Alliant Techsystems is a US aerospace and defense contractor with sales of approximately USD $3.6 billion (fiscal year 2007) [1] and strong positions in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, precision capabilities, and civil and sporting ammunition.


Alliant Techsystems was spun off from Honeywell in 1990. The company's headquarters are in Edina, Minnesota. ATK owns a number of well-known brands, including Thiokol, which produces rocket fuel and explosives, and Federal, which produces consumer ammunition. It provides most of the small caliber ammunition for US police and military units. ATK has a large share of the sporting ammunition market as well. The company is also a leader in providing "green" ammunition to hunters and to military organizations, greatly reducing the use of heavy metals (e.g., lead) in wetlands, training ranges and combat settings.

Since 2000, ATK has moved to compete for larger, more complex systems, and has won a number of contracts for guided weapons. The company has also acquired several smaller firms, including Mission Research Corporation located in Ronkonkoma New York, an established contractor providing specialized, and often highly classified electronics to the USAF and other customers. Mission Research is said to be providing a number of innovative systems, including small low cost sensors for homeland security (monitoring for hazardous materials) and non-lethal beam weapons to disable people, cars, and explosives.

The firm makes a number of non-military products, such as propulsion systems for NASA. Nearly every NASA planetary probe has used some form of propulsion from the one of the company's divisions, and ATK also participated in the X-43A project. The company also produces the propulsion system used in the Trident D5 nuclear missile.

The company produces a number of controversial military products, including cluster bombs and depleted uranium rounds, which have both been enmired in controversy. As a result, the company has been a target of peace movement protests, with weekly vigils held at Alliant Techsystems headquarters as well as occasional organized acts of civil disobedience.[2]

Unlike some defense contractors who have been very aggressive with protesters, ATK has generally taken a low-key approach, although some arrests for trespassing have taken place.

Depleted Uranium WeaponsEdit

Alliant Techsystems makes depleted uranium shells for use in U.S. tanks, armored personnel carriers, and howitzers. The use of these rounds is controversial because of their impact on the environment and human health, both in the long and short term.

Alliant has produced over 15 million 30 mm PGU-14 shells (used in the A-10's Gatling gun) for the U.S. Air Force and over a million 120mm M829 rounds for the U.S. Army.[3] In February 2006, U.S. Army placed an order for $38 million of M829 rounds, bringing the total order from the Alliant Techsystems to $77 million for fiscal year 2006.[4]

Acquisition of MDA Information Systems and Geospatial BusinessesEdit

On January 08 2008, ATK announced it had negotiated definitive agreements to acquire the information systems and geospatial businesses of the Canadian company, MDA (MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd). The terms of the sale are currently under scrutiny by the Canadian Government under concerns that it consists of a sell-off of Canadian taxpayer-funded technology, and that it could negatively impact Canadian sovereignty and the Canadian space program. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Launch Systems GroupEdit

ATK's Launch Systems Group, formerly Thiokol, was the prime contractor for the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster motors. On December 7, 2005 NASA announced that Alliant Techsystems would be the prime contractor for the Ares I first stage for Project Constellation.[9]

Corporate governanceEdit

Current members of the board of directors of Alliant Techsystems are: Frances Cook, Gilbert Decker, Ronald Fogleman, David E. Jeremiah, Roman Martinez, Robert RisCassi, Michael T. Smith, and William Van Dyke.


  1. AlliantTechsystems says: Corporate Profile Alliant Action
  2. AlliantAction
  3. Dirty Dozen: Alliant Techsystems
  4. John K. Byrne. U.S. signs $38 million deal for depleted uranium tank shells with ATK, The Raw Story, March 2, 2006.
  9. ATK Media Center (December 7, 2005.). NASA Selects ATK to be Prime Contractor for First Stage of Next Generation Crew Launch Vehicle (HTML). ATK.

External linksEdit


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