Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space to build 18 new Ariane 5 ECA launchers for Arianespace

• Airbus Defence and Space CEO Francois Auque and Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël signed a contract for the manufacture of 18 Ariane 5 ECAs in the presence of French President François Hollande

• The order, worth more than €2 billion, underlines the effectiveness of the industrial model Airbus Defence and Space has put in place for building Ariane 5, and confirms the company’s robust order book

• The Ariane 5 programme comprises more than 550 companies (over 20% of them SMEs) and in excess of 6,000 people in 12 European countries

14 December 2013 – Airbus Defence and Space, the world's second largest space company, and Arianespace, the world’s leading satellite launch company, have signed a contract worth more than €2 billion for the supply of 18 additional Ariane 5 ECA launchers. These latest Ariane 5 launchers, which follow an order for 35 launchers in 2009 (PB batch), will be launched from 2017 onwards.

The cost-performance ratio of these new Ariane 5 ECAs will significantly improve due to ongoing Airbus Defence and Space-led technical and process improvements across the entire industrial chain. The additional 18 launchers ensure an added three-year workload for Airbus Defence and Space, as well as delivery of Ariane 5 until the end of 2019.

The contract was signed by Airbus Defence and Space CEO Francois Auque and Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, in the presence of French President François Hollande, and French Minister of Higher Education & Research Geneviève Fioraso. Among those attending this ceremony were also Jean-Jacques Dordain, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Jean-Yves le Gall, the CEO and Chairman of the French Space Agency (CNES) and Jean-Paul Herteman, CEO of Safran.

“I would like to thank Arianespace for this major new order, which shows that the industrial network set up by Airbus Defence and Space is capable of producing the most reliable launcher in the world as well as ensuring the global leadership of Arianespace. This contract reaffirms Airbus Defence and Space’s role as prime contractor of Ariane 5 since 2003 and reinforces its robust order book,” said Airbus Defence and Space CEO François Auque. “The presence of the French President here in Kourou today shows the importance of the space sector to the European economy and industry, as well as France’s commitment to guarantying European independent access to space for the past 40 years.”

The order takes to 38 the number of Ariane 5 launchers in production or awaiting manufacture for Arianespace, and will guarantee the continued provision of launch services for the European operator’s customers at the Guiana Space Centre through to the end of the decade.

For his part, Stéphane Israël said: "I would first like to thank the French President, whose presence here today at the Guiana Space Centre shows how important France considers its space programme, and also reflects how both public authorities and our partners identify with the values that characterise Arianespace, namely reliability, availability and quality. I would also like to thank Airbus Defence and Space of course, and the European launcher industry, for delivering Ariane 5, an exceptional launch vehicle that has driven Arianespace's operational and business success. Coming at the end of a record year of launch orders, this contract guarantees the longevity of the Ariane launch system, while also improving its competitiveness. In other words, it's a strong sign of confidence in our future, allowing us to give customers the services that best match their needs."

The contract follows on from the framework agreement signed with Arianespace on 17 September 2013, which has enabled Airbus Defence and Space and its industrial partners to begin work on manufacturing the additional launchers.

Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space technology company and number two worldwide, is the sole prime contractor of Ariane 5 and provides Arianespace with complete launchers that are tested and integrated at the Guiana Space Centre. Airbus Defence and Space also manages all the contracts of the manufacturers in the Ariane programme’s 12 partner countries.


Arianespace is the world leader in its sector and has more than three years of work, worth €4 billion, on its order book.

About Airbus Defence and Space

Together, pioneering excellence

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the second in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Airbus Defence and Space, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Airbus Defence and Space, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.

Effective from January 1, 2014, Airbus Defence and Space will be integrated into Airbus Defence and Space together with Airbus Military and Cassidian.


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