Production of Launch Vehicle Fairings Moves from Switzerland to Decatur, Alabama

Decatur, Ala., (July 31, 2015) – Today United Launch Alliance (ULA) and RUAG Space announced a new strategic partnership in which RUAG will establish a U.S. composites production capability located within ULA’s Decatur, Alabama, factory.

“We are pleased with this new partnership that leverages so many mutually beneficial business objectives, while substantially lowering costs,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “As ULA looks to the future, we will transform the future of space launch by making space more affordable and accessible, while continuing to deliver on ULA’s unparalleled reliability and precision.”  

RUAG currently builds the Atlas V 5.4-meter payload fairing system and the interstage adapter in Zurich and Emmon, Switzerland.

This work, plus the production of several new additional structures for the recently announced ULA Vulcan rocket, will be manufactured by RUAG in the Decatur facility starting in mid-2017.

“We’re proud that ULA has selected RUAG as a strategic partner. ULA and RUAG have been working together successfully in the Atlas program for more than a decade. Now we can build on this collaboration with the new Vulcan launcher and our new production site in the U.S.,” says Peter Guggenbach, CEO of RUAG Space.

RUAG’s presence in Decatur will create approximately 100 local jobs by 2019.

“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,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “The jobs that RUAG is creating through this partnership with 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.”

“This exciting, new partnership highlights the fact that North Alabama continues to thrive in its long-standing position as a leader in space capabilities,” said Sen. Richard Shelby. “I am delighted that ULA’s Decatur facility will continue to be at the forefront of the future of space launch, and I look forward to the jobs and economic growth that this production will bring to the region.”

“North Alabama is known the world over for having an exceptionally skilled and talented workforce, and RUAG’s decision to bring jobs to Decatur is further proof of that fact," said Sen. Jeff Sessions. "I commend the state and local officials who worked to make this deal happen — it’s great news for the region and great news for Alabama workers.”

"North Alabama continues to thrive and formulate strong business partnerships that strengthen our community and support America’s defense and space capabilities," said Rep. Mo Brooks.  "I'm proud to represent the men and women of ULA and their 100 percent mission success record. I've worked hard to represent my constituents and am thrilled to see RUAG bring these kinds of quality aerospace jobs to Alabama's 5th District."

“I am excited to hear that ULA will be bringing more jobs to North Alabama. For years now ULA has been a source of pride in the Tennessee Valley and this announcement I believe only increases the respect for this great company,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt. “The men and women who will be filling these 100 well-paying positions will be carrying on North Alabama’s long tradition in leading the way in aerospace innovation, technology and ingenuity. “

Sen. Arthur Orr, chairman of the Morgan County Economic Development Association added, “We are fortunate that our strong relationship with ULA helped us recruit another world-class company to Morgan County, Alabama. This partnership is important to the future of ULA and we are honored to have RUAG in our community.”

"Decatur is very proud of RUAG's decision," said Decatur Mayor Don Kyle. "The addition of these jobs will add to the remarkable success ULA has had in the launch industry that serves this country. I look forward to working with RUAG and ULA as they continue to build their expertise here."

“Huntsville International Airport is excited to welcome RUAG to North Alabama. Their partnership with ULA is a testament to the opportunities that are available in our region. Teaming with ULA in Alabama offers great advantages to both companies. ULA offers an exceptional record of launch successes. Those launches protect this country and make this world a safer place. We welcome RUAG to our community,” stated Rick Tucker, executive director, Port of Huntsville.

“We are proud of our partners in Decatur for their successful effort to further develop and diversify the industrial base in North Alabama with this new partnership between ULA and RUAG,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “RUAG is an important contributor in the aerospace industry, and their presence alongside ULA in Decatur further signifies that North Alabama is the place to be for space engineering and manufacturing.”

“Both ULA and RUAG appreciate the ongoing collaboration with Alabama local and state officials,” said Bruno. “This community supports a healthy environment for both businesses to grow and continue to contribute to the local Alabama economy,” said Bruno.  

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 95 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch, and instagram.com/ulalaunch.