General Dynamics has completed the acquisition of Gilbert-based Spectrum Astro, the companies said Friday. With the merger, satellite designer Spectrum Astro becomes part of the General Dynamic C4 Systems business unit based in Scottsdale.
Under the new organizational structure, Spectrum Astro Space Systems will operate as a separate organization within General Dynamics’ Space and National Systems Division.
Spectrum Astro has about 525 employees while C4 Systems has about 7,000 employees worldwide and 3,400 employees in Scottsdale.
C4 Systems primarily makes secure communications and information technologies for military, government and commercial customers.
Spectrum Astro makes small and medium satellites for military and scientific uses and have been involved in development of the National Missile Defense System.
"Spectrum Astro brings General Dynamics valuable experience in missile-defense and key NASA space business segments and further enhances our ability to meet requirements for satellitebased (military communication) systems . . ." said Mark A. Fried, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems.
The two companies have jointly worked on many projects in past years and "we hope to expand our relationship," said Ron Taylor, general manager of the Space and National Systems division.
Among the work he said the two groups are pursing are the next-generation Global Positioning System satellite network and the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, a NASA-led project to study gamma ray sources in the universe.
With the merger, General Dynamics acquires the $37 million "Factory of the Future" that Spectrum Astro completed early this year in Gilbert, which includes state-of-the-art satellite assembly and testing facilities. About half of the building is unoccupied and available for expansion, and Taylor said "we will look for opportunities to use those resources."
He declined to say what role Spectrum Astro founder David Thompson will play with General Dynamics, and Thompson declined to comment Friday. Taylor said that Spectrum’s success "has been based on the management team they have in place, and we hope all of those employees will remain with the company."