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Anduril moves into hypersonics with acquisition of rocket motor maker

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Anduril moves into hypersonics with acquisition of rocket motor maker

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WASHINGTON — Defense technology firm Anduril Industries on Sunday announced it has acquired solid rocket manufacturer Adranos, giving it a stronger position in the hypersonic and missile market.

Anduril’s purchase of Adranos will allow it to start supplying solid rocket motors to companies that make hypersonic weapons, missiles and other propulsion systems, the company said in a blog post. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition marks a significant expansion of Anduril’s scope. The company, founded in 2017, has primarily focused on technologies like artificial intelligence, counter-drone systems and autonomous air systems.

Adranos is best known for creating a solid rocket fuel dubbed ALITEC, made of an aluminum-lithium alloy. The company, founded at Purdue University in 2015, says this fuel can produce up to 40% more range in solid rocket motors than other fuels at lower cost.

Anduril also highlighted Adranos’s work on advanced manufacturing processes for developing solid rocket motors, which it claims is faster and more efficient than those used by other solid rocket motor manufacturers.

“There is a clear need for greater competition and expanded supply in solid rocket motors for the United States and our allies,” Anduril chief executive Brian Schimpf said in the post. “With this acquisition, Anduril will grow the defense industrial base, speed development and production of critical components with an advanced manufacturing approach, and enable next-generation performance of solid rocket motors with ALITEC, which is crucial for national security and [the] overall health of the defense industry.”

Anduril plans to develop the Adranos Solid Rocket Complex production facility in Mississippi into what it called a modern manufacturing facility. The improvements to Adranos’ facility will allow it to produce thousands of solid rocket motors, both standard and those that use ALITEC fuel, per year at faster rates.

“Our focus has been on innovating solid rocket motor development and manufacturing, solving the problems of rocket range and production volumes,” Adranos chief executive Chris Stoker said. “With Anduril, we’ll be able to rapidly mature our technology and scale our team and production capabilities to increase our output to thousands of traditional and ALITEC solid rocket motors per year.”

Mississippi Sens. Cyndi Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, both Republicans, were quoted in the blog post as emphasizing the importance of solid rocket motors to U.S. national security, and said Anduril’s acquisition of Adranos will expand industry’s ability to supply those parts.

“These motors are the lifeblood of munitions, hypersonic weapons and small space launch systems,” Wicker said. “Anduril’s acquisition of Adranos establishes a new merchant supplier of these components at a critical time.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman and Nammo are some of the other firms competing to make solid rocket motors.

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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