RUAG, one of Europe’s leading suppliers of products for the space industry, said the new Alabama operation will produce carbon-fiber components for ULA’s Atlas V rocket and for the planned Vulcan rocket. RUAG has previously produced Atlas V components at factories in Zurich and Emmen but will move that work to Decatur.
The project will create at least 100 jobs at ULA’s Decatur facility, the sole production source for the Atlas V and Delta VI launch vehicles that blast critical national security, communications, GPS and research satellites into orbit.
“ULA and RUAG have been working together successfully in the Atlas program for more than a decade,” Peter Guggenbach, CEO of RUAG Space, said. “Now we can build on this collaboration with the new Vulcan launcher and our new production site in the U.S.”
ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno said the new strategic partnership with RUAG “will transform the future of space launch by making space more affordable and accessible.”
Bruno added: “Both ULA and RUAG appreciate the ongoing collaboration with Alabama local and state officials. This community supports a healthy environment for both businesses to grow and continue to contribute to the local Alabama economy.”
AIR SHOW TALKS
Alabama officials said talks with RUAG and ULA have gone on for more than a year.
Governor Robert Bentley and Alabama Department of Commerce officials initially met with the Swiss executive team of RUAG Space at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow. The governor and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield also met with ULA officials at Farnborough in 2014 and again in Paris this year to facilitate this collaboration.
“RUAG is an important player in the global aerospace industry, and I am honored this world-class company has decided to locate their operation in Alabama, which has a rich history of rocket design and production,” Governor Bentley said. “The jobs that RUAG is creating through this partnership with the United Launch Alliance are exactly the kind of high-paying, technical jobs that our Alabama economic development team works hard to secure.
“RUAG simply could not have found a better location for its new operation than right here in Sweet Home Alabama,” he added.
Commerce Secretary Canfield said the Swiss company is a great addition to Alabama’s already robust aerospace sector, which includes companies such as Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, as well as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
“RUAG’s decision to produce sophisticated, composite rocket components at ULA’s Decatur facility speaks to the deep capabilities that Alabama possesses at the highest levels of aerospace,” he said. “We look forward to forging a strong partnership with RUAG and working to help the company grow its Alabama base.”
For the Alabama-made Atlas V-500, RUAG Space produces 5.4-meter payload fairings, which are mounted at the tip of the launch vehicle to protect satellites during ascent and to make the shape of the rocket more aerodynamic. RUAG supplies the smaller Atlas V-400 with an interstage adapter, a composite structure that connects the main stage and upper stage of the rocket.
RUAG is also active in the Ariane and Vega rocket programs in Europe. According to its web site, the company makes other products such as satellite structures and mechanisms, computers for satellites and launchers, navigation receivers, thermal systems, mechanical ground support equipment and more.
RUAG has sites in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Sweden and the U.S.
“We are pleased to welcome RUAG to Decatur and Morgan County, and we appreciate the strategic partnership with ULA that made this project possible,” said Jeremy Nails, president and CEO of the Morgan County Economic Development Association.