Posted on Monday 16 June 2014 by Ulster Business

Thales missile contract for belfast will protect 60 jobs

Pictured during a visit to Thales' Belfast facility are, from left to right: David Beatty, Managing Director of Thales UK's Belfast facility; Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster; First Minister Peter Robinson; Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology; and Victor Chavez, Chief Executive for Thales UK.

French defence company Thales said 60 jobs will be protected at its Belfast base after it won a £48m contract to build missiles for the Ministry of Defence.

The deal will see the company’s Northern Ireland operation design and manufacture missiles for the Royal Navy’s attack helicopters and is expected to protect more jobs further down the supply chain.

The Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapons Light programme, which the deal is a part of, will equip the Royal Navy’s new AW159 Wildcat Maritime Attack helicopters with Thales’ Lightweight Multirole Missile. The missiles are capable of attacking small boats, fast attack craft and other targets.

The contract was announced by Minister of Defense Philip Dunne MP during a visit to Thales’ factory in Belfast.

“This contract is great news for Thales and Northern Ireland. The 60 jobs sustained represent experts in advanced weapons system design and manufacturing, and I am pleased that a similar number of jobs will be sustained throughout the programme’s supply chain. 

“I want to give the Armed Forces the battle-winning equipment they deserve, and this highly complex weapon system will provide Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters with unparalleled strike capabilities. I take great pride that these missiles are being made in the United Kingdom.”

Thales director of weapons Laurence Bryant  led the team in charge of winning the deal.

“This contract is the result of a great deal of hard work between the MoD and Thales and brings us a step closer to providing the Royal Navy with a highly sophisticated weapons system for the future.”

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