UK-based defence technology company BAE Systems has signed a definitive agreement to buy Ball Aerospace in a deal valued at $5.55bn.

BAE Systems said the acquisition would offer it a platform to support its space strategy.

In addition, the deal strengthens BAE Systems’ portfolio of products and services to meet the rising demand for space systems from the US government.

Ball Aerospace, which is based in the US and a part of Ball Corporation, specialises in spacecraft, mission payloads, optical systems, conformal antennas, and electronically steered arrays.

The company, which caters to the US Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and the civilian space industry, offers a broad range of products and technologies.

BAE Systems president and CEO Tom Arseneault said: “This marquee acquisition would advance our company’s position in some of the fastest growing segments of the defence market and further increase our alignment with enduring customer priorities in both the US National Defense Strategy and US Intelligence Strategy.

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“Ball Aerospace’s world-class products, capabilities and deep customer relationships would enhance our existing portfolio in areas including space, C4ISR and missile systems.”

Ball Corporation chairman and CEO Daniel Fisher said: “The complementary cultural fit of Ball Aerospace and BAE Systems and their combined position as a pure play aerospace and technologies company will leverage Ball’s recent investments in talent and facilities located across the country and centred in Boulder, Broomfield and Westminster, Colorado, to provide a multi-dimensional platform for vital national defence, intelligence, and science hardware, software, and space-based assets.”

Subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024.

In May this year, a US government agency awarded a contract to BAE Systems to develop an autonomous space-based surveillance technology.