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​Northrop announced Monday it has acquired Orbital ATK, whose successful Minotaur IV rocket launch carrying the United States Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space 5 satellite Aug. 26, 2017, is seen above. Courtesy photo by Ben Cooper.

​Northrop Grumman has acquired aerospace technology company Orbital ATK for $7.8 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday. Northrop also assumed $1.4 billion in debt in the deal.

Orbital ATK was formed in 2015 out of the merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation and Alliant Techsystems. Space systems and missile defense programs are two focus areas where, “when we combine the two companies together, we provide a different range of capabilities,” Northrop CEO Wes Bush told reporters by phone conference. Orbital ATK has also reported $1.6 billion in revenue from its flight systems sector, including space launch vehicles and propulsion systems. This experience should prove useful for Northrop, which recently won a design contract to work on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, the Air Force’s next intercontinental ballistic missile system.

Orbital ATK will become a new, fourth business sector for Northrop, which expects the deal to be formally closed sometime in the first half of 2018.