skip to main content

US lawmaker group backs Lockheed Martin's bid for Aerojet Rocketdyne

The US Capitol building in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

The US Capitol building in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

A bipartisan group of 13 US House members is urging the US Department of Defense (DoD) to support Lockheed Martin's proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne.

In a 31 August letter to US Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the lawmakers said the combination would ensure that Aerojet Rocketdyne has the resources to vie with its main rocket propulsion rival, Orbital ATK, which Northrop Grumman acquired in 2018.

“Simply stated, allowing Aerojet Rocketdyne to join with Lockheed Martin will restore competitive balance to the rocket propulsion marketplace,” the letter says. “We believe the only reasonable assurance we have that the American rocket propulsion manufacturing sector remains strong and has at least two well-resourced merchant suppliers for all defence and space propulsion products is to approve the merger with Lockheed Martin.”

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman both have deep pockets, generating sales of USD17 billion and USD9.2 billion, respectively, in the second quarter of 2021. Aerojet Rocketdyne is much smaller, recording sales of USD556.9 million during the same period.

The congressional letter is copied to Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is leading the US government's multi-agency review of the proposed acquisition. The DoD has said it is working closely with the FTC on the review.

While Raytheon Technologies has expressed concern that the acquisition could make it difficult for Lockheed Martin's competitors to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne products, the letter insists that safeguards could be put into place to ensure that Aerojet Rocketdyne “maintains its merchant supplier status to all customers”.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...