Thales Group
Overview
 
The Thales Group is a French electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 company delivering information systems
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 and services for the aerospace
Aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

, defense, transportation and security
Security
Security is the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Security as a form of protection are structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition. The Institute for Security and Open Methodologies in the OSSTMM 3 defines security as "a form of protection...

 markets. The headquarters are in Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

 (in the suburbs of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

), and its stock is listed on the Euronext Paris
Euronext Paris
Euronext Paris is France's securities market, formerly known as the Paris Bourse, which merged with the Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels exchanges in September 2000 to form Euronext NV, which is the second largest exchange in Europe behind the UK's London Stock Exchange...

.

The company changed its name to Thales from Thomson-CSF
Thomson-CSF
Thomson-CSF was a major electronics and defence contractor. In December 2000 it was renamed Thales Group.-History:In 1879 Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston formed the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in the United States....

in December 2000 shortly after the £1,300 million acquisition of Racal Electronics plc
Racal
Racal Electronics plc was once the third-largest British electronics firm. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, Racal was a diversified company, offering products including: as voice and data recorders; point of sale terminals; laboratory instruments;...

, a UK defence electronics group. It is now partially state-owned by the French State
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and has operations in more than 50 countries.
Encyclopedia
The Thales Group is a French electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 company delivering information systems
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 and services for the aerospace
Aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

, defense, transportation and security
Security
Security is the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Security as a form of protection are structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition. The Institute for Security and Open Methodologies in the OSSTMM 3 defines security as "a form of protection...

 markets. The headquarters are in Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

 (in the suburbs of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

), and its stock is listed on the Euronext Paris
Euronext Paris
Euronext Paris is France's securities market, formerly known as the Paris Bourse, which merged with the Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels exchanges in September 2000 to form Euronext NV, which is the second largest exchange in Europe behind the UK's London Stock Exchange...

.

The company changed its name to Thales from Thomson-CSF
Thomson-CSF
Thomson-CSF was a major electronics and defence contractor. In December 2000 it was renamed Thales Group.-History:In 1879 Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston formed the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in the United States....

in December 2000 shortly after the £1,300 million acquisition of Racal Electronics plc
Racal
Racal Electronics plc was once the third-largest British electronics firm. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, Racal was a diversified company, offering products including: as voice and data recorders; point of sale terminals; laboratory instruments;...

, a UK defence electronics group. It is now partially state-owned by the French State
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and has operations in more than 50 countries. It has 68,000 employees and generated €13.1 billion in revenues in 2010. The Group is ranked as the 475th largest company by Fortune
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

 500 Global, is the 11th largest defence contractor in the world and 60% of its total sales are military sales.

Significant changes have occurred since the largest private shareholder, Alcatel
Alcatel
Alcatel Mobile Phones is a brand of mobile handsets. It was established in 2004 as a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent of France and TCL Communication of China....

, sold its stake in Thales to Dassault. The CEO for many years, Denis Ranque, was replaced by Luc Vigneron (formerly of the much smaller state-controlled armoured vehicle manufacturer Nexter) who has initiated an extensive re-organisation.

The Thales Group is named after the Greek philosopher Thales
Thales
Thales of Miletus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition...

. The company is pronounced taˈlɛs.

History

Thales' predecessor, Thomson-CSF, evolved from Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston (CFTH), which was established in 1893. However Thomson-CSF itself was established in 1968 when Thomson-Brandt
Thomson SA
Technicolor SA , formerly Thomson SA and Thomson Multimedia, is a French international provider of solutions for the creation, management, post-production, delivery and access of video, for the Communication, Media and Entertainment industries. Technicolor’s headquarters are located in Issy les...

 (the renamed CFTH) merged its electronics arm with that of Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie Sans Fil (CSF).

Thales formed a joint venture with Raytheon
Raytheon
Raytheon Company is a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. It was previously involved in corporate and special-mission aircraft until early 2007...

 in June, 2001 to combine their radar and communications systems divisions. Named ThalesRaytheonSystems
ThalesRaytheonSystems
ThalesRaytheonSystems is a joint venture between Raytheon of the United States and Thales Group of France. ThalesRaytheon was formed in June, 2001, for the purpose of combining the radar and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence or C4I systems efforts of the two firms....

, the firm is 50% owned by both parent companies.

In 2002 Thales set up the joint venture company Armaris with the French shipbuilder DCN to offer a total "bottom up" shipbuilding capability.

In 2002, Thales Broadcast Multimedia, a former subsidiary of Thales, provided China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 with standard short-wave radio-broadcasting equipment designed for general public radio-broadcasting. Although the contract was not at all for the purpose of jamming foreign radio stations broadcasting to China, it now appears that this is what the ALLISS antenna
Antenna (radio)
An antenna is an electrical device which converts electric currents into radio waves, and vice versa. It is usually used with a radio transmitter or radio receiver...

s are being used for.

In 2003 Thales UK's design won the competition for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 Future Carrier (CVF)
Royal Navy CVF programme
The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are a two-ship class of aircraft carrier being built for the Royal Navy. HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to enter service in 2016 and HMS Prince of Wales in 2020. HMS Queen Elizabeth will not be built to a CATOBAR configuration, but the second ship HMS...

 and the company now participates in an alliance company with BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

 and the UK Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

. This Thales design may form the basis of the Future French aircraft carrier
Future French aircraft carrier
PA2 is a planned new aircraft carrier developed for the French Navy by Thales Naval France and DCNS from the Thales UK/BMT design for the future British Queen Elizabeth class....

 which the company has agreed to build with DCN.

In 2006 Thales acquired Australian Defence Industries
Australian Defence Industries
Thales Australia is a primary defence contractor for the Australian Defence Force. Thales Australia is best known for its naval ship repair operations, and currently leases the Captain Cook graving dock at Garden Island Naval Base in Sydney, New South Wales and also leases and occupies many of the...

, a major manufacturer of military equipment such as smokeless gunpowder and the Bushmaster IMV
Bushmaster IMV
The Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle or Infantry Mobility Vehicle is an Australian-built wheeled armoured vehicle. It was originally designed by Irish company Timoney Technology Ltd under a licence agreement with Perry Engineering in Adelaide; that licence was sold, with permission granted by...

.

Alcatel deal

In April, 2006, Thales announced it would be acquiring Alcatel
Alcatel
Alcatel Mobile Phones is a brand of mobile handsets. It was established in 2004 as a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent of France and TCL Communication of China....

's space business (67% of Alcatel Alenia Space and 33% of Telespazio
Telespazio
Telespazio is a space systems services company, based in Rome, Italy. Telespazio was founded in 1961; however the company as it exists today was formed on July 1 2005 with the merger of the original Telespazio with the space services division of Alcatel...

), and Alcatel's Rail Signalling Solutions division in a deal which also raised Alcatel's ownership of Thales to 21.66 percent. The French government would also decrease its ownership in Thales to 27.1 percent from 31.3 percent as part of the acquisition. According to an Alcatel Press Room Web page of April 5, 2006, the deal would also include the Systems Integration activities (those not dedicated to telecoms operators, and covering mainly the transport and energy sectors). In December 2008, Alcatel agreed to sell a 20.8% stake in French engineering group Thales SA to Dassault Aviation SA for €1.57 billion ($2.27 billion).

Areas of business

Thales Group has made many electronic devices and equipment used by the French Armed Forces from its past as Thomson-CSF, including the SPECTRA helmet
SPECTRA helmet
The SPECTRA helmet or CGF Gallet Combat Helmet is the ballistic helmet currently in use in the French military, as well as in the armies of several other countries. Built by CGF Gallet , it weighs , is available in two sizes, and is made from Spectra fibers, produced under license from Honeywell...

 for the army and the gendarmerie. It has worked with Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation is a French aircraft manufacturer of military, regional and business jets, a subsidiary of Dassault Group.It was founded in 1930 by Marcel Bloch as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch or "MB". After World War II, Marcel Bloch changed his name to Marcel Dassault, and the name of the...

 on the Rafale and made its SPECTRA
Thales Spectra
The Thales SPECTRA is an integrated defensive aids suite developed by Thales Group for the Dassault Rafale series of fighter aircraft.All elements of the Thales SPECTRA system are built into the airframe, and have high levels of automation and system...

 defensive aids. Thales often worked with DCNS and designed the electronics used on French ships, and it is involved in the construction of both the Horizon
Horizon class frigate
The Horizon Common New Generation Frigate is a multi-national collaboration to produce a new generation of anti-air warfare frigates. Originally an alliance of Britain, France and Italy, the project is now a French/Italian effort following the withdrawal of Britain due to differing requirements...

 and FREMM
FREMM multipurpose frigate
The FREMM Multipurpose Frigate is a ship designed by DCNS/Armaris and Fincantieri to operate in anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, and be capable of carrying out deep strikes against land targets.The French Navy plans to operate eleven FREMM frigates, and the Marina...

 programs. Thales, as Thomson-CSF, was involved in the Taiwan frigates scandal, relating to the sale of La Fayette class
La Fayette class frigate
The La Fayette class units are light multi-mission frigates built by DCN and operated by French Marine Nationale...

 frigates to Taiwan. It is also present in Eurosam
Eurosam
Eurosam GIE is a European manufacturer of anti-air missiles.Eurosam was established in June 1989 for the development of the Famille de missiles Sol-Air Futurs . Eurosam was initially a joint venture between Aérospatiale, Alenia and Thomson-CSF...

 as Thomson-CSF was a founder of the consortium along Aérospatiale
Aérospatiale
Aérospatiale was a French aerospace manufacturer that built both civilian and military aircraft, rockets and satellites. It was originally known as Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale...

 and Alenia Aeronautica
Alenia Aeronautica
Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica subsidiary, is a European aerospace company from Italy. Its subsidiaries include Alenia Aermacchi and Alenia Aeronavali...

. In February 2004, Thales was awarded a contract for a new command and control system for the French Navy, the SIC 21, that will be fitted on the Charles de Gaulle, many vessels and shore locations. Additionally, the Future French aircraft carrier
Future French aircraft carrier
PA2 is a planned new aircraft carrier developed for the French Navy by Thales Naval France and DCNS from the Thales UK/BMT design for the future British Queen Elizabeth class....

 involves Thales as the main designer of the ship. Thales is also working on X-ray
X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

 imaging, finances, energy and operating commercial satellites.

Thales international

Thales' international subsidiaries generated 52% of the company's revenue in 2008, with Thales UK being the largest of these accounting for 13% of group revenue. Its large presence in the UK (largely as a result of the Racal
Racal
Racal Electronics plc was once the third-largest British electronics firm. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, Racal was a diversified company, offering products including: as voice and data recorders; point of sale terminals; laboratory instruments;...

 acquisition) has resulted in several high profile contracts.

Defence
The company's design won the competition for the Royal Navy Future Carrier (CVF)
Royal Navy CVF programme
The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are a two-ship class of aircraft carrier being built for the Royal Navy. HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to enter service in 2016 and HMS Prince of Wales in 2020. HMS Queen Elizabeth will not be built to a CATOBAR configuration, but the second ship HMS...

. It is part of the AirTanker consortium, the winning bid for the RAF's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft
Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft
Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft is a British project to procure aerial refuelling and air transport for the Royal Air Force to replace VC10 and Lockheed TriStars then in service. After evaluation of bids the RAF selected the AirTanker consortium who had offered the Airbus A330 MRTT. AirTanker...

. Thales UK won the contract for the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 UAV
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

 programme, Watchkeeper
Watchkeeper
Watchkeeper WK450 is a £800 million contract awarded in July 2005 to Thales to provide the British Army with an unmanned aerial vehicle for all weather, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance use....

. It also produces the SWARM
SWARM
The SWARM Remote Weapon System is a fully armored remote weapon system designed and built by the Thales Group in Glasgow, Scotland. The SWARM system consists of two main assemblies: the Gun Processing and Interface Unit , which is operated inside the vehicle, and the external Weapon and Sensor...

 remote weapon station
Remote Weapon Station
A remote weapon station, also known as a remote weapon system, is a weaponized system for light and medium caliber weapons which can be installed on ground combat vehicle or sea and air-based combat platforms. Such equipment is used on modern military vehicles, as it allows a gunner to remain in...

.

Thales Air Defence
Thales Air Defence
Thales Air Defence Limited, formerly Shorts Missile Systems, is a defence contractor based in Belfast, Northern Ireland producing short-range or close air defence missiles. The company has a turnover of approximately £70m and pre-tax profits of £7m....

 produces a range of short-range missile systems such as the Starstreak
Starstreak missile
Starstreak is a British short range surface-to-air missile manufactured by Thales Air Defence , in Belfast. It is also known as Starstreak HVM where HVM stands for "High Velocity Missile". After launch the missile accelerates to approximately Mach 3.5, at which point it launches three laser beam...

 surface-to-air missile.

Civil
Thales has major involvement in the UK rail industry as a result of the Racal merger and the 2006 acquisition of Alcatel's Rail Signalling Solutions division and transport business. Thales holds contracts worth £480 million for providing new signalling for the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

.

Search and Rescue
Thales, as part of the Soteria SAR
Soteria Search and Rescue
Soteria Search and Rescue is a British based consortium which, from February 2010 to February 2011 was the preferred bidder for the contract to run all UK civilian search and rescue helicopter services from 2012 onwards.-History:...

 consortium have been selected as the Preferred Bidder for the 25-year contract to provide civilian Search and Rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 throughout the United Kingdom.

Other

Thales is also a major manufacturer of in-flight entertainment
In-flight Entertainment
In-flight entertainment refers to the entertainment available to aircraft passengers during a flight. In 1936, the airship Hindenburg offered passengers a piano, lounge, dining room, smoking room, and bar during the 2½ day flight between Europe and America...

 systems on board airliners. Thales' primary competitors in this area of business include Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Panasonic Avionics Corporation is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation and is headquartered in Lake Forest, California with major business functions also shared with the former headquarters located in Bothell, WA.Established in 1980, the product engineering and development departments are...

, Rockwell Collins
Rockwell Collins
Rockwell Collins, Inc. is a large United States-based international company headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, primarily providing aviation and information technology systems and services to governmental agencies and aircraft manufacturers.- History :...

, and LiveTV
LiveTV
LiveTV is a major provider of airline in-flight entertainment systems. Originally a joint venture of Harris Corporation and BE Aerospace , it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue Airways Corporation...

 (originally owned by Thales, now owned by JetBlue).

Thales Navigation, a division that produced GPS units, was sold to private equity group Shah Capital Partners and renamed Magellan
Magellan Navigation
Magellan Navigation, Inc. is a producer of consumer and professional grade global positioning system receivers. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, with European sales and engineering centers in Nantes, France and Moscow, Russia, Magellan also produces aftermarket automotive GPS units,...

.

Financial information

Thales' major shareholders are the French state
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (27.0%) and Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation is a French aircraft manufacturer of military, regional and business jets, a subsidiary of Dassault Group.It was founded in 1930 by Marcel Bloch as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch or "MB". After World War II, Marcel Bloch changed his name to Marcel Dassault, and the name of the...

 (25.9%).

Allegations of corruption

Michel Josserand alleged that Thales had a centralized slush fund that it used to bribe officials.http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2005/12/21/afx2406475.html

Schabir Shaik
Schabir Shaik
Schabir Shaik is a South African businessman from the Berea, Durban, who rose to prominence due to his close association with South African President Jacob Zuma during his time as Deputy President...

, the financial advisor to the president of the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 party Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is the President of South Africa, elected by parliament following his party's victory in the 2009 general election....

, was also found guilty
Schabir Shaik trial
The Schabir Shaik trial was one of the most important court trials in post-apartheid South Africa. The case, tried in Durban High Court before Judge Hilary Squires, proved the fraudulent and corrupt relationship between Durban-based businessman Schabir Shaik and South African politician and...

 of organising a bribe on behalf of Thales.http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=553&fArticleId=2950644

Products

  • Watchkeeper WK450
  • Eurocat (transport)
  • Search Master and Ocean Master radars

Components

  • Thales Air Defence Limited
  • Thales Underwater Systems
    Thales Underwater Systems
    Thales Underwater Systems , formerly known as Thomson Marconi Sonar, is an international defence manufacturer specialising in sonar systems for submarines, surface warships, and aircraft as well as communications masts and systems for submarines. TUS is a subsidiary of Thales Naval, part of the...

  • Thales Nederland
    Thales Nederland
    Thales Nederland B.V. is a subsidiary of Thales Group involved primarily in naval defence systems...

  • Thales Optronics
    Thales Optronics
    Thales Optronics is a major unit of Thales Group and has three main subsidiaries, Thales Optronics Ltd. , Thales Optronique SA and Thales Optronics B.V....

  • Thales Rail Signalling Solutions
    Thales Rail Signalling Solutions
    THALES Rail Signalling Solutions Inc. is a subsidiary of THALES Group. TAS supplies transportation automation solutions for railway from its head office in Paris and railway business divisional center in Stuttgart, Germany, Vienna, Austria, and mass transit business divisional center in Toronto,...

  • Thales Information System Belgium

External links

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