As part of this agreement, Arianespace has ordered from Astrium long-lead items and the start of production activities for the 18 additional launchers. These items and the first production activities are valued at more than 400 million euros. Astrium and Arianespace plan to sign the full production contract for the additional launchers before the end of 2013. These additional 18 Ariane 5s should be launched from 2017 onwards, following on from the 35 launchers ordered in 2009 (PB batch).
Present at the signing were Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chairman and CEO and Alain Charmeau, CEO of Astrium Space Transportation.
This order takes the number of Ariane 5 launchers in production for Arianespace to 38, and guarantees the continued provision of launch services for the European operator’s customers at the Guiana Space Centre through to the end of the decade.
Stéphane Israël said, “Ariane 5 is the most reliable launcher in the world. We need to secure the future production for our customers, beyond the 20 launchers currently being built, which is why we are ordering long-lead items for a further batch of 18 launchers. My thanks to Astrium and the European space industry for this exceptional launcher. My thanks also to the shareholders of Arianespace, and in particular to the French Space Agency CNES, for this vote of confidence in the future.”
“This agreement enables Astrium, which has been prime contractor for Ariane 5 since 2003, to ensure the continuity of production beyond 2017,” said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Astrium Space Transportation. “It also guarantees the continuity of the entire industrial production chain which comprises 550 companies (of which 20 percent are SMEs) and 6,000 people across 12 European countries.”