09 Nov 16. Airbus Safran Launchers and ESA Sign Confirmation of the Ariane 6 Program. The European Space Agency and Airbus Safran Launchers, industrial prime contractor of the Ariane 6 launcher, have today signed the amendment to the agreement of 12 August 2015 committing the entire €2.4bn planned for the development, production and operation of the two versions of the Ariane 6 launcher, Ariane 62 and 64. The agreement of 12 August 2015 included a firm commitment of approximately €680m to carry out the initial development (phases A and B) through to the preliminary design review (PDR) in mid-2016. The amendment signed today allows ESA to notify Airbus Safran Launchers of the commitment of the €1.7bn required to continue development, and then production and operation. The amendment to the agreement signed today follows the success of the in-depth review carried out in June, first by the industry (Maturity Gate 5) and then by the ESA Member States, which carefully examined the work done by Airbus Safran Launchers and its partners. This review confirmed the maturity of the launcher’s development in relation to the goals set at the ESA Ministerial Conference in December 2014 in terms of costs, lead-times and technical performances. Following this review, the representatives of the ESA Member States unanimously voted in favour of continuing the Ariane 6 program.
“Thanks to the trust and support of ESA and its Member States’ representatives, the industry has met its commitments and proved its ability to fulfill its role as a design and industrial authority. We have met the deadlines and quality objectives set, and now, thanks to the industrial organization rolled out in record time, we can continue to develop a flexible, modular and competitive launcher that will fly in 2020”, said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Safran Launchers. “Our commitment and that of our European industrial partners shows our determination to provide our institutional and commercial customers with an equally reliable and more competitive launcher adapted to the rapidly changing space market.”
The teams at Airbus Safran Launchers and its partners will now finalize the development of the two versions of the Ariane 6 launcher and commence the production process with the new industrial organisation successfully implemented after the 2014 Ministerial Conference to revolutionize and enhance the competitiveness of European launcher governance in a global market undergoing massive change.
Airbus Safran Launchers develops and supplies innovative and competitive solutions for civil and military space launchers. As lead contractor for the European Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, as well as for the French oceanic deterrent force’s missiles, its expertise encompasses state-of-the art launch and propulsion system technologies. Airbus Safran Launchers is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus Defence and Space and Safran. With estimated sales of 2.5bn euros, it employs more than 8,000 highly qualified staff on more than 13 main sites in France and Germany. (Source: defence-aerospace.com/Airbus Safran Launchers)
09 Nov 16. Saudi Arabia to Buy 5 Spanish Corvettes In €2bn Deal. Saudi Arabia has decided to order five Spanish corvettes, marking a major victory for Spain’s Navantia shipyards in a naval market that has hitherto been dominated by France.
The contract is worth over €2bn and is expected to be signed during Spanish King Philip VI’s first official visit to Saudi Arabia, which begins Nov. 12. It also includes the construction of a new naval base at a location to be decided, according to Spanish press reports.
Most details of the contract, and of the related inter-government agreement, but Saudi authorities apparently want Spain to provide a political impetus to bilateral relations before signing. This explains why the contract was delayed for several months while Spain resolved its government crisis, which was keeping the King at home.