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Thales and MBDA sign missile seeker agreement

26 June 2002

Thales Airborne Systems and MBDA have agreed to pool their expertise in the development and production of anti-air missile seekers including the future beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Meteor.

Under the agreement, signed on 19 June in Paris by Gianni Bongianni, Director of MBDA's Seeker Division and Gerard Christmann, Thales Airborne Systems' Missile Electronics General Manager, both companies will produce the radar seekers for Aster, Mica and Meteor and jointly develop all upgrades and modifications.

MBDA's Seeker Division, headquartered in Rome, is the design authority and prime contractor for both the Aster surface-to-air missile and Meteor missile seekers while Thales Airborne Systems, located at Elancourt near Paris, is the design authority and prime contractor for the Mica air-to-air seeker.

MBDA and Thales have an existing collaborative arrangement for the Mica and Aster seekers but the new agreement extends the partnership between the two companies to cover Meteor.

Both companies will combine their seeker design expertise to minimise technical risk in the development of the new Meteor missile.

Globally, MBDA and Thales will produce seekers for more than 6 000 missiles, where the seeker represents a significant proportion of the technological value of each missile.

"This agreement has been reached after the restructuring of the European defence industry in recent years," Bongianni and Christmann said in a joint statement. "It both formalises and stabilises the long-established cooperation between MBDA's constituent companies - Alenia Marconi Systems, Aerospatiale Matra Missiles and Matra BAe Dynamics - and those integrated into Thales (Thomson-CSF and Dassault Electronique)".

Notes to Editors

With an annual turnover of Euro 3 billion, a forward order book of Euro 13 billion and a presence in 70 countries, MBDA is the European missile leader and second largest missile systems company in the world. The group employs 10, 000 in 12 main sites across Europe and in the USA and presently has 45 missile, missile system and countermeasures programmes in operational service and a further 30 in development. MBDA is the design authority and designated prime contractor for the METEOR Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) which is to arm Europe's next generation fighters - Sweden's Gripen, France's Rafale and the Eurofighter for Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. MBDA is owned jointly by BAE SYSTEMS (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%).

Thales Airborne Systems is the European leader in airborne radars, missile electronics, airborne mission systems and electronic warfare systems. With more than 40 years of experience, Thales has an outstanding pedigree in missile seeker technology. A European front-runner and world leader in professional electronics in its three markets: Aerospace, Defence and Information Technologies & Services, Thales employs some 65,000 people worldwide. With a presence in 50 countries, the group generated revenues of Euro 10.3 billion in 2001.

Press contact:
Christophe Robin - Tel : + 33 (0) 1 53 77 86 26

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