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Northern Ireland Thales plants to build weapons for Malaysian and Thai armies

The contracts are worth a combined £110million and will create around 30 jobs

By Claire Cromie

Published 05/10/2015

Thales says the STARStreak missile uses high velocity and a three-dart configuration to
Thales says the STARStreak missile uses high velocity and a three-dart configuration to "maximise lethality"
David Beatty of Thales UK’s Belfast facility, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, First Minister Peter Robinson, Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, and Victor Chavez of Thales UK

Belfast weapons firm Thales has signed two new contracts, worth a combined £110million, to supply missiles to the Malaysian and Thai armed forces.

The firm - which is part of Thales’ Land and Air Systems operations - employs around 500 people at its design and manufacturing facility in Belfast and at its integration facility at Crossgar, Co Down.

Thirty new jobs will be created.

Thales has previously exported weapons to the Indonesian government, and the latest orders are for its STARStreak missiles, Lightweight Multiple Launchers and ForceSHIELD integrated air defence system.

A statement from the company said the deals would increase jobs in Belfast, but Thales has not revealed how many jobs will be created.

The Malaysian Armed Forces contract has been signed with Global Komited, a company within The Weststar Group, to supply ForceSHIELD, the Thales integrated Advanced Air Defence system.

In addition to the STARStreak missiles, the system comprises CONTROLMaster 200 radar and weapon coordination systems, RAPIDRanger and RAPIDRover mobile weapon systems and the Next Generation Lightweight Multiple Launcher, as well as associated communications.

The STARStreak missiles and launcher systems are manufactured in Thales’s facility in Belfast and the CONTROLMaster by Thales in France.

The purchase of ForceSHIELD will enable the Malaysian Armed Forces to replace and enhance the previously commissioned Thales STARBurst missile system, which has been in service since the mid 1990s.

A Thales spokesperson said: "STARStreak missile utilises the proven principle of ‘high velocity’ to defeat threats with short unmasking times.

"The three-dart configuration maximises lethality and the highly accurate laser beam riding guidance enables engagement of small signature targets."

CEO Victor Chavez said: “I am delighted that another country has decided to buy ForceSHIELD. This latest-generation sensors to effectors solution will give Malaysia a world class, cutting edge capability. Increasing our export sales is a key part of Thales’ growth strategy and today’s news marks another milestone.”

The Thai deal is a multi-million pound contract with DataGate in Thailand, to supply the Royal Thai Army with the STARStreak air defence missile system.

This contract follows on from Thailand’s initial purchase of STARStreak in 2012.

The system comprises STARStreak missiles and Lightweight Multiple Launcher - a tripod-based system that allows swift deployment of STARStreak missiles to deal with attacks from low-level fighter aircraft, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) and attack helicopters.

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