Northrop to make Falls Church move

Defense giant Northrop Grumman announced Monday it would move its headquarters to Falls Church, Va.

After several months of searching in the Washington area, the firm said it signed an agreement to buy an existing building at 2980 Fairview Park Drive.

The defense company’s most prominent customer is the Pentagon. The new headquarters is about 10 miles, or a 16-minute drive, from there.

Northrop Grumman’s new chief executive, Wes Bush, decided in January to move the company’s corporate office to the capital region “to better serve our nation and customers.”

The decision spurred a bidding war among localities in the region. In April, Northrop officials announced the company would pick a location in Northern Virginia over Maryland or the District of Columbia.

Northrop Grumman has been headquartered in Los Angeles for years. Approximately 30,000 employees, a quarter of Northrop’s worldwide workforce, are in California. Its Aerospace Systems sector is headquartered in Redondo Beach, and the company has other major facilities in the state.

 The new Falls Church office is expected to house about 300 people. Northrop expects to start operations in the facility in summer 2011.

Northrop will join at least one other defense giant — General Dynamics — whose corporate headquarters is located blocks away.