"I should really just relax"
- Nov 19, 2013
- Reaction score
Likewise. DOD should in fact advise DOJ/FTC to block this; you can't have a situation where NGsferrin said:I would be shocked if the government allowed this to go through.
They would then control the potential solid motor propulsion suppliers for the Minuteman replacement, not sure how the competitors with NG in that competition would feel about that.sferrin said:I wonder if the .gov would let this go through.marauder2048 said:
Someone has to control it. Doesn't sound like an "unfair" advantage.Flyaway said:They would then control the potential solid motor propulsion suppliers for the Minuteman replacement, not sure how the competitors with NG in that competition would feel about that.sferrin said:I wonder if the .gov would let this go through.marauder2048 said:
Rest of the text on the link below.Northrop Grumman to Acquire Orbital ATK for $9.2 Billion
• Combination enhances capabilities, innovation and competition for customers
• Meaningful shareholder value creation opportunity driven by strategic fit, revenue synergies from new opportunities, and cost savings
• Expected to be accretive to EPS and FCF per share in first full year; estimated annual cost savings of $150 million by 2020
• Strong combined cash flow generation supports financial flexibility and continued execution of capital deployment strategy
• Conference call scheduled for Monday, September 18, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time
http://spacenews.com/northrop-grumman-to-acquire-orbital-atk/Bush, in the call, emphasized military space systems as one area that will benefit from the acquisition, leveraging Northrop’s experience with large satellites with Orbital’s work on smaller spacecraft. “We can no longer treat space as a permissive environment,” he said, “and it will take a mix of large and small space systems to create both the capability and the resiliency we need to operate in this environment.”
On Monday morning, the space and defense industry woke up to the news that defense giant Northrop Grumman intends to buy aerospace/missile company Orbital ATK in a $7.8 billion deal. The industry reaction is, in a word, whoa.
There is more at stake here than a business takeover story. Northrop is trying to capitalize on global trends that run the gamut from inspiring to disconcerting.
To unpack this deal, you have to start with the players. Orbital ATK has a current contract to supply the International Space Station with cargo by launching its Antares rocket and Cygnus capsule from Wallops Island, VA. The firm also has a comfortable niche making rockets and missiles for the Pentagon. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman's idea of a niche is building a new stealth bomber to replace the B-2—it won the B-21 bomber program last year. They play big, and they often win. But the big defense contractor is not that strong in the thing that Orbital has: space rockets and missile motors.
So, as Grumman's chief executive pointed out on an investor call on Monday, there "is not a lot of overlap" between the two companies. Like two puzzle pieces, they fit together—which is all fine and good. But that alone doesn't mean motivate a company to plunk down $8 billion to buy a firm. Northrop wanted Orbitals proven expertise, and wanted it now. But why?
Space is the Place
Very few companies in the world can claim an ability to launch spacecraft and show off NASA contracts (and space station runs) to prove it, and Northrop would own one of them if this deal goes through. While there are scores of companies scrambling for space launch work after SpaceX shattered the status quo, Orbital ATK's contract to supply ISS was part of that initial wave of disruptors, though it has been overshadowed by SpaceX's ferocious pace and ambitions in manned spaceflight. These are not unproven upstarts in space launch.
Why does Northrop care? Because space is the place to make money. There is a new wave of launches coming, with smaller, better satellites going to orbit via an array of new rockets. Some of these small sats will be launched from the air, via airplanes, and more will be lofted by smaller rockets. However, the big companies in this space see a future in which large rockets will launch several sats at one time. Northrop Grumman sees a huge opportunity, but has to act fast to have a seat at the table.
One thing you can't do just by throwing money around is creating your own proven launch provider from scratch.
Couldn't Northrop just sink $8 billion into its own company and build up a space business in-house? Well, one thing you can't do just by throwing money around is creating your own proven launch provider. You need time and expertise to show the industry you're reliable. You need a relationship at a launch site. If you're Grumman, the fastest way in is to buy up that experience from the market, and that lead to Orbital ATK.
It's good news for space geeks. But it's bad news for space geeks who fear the militarization of space. This is also a sign that space is a new domain of war, and an space arms race of sorts has already begun. "We can no longer treat space as a permissive environment," Bush said on the call. "The rather rapid advance of some of our potential adversaries is quite concerning."
Nukes, Nukes, Nukes
There's a new contract kicking around the Pentagon, and it's a game-changer. America's ICBMs are operating long past their expiration dates and need to be replaced. The effort to do so will cost more than $80 billion when you include the new missile, refurbished launch centers, and support work.
Intercontinental ballistic missiles are space rockets. They loft warheads higher than ISS flies. Northrop is eager to win this contract and buying a proven space launch company gives them an immediate selling point to use against their rival for the contract, Boeing. Compared to that possible payday, an $8 billion purchase doesn't seem so big.
There's also the flip side: missile defense. With North Korea lighting off long-range missiles and marching toward the development of an ICBM that could hit the west coast of the American mainland, you can expect the U.S. to open its purse strings for more missile defense work. Orbital has a nice foothold here. Its website crows that the company is "the sole provider of interceptor boosters for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) segment designed to intercept and destroy long-range enemy missiles." Things get a little awkward here, as Orbital has a contract with Northrop rival Boeing to provide these components. Orbital also supplies target vehicles that serve as stand-ins for enemy missiles during testing and verification of missile defense systems.
Grumman now has a seat at the table of this growing sector. Grumman's advanced sensors and Orbital's launch experience could make a competitive combination.
Smarter Missiles and Satellites
The dynamic here might be: Grumman has the sensors, while Orbital has the hardware. That fits nicely with a new trend forming, one that blurs the line between missiles and drones.
If a missile can fly to a target, circle above for hours, use sensors to track a target, and then strike at just the right time…is it a drone? These days, ordnance is getting smarter and smarter. Orbital ATK makes a large portfolio of missiles, from small shoulder-fired tank killers on up. So we see here another way that Grumman can improve Orbital ATK's products and make them more relevant in the 21st century battlefield. Grumman's sensor work is cutting-edge and trusted by the Pentagon.
The same can be said for satellites. Grumman is a major supplier of advanced sat sensors used by the U.S. government. Orbital ATK builds satellites and, more recently, has gotten into the budding industry of in-space satellite servicing. Future bids on NASA and national security satellites and commercial sat life extension will be fearsome with these two entities joined at the hip.
Orbital ATK was one of the few identified suppliers for the B-21.Triton said:Can we consolidate the Northrop Grumman purchase of Orbital ATK into one topic? Not sure why this subject is related to the B-21 Raider.
The comparisons to tactical systems and fixed/rotary-wing aircraft really aren't valid.NeilChapman said:Someone has to control it. Doesn't sound like an "unfair" advantage.
LM builds the F-35 but NG builds the center fuselage section and a great deal of electronics. There's coordination between suppliers all over the place. Look at the list of suppliers on B-21.
One would think so since the the Defiant and Valor are demonstration systems that inform future vertical lift requirements and lead to that program years down the road. GBSD is an MDAP.Mach42 said:Is this GBSD business any more objectionable than LM ending up being involved with Defiant and Valor?
http://spacenews.com/acquisition-of-orbital-atk-approved-company-renamed-northrop-grumman-innovation-systems/Orbital ATK will become Northrop Grumman’s fourth business sector.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday announced it has cleared Northrop Grumman’s $7.8 billion purchase of defense and space contractor Orbital ATK.
Orbital ATK will become Northrop Grumman’s fourth business sector, named Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. The other three are Aerospace Systems, Mission Systems and Technology Services. With the addition, Northrop Grumman’s sales for 2018 should reach $30 billion.
As a condition for the approval of the merger, the company will have to supply solid rocket motors “on a non-discriminatory basis under specified circumstances,” the FTC ruled.
Thiokol and Hercules left when ATK became a thing.Moose said:The rebranding is pretty sad, two historic names just went zap. Say what you will about Lockheed, they kept the Sikorsky name around.
Just a sad state of affairs. I'm a 'free market' guy but with strategically important industries like SRM I'd choose to support either through second/third stage business or robust advanced prototyping (although the latter might not be enough)During the Cold War, the Pentagon bought enough solid rocket motors for intercontinental ballistic missiles to support seven suppliers. The demand for solid motors collapsed in the 1990s and dropped even further after NASA retired the space shuttle.
There are now technically two companies that still manufacture large solid rockets for military ICBMs — Aerojet Rocketdyne and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, which absorbed Orbital ATK in a deal that closed June 6. The industry is poised to become a monopoly, however, as Aerojet’s large solid rocket motor business is on not-so-solid ground.
While both companies have healthy production lines for solid rockets for tactical missiles, unless Aerojet gets new orders, Northrop could end up as the Pentagon’s sole supplier of large solid rocket motors — generally defined as those greater than 1 meter in diameter.
The Pentagon flagged this issue as a concern in its 2017 Annual Industrial Capabilities report to Congress. “In the very near future all the large SRMs for strategic missiles and space launch will be produced by Orbital ATK,” the report said. Among those large motors are the space shuttle-derived solid rocket boosters that will now be built under Northrop for NASA’s Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket.
I thought the reasoning was pretty clear -- eliminating unexploded ordnance. Even with modern fuzing, cluster munitions almost always leave unexploded bomblets behind. If you can achieve the same effect without the UXO hazard, why not do it?fredymac said:This shows "lethality enhanced" warheads which generate a lot more fragmentation. I wonder why they can't use insensitive munitions packed into cluster bomblets instead.
With IM explosives you have de facto UXO since it takes so much effort to detonate it. I'm not sure about your other point. It looked like IM can scale from small to large and cluster bomblets are probably not too different in size versus what is packed into Switchblade.TomS said:I thought the reasoning was pretty clear -- eliminating unexploded ordnance. Even with modern fuzing, cluster munitions almost always leave unexploded bomblets behind. If you can achieve the same effect without the UXO hazard, why not do it?
Also, LEO technology is applicable to small warheads, too small for submunitions to be used (Switchblade and Hatchet, for example).
And yet, that's exactly what was happening to those kids -- submunitions that should have safed themselves when the failed to function as designed, didn't reliably fail safe. No idea the percentages, but some significant fraction of UXO that subsequently functions is due to fuzes that didn't function as intended but later do.fredymac said:Percentage wise I am guessing that deaths/injuries from UXO are mainly due to explosives set off by mishandling (pressure, heat, etc). A fail safe fuze on an IM explosive would require some serious/deliberate mistreatment to go off. I thought the principal issue for the ban on cluster bombs was duds being picked up by children.
I'm going to have the see the stats on that. It sounds a lot like unintended acceleration when the car takes off on its own and then miraculously fixes itself after the crash so you can't tell.TomS said:And yet, that's exactly what was happening to those kids -- submunitions that should have safed themselves when the failed to function as designed, didn't reliably fail safe. No idea the percentages, but some significant fraction of UXO that subsequently functions is due to fuzes that didn't function as intended but later do.
Reuse is another one to worry about -- we see submunitions being recycled into operational weapons in Syria and Iraq, for example. (Not clear if they are dismantling rockets or collecting and reworking duds). We also see UXO cracked open and the explosive melted or scooped out for use in IEDs. Dangerous as all get out, but it is done.
Increasingly, the fuzes themselves have to be IM-compliant which tends to add to weight and volume (you may need a supplemental charge to getfredymac said:With IM explosives you have de facto UXO since it takes so much effort to detonate it. I'm not sure about your other point. It looked like IM can scale from small to large and cluster bomblets are probably not too different in size versus what is packed into Switchblade.