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ArianeGroup makes a beeline for Ariane 6
B-Line production facility. © Pierre-François Mouriaux / Air & Cosmos

ArianeGroup makes a beeline for Ariane 6

ArianeGroup has officially inaugurated its new B-Line production unit for P120C booster nozzles for Vega-C and Ariane 6.

ArianeGroup has officially inaugurated its new B-Line (B as in Bordeaux) production unit in Haillan, near Bordeaux, for P120C booster nozzles for Vega-C and Ariane 6. P120C will replace P80 as the first stage motor of Vega-C. Two or four P120Cs will be strapped onto Ariane 6 as boosters for liftoff.

The 1,600m2 facility is designed to triple the production rate compared with output of nozzles for the EAP boosters of Ariane 5, with a target of 34 nozzles per year by 2023. ArianeGroup has invested €20m in the new unit, which features powerful, high-precision robotic systems and is divided into four zones for assembly, surface treatment, filament winding and bonding.

ArianeGroup CEO Alain Charmeau explains that nozzles produced in the new facility, which was built in less than three years, will contribute to Ariane 6 and Vega-C programme objectives, with optimised costs and reduced production cycles, thanks to a simplified design, coupled with the use of innovative technologies and processes.

Charmeau says that the B-Line facility complements the V-Line plant in Vernon for final assembly of Vulcain 2.1 and Vinci engines for Ariane 6. He describes the company's solid and liquid production facilities and expertise as unique worldwide. Other new Ariane 6 facilities are under construction in Bremen, Germany, for upper stages and in Les Mureaux, France, for the core stage.

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