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Minister for Defence Equipment & Support opens new Thales major programmes facility in Bristol

11 July 2008

Baroness Taylor named the building ‘Cambrai House', after the famous battle in 1917. The Battle of Cambrai is widely recognised as the first major combined action in military history, where the co-ordinated use of armour, infantry, artillery and air power by the British Army and its allies led to the breaching of the Hindenburg Line. Afterwards the Minister viewed a Cambrai-era First World War Mk V tank from the Bovington Tank Museum and current examples of Thales' equipment in service on current operations.

Cambrai House accommodates several Thales UK-led land systems project teams, including some of the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) System of Systems Integrator (SOSI) team (a joint undertaking with partner Boeing Defence UK) supporting the wider FRES IPT based at MoD Abbey Wood, and the Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) Prime Contract Management Office (PCMO). FRES and FIST are two of the British Army's highest priority equipment programmes.

These land-system teams are principally made up of highly skilled specialists in engineer¬ing, business and programme management, together with subject matter experts in land systems for defence. The new building is also home to other Thales ven¬tures, providing services including logistic support and engineering consultancy.

Baroness Taylor said after opening the building: "I am very pleased to have formally opened this impressive new centre for Thales's military projects in Bristol. Work that will be undertaken here will have an important influence on the development of key military capabilities for our Armed Forces, such as the Future Rapid Effect System family of armoured vehicles and the Future Integrated Soldier Technology programme, which aims to equip the infantry to meet the threats of the future."

Alex Dorrian, CEO Thales UK, said: "We are very grateful to Baroness Taylor for taking the time to open Cambrai House. This building marks a significant step in our continuing investment in the UK in support of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the development of our land system business. Cambrai House will house up to 300 highly skilled staff who will be focused on providing the armed forces with the systems and equipment they need now and in the future."

Cambrai House is located within walking distance of the MoD's DE&S organisation at Abbey Wood, where many of Thales' key customers are based. This opening marks a significant increase in the company's presence in the south-west region, which is already home to businesses specialising in land and joint systems (Wells), naval systems (Templecombe and Bristol), as well as Thales UK's contribution as founding partner of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and Design Authority for the two new aircraft carriers being delivered to the Royal Navy (Bristol).

Notes to editors
About FRES and FIST
The FRES programme will provide the British Army with a family of medium-weight, network-enabled, air-deployable armoured vehicles to meet up to 16 battlespace roles. The MoD announced on 6 February 2008 the award of a contract to Thales UK in partner¬ship with Boeing, for the SOSI role on the FRES programme.

The Thales UK-Boeing SOSI team will be integrated into the MoD's FRES project team to form an Integrated Customer Team that will manage the delivery of FRES. The SOSI will provide expertise in the following areas:

- Programme management
- System-of-system engineering and integration
- Through-life capability management
- Through-life technology management
- Alliance development and supply chain management
- Development of MoD's SOSI competence

The MoD's FIST programme will enhance the capability of small teams of dismount¬ed soldiers, ensuring that the infantry of the future is equipped to meet changing require¬ments. Thales UK is the prime contractor for the FIST Assessment Phase.

The programme is currently focusing on two areas: Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA); and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) and offers many potential improvements to the capability of dismounted soldiers, including:


* Reduction in engagement times
* Improvement in detection and recognition ranges, in all conditions, day and night
* Reduced weight
* Reduction in target location times and improved accuracy


* Improved awareness by the soldier of his surroundings, including the location of friendly and enemy forces
* Better co-ordination and synchronisation
* Enhanced navigation capability

About Thales and Thales UK
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 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 £1.2 bn.

Press contact:
Thales UK
Kathryn Bell
Mob: +44 7813 903274

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