Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has signed a framework contract worth approximately MNOK 64 with EADS-LV for the delivery of attachment and separation mechanisms for 20 Ariane 5 launches. Ten units are included in a production contract, while the remaining 10 will be available through an option.
Thus Kongsberg continues its involvement in the Ariane programme, which began with a development contract in 1991 and was followed by a series production contract in 1996. The latter referred to deliveries for a total of 14 Ariane 5 launches. The new contract is for deliveries of components until mid-2005, providing the option is exercised.
"The Ariane 5 programme maintains extremely high quality standards, combined with requirements for increased productivity. The contract demonstrates that Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is competitive when it comes to quality and price in a prestigious, keenly competitive market. Moreover, the contract is a vital link in maintaining relations with EADS-LV (Europe's leading systems supplier for aerospace transport) and thus for positioning Kongsberg for new projects", comments Ole Fiskum, president, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.
The attachment and separation mechanisms developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace connect the powerful solid fuel booster rockets to the main hull of the Ariane 5. The attachment mechanisms are designed to tolerate the strong vibrations and huge torsion forces that build up when 370 tonnes of thrust are transferred to the rapidly accelerating launcher in the first 130 seconds after launch. Once the booster rockets' 460 tonnes of fuel are burned off, the attachment and separation mechanisms made by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace ensure that the two 30-metre long booster rockets are released within 5 milliseconds.
Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is a niche supplier of international defence and aerospace products. The company has some 1100 employees and had a turnover of almost NOK 2 billion in 2000.