Boeing to maintain defense contracts with Spirit Aerosystems | news

Boeing intends to maintain Spirit AeroSystems’ existing manufacturing contracts after completing its planned acquisition of its supplier to the U.S. military.

The troubled maker of aerostructures is to be acquired by Boeing Co. in a $4.7 billion deal announced on July 1. Although much of the focus is on Spirit’s commercial aircraft projects, which include parts and components for Boeing and Airbus jets, the Wichita-based manufacturer is a major supplier to major U.S. defense companies.

“Under the terms of the definitive merger agreement, Boeing will acquire Spirit’s Wichita and Tulsa operations, which includes responsibility for ongoing security programs at the site,” Spirit representative Joe Puccino told FlightGlobal on July 1.

Boeing aims to close the deal by mid-2025.

Spirit currently offers active-production and new-development acquisition programs for the U.S. military, including the Northrop Grumman P-21 stealth bomber, the Bell V-280 next-generation tiltrotor, the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter, the Boeing B. -8 maritime patrol jets and a Boeing KC-46 aerial tanker.

The B-21 and V-280 in particular represent two of the Pentagon’s most important aviation modernization efforts, both programs still in early development stages. Supply disruptions during such critical periods have the potential to create significant delays and heavy penalty charges for the prime contractor, especially in projects like the B-21 that have strict cost containment measures.

“We are confident [that by] “By reuniting Boeing and Spirit, we will have greater synergy and the ability to work together in a faster, more efficient and streamlined manner,” says Puccino.

However, Spirit did not address specific program concerns, saying it “cannot speak on behalf of Boeing regarding their specific plans for post-closing of the transaction.”

In a securities filing released on July 1, Boeing said the proposed deal “maintains continuity for key U.S. defense and national security programs.”

It is not unheard of for prime contractors to act as suppliers to competitors. During a June tour of Boeing’s defense division headquarters in St. Louis, company officials told Flight Global that they are willing to take on additional subcontracting work in cases where Boeing does not act as an original equipment manufacturer.

For now, the Defense Department seems to be taking news of the pending Boeing-Spirit deal at least outwardly.

Helicopter maker Sikorsky said on June 1, “A robust and reliable supply chain is critical to the aerospace industry to support national security. “We will provide any assistance the government needs in its review process to ensure fair competition and a sustainable supply chain.”

Spirit assembles are complete CH-53K Fuselas for Sikorsky, including cockpit and cabin assemblies. Sikorsky is currently under contract to deliver 73 of the three-engine helicopters to the US Marine Corps and Israel.

The total USMC program for the King Stallion included 200 examples of the heavy-lift rotorcraft, making it a significant source of revenue for Sikorsky as a company. seeking New development works.

Northrop and Bell Spirit did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Boeing’s pending purchase.

Recent examples of defense-industry mergers have been halted by anti-competitive concerns among US regulators. A Tried to take over Rocket motor supplier Aerojet Rockettine by Lockheed Martin blocked In 2022 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over concerns that Lockheed would give it an unfair advantage over rival munitions manufacturers.

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“If allowed to proceed, the agreement would use control of Lockheed Aerojet to harm competitive defense contractors and further consolidate several markets critical to national security and defense,” the FTC said in a January 2022 court filing. Aerojet was at the end Purchased By L3Harris is another security platform that is considered very neutral by regulators.

It remains to be seen whether Boeing’s bid to acquire Spirit will face similar headwinds. The deal still needs approval from US regulators, who have been highly critical of Boeing Quality and safety failures At company assembly sites.

Boeing and rival Airbus A Temporary contract Spirit’s operations, which supply the French airframer, will be separated from the acquisition, resolving potential competition issues between the duopoly.

Airbus has entered into an agreement regarding the potential acquisition of Spirit’s A350 fuselage manufacturing, which takes place in Kinston, North Carolina, and the French city of St. Nazaire. It will also take over the A220 segment and central fuselage manufacturing operations conducted in Belfast and Casablanca, as well as pylon work from Wichita.

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