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Thales awarded 3 major Information and Communications Systems contracts worth '240 million

11 February 2004

Selected for SIC 21, RIFAN and SAEC, Thales strengthens its positioning as prime contractor for major C4ISR systems for the French armed forces.

In January 2004, the French defence procurement agency (DGA) selected Thales as prime contractor for three major Information and Communications System programmes worth around €240 million:

- SIC 21 (new-generation command information system) and RIFAN (aero-naval intranet network) for the French Navy
- SAEC (forward units electronic support station) for the French Army

The three systems will meet crucial operational challenges common to the three environments, air, sea and land:

- accelerate operations by implementing the concept of Network Enabled Capability (NEC)
- theatre-wide information dominance through incremental integration of systems in the C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) chain

To meet these challenges and propose solutions suited to the needs of the French Army and Navy, Thales will draw on the Group's strengths in the following areas:

- prime contractorship and integration of subsystems within major C4ISR systems
- understanding of operational requirements in terms of system interoperability, security and scalability
- integrating commercial technology
- building on experience with previous command information system programmes (SICF, Maestro, etc.) and electronic warfare and electro-magnetic intelligence (ELMINT) programmes (Minrem, SGEA-V)

SIC 21 and RIFAN: key milestones in the implementation of Network Centric Warfare (NCW) in the naval arena

SIC 21, worth €113 million, will provide the French Navy with a new-generation command information system enabling any entity (platform, chief of staff) to operate within national or coalition C3I networks, regardless of the force organisation or command structure. SIC 21 will provide the French Navy with a common technical platform shared by all Operational Information System applications used by the Navy, ensuring the coherence and perennial supportability of the infrastructure throughout the programme. SIC 21 will be deployed at 125 sites, installed at shore stations as well as on board vessels and aircraft of various sizes.

RIFAN, worth €60 million, is a secure IP network designed to interconnect French Navy vessels and provide a Common Operational Picture for shared situational awareness.

RIFAN will supply new IP services including e-mail, VoIP, chat, FTP, videoconferencing, and cooperative mapping on manoeuvres. The contract covers the installation of RIFAN aboard 67 vessels of the French Navy.

SIC 21 and RIFAN mark a decisive stage in the implementation of the concept of Naval Network Centric Warfare (NCW), increasing information and decision-making dominance in the digitised battlespace by networking players across the entire theatre of operations.

Thales' overall prime contracting capability for the SIC 21 and RIFAN programmes, and the Group's ability to leverage COTS technology to meet the programmes' interoperability, security and scalability requirements, were determining factors in both awards. The systematic use of international standards represents a technological paradigm shift that will bring the service quality and flexibility provided by commercial technologies to every level in the French Navy's chain of command.

SAEC: a crucial component of information dominance in the digitised battlespace

SAEC, worth around €70 million, is designed to extend the Electronic Warfare capabilities of the French Army's tactical forces. The contract covers the construction of SAEC stations, which are due to be deployed in 2006/2007, and support services for ten years.

The SAEC station will provide units with a powerful, integrated tactical intelligence and early warning capability combining COMINT and ELINT sensors in a single VAB-type armoured vehicle, together with an information system and a suite of intelligence analysis and interpretation tools.
The SAEC station is highly integrated and based on robust legacy products and components designed to meet a full range of operational mission requirements:

- SIGINT sensors
- COMINT systems
- latest-generation VHF communication systems (PR4G VS4IP) and HF
- software modules for tactical mapping and data exchange complying with French Army interoperability standards

The SAEC stations will be suitable for integration with major cooperative fighting systems (concept known as BOA in France) for land forces and are one of the intelligence components of the French Army's C4ISR chain.

Press contacts:
Matt Pothecary:
Tel: +33 (0) 1 57 77 8727
Thales Communications
Elsa Delacroix
Tel: +33 (0)1 41 30 35 82

About Thales
Thales is a world leader in professional electronics in three main markets: Aerospace, Defence and IT & Services. With operations in almost 50 countries and around 63,000 staff, half of them based outside France, the Group generated revenues in excess of 11 billion euros in 2002, of which international sales accounted for 75 percent.

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