As Adelaide gears up for the International Astronautical Congress and sets up its new space centre SASIC, defence behemoth Northrop Grumman has announced its acquisition of a leading space contractor.
Orbital ATK will be acquired by Northrop Grumman for approximately $7.8 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt, following the unanimous approval of both companies' boards, with the transaction anticipated to close by the first half of 2018.
Chairman, chief executive and president of Northrop Grumman Wes Bush said the acquisition will complement Northrop's existing portfolio streams.
"The acquisition of Orbital ATK is an exciting strategic step as we continue to invest for profitable growth," said Bush.
"Through our combination, customers will benefit from expanded capabilities, accelerated innovation and greater competition in critical global security domains. Our complementary portfolios and technology-focused cultures will yield significant value creation through revenue synergies associated with new opportunities, cost savings, operational synergies, and enhanced growth. We look forward to welcoming Orbital ATK’s talented employees to Northrop Grumman, and believe our combined strength will benefit our customers and shareholders."
Defence Connect contacted Northrop Grumman Australia, which is currently expanding its Australian presence, for comment regarding potential benefits this acquisition may have for the Australian defence and space sectors, but were referred to the Northrop Grumman US comments.
Minister Pyne said the 2016 Defence White Paper acknowledged space-based and space-enabled capabilities, and the vital role they play in Australian Defence Force and coalition operations.
On 10 July, the government announced that Australia’s deployed forces will receive a major communications boost with a $223 million contract with Northrop Grumman Australia for the acquisition, construction and support of a new satellite ground station.
Minister Pyne said the government’s support for the role that Australian industry plays in supporting ADF operations and the capability needed to protect Australia’s national interests.
"This government plans to invest around $200 billion in Defence capability over the next 10 years, of which space capabilities will be an important part. This will provide opportunities for industry growth and employment," said Minister Pyne.