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Thales ISTAR service provides "stunning performance for UK troops"

11 September 2007

British Army intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in southern Iraq were significantly boosted in mid-June when Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) began operating in the region.

Thales UK was awarded the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) earlier in the year to supply UK forces on current operations with Tactical UAV systems to provide an urgently needed enhanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability.

This UOR is being fulfilled by Thales UK through a highly innovative service provision contract and is delivering high-quality imagery and image intelligence to the Land Component Commander.

The contract includes the provision of Hermes 450 UAV systems, as well as training of the UK MoD staff in the use and maintenance of the system, and the provision of contractor logistic support (CLS) and programme management services.

The capability is being delivered in several tranches. Thales' swift response enabled the first in-theatre delivery to be achieved on 14 June 2007. First flight was on 20 June and Initial Operating Capability (IOC) was declared on 5 July. Since then, the Hermes 450 has been regularly flying in support of operations, providing persistent ISTAR coverage, delivering very high quality visual and IR imagery, day and night.

Within only two weeks of IOC, due to the intensity of operations, the UAV systems have been called upon to provide consistent and reliable ISTAR coverage over extended periods with only a 90-minute turn around time before returning to station: "a truly reliable and stunning performance for our UK troops," according to a senior officer in theatre. "The H-450 ISTAR capability allows immediate and rapid reaction to a threat, with unmatched flexibility and minimum maintenance to support UK forces in adverse conditions. It's made a considerable difference to our capability."

Alex Dorrian, CEO of Thales UK says: "Thales UK is leading this field working in partnership with the MoD to meet operational requirements in a short timescale. It is very important for industry to be able to react quickly in this way to provide support to emerging requirements."

About Thales

Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide. Thales' leading-edge technology is supported by 22,000 R&D engineers who offer a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy field-proven mission-critical information systems. To this end, the group's civil and military businesses develop in parallel and share a common base of technologies to serve a single objective: the security of people, property and nations. The group builds its growth on its unique multi-domestic strategy based on trusted partnerships with national customers and market players, while leveraging its global expertise to support local technology and industrial development. Thales employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with forecast 2007 revenues in excess of €12 billion.

Thales UK is a major electronics and systems group serving defence, aerospace, security and services markets. Thales employs 9,000 staff in the UK, based at more than 50 locations. In 2006 Thales UK's revenues were over £1 bn.

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