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Thales to support Royal Australian Air Force Wedgetail training

02 February 2010

Thales Australia has signed a five-year agreement with Boeing Defence Australia to provide through life maintenance and engineering support for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) Operational Flight Trainer (OFT).

Developed by Thales in Australia and the UK, the Wedgetail OFT combines a range of state-of-the-art technologies to provide flight performance, air-to-air refuelling, flight deck and pilot tactical training capabilities.

Located at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, the OFT is a key component of the RAAF's Wedgetail AEW&C pilot training program, which will commence in early 2010.

Managed by Boeing Defence Australia, the Thales-designed and built, motion-based OFT provides realistic and high-quality simulated flight crew operations, and will be the sole Wedgetail pilot training device for the RAAF.

Chris Jenkins, Managing Director of Thales Australia, said: "Thales is pleased to be involved in the Wedgetail program for the RAAF, and the contract with Boeing Defence Australia will ensure Thales's AEW&C support continues on from delivering the OFT in 2006 to securing simulator availability during critical RAAF pilot training periods. This contract strengthens Thales Australia's longstanding partnership and close working relationship with Boeing Defence Australia and the RAAF.",/p>

For John Duddy, Boeing Defence Australia Vice President and Managing Director, the RAAF Wedgetail AEW&C pilot training program will benefit from Thales's through-life support.

"As Thales is the original equipment manufacturer of the Wedgetail OFT, Boeing Defence Australia is confident Thales's in-depth simulator knowledge and maintenance experience will benefit the RAAF and its pilots, and further strengthen the close working relationship between Boeing and Thales," Duddy said.

Known as 'zero flight time pilot training', the OFT will provide the RAAF with the ability to graduate Wedgetail pilots with 100 per cent of their type conversion training completed on the simulator. The OFT was awarded the highest level of Australian flight simulator accreditation in June 2008.

Accepted by the RAAF in February 2009, the OFT was the first segment of the Wedgetail program delivered to Australia. The Airborne Mission Segment, Operational Mission Simulator, AEW&C Support Facility and Mission Support Segment are expected to be delivered in 2010 and 2011.

The Commonwealth of Australia has procured six Boeing AEW&C aircraft to provide airborne surveillance, air defence, fleet support and force coordination, with two delivered to the RAAF in November 2009. The OFT is customised to reflect unique characteristics of the Wedgetail AEW&C system, including controls for the communication, aerial refuelling and Electronic Warfare Self Protection systems.

About Thales

Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace and Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2008, the company generated revenues of 12.7 billion euros (equivalent of AUD 22.1 billion) with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.

Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,500 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of more than AUD1 billion in 2008.

About Boeing Defence Australia

Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned Boeing subsidiary and a business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, has nearly 2,000 employees at 13 locations throughout Australia supporting programs for the Australian government and defence forces, international and commercial customers.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defence, space and security businesses specialising in innovative and capabilitiesdriven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

Press contacts

Thales Australia
Julian Elliott
+61 (0)2 9562 3716
+61 (0)401 134 415
julian.elliott@thalesgroup.com.au

Boeing Defence Australia
Rick Sanford
+61(0)7 3306 6182
+61 (0)401628 655
rick.sanford@boeing.com



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