Griffith Consumers Co. of Cheverly, one of the largest fuel distributors in the mid-Atlantic states, last week announced it had acquired Hollingsworth Oil Co. of Delaware. The price was not announced.

Hollingsworth, based in Wilmington, delivered 1.7 million gallons of heating oil last year to about 1,900 customers.

It was the 15th company Griffith has purchased since a group of investors and company managers bought the company from Atlantic Richfield Co. in July 1985 through a $14.4 million leveraged buyout. Since then, Griffith's size has increased more than 2 1/2 times. It now has assets of $35.3 million.

Most of the growth came in April when Griffith acquired Carl King Inc., Delaware's largest marketer of gasoline and home heating oil, for $15 million. King sells about 7 million gallons of heating oil annually.

Griffith now serves about 36,000 residential and commercial customers in the District, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and West Virginia, plus a few in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"We have had extraordinarily fast growth," said Vice President Henry C. Jefferies. "We couldn't have anticipated that King would become available. We doubled our revenue {with that purchase}. But in the future we plan to grow at a more controlled pace."

Home heating oil is a seasonal business with demand highest in winter. The acquisition of King, which operates 118 gasoline stations in Delaware and has its highest sales during the summer, was intended to smooth out sales through the year. About half the firms Griffith has bought sell gasoline as well as heating oil.

Jefferies said future expansion calls for filling in the gaps in the markets it serves rather than adding new territory. He said Griffith might expand its heating equipment sales division that way.

Griffith raised $3.3 million in an initial public offering last year. It is financing its acquisitions with this money, internally generated funds and external debt. With the purchase of King, its debt was pushed up to $23.5 million, compared with $5.5 million in equity, a 4-1 ratio. A year ago, it had $7.8 million in debt versus $1.5 million in equity, a 5-1 ratio, according to chief financial officer Lawrence M. McGinnis.

For the fiscal year ending in June 1987, Griffith earned $602,000 (27 cents per share). That was down from $1.5 million (85 cents) the previous year, due to its acquisitions.

For the quarter ending June 30, it had a net loss of $813,759 on revenue of $16.2 million, compared with a loss of $212,142 on revenue of $4.7 million in the same quarter of 1986. This month it declared its second dividend of 5 cents per share since it went public, payable Nov. 24 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 10.

Griffith began as a coal delivery business in Washington in 1898. Until it acquired King, Griffith was primarily in the heating oil business. It also sells diesel fuel, heavy oils, kerosene and related products and services. The purchase of King, which operates as a wholly owned subsidiary, also added a convenience store business.

Lexicon Corp. has restructured the operations of its wholly owned subsidiary, Scope Inc. in Reston, into a signal technology division, a defense systems division and an industrial systems division.

Scope is an electronics company known for its Tempest technology, which keeps outsiders from tapping into computer secrets. Scope's new signal technology division supplies electronic intelligence systems to the armed services. The defense systems division provides manufacturing services to the Department of Defense and large defense contractors. The industrial systems division designs and makes laser bar-code scanners and bar-code readers for large industrial customers. Scope is the only subsidiary of Lexicon, an electronics company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Martin Marietta Corp. is designing and building a prototype armored hull for potential use on Marine Corps amphibious vehicles.

The David Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center in Bethesda awarded Martin Marietta's aero and naval systems group in Baltimore a 26-month, $1.2 million contract to develop the hull for a new generation of fighting vehicles.

The hull will provide better protection from small arms fire because ceramic tiles are sandwiched between an outer aluminum skin and inner fiberglass backing. The tiles are designed to shatter incoming projectiles and diffuse their energy.

A new propulsion system provides power to the hull, making it faster on land and sea. This contract follows an earlier Martin Marietta feasibility study.

Greater Washington Investors Inc. in Chevy Chase has acquired Michigan Capital and Service Inc., another small business investment company, for $5 million. Both Greater Washington and Michigan Capital, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., have concentrated their venture capital investments in equity securities of young technology companies.

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. is expanding its Danville truck and aircraft tire production plant. The company is putting $30 million into the plant to increase its production capacity. This is the company's second expansion in three months. In June, the plant announced plans to add a $15 million aircraft radial tire system capable of producing tires for most types of planes.

TRW Inc.'s Federal Systems Group received a $36.7 million U.S. Navy contract to begin a system upgrade of the Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Center (ASWOC).

ASWOC helps plan and track missions of the Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Under this contract, TRW will develop an improved command, control and communications system for the center. It will replace the existing system with the new one. The contract is the start of a seven-year engineering development effort with a potential value of $90 million.

US Sprint is realigning its Eastern business sales and marketing functions in an effort to streamline the organization.

This month, Sprint's Atlantic, Northeast, and Southeast divisions combined to form the Eastern business markets group in Reston. The Eastern group will be headed by Gabriel A. Battista, former president of Sprint's Atlantic division.

"This realignment will make our company much more efficient and will not result in any major layoffs," said Robert H. Snedaker, president of Sprint. Sprint, a long-distance telecommunications company based in Kansas City, Mo., is a joint venture of United Telecommunications Inc. and GTE Corp.

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded ICF Technology Inc. a four-year, $35 million contract to conduct laboratory work for the agency's Superfund program. Under the Environmental Services Assistance Team contract, ICF will work in EPA's laboratories, review analytical data for hazardous waste samples and monitor quality control procedures used in labs at hazardous waste sites.

This contract will "enable EPA to clean up more hazardous waste sites more quickly," said Charles A. Debelius, president of ICF.

Initially, 50 to 60 ICF staff will work on the contract. More than 200 professionals may eventually be involved.

Aspen Systems Corp., a health information management company in Rockville, is establishing a National AIDS Information Clearinghouse under a two-year, $4.5 million contract from the Centers for Disease Control.

The AIDS Clearinghouse will distribute government-approved publications about AIDS, answer inquiries about the disease, and make referrals for more information. Experts on AIDS will run a telephone service.

Aspen plans to build and maintain on-line information data bases on programs providing AIDS-related services and educational materials. The data bases will be available to state and local AIDS program personnel.

BDM International Inc. in McLean has received two contracts totaling $15.8 million to provide support to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

One contract, worth $9.2 million, is through the Foreign Military Sales program of the U.S. Air Force. BDM is providing engineers and other technical professionals to assist the Saudi air force's Logistics Planning Section.

-0 The second award, worth $6.6 million, is a direct contract with the Saudi Arabian government to support its air force in operations research and analysis.

Under this contract, BDM is analyzing the RSAF's operations, management and military aviations systems.

David Shih-Yung Hsieh, at Shihyung Security Technology (SST), has recently received a patent for a fire protection system that guards electronic equipment. The system, called "Phoenix 2000," uses waterproof cabinets and special ducting to force cool air inside the equipment. During tests, electronic equipment in the special cabinets withstood fires of more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 50 minutes without damage to the equipment.

"Anyone involved in management and storage of large amounts of electronic information such as banks, telephone companies, computer companies, and government agencies will appreciate the system's value," Hsieh said.

M.B. Christie contributed to this report.