Lockheed Martin is seeking to acquire propulsion innovator Aerojet Rocketdyne, in a deal similar to Northrop Grumman’s 2018 acquisition of Orbital ATK. The Federal Trade Commission is assessing whether the transaction might potentially reduce competition in the rocket and missile propulsion market. That isn’t likely, given the FTC’s previous approval of the Northrop-Orbital combination. As long as Lockheed commits to being a merchant provider of propulsion systems to the marketplace rather than seeking to leverage its acquisition in missile competitions, the deal is not a problem. In fact, it is necessary to level the playing field between Aerojet and its main rival. The proposed combination is probably the best real-world option the federal government has for assuring that Aerojet Rocketdyne remains a robust player at the forefront of rocket and missile innovation. I have written a commentary for National Interest here.
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