Thales has been in South Africa for more than 35 years and provides its customers with technologically advanced solutions for the aerospace, transportation, defence and security sectors.
Thales today employs 160 people in South Africa, and is 51 per cent black owned, with 30 per cent being women. It has a production facility at its Midrand premises.
The company manufactures and integrates electronic, electrical and mechanical systems, and in line with Thales’ global philosophy, provides opportunities for local people, helps to develop SMMEs and create more jobs.
“This is a main focus of Thales South Africa,” said Justice Tootla, CEO of Thales South Africa Systems. He continued: “A call was made by Thales in France for a show of confidence in South African industry. And thus a commitment to South Africa is built through three main initiatives: the development of the local industry, the employment of local talents and through corporate social responsibility initiatives.”
In line with this commitment, the company is a member of the South African Aerospace Maritime & Defence Industries Association, whose primary objectives are the representation of the industry in matters of mutual interest, and the promotion of a profitable, sustainable and responsible industry. Thales has also been active with the National Defence Industry Council and Defence Review.
Opportunities have arisen to increase manufacturing, design and services locally, an example being the supply of an artillery fire control system to the army under Project Klooster. Thales has set up avionic equipment repair services, reducing turnaround time and cost.
Besides Project Klooster, other local projects have included TACIS (Tactical Intelligence and Surveillance Systems), border surveillance along the Kruger National Park associated with poaching, and Scorpion (Automated Mobile Mortar Platform).
On the naval side, Thales South Africa Systems provides consoles, which are among its export products. A further interest is in Project Biro, the South African Navy’s planned acquisition of six new patrol vessels.
The company also supplies defence and ATM cybersecurity products, while a family of radars, the Multi Role Radar, the Ground Master 400 (GM400) and the GM 200 can be seen on the company’s stand (Hangar 5, Stand CE22).
Adding to the diversity of opportunities, Thales has a global leadership position in integrated transport systems and Thales South Africa also works with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.
Finally, as a social responsibility initiative, the Move for Life Project uses chess to increase interest in maths and science during the early stages of education.