THE PENTAGON HAS given its blessing to the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta, in an official endorsement which company officials hope will pave the way for final approval to be given over the next few months.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) still has to give the final ruling on competition issues, which centre on the group's overlapping satellite and space-launch businesses.

In a letter to the FTC, John Deutch, Deputy Defence Chief, gives an unreserved recommendation to the $10 billion merger. "It represents a step toward a stronger, robust, industry that will result in savings for the US Government," he says, calling consolidation among defence suppliers "inevitable and necessary".

In reviewing the potential consequences of the merger on the defence supply base, the Pentagon also focused heavily on space programmes. There will remain "an adequate number of sources for our future purchases", Deutch concludes. "We believe that the new corporation will not gain an unacceptable market position in the satellite market," he adds.

Source: Flight International