WASHINGTON — L3Harris Technologies plans to finalize its acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne on Friday, the company said in a letter to investors.

L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik said in the Wednesday letter the Federal Trade Commission told the company that day federal regulators would not block the sale. With that potential roadblock cleared, Kubasik said, the company is “moving forward to close the transaction on or about July 28.”

L3Harris announced plans to buy Aerojet, a key manufacturer of rocket engines and propulsion systems, in December 2022 in a $4.7 billion deal.

The company expressed confidence it would avoid the regulatory troubles that scuttled Lockheed Martin’s earlier attempt to buy Aerojet.

Lockheed Martin sought to buy Aerojet in 2020 in what would have been a $4.4 billion deal, saying it would lead to greater efficiency, speed and cost reductions for the U.S. government.

But Lockheed competitor Raytheon Technologies, now known as RTX, objected to the proposed acquisition. If Lockheed owned Aerojet, Raytheon said it would be forced to negotiate with Lockheed for solid rocket motors crucial for some of its systems.

The deal also drew scrutiny from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who called for the FTC to look into it.

The FTC announced a lawsuit in January 2022 that aimed to block Lockheed’s Aerojet acquisition on antitrust grounds, and amid concerns that competition in the defense industry could be harmed by the deal. If Lockheed owned Aerojet, federal regulators said, the company could cut off other contractors from Aerojet’s missile components such as scramjet engines for hypersonic missiles and control systems for missile interceptors.

Nearly three weeks later, Lockheed canceled its plans to buy Aerojet.

L3Harris’ effort to buy Aerojet did not escape Warren’s attention. In January 2023, Warren sent the FTC a letter urging it to oppose the deal. Warren also sent the Defense Department another letter this month urging officials to carefully review the deal and disclose any potential conflicts to federal regulators and the public.

In a conference call with investors Thursday, Kubasik said the company pledged to the Pentagon it would continue selling Aerojet’s products to all eligible customers.

“Once we close Aerojet Rocketdyne, I can assure you, we are highly motivated to sell rocket engines and rocket motors to anyone who wants to buy them within the rules, globally,” Kubasik said. “We bought this company to sell engines and motors, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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