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Thales wins £110m of contracts with foreign armed forces

By Staff Reporter

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

The company employs 440 people at two sites, in east Belfast and Crossgar, Co Down. Thirty new jobs will be created at the firm, originally Shorts Missile Defence until it was bought over by the French multi-national in 2001.

The latest orders are for its Starstreak missiles, lightweight multiple launchers and Forceshield integrated air defence system. The Malaysian contract has been signed with Global Komited, Thales’ key industrial partner agent in the region. 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.

Victor Chavez, chief executive of Thales, UK said: “I am delighted that another country has decided to buy Forceshield. This 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.

The system comprises Starstreak missiles and lightweight multiple launcher — a tripod-based system that allows swift deployment of missiles to deal with attacks from low-level fighter aircraft, unmanned air vehicles and attack helicopters.

Last year, Thales announced a £100m deal to supply military equipment to Indonesia, including Starstreak missiles and radar systems. The company said Prime Minister David Cameron helped to secure that order.

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