Thales wins €60m contract from UK Ministry of Defence

Belfast factory to build launcher and laser guidance system for Royal Navy helicopters

 CGI image showing how a Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter fitted with future anti-surface guided weapons light missiles may look. Photograph: Thales/PA Wire

CGI image showing how a Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter fitted with future anti-surface guided weapons light missiles may look. Photograph: Thales/PA Wire

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 01:00

The global defence group Thales, which employs more than 450 people in Northern Ireland, has won a £48 million (€60 million) contract from the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD).

As part of the contract, Thales will supply a system that comprises a five-barrel launcher and a laser guidance system for Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters, and also provide deployable test equipment.

This system is designed to use Thales’s lightweight multirole missile, which can be fired from land, sea and airborne tactical platforms.

Both the missile and the system equipment will be manufactured in Belfast.

Thales, which is French-owned, has had a presence in the North since it acquired what was formerly Shorts Missile Defence in 2001.

The North’s First Minister Peter Robinson said the “valuable contract” would boost the local economy.

“It will secure 60 high- quality jobs within Thales Belfast and it will also provide additional opportunities for the supply chain.”

Thales, which has operations in Belfast and Crossgar, is a centre of excellence for missile design and manufacture within the Thales group.