped lift Lockheed’s (NYSE: LMT) overall sales projections for the year by $1 billion, rising from a range of between $55.7 billion and $57.3 billion to $56.8 billion and $58.3 billion. Missile and fire control systems led the company's segments in first-quarter sales increases, logging a 40% gain over the first quarter of 2018 to reach $2.35 billion.