Weapons contract boost for Belfast firm

Weapons contract boost for Belfast firm

Prime Minister David Cameron has said a £100m contract secured by Thales UK to supply military equipment to the Indonesian Ministry of Defence will help safeguard highly-skilled jobs in Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday, Thales UK announced it will supply missiles and defence systems to be used by the Indonesian Army, with production to take place at its bases in east Belfast and south Down.David Beatty, Vice President for Advanced Weapons Systems, said the contract is the biggest export order they have received and will sustain 50 to 100 jobs within the 500-strong workforce."We're extremely pleased, it's a contract that will last for several years and it will sustain a lot of design, engineering and manufacturing people here in Northern Ireland," he explained."We have people who are world experts in the field they operate; we've got good people, they make good products and we've got people who market these things across the world who have to operate in a very competitive market place."We're fighting big companies from America, Russia, China, so it's a highly competitive environment."This valuable contract represents a breakthrough in Air Defence sales for Thales UK and will help sustain jobs at the firm's sites in Northern Ireland.Enterprise Minister Arlene FosterThales which is based in Belfast and Crossgar, is a Centre of Excellence for missile design and manufacture within the Thales Group.The new export order for ForceShield, Thales' integrated Advanced Air Defence system, includes StarStreak short range air defence missiles and RapidRanger vehicle based launcher systems which are designed, developed and manufactured in Northern Ireland.Commenting on the deal, Mr Cameron said: "This deal worth over £100m is great news for the UK and the aerospace industry, and a strong vote of confidence in this Government's long-term economic plan."This is precisely the reason why I go on these trade missions to countries like Indonesia, to drum up jobs and investment for our country, and I'm delighted my trip has resulted in a clear win for Thales."Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK, thanked the Prime Minister for backing the project and the support of the UK government."It makes a huge difference to industry and our customers," he commented."Thales is the only European defence contractor with the in-depth knowledge and range of advanced technologies to deliver a leading-edge integrated air defence solution such as ForceShield."This solution for the Indonesian Army marks a new approach to air defence in that it provides a complete turnkey solution comprising latest-generation 'sensor to effects' technologies."Welcoming the news, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "Thales is a world class defence company with a global reputation and has been working hard to secure new export business."Thales operates at the cutting edge of engineering and has benefited from Invest Northern Ireland support over the years to develop and extend its design capabilities, manufacturing skills and meet the needs of international customers."

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