European briefs

Jan. 1, 2007

Thales takes over Alcatel-Lucent space assets

Alcatel-Lucent and Thales announced that they have signed a final agreement for the transfer of Alcatel-Lucent’s transportation, security, and space assets to Thales and the future industrial cooperation of the two groups. The agreement follows the signature of a new Space Alliance agreement between Thales, Alcatel-Lucent, and Italy’s Finmeccanica, in which Finmeccanica agreed to the transfer to Thales of Alcatel-Lucent’s share in Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio, the two joint ventures with Finmeccanica: Alcatel will transfer its 67 percent interest in Alcatel Alenia Space and its 33 percent interest in Telespazio. Completion is expected no later than April 2007. The activities transferred to Thales include a total of approximately 11,000 employees who generated revenues of approximately $2.5 billion in 2005. Alcatel-Lucent’s interest in Thales will increase from 9.46 percent to 20.95 percent and the French State will remain Thales’ main shareholder with a 27.29 percent stake (compared with 31.26 percent previously). Alcatel-Lucent and the French State will enter into a new Shareholders’ Agreement for a period of five years renewable, replacing the former shareholder agreement concluded in June 1998 between Alcatel, GIMD, and the French State.

A400M program review completed

A two-month review of the A400M-program, mandated by the CEOs of EADS in September, has been completed by Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement (OCCAR), a European organization that facilitates and manages collaborative European Armament Programs, and the EADS board of directors. This review was the most comprehensive assessment ever done on an EADS development program. The review team conducted intensive program-management and floor-level interviews, industrial site visits, and data analysis, capitalizing on reference data from the A380 and other programs when applicable. The review validated EADS’ view that the A400M program is progressing according to the contractually agreed schedule. However, the review has identified several critical risk areas: systems design (in particular electrical harnesses), maturity of military mission systems, engine modifications, remaining work to be done on the final assembly line. The review team has proposed detailed, mitigating actions to comply with the delivery schedule committed to customers. These actions were endorsed by the CEOs of EADS and its board of directors.

Europropulsion plays key role in Vega milestone

The French space agency CNES conducted the first ground-firing test of the P80 solid rocket motor (SRM) that will power the first stage of the Vega launcher being developed by the European Space Agency. The test was successful, carried out on the solid rocket motor test stand at the Guiana Space Center. The P80 is the largest single-unit solid rocket motor (88 metric tons of propellant) with a carbon-epoxy composite wound structure ever tested. The composition of the solid propellant is optimized for higher performance. The nozzle, with a simplified design, is fitted with new thermal protection materials and a new-generation flexible joint that considerably reduces deflection loads. This means that the hydraulic actuators usually used to steer the nozzle for thrust vectoring can be replaced by electromechanical actuators, which are lighter and easier to operate.

Sectra receives order for aviation cryptosystem

The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) has ordered a cryptosystem that will be used in the Gripen aircraft system. The system will be delivered by the Swedish company Sectra and the order is valued at SEK 10 million. The cryptosystem meets the absolute strictest security requirements and is tailor-made for use in aircraft. This system facilitates faster and more cost-efficient development and further enhancement of the Gripen operations. The cryptosystem in is expected to be in the air during 2007.

MOD announces preferred bidder for UK military flying training system

United Kingdom Defence Minister Lord Drayson has appointed the Ascent Consortium, comprising the VT Group and Lockheed Martin, as the preferred bidder for the U.K. Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS). UKMFTS is intended to modernize flight training for Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and Army aircrew and reduce overall costs by bringing together the current range of fragmented training schemes into a cohesive, more effective and streamlined package. Contract award will be subject to the successful conclusion of negotiations. This is the first step in a multibillion-pound program to overhaul military flying training. The UKMFTS program will span 25 years.

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