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The Thales Group ( ) is a French electronics company delivering information systems and services for the Aerospace, Defense, and Security markets. The headquarters are in Neuilly-sur-Seine (in the suburbs of Parismarker), and its stock is listed on the Euronext Paris.

The company changed its name to Thales from Thomson-CSF in December 2000 shortly after the £1,300 million acquisition of Racal Electronics plc, a UK defence electronics group. It is now partially state-owned by the French Statemarker, and has operations in more than 50 countries. It has 68,000 employees and generated over €12.3 billion in revenues in 2007. The Group is ranked as the 485th largest company by Fortune 500 Global and is the 9th largest defence contractor in the world.. 63% of its total sales are military sales.

The Thales Group is named after the Greek philosopher Thales. The company is pronounced or .


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

Thales formed a joint venture with Raytheon in June, 2001 to combine their radar and communications systems divisions. Named ThalesRaytheonSystems, 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 Chinamarker 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 are being used for.

In 2003 Thales UK's design won the competition for the Royal Navy Future Carrier and the company now participates in an alliance company with BAE Systemsmarker and the UK Ministry of Defence. This Thales design may form the basis of the Future French aircraft carrier which the company has agreed to build with DCN.

In 2006 Thales acquired Australian Defence Industries, a major manufacturer of military equipment such as smokeless gunpowder and the Bushmaster IMV.

Alcatel deal

In April, 2006, Thales announced it would be acquiring Alcatel's space business (67% of Alcatel Alenia Space and 33% of Telespazio), 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 for the army and the gendarmerie. It has worked with Dassault Aviation on the Rafale and made its SPECTRA 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 and FREMM programs. Thales, as Thomson-CSF, was involved in the Taiwan frigates scandal, relating to the sale of La Fayette class frigates to Taiwan. It is also present in Eurosam as Thomson-CSF was a founder of the consortium along Aérospatiale and Alenia Aeronautica. 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 involves Thales as the main designer of the ship. Thales is also working on X-ray imaging, finances, energy and operating commercial satellites.

Thales has a worldwide presence. Its large presence in the UK (largely as a result of the Racal acquisition) has resulted in several high profile contracts. The UK is the country where Thales has the strongest presence after France itself. The company's design won the competition for the Royal Navy Future Carrier . It is part of the Airtanker consortium, the winning bid for the RAF's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. Thales UK won the contract for the British Army UAV programme, Watchkeeper. It also produces the SWARM remote weapon station.

Thales is also a major manufacturer of in-flight entertainment systems on board airliners. Thales' primary competitors in this area of business include Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Rockwell Collins, and LiveTV (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.

Financial information

Thales' major shareholders are the French statemarker (27.1%) and Dassault Aviation (25.9%).

Allegations of corruption

Michel Josserand alleged that Thales had a centralized slush fund that it used to bribe officials with [36276], [36277].

The financial advisor (Shabir Shaik) of the president of the ANC (Jacob Zuma) was also found guilty of organising a bribe on behalf of Thales [36278].


UAVs and drones

See also


Thales Group Profile [36279]
  1. " Contact Us." Thales Group. Retrieved on 28 August 2009.

External links

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