PARIS --- The DGA, the French armament procurement agency and EADS SPACE Transportation have signed a contract for the production of the M51 missile. To be designed and manufactured for the first time under the prime contractorship of EADS SPACE Transportation, this fixed contract covers series production of the M51 weapon system for a period of 10 years. The contract value is in excess of 3 billion euros and includes a fixed tranche and several conditional options.
The new industrial organisation, with EADS SPACE Transportation as sole contractor, and Snecma, SNPE, DCN as well as Thalès and Sagem as principal subcontractors, will provide French armed forces with a fully operational service at reduced cost.
The M51 features a considerable number of improvements compared to the M45. The new missile which weighs more than 50 tonnes and represents a mass increase of 50%, offers ballistic performance levels that will ensure an operational range of more than 6000 kilometres, flying at altitudes of up to 1000 kilometres. It has an increased payload capacity and a higher accuracy than the present M45.
The M51 will equip the new-generation submarines of the Strategic French Oceanic Force, from 2010. The M51 missile will enter service in 2010 on board Le Terrible, followed by Le Vigilant, Le Triomphant and Le Téméraire after retrofit. New nuclear warheads will be commissioned from 2015.
EADS SPACE Transportation develops and produces missiles and launch systems at the naval base in Ile Longue and on board SNLE (Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine). The Company will be responsible for the Sustained Readiness Support activity throughout the systems' life.
Nearly a thousand EADS engineers and technicians have been working on this development phase over the past 4 years. The production phase should provide EADS SPACE Transportation with a regular and growing workload for up to 600 technicians.
EADS SPACE Transportation is the only company in Europe capable of designing, developing and installing ballistic missiles. All the experience EADS Space Transportation has gained over the last 40 years in the development of five generations of intercontinental missiles has given the company a unique expertise that remains unrivalled in Europe.
EADS SPACE Transportation is the European specialist for access to Space and manned space activities. It develops and produces Ariane launchers, the Columbus laboratory and the ATV cargo carrier for the International Space Station, atmospheric reentry vehicles, missiles systems for France's deterrent force, propulsion systems and space equipment.
EADS SPACE Transportation is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS SPACE, which is dedicated to providing civil and defense space systems. In 2003, EADS SPACE had a turnover of 2.4 billion euros and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. In 2003, EADS generated revenues of 30.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 100,000.