Two weeks after Northrop said it was buying Orbital ATK for $9.2 billion, Orbital ATK said it was expanding its Iuka facility, investing nearly $10.5 million and adding 50 jobs.
The aerospace and defense leader will begin production of large composite aerospace structures for its Antares, Pegasus and Minotaur launch vehicles and a large national aerospace and defense program at its 320,000-square-foot Iuka facility.
“As a worldwide leader in the aerospace and defense industries, Orbital ATK once again puts Mississippi on the global stage, demonstrating our hard work to provide a business environment where companies can compete successfully in today’s demanding economy,” said Gov. Phil Bryant.
“This expansion signifies the commitment Orbital ATK has to the employees, community and state of Mississippi to continue bringing high quality manufacturing work into the area,” said John Kain, Orbital ATK Aerospace Structures Division’s director of operations – Iuka.
The Mississippi Development Authority provided $750,000 in DIP (Development Infrastructure grant Program) funds and $300,000 through the Appalachian Regional Commission for infrastructure and facility improvements. Tishomingo County provided $75,000 in matching funds.
“This expansion signifies the commitment Orbital ATK has to the employees, community and state of Mississippi to continue bringing high quality manufacturing work into the area,” said John Kain, Orbital ATK Aerospace Structures Division’s director of operations – Iuka. “We value our partnership with the State, City and County Officials and thank them for their continued support of our facility in Iuka.”
Orbital ATK’s Iuka facility currently has more than 100 employees producing large composite structures for United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles. The company plans to begin production on the new composite launch vehicle structures and aerospace components in the third quarter of this year and fill the 50 jobs by the end of 2018.
And here are some quotes from Mississippi’s Congressional delegation praising Orbital ATK’s announcement:
- U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense: “Orbital ATK’s nearly $10.5 million investment represents a vote of confidence in Mississippi’s talented workforce and the coordinated support it gets at the state and local level. I’m pleased our state will have a greater role in strengthening these important launch systems.”
- U.S Sen. Roger Wicker: “This expansion is a testament to the good work being done by Mississippians to help produce cutting-edge aerospace technologies. I am pleased to see that the company is committing these additional resources to Northeast Mississippi, bringing new jobs to the area and strengthening its partnership with the community.”
- U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly: “The expansion of Orbital ATK in Iuka once again demonstrates the company’s faith in Mississippi’s workforce, which is second to none. The company plays an invaluable role in both our national defense and Mississippi’s economy.”
“Our decision to place this additional work in Mississippi emphasizes Orbital ATK’s commitment to not only our employees and customers, but reaffirms our commitment to the state of Mississippi,” said Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division Steve Earl. “We are proud to be able to provide state-of-the-art manufacturing capability in a state with a dedicated and skilled workforce.”
Last month Northrop said it would pay $9.2 billion for Orbital ATK, which includes pay $7.8 billion in cash and assuming $1.4 billion in debt.
Northrop is one of the Pentagon’s leading suppliers, and is developing its B-21 stealth bomber. Orbital ATK, an aerospace manufacturer based in Dulles, Virginia, holds a contract with NASA to resupply the International Space Station. It also builds the motors for several missile systems, as well as commercial and national security satellites.
According to Space News, Orbital ATK will operate as a fourth division of Northrop Grumman, alongside aerospace systems, mission systems and technology services.
The acquisition “reflects the tremendous value that Orbital ATK has created for our customers, our shareholders and our employees,” said David Thompson, president and chief executive of Orbital ATK, on the call. The deal will allow Orbital ATK to pursue “new opportunities that require greater technical and financial resources than we currently possess.”
The acquisition by Northrop Grumman would give Orbital ATK greater technical and financial resources to pursue larger programs, the presentation noted. That includes ongoing efforts by Orbital to develop a satellite servicing system as well as a proposed large launch vehicle.