Huntington Ingalls, a shipbuilding and defence contractor, will pay $1.7 billion to acquire cybersecurity and research and development firm Alion.

Huntington said in a statement that the agreement will allow it to extend its work to support Navy simulation and training as well as military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities.

Huntington Ingalls is the largest military shipbuilding business in the United States and provides professional services to the government and commercial sector. Its cybersecurity and digital intelligence practice has grown in response to increased demand from the federal government for such services.

Huntington’s technical solutions section, which was created in 2016 to concentrate on cybersecurity and autonomous systems, is likely to grow as a result of the deal, according to the company.

“Today’s announcement, coupled with our previous investments in leading-edge technologies, such as cybersecurity and autonomous systems, reflects our commitment to stay on the cutting edge of critical, high-growth national security solutions and generate significant long-term value for our shareholders,” said HII’s chief executive, Mike Petters.