(RESTON, Va.) — Defense contractor Leidos is acquiring the ship design firm Gibbs & Cox in a $380 million deal, U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) News reported.
The cash deal, expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, would position Leidos to compete in the emerging unmanned naval systems market that is underpinning much of the Navy’s strategic focus.
“The acquisition of Gibbs & Cox will extend our existing maritime business and add specific capabilities and services, such as naval architecture and marine engineering, 3D modeling and design and … engineering to the solution set that we offer to our customers,” Leidos CEO Roger Krone said during an earnings call. “We’re very excited about how Gibbs & Cox brings their capability around the design of the ship and the ship systems. And we bring, if you will, the mission equipment. And we’re really excited about how that will fuel growth for our maritime business going forward.”
Leidos has been involved in some of the Navy’s earliest forays into unmanned surface systems and was the prime contractor in developing the Sea Hunter unmanned surface vehicle for DARPA that is transitioning to the Navy. Leidos in July lost to Sea Hunter subcontractor L3Harris in a bid to develop the Navy’s follow-on medium unmanned surface vehicle (MUSV).
Gibbs & Cox has designed the former Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, the Arleigh Burke class of guided-missile destroyers and the Freedom-class littoral combat ship. It’s also modifying the design of the FREMM frigate for the Navy’s Constellation class, which Fincantieri Marinette Marine is building.
As part of the deal, Leidos is expected to keep Gibbs & Cox’s brand identity and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary.