Trive-Backed Karman Systems Acquires Systima Technologies, Speeding Its Push Into Space and Hypersonic Markets

It was only last January that Trive Capital—a Dallas-based PE firm—formed Karman in a partnership with AMRO Fabricating and Aerospace Engineering. The Systima acquisition is the fifth transaction Trive has completed in the last 12 months in building the Karman platform into an aerospace and hypersonic powerhouse.

Trive Capital-backed Karman Missile & Space Systems has acquired Mukilteo, Washington-based Systima Technologies as part of Karman’s aggressive push into the space and hypersonic markets. 

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Systima’s leadership team will continue as equity holders and senior leaders of Karman.

It was only last January that Trive Capital—a Dallas-based PE firm—formed Karman in a partnership with California-based AMRO Fabricating Corp. (above) and Aerospace Engineering Corp. The formation put Karman among the largest independently owned suppliers dedicated to manufacturing complex systems for the space, missile, interceptor, and hypersonic markets, Trive said at the time.

The Systima acquisition is the fifth transaction Trive has completed in the last 12 months in building the Karman platform.

In February, Karman acquired AAE Aerospace, a leading manufacturer of high temperature composites for the missile, interceptor, and space sectors. TMX Engineering, which machines and manufactures precision metal and composites for aerospace and other industries, is another Karman business division. AAE and TMX are both based in the greater Los Angeles area.

David Stinnett Trive Capital private equity firm Dallas, Texas, Trive capital, karman space, karman space and missile, trive capital investment aerospace, dallas private equity company space defense,

David Stinnett, partner at Trive Capital [Image: Trive Capital]

Karman can now engineer ‘from tip to tail of a rocket’

“With this acquisition, Karman can now address highly engineered content from tip to tail of a rocket,” said David Stinnett, partner at Trive, in a statement. “We have sole sourced content from the nose cone or shroud at the front of rockets and hypersonics, to motor and nozzle assemblies at the back, and composite and metallic structural components in between.”

Stinnett said Karman’s ability to attract such industry-leading talent is further validation of this thesis.

“The alignment of what Karman is building with the industry need is resonating with business owners and being reinforced by incredibly positive feedback from our customers,” he said.

Systima adds a key ‘energetic’ tech capability

Systima adds a key capability to the Karman platform: It’s one of the only companies on earth that can “integrate energetic and mechanical systems into the structural design of mission-critical space or hypersonic systems,” Trive says.

Energetic technology uses specialized materials, including propellants, to help space launch vehicles and hypersonic platforms both separate and deploy.

Karman CEO Tony Koblinski called the new acquisition a big milestone for his company.

“Systima’s robust engineering capabilities allow Karman to work collaboratively with our customers at an earlier stage of a platform’s development to identify the ways that Karman can add value,” Koblinski said in the statement.

High-performance composite structures

Another fast-growing Systima product line is high-performance composite structures using high temperature materials for missile and launch platforms.

According to Trive, Systima employs “the most advanced composite manufacturing techniques and utilizes novel and proven resin formulations, fibers, and ply materials.”

Systima works with its OEM customers to design, engineer, prototype, test, qualify, and manufacture on dozens of platforms across space, missile, and hypersonic end markets. The result is often a complex system like a hypersonic shroud.

“We’ve been watching the Karman business come together over the past year and believe with conviction that the strategic rationale of investing in the space, missile, and hypersonic supply chains is absolutely critical,” said Tom Prenzlow, president and former owner of Systima, in the statement.

KAL Capital advised Systima Technologies on the acquisition. D.A. Davidson advised Karman.

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