French defense electronics group Thomson-CSF will form a joint venture with naval shipbuilder DCN, reportedly to better positioning itself to compete internationally for major warship and naval combat systems contracts
. The deal, which will take the form of a 50-50 joint venture between Thomson's naval systems business and DCN International, represents a deepening of the existing relationship between the two groups, which have cooperated in the past on frigates for Saudi Arabia and Taiwan and submarines for Chile. It also gives Thomson a share of the roughly $1.21 billion allocated to French contractors as part of the next generation Horizon anti-aircraft frigate program with Italy. The deal, according to a spokeswoman for the company, is expected to be finalized before the summer, when official notification on the Horizon contract is due.