WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin's acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft has cleared its final regulatory hurdle, paving the way for the deal to close later this week, the company announced Tuesday.

Regulators with the Ministry of Commerce in China have signed off on the $9 billion deal, the last of eight jurisdictions to approve the acquisition, Lockheed Martin said in a news release. China was the last of eight jurisdictions to give its approval. US regulators approved the sale of the American helicopter company by owner United Technologies Corp. in September.

Lockheed Martin expects to finalize the deal on Nov. 6.

"With this final regulatory approval, we are one step closer to completing this historic acquisition," said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. "Sikorsky brings a legacy of innovation and performance that perfectly complements Lockheed Martin's portfolio. We are excited to soon welcome the men and women of Sikorsky to our team."

The deal, one of the largest defense mergers in recent memory, caused Pentagon acquisitions chief Frank Kendall to suggest that congressional action may be necessary to give the US Defense DepartmentDepartment of Defense the ability to disallow certain deals deemed not to be in the Pentagon’s best interest.

While not specifically criticizing the Lockheed-Sikorsky deal, Kendall indicated that he was concerned by the trend toward few prime platform contractors in the defense industrial base.

"I think the trend is a little troubling, and I think the tools that we have to manage that trend are inadequate based on my recent experience," he said in September. "If this trend continues ... we will end up at the point where we have two or maybe three primes who are essentially the sources for all the commodities being bought. And it's just a fact that with size comes the ability to have influence over things like the budget, or how acquisitions go, simply because you have the financial resources to invest strategically to capture market share."

Hewson has repeatedly noted Lockheed Martin's objections to Kendall's conclusion, noting that there is no evidence to suggest that consolidation is bad for the industry.

Email: aclevenger@defensenews.com.

Twitter: @andclev

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