Thales U.K. signed a 10-year contract with the Ministry of Defense (MOD), worth up to £600 million, for the in-service support of the Royal Navy’s major sensor systems.
The new Sensors Support Optimization Project (SSOP) builds on the Thales’s Contractor Logistics Support contract, originally signed in 2003, which has provided support to the Royal Navy’s sonar and electronic warfare systems for the past 10 years.
Under the terms of SSOP, the in-service support contract has been extended to include all of the Royal Navy’s submarine visual systems, including periscopes for the Vanguard and Trafalgar Class submarines and the non-hull-penetrating optronic masts for the Astute Class submarines, previously supported under separate contract arrangements with Thales U.K.’s optronics business in Glasgow. This means Thales is now providing significant in-service support to the ‘eyes and ears’ of the submarine fleet, as well as across the major surface sonar and electronic warfare systems. The contract will be run through the Equipment Support Delivery Team, which is a joint MOD/Thales U.K. team based in Abbey Wood, Bristol. This team is augmented by several Thales and J+S Ltd waterfront engineers in the Royal Navy’s three naval bases (Portsmouth, Plymouth and Faslane), who together ensure that specialist technical advice and support is delivered whenever it is needed to ensure the continued availability of the sensor systems, both at home and overseas.
Philip Dunne, Minister for Defense Equipment, Support and Technology, signed the contract during a visit to Thales’s facility in Crawley today. He said, “This contract is good news for the Ministry of Defense and U.K. industry. Not only will it secure a number of jobs across the U.K. whilst delivering savings but will also provide essential support for the combat equipment that helps give the Royal Navy’s fleet of ships and submarines a vital technological edge wherever they are based in the world.”
Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales U.K., said, “This contract recognizes the value that can be achieved and the savings that can be delivered through a long-term services agreement. It also reflects the successful way in which Thales U.K. has delivered the required outputs over the past ten years. This project refines that approach to optimize performance over the next ten years, and reinforces our positive well-established relationship with the Royal Navy.” During the previous support contract, the levels of equipment availability have improved significantly and substantial overall savings in the cost of support have been achieved. The new SSOP contract builds on this experience and success, from the outset delivering further savings to the MOD whilst continuing to deliver high levels of available and serviceable equipment.
The new contract secures employment for 230 Thales employees and a further 300 people within the extended supply chain across the U.K.
Major suppliers to Thales include J+S Ltd (Barnstaple, Devon), MacTaggart Scott (Loanhead, Scotland), Atlas Elektronik U.K. (Newport, South Wales and Winfrith, Dorset), Parkburn Ltd (Telford, Shropshire), AB Precision (Poole) Ltd (Dorset), and Defence Support Group (Sealand, Flintshire).
Thales U.K. will support the project from its sites in Templecombe, Cheadle Heath, Glasgow and Crawley, where ongoing development of these important systems will enable yet further improvements to be made in the levels of capability and availability.