Ever since a wave of mergers greatly reduced the number of prime contractors in aerospace and defense from 1992-2003, prevailing wisdom has held that the industry's top-tier companies have grown large enough. Now one of those giants, United Technologies Corp., is challenging that assumption by forging an $18.4 billion agreement to acquire Goodrich Corp. The blockbuster deal, unveiled Sept. 21, would create a commercial aerospace powerhouse with a broad portfolio of products, from United ...

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