Safran Consolidates Solid-Rocket Propulsion Business

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PARIS — France’s Safran said April 30 it has completed the merger of SME, formerly a subsidiary of the state-owned SNPE, and Safran’s own Snecma Solid Propulsion division into Europe’s foremost solid-rocket propulsion specialist, to be known as Herakles.

Herakles affiliates include Pyroalliance, which manufactures rocket ignition components, and the Europropulsion and Regulus companies, which are responsible for the Ariane 5 rocket’s solid-fueled strap-on boosters built both in Europe and at the French Guiana spaceport in South America. Europropulsion and Regulus also provide solid propellant for the small Vega rocket, which recently entered service.

Taken together, the Herakles divisions will generate annual revenue of about 700 million euros ($924 million), according to Safran.

Safran purchased SNPE’s solid-rocket division in April 2011, ending a multiyear effort by Safran and Snecma to consolidate Europe’s solid-rocket propulsion sector for missiles and launch vehicles.