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Thales and French Naval Academy sign training and R&D partnership

26 May 2004

Thales, one of the world's largest professional electronics groups, and the Ecole Navale, the French naval academy, have decided to strengthen their cooperation by signing a partnership. This partnership will enable Thales to increase its understanding of the French Navy's operations and working environment. It will also establish strong links, at a very early stage, with trainee officers set to command the next generation of ships and shape future naval requirements.

This cooperation will provide Ecole Navale students with a better understanding of the defence industry. The trainee officers will get an insight into complex defence systems that they will have to operate and maintain in operational condition. In addition, this partnership will reinforce the Ecole Navale's defence-related research activities.

The partnership agreement was signed on 22nd May during the Ecole Navale's Grand Prix by Denis Ranque, Chairman and CEO of the Thales group, and the Rear Admiral Pierre de Roquefeuil, Vice-Chancellor of the Ecole Navale and of the Poulmic group of schools. Admiral Jean-Louis Battet, the French Navy's Chief of Staff attended the signing ceremony.

The agreement covers the following domains of common interest:

Shared teaching modules between Ecole Navale trainee officers and Thales employees. The first exchanges are already scheduled for the start of the forthcoming academic year.

Research and Development
Within this domain, three areas will be included: research contracts, shared participation in research programmes, and internships for Ecole Navale students as part of their final year projects. Under this programme, Ecole Navale students have been involved in research projects at the Thales site in Brest since March 2004.

The agreement equally anticipates the joint organisation of technical-operational meetings and the support of sporting events such as the Ecole Navale's Grand Prix (an international regatta that draws a hundred one-design yachts to Brest every year). Thales was the official sponsor of this year's third Grand Prix.

Rear admiral Pierre de Roquefeuil, Vice-Chancellor of the Ecole Navale and the Poulmic group of schools stated: "I am particularly delighted that the Ecole Navale has signed such a ground breaking partnership which is dedicated to the training of naval officers. This partnership offers us excellent opportunities to have a close working relationship with a major defence industrial group in numerous fields. This partnership is a real opportunity for the École Navale."

Denis Ranque, Thales' Chairman and CEO commented, "This partnership is a genuine chance to exchange and deepen the expertise of both the Ecole Navale and Thales. It will also help to bring together our cultures, which is an important factor in meeting all the challenges that navies face today."

About the Ecole Navale

The Ecole Navale is the French naval engineering academy that trains all French naval officers.
Set on a site of 110 hectares in Brest, the Ecole Navale offers three-year courses for 300 trainee officers (who are either successful candidates of the polytechnic schools' CCP common examinations or postgraduates). Trainee officers are trained and supervised by over 500 academic staff who have civil and military backgrounds. In addition the Ecole Navale has a research institute for 50 researchers who also teach trainee officers, which is extremely important to ensure scientific teaching of the highest level. Officers graduating from the Ecole Navale hold positions of responsibility within units of the French Navy: ships, submarines, aeroplanes or helicopters, on land at the heart of commando units, in posts either in France or abroad.

Press Contacts
Thales - Dominique Desbrugères - Tel. 33 (0)1 57 77 87 85
Ecole Navale - Frédéric Louvot - Tel. 33 (0)2 98 23 40 11

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