Aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. plans to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at $4.4 billion.

Aerojet in El Segundo has major operations in Chatsworth, where the company is currently building the RS-25 engine for use on NASA’s Space Launch System to take humans to the moon and for deep space missions.


Eileen Drake, chief executive of Aerojet, said she was pleased to bring the company into the fold of Lockheed in Bethesda, Md. in a transformative transaction that will provide premium cash value for shareholders and benefits for employees, customers and partners.


“As part of Lockheed Martin, we will bring our advanced technologies together with their substantial expertise and resources to accelerate our shared purpose: enabling the defense of our nation and space exploration,” Drake said in a statement.


James Taiclet, chief executive of Lockheed, said the deal will preserve and strengthen an essential component of the domestic defense industrial base and reduce costs for its customers and the U.S. taxpayer.


“This transaction enhances Lockheed Martin’s support of critical U.S. and allied security missions and retains national leadership in space and hypersonic technology,” Taiclet said in a statement.


The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021 and is subject to regulatory conditions and approval by Aerojet shareholders. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the deal.


 A transition team will be formed to allow for a seamless integration and ensure continuity for customers, employees and other stakeholders, the companies said.