Lockheed Martin [LMT] on Tuesday reported higher sales in its third quarter due primarily to its work on the F-35 and air and missile defense programs while earnings tripled from a year ago when pension costs led to more than $1 billion in charges.

The company also announced a $14 billion multi-year share repurchase program that includes $4 billion in accelerated share repurchases in the fourth quarter that will bring total stock buybacks to $8 billion in 2022, double earlier plans. The new repurchase program is bolstered by strong free cash flow of $2.7 billion in the quarter and the company remains on track to generate $6 billion in free cash this year.

Lockheed Martin expects to use the new repurchase authority to buy $4 billion of its stock in 2023 and 2024 and another $2 billion in 2025, Jay Malave, the company’s chief financial officer, said on an earnings call. The company expects to repurchase about 10 percent of its outstanding shares over the next few years as it delivers long-term value to shareholders, he said.

Net income of $1.8 billion, $6.71 earnings per share (EPS), beat consensus estimates by 14 cents a share. A year ago, net income was $614 million ($2.21 EPS).

Most of the increase from a year ago was due to a $1.5 billion charge in the third quarter of 2021, which was absent in the recent quarter. Earnings in the quarter also benefited from a reduced share count and to a slight degree from operating performance at the business segments, partially offset by accounting adjustments, and pension and tax costs.

At the operating level, higher earnings at the Space and Aeronautics segments more than offset declines at Missiles and Fire Control (MFC), and Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS).

Sales in the quarter increased 3 percent to $16.6 billion from $16 billion a year ago. Sales drivers in the quarter included the F-35 fighter program, which benefited from a contract for Lot 15 aircraft in August, the Next Generation Interceptor missile defense development program, classified programs in the Aeronautics segment, and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) integrated air and missile defense program.

Segment operating margin was 11.2 percent, down 30 basis points from a year ago.

Higher sales in the Space, Aeronautics, and MFC segments more than offset a decline at RMS, where volumes were lower on the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and C6ISR programs.

The outlook for 2022 remains intact after the company in the second quarter lowered its revenue guidance to around $6.3 billion and earnings to around $21.55 EPS. Lockheed Martin on Tuesday offered preliminary trends for 2023, with sales about flat and total operating margin down 20 to 30 basis points.

The rough outlook for 2023 is predicated on a delay in converting sales from backlog, and a continued slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain shortages, Malave said. Classified work is expected to increase in 2023.

James Taiclet, Lockheed Martin’s chairman, president and CEO, cautioned investors that future impacts of COVID remain unknown if there is a resurgence of the virus this winter.

Malave said the company is “confident” that it can mitigate the impact of the margin pressure “through cost reduction and business area synergy actions.”

In 2024 the company expects to return to low-single digit growth, Malave said. A key driver here will be sustainment work on the increasing number of deployed F-35 aircraft, Taiclet said. Another will be a further ramp-up in classified work and also “resurging” interest in the PAC-3 given demand in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, Taiclet said.

Other growth drivers in 2024 and beyond include the Marine Corps’ CH-53K helicopter, which also has international interest, and the Navy’s plans to revamp the Trident fleet ballistic missile, which is a Lockheed Martin franchise, he said.

There are “upside opportunities” to the outlook for 2024 from programs that are getting a lot of attention in Ukraine’s war, including the HIMARS multiple rocket launcher, Javelin anti-tank guided missile, and the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System surface-to-surface missiles, and some others, Malave and Taiclet said.

These are high margin programs given the company has already come down the learning curve, Taiclet said.

Backlog at the end of the quarter stood at $139.7 billion, up 3 percent from $135.4 billion at the end of 2021.