Florida-based L3Harris buys hypersonic missile company Aerojet Rocketdyne

by | Dec 19, 2022

  • L3Harris will pay $4.7 billion to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne, a producer of hypersonic missile technology, rocket engines, warheads and related products
  • Aerojet Rocketdyne has operations around the country, including West Palm Beach and Orlando, Florida
  • The company also produces the RS-25 rocket engine, used on the new Space Launch System which recently powered the Artemis 1 mission to the moon

Melbourne, Florida-based L3Harris announced its second major acquisition of 2022 on Monday. The company unveiled plans to buy hypersonic missile technology company Aerojet Rocketdyne. But Space Coast residents shouldn’t worry about Mach 6 missile tests breaking windows in the wee hours – the rocket company is headquartered in El Segundo, California.

Even so, some of the company’s products will still be rattling windows in the area – Aerojet Rocketdyne produces the RS-25 rocket engine, powering the Space Shuttle program and most recently the Space Launch System (SLS). Aerojet Rocketdyne also operates advanced manufacturing facilities in West Palm Beach and Orlando, Florida. In addition to producing the famed RS-25, the company also develops and builds core hypersonic technologies, including solid rocket motor boosters, scramjets, warheads and missile defense tech.

L3Harris, meanwhile, supplies advanced defense and commercial technologies, including radios and LiDAR (laser-based radar) for applications in spacecraft, aircraft, land and sea vehicles, and is a key supplier of cyber technologies as well.

According to a joint announcement, part of L3Harris’s strategy in making the acquisition was to increase competition to produce high-quality, low-cost options for defense planners who need to meet emerging threats. China recently demonstrated its own hypersonic missile capability, and the United States Department of Defense has been scrambling to meet or exceed China’s capability.

“We’ve heard the DoD leadership loud and clear: they want high-quality, innovative and cost-effective solutions to meet both current and emerging threats, and they’re relying upon a strong, competitive industrial base to deliver those solutions,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, L3Harris CEO and Chair. “With this acquisition, we will use the combined talents of more than 50,000 employees to drive continuous process improvement, enhance business operations and elevate the performance of this crucial national asset.”

According to L3Harris, it will buy Aerojet Rocketdyne for $58 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.7 billion.

Lockheed Martin attempted to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne in 2020, but the bid was complicated by objections from competitor Raytheon. Lockheed Martin eventually withdrew the bid.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has more than 100 years of experience working on propulsion systems for NASA, the Department of Defense, and other partners around the world, and can trace its roots back to the early days of aviation.


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