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Improved version of the Starstreak hits the mark!

26 March 2008

A delegation from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) today witnessed the first demonstration of the latest variant of the self-propelled Starstreak missile system, incorporating automatic target tracking (ATT), new control consoles and the firing of the new standard of Starstreak missile (Starstreak II). The demonstration was carried out at the Manorbier Range in South Wales and was 100% successful.

The incorporation of ATT technology into the weapon system architecture not only contributes to improved accuracy and performance but also results in a major reduction in training time required for the operators and significantly reduces the workload of the system operator.

The target for the engagement was the Banshee, which is representative of a small unmanned aerial vehicle, the growing threat to British forces on operation. The enhancements to the Starstreak missile itself mean that the range is extended to beyond 7km and the increased coverage, altitude and guidance precision means that it is optimised for small target destruction. The upgraded launcher and missile is planned to enter service at the end of 2010.

Speaking from the range in Manorbier Steve Hill, Vice President and Managing Director of Thales UK's air systems business in UK, says: "I am confident that the armed forces will find these enhancements of immense benefit on operations. We are delighted with the significant improvements to performance we have been able to achieve."

These improvements are in addition to the multi-million pound contract awarded to Thales UK's Belfast site back in 2003 to design, develop, manufacture and integrate a thermal sighting system (TSS) and identification friend or foe (IFF) into the Starstreak weapon system. This system has now successfully entered service with the British Army ahead of schedule, providing a 24-hour poor weather capability and, importantly, the ability to identify targets before engagement.

The UK MoD representative Lt Col S Nevin, says that "the new weapon system equipment demonstrated today will greatly enhance the ability to combat the emerging small target threat. The programme was completed to cost and within an ambitious timescale and Thales should be congratulated for their efforts".

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About Thales
Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide. Thales's 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 2007 revenues in excess of £8.3 bn.

Thales UK employs 9,000 staff based at more than 50 locations. In 2007 Thales UK's revenues were over £1 bn.

Press contacts:
Thales UK, Air Systems
Denise Clarke
Mob: +44 (0)7711 428434

Thales UK
Kathryn Bell
Mob: +44 7813 903274

Christophe Robin
Corporate Communications
Tel. +33 1 57 77 87 32

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