Aerojet Rocketdyne is one of only two companies left in the U.S. that can build large solid rocket motors. Whether it is able to remain a high-rate producer depends on winning a berth as supplier for the Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent — the planned replacement of the Minuteman III missile. In order to enhance its cost competitiveness, the company is moving large solids production from Sacramento to Camden, Arkansas, in the process investing heavily in the state’s south-central region. It is also shifting engineering and non-energetic production (composite cases) for GBSD to Huntsville, Alabama. This is a case study of how a world-class manufacturer operating in a niche market must work hard to remain competitive in the unforgiving federal marketplace. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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