Airbus Group and Safran are set to finalise today, 30th June, the creation of their 50/50 joint venture, Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), which thus becomes a fully-fledged operational company. The new company — which combines Airbus DS's expertise in launchers and Safran's expertise in liquid and solid rocket propulsion — is the centrepiece of efforts to shore up the European launch sector and fend off the challenge of SpaceX.
ASL will be prime contractor for Ariane 5 and the future Ariane 6. It will manage the entire industrial supply chain, from the manufacture of equipment and stages to the complete integration of the launcher in French Guiana
ASL was already managing launcher programme activities and associated equity stakes, and with this closing the company officially incorporates the parent companies' assets and subsidiaries related to its core business.
The company has 8,400 employees in France and Germany. It is the head company in a group comprising 11 subsidiaries and affiliates, all leading players in their fields: APP, Arianespace, Cilas, Eurockot, Eurocryospace, Europropulsion, Nuclétudes, Pyroalliance, Regulus, Sodern and Starsem.
This final step is the culmination of a strategic initiative, started in 2014, to reshape the launcher industry in Europe and “focus on delivering more competitive solutions to customers,” to quote Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders. Top priority is the next-generation Ariane 6 launcher, which is due to make its maiden flight in 2020.
In order to obtain a 50% stake in Airbus Safran Launchers, Safran will make an “economic equalisation” of €750m.