US munitions manufacturer Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has acquired the assets of Science and Applied Technology (SAT), a small missile seeker specialist. The deal will strengthen ATK's precision-guided weapons capability and position the company to become a missile prime contractor.

The acquisition could also safeguard the US Navy's decade-long programme to develop a successor to the AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM), which has been threatened by the indictment of the owner of privately held SAT for alleged illegal political contributions. ATK says it is acquiring only the assets of the San Diego-based company, and has no liabilities linked to the charges brought against SAT's founder, Parthasarathi Majumder.

SAT has worked on the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) technology demonstration since 1990 and has received over $130 million in US Navy funding. The programme adds a terminal seeker to the HARM's radar-homing sensor to give a hard kill capability against non-emitting air defence systems. AARGM is to enter development next year.

The same multi-sensor seeker will be used in the US Navy's High-Speed Anti-radiation Demonstration programme. ATK's purchase of SAT's assets may remove the need for the US Navy to take contractual action that would harm both programmes.

SAT, with annual sales of $40 million, will be renamed ATK Missile Systems and be part of the company's Precision Systems group. ATK, which will have sales of around $2.1 billion in 2003, produces ammunition and precision munitions, rocket motors and composite structures.

Source: Flight International