Orbital ATK was listed in previous versions of this report as a cluster munitions producer. In June 2018, major US arms manufacturer Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK, which will continue to operate as Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (NGIS).[i]
Orbital ATK produced a key component of cluster munitions: the rocket motor used in Textron’s Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) (see below). With Textron having made its final delivery of that weapon,[ii] Orbital ATK and its successor NGIS have declared to PAX, international investors and others that they have no involved anymore with the SFW. [iii]
However, NGIS’s predecessor ATK also manufactured the CBU-87/B Combined Effects Munition. NGIS still holds an aging and surveillance contract with the US Air Force pursuant to which NGIS performs tests on the various components of the CBU-87/B. NGIS stresses that the components it tests are thereby “demilitarized and permanently removed from the Government’s munitions inventory.” The reports that NGIS makes of the tests “provide functional performance data on each of the components tested by NGIS, as compared to its specifications.”[iv]
An aging and surveillance contract as specified by NGIS is not seen as production as per this report’s methodology. However, the activities of NGIS as described in its whitepaper are decommissioning the tested components only and not the remainder of the US arsenal of CBU-87/B. The subsequent reporting by NGIS provides the US Air Force with knowledge about their stockpile. This can be seen as assistance with the stockpiling and/or retention of cluster munitions, which is a prohibited act under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. NGIS should cease all involvement with cluster munitions as soon as it can and where possible not renew existing contracts.
We call on Northrop Grumman to fully end its involvement with (key components of) cluster munitions to the extent that it is prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions as soon as possible. We also call on investors in Northrop Grumman to engage with this company to make it sever all its involvement with the continuation of stockpiling of cluster munitions.
Since the acquisition by Northrop Grumman of Orbit ATK was not yet completed when the financial research for this report was closed, we will list investors in Orbital ATK in an Appendix to this report.
[i] Northrop Grumman, “Northrop Grumman Completes Orbital ATK Acquisition, Blake Larson Elected to Lead New Innovation Systems Sector”, Northrop Grumman website (https://northropgrumman.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/northrop-grumman-completes-orbital-atk-acquisition-blake-larson), last viewed 2 July 2018.
[ii] Textron, “Q4 2017 Earnings Call Presentation” , 31 January 2018, Textron website (https://investor.textron.com/investors/events-and-presentations/default.aspx), last viewed 16 November 2018.
[iii] Orbital ATK, written response to PAX dated 2 August 2017; Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, “CBU White Paper”, attached to a 30 July 2018 Northrop Grumman Corporation e-mail to PAX: “NGIS [Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems] is no longer engaged in any activity (maintenance, surveillance, testing or otherwise) related to the SFW program, including activity related to the rocket motor subassembly for that weapon.”
[iv] Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, “CBU White Paper”, attached to a 30 July 2018 Northrop Grumman Corporation e-mail to PAX: “NGIS [Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems] is no longer engaged in any activity (maintenance, surveillance, testing or otherwise) related to the SFW program, including activity related to the rocket motor subassembly for that weapon.”