GDSatcom Technologies

GDSatcom Technologies (GDSatcom) is now part of Communications & Power Industries, Inc. (CPI). In August 2019 it was announced that CPI would purchase GDSatcom Technologies. The acquisition was to be finalized before end of 2019 but U.S. Justice Department required CPI to divest its ASC Signal Division. Without CPI’s divesture of ASC Signal, there would be significant less competition for large Earth Station Antennas in the USA and the deal would give CPI a monopoly on the antenna business in the US.

GDSatcom was designer, manufacturer and installer of antennas for mobile satellite communications and fixed communication gateways. GDSatcom operated as a separate unit under the General Dynamics Mission Systems Division, a business unit of American global aerospace and defense company General Dynamics (GD).

General Dynamics Mission Systems was formed in January 2015 when GD combined the company’s C4 Systems (originally owned by General Telephone & Electronics Corporation(GTE) and AIS (Advanced Information Systems). GD acquired GTE Government Systems in 1999.

GD Advanced Information Systems provided mission-related systems development, integration and operations support. General Dynamics C4 Systems was a leading integrator of secure communications, information systems and technology.

General Dynamics

General Dynamics (GD), headquartered in West Falls Church, Virginia USA, is the world’s fifth-largest defense contractor based on 2012 revenues. Mergers and divestitures formed the company with nearly 60% of the company’s net sales coming from contracts with the U.S. government. GD is currently organized into four business groups and each comprises several business units serving different markets:

Company History

The company was founded in 1899 by financier Isaac Rice as the Electric Boat Company (EB).  The company was established to bring to completion a 54-foot submersible vessel developed by John Philip Holland. After Holland’s death in 1914, EB reorganized and the name was changed to Submarine Boat Corporation around 1915.

With the USA becoming involved in World War I in 1917, the Submarine Boat Corporation decided to build disposable cargo vessels instead of submarines, and leased a large shipyard in Newark, NJ. The company soon realized the decision to build cargo vessels instead of submarines was a mistake, but the war ended before they could complete setting up for submarine production. This costly mistake nearly bankrupted the company, and after another reorganization in 1923 the name of the company was changed back to the Electric Boat Company.

In 1947 Electric Boat purchased Canadair Limited from the Canadian government for 22 million USD. Canadair produced
flying boats and modified DC-4’s during the war, but had greatly diminished sales during peacetime.

On February 21st 1952, Electric Boat was reorganized as General Dynamics Corporation under John Jay Hopkins, to manage the operations of Canadair and Electric Boat.

In 1954 GD acquired Convair and the holding company assumed the ‘General Dynamics’ name, with the submarine building operation reverting to the ‘Electric Boat’ name.
In 1954 GD acquired Consolidated Vultee Aircraft. Convair was an American aircraft manufacturing company that was formed in 1943 by the merger of Consolidated Aircraft and Vultee Aircraft, and became General Dynamics’ Convair Division. GD Convair manufactured a variety of civilian and military aircraft, including the 440-passenger liner, F-102 and F-106 fighters, Atlas and Centaur rockets, and the B-24, B-36, and B-58 Hustler bombers.

After abandoning the impractical Nuclear airplane, N-bomber’, Electric Boat enjoyed greater success with nuclear power in 1954, when it launched the first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus. In 1959 EB launched the first ballistic missile submarine USS George Washington.

Post-Cold War Transformation

Several external forces helped shape the conduct of business at GD in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The end of the Cold War resulted in public pressure to cut domestic defense budgets. These factors compelled General Dynamics to transform itself into a smaller, more focused company with a higher concentration of international sales. The Persian Gulf conflict helped boost General Dynamics’ tank and F-16 fighter sales to Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and opened Middle-East markets to the military manufacturer.

In January 1991, William A. Anders was assigned to reorganize GD according to the new market realities. By June 1992, Anders had cut 25% of the workforce (24,800 employees) and put 1.7 billion USD in assets up for sale. GD, which had suffered a 578 USD million loss in 1990, recovered to realize a 305 USD million profit the following year.

Anders pronounced the transformation of GD complete in 1993’s annual report. After selling its Missile Division to Hughes Aircraft Company for 450 million USD and Cessna Aircraft to Textron Inc. for 600 million USD in 1992, and its Fort Worth Division to Lockheed for 1.5 billion USD in 1993, as well as reaching an agreement to sell its Space Systems Division (which had been created out of Convair in 1985) to Martin-Marietta in a 209 million USD deal, completed in 1994, the company emerged with two primary business segments: Nuclear Submarines and Armored Vehicles.

The workforce had shrunk from about 86,000 in 1991 to 30,500 in 1993, and debt decreased 94% during this period. Government contracts still comprised 94% of the company’s annual sales, which remained essentially flat over the reorganization period. Even after the special distributions to shareholders, the company still had more than 1 billion USD in cash and virtually no debt by late 1994. From this position of strength, GD began pursuing acquisitions of related niche businesses to build on General Dynamics’ two remaining units.

In September 1995 the company acquired Bath Iron Works for 300 million USD from an investor group led by Prudential Insurance Co. As a result of the deal, GD owned two of the six major private naval shipyards in the United States: Electric Boat’s submarine facility in Groton, Connecticut, and Bath’s shipyard in Bath, Maine.

Bath, founded in 1833, was under contract with the U.S. Navy to build 11 guided-missile AEGIS destroyers. Around the time of the acquisition, the Seawolf submarine program was nearly killed by Congress, an event that might have shut down Electric Boat’s shipyards. Despite objections that the Navy did not need a third Seawolf submarine, Electric Boat was awarded a 1.5 billion USD contract to build the final such sub, to be called the USS Jimmy Carter.

In 1996 the company’s Land Systems Division was awarded a 217 million USD contract to build a new amphibious assault vehicle for the U.S. Marines. Eventual production of more than 1,000 of these vehicles was projected to be worth more than 4 billion USD through 2014. That same year, Bath was part of an alliance that won a contract to build 12x 800 million USD amphibious assault ships, the LDP-17, for the Navy. In January 1997 GD continued its acquisition program with the purchase of two businesses from Lockheed Martin Corporation for 450 million USD: Armament Systems, a maker of advanced gun and fire-control systems, and Defense Systems, producer of turrets and transmissions for combat vehicles. The bulk of these operations were combined within a new Armament Systems Division, which became part of General Dynamics’ Combat Systems unit alongside the Land Systems Division.

In mid-1997 Nicholas D. Chabraja took over as CEO when he almost immediately faced a setback when the company, seeking to expand its position in the area of Army vehicles, was blocked from acquiring United Defense L.P, a maker of military vehicles, because of potential antitrust concerns. Undeterred, Chabraja shifted his immediate acquisition focus to a new niche area: electronics and systems integration, a growth area in which he felt GD had some expertise. Thus came the formation of a third company-operating unit: the Information Systems and Technology unit (Marine Systems and Combat Systems being the other two).

The new unit was built through a series of acquisitions that began in 1997, when Advanced Technology Systems was acquired from Lucent Technologies Inc. Advanced Technology produced undersea surveillance systems, signal processing, and vibration control systems. In December 1997 GD acquired Computing Devices International, a division of Ceridian Corporation. From this deal came three more pieces of the Information Systems puzzle: GD Information Systems, Inc., Computing Devices Canada, Ltd. and the U.K.-based Computing Devices Company, Ltd.

In June 1998 the company acquired another systems integration business called Computer Systems & Communications Corporation.

Chabraja continued to look for acquisition targets in shipbuilding as well. In November 1998 GD acquired NASSCO Holdings Incorporated, parent company of National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), which owned a Naval shipyard in San Diego. Since 1991 much of NASSCO’s work on US warships had been outsourced to TIMSA in Mexico. The addition of NASSCO helped diversify the line of ships built by the Marine Systems unit as the newly acquired company produced hospital ships and combat support ships for the U.S. Navy as well as commercial ships such as oil tankers. GD now owned half of the six private yards that made Navy ships.

In July 1999 the company returned to the aviation market and also greatly increased the percent of revenues it generated from the commercial market with the acquisition of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a leading maker of business jets, in a stock swap valued at about 5 billion USD. In September 1999 General Dynamics further bolstered its Information Systems and Technology unit through the 1.01 billion USD purchases of three business units from GTE Corporation. The units, reorganized within a new entity called GD Government Systems Corporation, specialized in command, control, communications, and intelligence systems; electronic defense systems; and information systems for defense, government, and industry.

During 2000 NASSCO won a 650 million USD contract to build three double-hull oil tankers for BP Amoco plc. Also that year a joint venture between the Land Systems Division and General Motors Corporation was selected by the U.S. Army to build an eight-wheeled armored vehicle, the LAV III. The program had a total cost of 4 billion USD for about 2,100 units.

Early in 2001 the company acquired Primex Technologies Inc., maker of munitions, propellants, satellite propulsion systems, and electronics products. Primex was renamed GD Ordnance and Tactical Systems and was integrated into the Combat Systems unit.

In 2004 GDSatcom business unit acquired Trpoint Global, a privately held company in New York that bought VertexRSI in 1999 from Vertex Corp. Tripoint Global was composed that time of RSI, Prodelin, Gabriel Electronics & Microwave and CSA Wireless Communications. In 2015 GDSatcom sold the Gabriel and Mark Antenna business to mWave Industries, LLC. VertexRSI nowadays operates as subsidiary of GDSatcom Technologies, curently operating as GD Mission Systems business unit.

In 2008 GD acquired Switzerland-based Jet Aviation, a business aviation services company with 26 airport facilities throughout Europe, the Middle-East, Asia and North and South America. The deal was closed for 2.2 billion USD. Jet Aviation was founded in Switzerland in 1967 and is one of the world’s leading business-aviation services companies. Services provided include maintenance, repair and overhaul; completions and refurbishments; engineering; fixed base operations (FBO); aircraft management, flight support and global executive-jet charter services; and aircraft sales, acquisitions and personnel services.

In 2011 GD-NASSCO acquired Metro Machine Corp, a surface-ship repair company in Norfolk, Virginia, and renamed it NASSCO-Norfolk. The company had been conducting ship repairs and conversions for the U.S. Navy since 1972.

In the following years the Company made acquisitions in Aerospace and Martime businesses, which resulted in a steady grow extending the company’s expertise.

In 2015 the Company combined their C4 Systems and the AIS (Advanced Information Systems) divisions to form GD Mission Systems. GDSatcom operates as a separate unit under the GD Mission Systems Division.

In August 2019 Communications Power Industries, Inc. (CPI) purchased GDSatcom Technologies, from General Dynamics Mission Systems, Inc, in a 175 million USD value transaction. The acquisition of GDSatcom was to be finalized before end of 2019 but U.S. Justice Department required CPI to divest its ASC Signal Division. Without CPI’s divesture of ASC Signal, there would be significant less competition for large earth station antennas in the USA and the deal would give CPI a monopoly on the antenna business in the USA.

In June 2020 Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, supplier of transportable and fixed earth station antennas for military and commercial satellites, acquired ASC Signal antenna division from CPI, Inc. for 35 million USD in cash.

Key Dates

1899: Electric Boat Company is founded by Isaac Rice to build submarines.
1915: Isaac Rice died and was replaced by his associate Henry Carse.
1917: Company’s name is changed to Submarine Boat Corporation.
1925: Company is reorganized and reincorporated as Electric Boat Company; expansion into surface ships begins.
1937: John Jay Hopkins joins company and is instrumental in its revival through the production of hundreds of submarines, surface ships, and PT boats during World War II.
1947: Canadair Limited is acquired.
1952: General Dynamics Corporation is established as a successor to Electric Boat and as a parent company for Electric Boat and Canadair.
1954: General Dynamics acquires Consolidated Vultee Aircraft, which becomes the Convair Division; Electric Boat launches the first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus.
1959: General Dynamics and Material Services Corporation merge.
1971: Company relocates its headquarters to St. Louis.
1976: Canadair is sold back to the Canadian government.
1978: Fort Worth Division begins production of the F-16 combat fighter.
1982: General Dynamics purchases Chrysler’s battle tank division, which becomes the Land Systems Division.
1985: Cessna Aircraft Co. was acquired and sold in 1992 to Textron, an Industrial conglomerate based on Rhode Island, when GD was carrying out a strategy to focus on its Defense business.
1991: With end of Cold War, new CEO William A. Anders begins divestment program that reduces the company to two businesses by 1994: submarines and armored vehicles.
1992: Cessna is sold to Textron Inc.; company headquarters is moved to Falls Church, Virginia.
1993: The Fort Worth Division is sold to Lockheed Corporation.
1994: The Space Systems Division is sold to Martin-Marietta.
1995: Bath Iron Works, a major shipbuilder, is acquired.
1997: The Company’s Information Systems and Technology unit begins to be built through a series of acquisitions.
1998: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), owner of a San Diego naval shipyard, is acquired.
1999: GD completes two major acquisitions: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, maker of business jets, and three information systems units of GTE Corporation.
2001: GD acquires Primex Technologies Inc., maker of munitions, propellants, satellite propulsion systems, and electronics products.
2003: The Company purchased the defense divisions of General Motors.
2004: GDSatcom Technologies as part of General Dynamics C4 Systems acquires Tripoint Global Communications with its VertexRSI Earth Station antenna division.
2005: GD C4 Systems awarded a 169 million USD contract for the ALMA project in Chile. VertexRSI is performing the assembly of the telescope antennas.
2008: GD purchased Swiss-based Jet Aviation, a business aviation services company with 26 airport facilities throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North and South America.
2011: GD acquired Vangent Holding Corp., the parent company of Vangent, Inc., a leading provider of healthcare information-technology and business systems to federal agencies.
2011: GD acquired Metro Machine Imperial Docks in 2011 and Earl Industries’ Ship Repair Division in 2012, growing GD’s shipbuilding repair and maintenance operations on both coasts of the United States.
2013: Phebe N. Novakovic became chairman and CEO.
2014: GD receives large orders for the construction of 10 additional Virginia-class submarines for U.S. Navy, and an awarded order from the Government of Canada to provide military and commercial vehicles, training, and support services to a Middle Eastern customer.
2014: Gulfstream business unit announced three new large-cabin business-jets: the G500, the G600 and the G650 extended-range (ER).
2015: GD combined their C4 Systems business unit and AIS (Advanced Information Systems) to form General Dynamics Mission Systems.
2016: Gulfstream delivered the 200th aircraft in the G650 family and the 100th G280 and GD’s European Land Systems Division received a 600 million USD contract to deliver more than 300 Piranha vehicles to Denmark.
2016: GD Mission Systems acquired Bluefin Robotics, Inc. a manufacturer of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV’s) that perform a wide range of missions for the U.S. military and commercial customers.
2016: Electric Boat delivered the USS Illinois, the 13th Virginia-class submarine, under cost and ahead of schedule.
2016: GDSatcom Technologies completed the installation of two 34m (112-foot wide) beam waveguide antennas in Canberra, Australia, as part of NASA’s modernization plan for its Deep Space Network.
2019: General Dynamics sells GDSatcom Technologies to CPI, Inc.
2020: CPI, Inc. divests ASC Signal Division to Kratos Defense & Space to finalize the acquisition of GDSatcom.

All trademarks, logos and images mentioned and showed on this page are property of their respective owners.