Airbus Defence and Space

Successful first submarine launch of M51

Biscarosse, 13 November 2008 – Airbus Defence and Space and the French defence procurement agency (DGA) have successfully performed the third experimental launch of the M51 ballistic missile from the Ballistic Launching Base (BLB) in Biscarosse. The flight met all expectations.

Third success in a row for Airbus Defence and Space

This test, which was performed from the BLB’s submerged launch platform, enabled DGA and Airbus Defence and Space personnel to validate the M51’s entire underwater phase: shooting the missile from a launch tube on a device-launching nuclear submarine (SNLE), M51 ignition and surfacing from the water.

This success confirms that the missile is ready to be loaded on and launched from the SSBN, and paves the way for further test launches from the submarine “Le Terrible” before the M51 enters operational service in 2010.

François Auque, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, commented: “This success is a landmark that consolidates the progress of the M51 programme. It also confirms the competence of the Airbus Defence and Space teams and their ability to master highly complex technologies.”

Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor for the development, production, and maintenance in operational condition of the M51 missile. G2P, Thales and Sagem are the main subcontractors in this programme, which occupies over a thousand engineers and technicians at Airbus Defence and Space.

Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment and its wholly owned subsidiary Airbus Defence and Space for the development and delivery of satellite services. 
AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116,000.


Media contacts

Matthieu Duvelleroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)            Phone: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                       Phone: +44 (0) 1 438 77 3872

Mathias Pikelj (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                    Phone: +49 (0) 7545 8 9123

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                Phone: +34 91 586 37 41