ULA taps L3 for Vulcan rocket avionics

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WASHINGTON — United Launch Alliance today selected L3 Technologies to provide avionics and related services for its next-generation Vulcan rocket.

L3 expects to provide ULA with more than $1 billion in hardware and services over the next 10 years, L3 said in a Dec. 4 release.

ULA specified that the avionics are for Vulcan Centaur, the first iteration of the rocket that uses a new first stage paired with the existing Centaur upper stage used on the Atlas 5. The second version of that rocket will have the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage, or ACES, to lift heavier payloads that would go on the Delta 4 Heavy. The first launch of Vulcan Centaur is planned for 2019 (though the company has yet to downselect either Blue Origin’s BE-4 or Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1), followed by Vulcan ACES in 2023.

“United Launch Alliance is proud to select L3 to develop the complete avionics package for our Vulcan Centaur launch systems,” said ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno. “We have exceptional confidence in the quality, performance and value of L3’s avionics design, which will give our customers even greater capability for new missions at a significant reduction in cost.”

L3’s Sensor Systems division will supply the avionics equipment, which L3 and ULA will collaboratively integrate into Vulcan’s design and manufacturing processes.