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General Dynamics says US budget uncertainty affects orders

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp on Wednesday said uncertainty about future U.S. defense budgets affected government orders in its shorter-cycle businesses in the third quarter, driving the number of bids awaiting awards to record levels.

Chief Executive Jay Johnson, who retires at the end of the year, said that trend looks likely to continue in the fourth quarter.

He said he hoped Congress could reach a bipartisan agreement to avert $500 billion in additional, across-the-board cuts due to start taking effect in January, but said it remained difficult to plan for next year.

``We are also extremely concerned about the profound disruption and paralysis that implementing these cuts will likely have on our customer and thus our entire industry,'' Johnson said.

He said the company remained focused on managing the business ``for earnings and cash, cutting costs, and positioning our businesses to better navigate further defense cuts.''