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L3Harris to buy Viasat datalink business

Viasat's datalink products include software-programmable radios. (Viasat)

L3Harris Technologies plans to expand its military communications portfolio by acquiring Viasat's Tactical Data Link (TDL) business for about USD2 billion, the two US-based companies announced on 3 October.

Viasat's TDL products, including terminals and handheld radios, enable troops aboard aircraft, ground vehicles, and ships to securely share voice and data communications on the Link 16 military network. The TDL business, which is part of Viasat's Government Systems segment, employs about 450 people and generates about USD400 million in annual sales.

The acquisition is part of a broader effort by L3Harris to help the US Department of Defense implement its Joint All-Domain Command-and-Control (JADC2) concept, which calls for connecting sensors across the military services. The company received a contract award in July to upgrade the US Navy's situational awareness and fire-control equipment. L3Harris is one of five companies the US Air Force recently selected to improve its battle management and command-and-control infrastructure.

Viasat said the TDL transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2023 – after receiving regulatory approval – will reduce its debt and sharpen its focus. Viasat announced in November 2021 that it intends to acquire fellow satellite communications provider Inmarsat of the UK for USD7.3 billion by the end of 2022.

The TDL deal is L3Harris' first acquisition since the company was formed through the merger of L3 Technologies and Harris Corporation in June 2019. L3Harris has been more active on the divestiture front, selling a host of non-core businesses while integrating its predecessor companies.

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