Airbus Defence & Space

Airbus Defence & Space is a division of Airbus Group responsible for defense and aerospace products and services. The division was formed in January 2014 during the corporate restructuring of European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) and comprises the former Airbus Military, Astrium and Cassidian divisions.

Airbus Defence & Space is presented in dozens of countries on six continents and is a world-leading player in the space industry and Europe’s No. 1 in Defence and Space. Their spacecraft manufacturing division is designer and builder of over 100 communications satellites for a vast range of applications, such as communication-, weather-, Military & Government Satellites.

History & merges of Airbus 

Matra Marconi Space was established in 1990 as a joint venture between the space and telecommunication divisions of the Lagardère Group (Matra Espace) and the GEC group (Marconi Space Systems). The merged company was announced in December 1989 and was owned 51% by Matra and 49% by GEC-Marconi. It would have annual sales of 300 million UKP, with 8.7 million UKP in assets from Marconi Space Systems and 10.7 million UKP in assets from Matra Espace.

Later on, in July 1995, GEC bought 45% of shares in the National Remote Sensing Centre for the company. Also in July 1995, the company was looking to link up with Aérospatiale of Toulouse and DASA of Germany to form a Europe-wide space company that would link up with DASA five years later.

Aérospatiale, originally known as Société nationale industrielle aérospatiale (SNIAS) and headquartered in Paris, was a French state-owned aerospace manufacturer that built civilian and military aircraft, rockets and satellites. The former assets of Aérospatiale are now part of Airbus Group, except the Satellites activities, which merged with Alcatel and became Alcatel Space in 1999 and since 2006 Thales Alenia Space.

SNIAS was created in 1970 by the merger of the state-owned companies Sud Aviation, Nord Aviation and Société d'études et de réalisation d'engins balistiques (SEREB). Starting in 1971 it was directed by Henri Ziegler. Its North American Marketing arm French Aerospace Corporation was renamed to European Aerospace Corporation in 1971.

In 1991 the company assisted in the construction of the revolutionary chassis of the Bugatti EB110 Supercar. The chassis was built completely of carbon fiber and was very lightweight.

In 1992, DaimlerBenz Aerospace AG (DASA) and Aérospatiale combined their helicopter divisions to form the Eurocopter Group.

In 1999, Aérospatiale, except for the satellites activities, merged with Matra Haute Technologie to form Aérospatiale-Matra and in 2001, Aérospatiale-Matra's missile group was merged with Matra BAe Dynamics and the missile division of Alenia Marconi Systems to form MBDA.

On July 10th, 2000, Aérospatiale-Matra merged with Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) of Spain and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) of Germany to form Astrium, an aerospace manufacturer subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Company (EADS) that provided civil and military space systems and services from 2006 to 2013. In 2012 Astrium, as a member of Institute of Space and its Applications and Technologies, had a turnover of 5.8 billion euro and 18,000 employees in France, Germany, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands.

On 31 July 2013, European Aeronautic Defence & Space Company (EADS) announced that it would change its corporate name to Airbus Group by the end of the year, and that Astrium, Cassidian, and the Airbus Military divisions would be merged to form a new company: Airbus Defence & Space. In January 2014, the parent company EADS effected the reorganization as Airbus Group, of three subsidiary companies that include Airbus Defence & Space, Airbus and Airbus Helicopters.

In February 2015 Surface Technology International (STI) acquired Airbus Defence & Space’ Poynton factory in the UK and the majority of its employees. The Poynton site, close to Manchester, was a part of the Terminals and Products activity of Airbus Defence & Space, producing microwave components and naval terminals for fixed and mobile communications with the primary responsibility for spares management and repairs activity for the terminals of the Skynet-5 satellite communications system.

In June 2015 satellite-based Internet provider OneWeb and Airbus Defence & Space announced a joint venture named OneWeb Satellites. The venture, equally owned by OneWeb and Airbus Defence & Space, is aimed to design and build OneWeb's 900-satellite constellation, which claims to provide high-speed Internet with global coverage. Airbus Defence & Space is the design and manufacturing partner for its fleet of telecom class microsatellites. The first 10 microsatellites will be designed and produced in facilities located in Toulouse, following which a dedicated plant in the United States will handle full series production.

In 2016 Airbus Defence & Space started the construction of a new four-story, 4,200 square meter Integrated Technology Center (ITC) in Friedrichshafen, Germany for satellite manufacturing. The building will be an expansion of the company’s current satellite integration facility. The company invested 43 million euros (48 million USD) in the new center, which is expected to begin operations in the summer of 2018.

Airbus Defense & Space’ major competitors are Boeing Commercial Satellite Systems (BCSS), Lockheed Martin, Thales Alenia Space, Space Systems/Loral and JSC Information Satellite Systems. As of September 2015, there are more then 80 Airbus Defense & Space-built LEO and GEO satellites in orbit.

All trademarks, logos and images mentioned and showed on this page are property of their respective owners.

References:  edition Jan 28th 2016  edition May 2016  edition Sept 22nd 2016  edition March 7th 2018