The Pentagon has expressed its opposition to mergers amongst hypersonic weapons suppliers, in a recent report into competition in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) it highlights that vertical integration is a problem for the industry as it prevents future suppliers from entering the market, reducing competition. This conclusion is likely to lead the DoD to more aggressively oppose mergers, as with the attempted acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne in recent weeks, which collapsed after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued over antitrust concerns.
William Davies, Associate Defense Analyst, comments: “This report reflects an ongoing concern for DoD officials, that the hypersonic weapons industry is becoming so small as to become anti-competitive. The US is developing a number of hypersonic programs, with the Army, Navy, Air Force and DARPA all pursuing their own initiatives – however these are being developed through a limited number of companies, with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon receiving the majority of contracts. Lockheed Martin expects profits from hypersonic weapons to reach $3 billion by 2025, an impressive figure considering the total budget for US hypersonic technologies in 2022 was $3.8 billion.”
“It remains to be seen whether this opposition to M&A activity in the sector will have a positive effect on new entrants in the field of hypersonic weapons, whilst it may increase companies involved in the supply chain the primes who win contracts are likely to stay the same – at least in the near future – because of the technological know-how and finances required to develop hypersonic technologies.”
Davies Continues: “GlobalData intelligence shows that there has been a consistent uptick in job vacancies in the hypersonic technologies sector since 2019, with job openings climbing 107% over 2021. The job increase is due to increasing funding for hypersonic programs, and is good news for the DoD who emphasize in the report that increasing the amount of skilled personnel in the hypersonic technology sector is critical to the future of the industry.”