Pictured during a visit to the company's Belfast facility are: (L-R) David Beatty, Managing Director of Thales UK's Belfast facility; Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster; First Minister Peter Robinson; Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology; and Victor Chavez, Chief Executive for Thales UK.
First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D. Robinson MLA and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, have welcomed a £48million UK Ministry of Defence contract for Thales UK in Belfast.
Thales, which has operations in Belfast and Crossgar, is a Centre of Excellence for missile design and manufacture within the Thales Group. This contract involves the demonstration and manufacture of the Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Light) system.
Welcoming the announcement during a visit to Thales’ Belfast facility where the equipment will be manufactured, the First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I congratulate Thales Belfast on their success in winning this valuable contract to deliver highly innovative weapons capability to the Royal Navy. This contract is welcome news for the Northern Ireland economy as it will secure 60 high quality jobs within Thales Belfast and it will also provide additional opportunities for the supply chain.
“Over the past three decades Thales has become a world-renowned specialist in the Short Range Air Defence weapons segment of the defence market. The talents of Northern Ireland’s manufacturing and engineering labour force are now held in high esteem across the global aerospace and defence industries and today’s announcement is further evidence of this.”
Arlene Foster added: “This is significant contract for Thales and highlights the expertise and highly skilled workforce here in Northern Ireland.
“I’m pleased that Thales has maintained its relationship with Invest Northern Ireland over the years. The agency has been supportive of the company’s ongoing activities to develop new capability and secure vital new contracts, particularly in undertaking complex R&D activity, which has helped it to develop world-class capability.”
The system is designed to use the Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM). LMM is a lightweight, precision strike missile, which has been designed to be fired from a variety of land, sea and airborne tactical platforms. The system will be deployed by the Royal Navy and provide highly effective capability to defeat the threat from small ships and fast inshore attack craft.