Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc., announces a new direction for its business

Focusing on delivering to longstanding U.S. customers and expanding further into the U.S. space and intelligence markets

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2020 – Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc., today announced a new direction for the business, unveiling a new leadership team and signaling its intent to expand its presence in the U.S. space and intelligence markets.

Airbus U.S. Space & Defense Chief Executive Officer, Chris Emerson, formerly the President of Airbus Helicopters Inc., intends to build on the company’s known reputation for military aircraft and helicopters. His organization will offer capabilities in low-cost satellite design and manufacturing, space exploration, geospatial intelligence, space-based sensors and equipment, secure communications and High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite technology.

Operating under a Special Security Agreement with the U.S. government, Airbus U.S. Space & Defense is approved to deliver on highly sensitive national security and defense requirements. The company is currently executing multiple contracts with U.S. government entities, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and all of the service branches of the U.S. military. 

“Leveraging our decades of experience delivering Lakotas to the U.S. Army, we have reorganized our U.S. operations also to optimize our ability to support the growing U.S. space and intelligence markets,” said Emerson. “In addition to continuing our success with the Lakota program, we are building on the global Airbus portfolio of innovative technologies for the U.S., with reliability and commitment to our customers’ mission needs.”   

To meet these demands, Emerson has assembled an almost entirely new leadership team, including industry veterans and top picks from the U.S. Airbus executive community.  These changes were prescient, coming at a time when the U.S. DoD is spearheading a transformation in national security space, and industry has been shifting to deliver the U.S. government vision.

“The recent financing for OneWeb enables continued production of the OneWeb constellation in the high-volume, high-speed advanced satellite production facility operated by Airbus OneWeb Satellites in Florida,” said Emerson. “Airbus is thrilled to continue to leverage this low-cost capability in the U.S. to support the growing demand from U.S. customers for low-Earth orbit constellations.”

We will position the new business to meet the growing demands of the U.S. space market, blending longstanding expertise in space systems and exploration with commercial investments and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Understanding the U.S. government’s need for a resilient national security infrastructure, Emerson is also building up the company’s U.S.-based geospatial intelligence capabilities. Airbus U.S. Space & Defense has readily-available, affordable, commercial imagery that can be delivered with the speed, precision and accuracy that the U.S. government requires.

Emerson has built a leadership team that he believes has customer service at the core. The new Board of Directors, Board of Advisors, and leadership team bring a diverse set of experiences, including strong backgrounds in the space, intelligence, defense and homeland security sectors.

Independent Directors:

  • Letitia Long - Former Director of the NGA
  • The Honorable Frank Miller - Former Department of Defense (DOD) Senior Executive and Special Assistant to President George W. Bush
  • William L. Shelton, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) - Former Commander of the Air Force Space Command
  • Mark Sirangelo - Scholar in Residence, University of Colorado, Member of the DoD Defense Innovation Board and previous head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems
  • Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, U.S. Navy (Ret) - Former Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense 

Board of Advisors:

  • The Honorable Michael J. Bayer - President of Dumbarton Strategies and Chairman of the Defense Business Board
  • Robert Cardillo - Former Director of the NGA  
  • Robert B. Charles - Former Assistant Secretary of State
  • Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army (Ret.) - Former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
  • Kathryn A. Condon - Former DOD Senior Executive
  • Gen. (Ret.) Stephen D. Mundt - Former Director of Army Aviation at Headquarters Department of the Army
  • Vice Adm. James M. Zortman, U.S. Navy (Ret.) – Former Commander of U.S. Naval Air Forces

Parent company Airbus has been present in the U.S. for more than 50 years and currently supports over 275,000 jobs in more than 40 states. Airbus has contributed to over $48 billion in aircraft-related expenditures in the U.S. in the last three years and has over 450 suppliers and teammate relationships.

* * *

About Airbus U.S. Space and Defense, Inc. 

Airbus U.S. Space and Defense, Inc., headquartered in Northern Virginia, offers advanced solutions to meet the most sophisticated U.S. defense, space and security requirements.  An industry leader in space, intelligence, defense and homeland security markets, Airbus has provided U.S. customers with innovative systems for more than 50 years.

Media contacts 

Quentin HUNSTAD                               Email Contact                          +1 703 269 8770

Morgan KEESE                                       Email Contact&


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