Airbus switching OneWeb production to UK?
January 4, 2021
By Chris Forrester
OneWeb, the would-be broadband-by-satellite constellation backed by the UK and India, is contemplating switching its current Florida satellite production line to the UK.
The Mail on Sunday reported that “executives behind OneWeb briefed civil servants” on the merits of moving satellite production from Florida to the UK. Currently satellite production takes place under a joint-venture between OneWeb and Airbus.
In an interview carried in the same report, Richard Franklin, managing director for defence and space at the UK arm of Airbus, said his company is keen to make the switch. “There’s a real intent and desire in Airbus that manufacturing is done from the UK,” he said.
OneWeb is building its Mark 1 version satellites in Florida at a rate of two craft per day but there is a plan to start a second-generation version which would include GPS-type functionality. But first there are obligations to turn out the target 650 satellites needed to get a full service up and running.
Airbus, while headquartered in Toulouse, France, has major British satellite production facilities in Portsmouth and Stevenage in the south of England.