Aerojet Rocketdyne Chief Sees No Immediate Closures

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The president of newly formed propulsion giant Aerojet Rocketdyne dismissed a U.S. Defense Department assessment that the company’s business is on a sliding slope and said there is no immediate need for plant closures or widespread layoffs of engineers.

Briefing reporters June 17 and June 18, Warren M. Boley said the company, created June 14 by the merger of one-time rivals Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, nonetheless expects to be able to commit to its NASA and U.S. military customers to finding synergies “in the $100 million per year range” over time by consolidating Rocketdyne’s more expensive information technology system into Aerojet’s and by eliminating overlaps in overhead charges. This should reduce Aerojet Rocketdyne’s costs to the government, he said.

To the extent that some of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s core businesses, such as large liquid rocket engines, are not growing, personnel could be transferred to business units set for substantial growth, such as hypersonics, he said.

Boley said Aerojet’s purchase of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne did not include potential liabilities associated with environmental cleanup of the acquired company’s premises. All those liabilities remain with United Technologies Corp., he said.

The purchase eventually will include Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s share of the RD AMROSS joint venture, which provides Russian RD-180 rocket engines to United Launch Alliance. The engine powers the Atlas 5 rocket’s first stage. Boley said Russian government approvals of the transfer from United Technologies to Aerojet Rocketdyne are likely to take several months. He said he expected no hiccups in the approval process.