MBDA Acquires Roxel Ramjet Business

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French missile maker MBDA acquired the ramjet integration and testing activities of Roxel France Dec. 1 following the signing of an agreement with propulsion company Herakles, a subsidiary of Safran and an equal shareholder with MBDA of the Roxel Group.

Specializing in tactical propulsion technology in France and the UK, Roxel will continue to produce solid-rocket motors for MBDA missiles as well as for other system suppliers, giving MBDA a leading position in ramjet technology in Europe.

The agreement does not include Roxel's ramjet integral booster or themo-structural materials activities. But it will mean the transfer of 18 Roxel employees to MBDA. Ramjet test benches will remain at the current Roxel site at Bourges-Subdray in France's Centre region.

MBDA Chief Executive Antoine Bouvier says the goal is to combine engineering and test activities and create a more integrated approach to future developments.

"By optimizing the industrial and commercial basis of their organizations in this way, MBDA, Herakles and Roxel aim to maintain a sovereign capability in France at the best possible cost to the taxpayer," Bouvier said in a Dec. 1 news release announcing the acquisition. "This capability is unique in Europe and is one that has been patiently developed over the course of more than half a century. It is a capability that will be critical in the coming years in controlling costs and lead times for future French and European long-range super- and hyper-sonic missile programs, thereby preserving the competitiveness of the missile sector in Europe."

Herakles CEO Philippe Schleicher says the acquisition will allow Roxel to focus on its core business of solid-fuel rocket motors for tactical missiles.

"Herakles will work together with Roxel in this process and will continue to provide the skills it has acquired in the area of ballistic missile and space launch vehicle propulsion," Schleicher said in the news release.

MBDA is jointly owned by BAE Systems and EADS, each with 37.5 percent, and Finmeccanica with 25 percent.

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