Thales wins GBP 1.8 billion contract from UK Defence Ministry

Deal to maximise days at sea for Royal Navy ships

Defence & Aerospace

February 4, 2024

/ By / Paris

Thales wins GBP 1.8 billion contract from UK Defence Ministry

The 15-year contract is aimed at increasing the availability of the ships and submarines of the Royal Navy

French defence and electronics firm Thales has bagged a GBP 1.8 billion contract from the United Kingdom Defence Ministry to maximise the availability of vessels of the Royal Navy, or their days-at-sea.

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The Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom has announced that a new contract valued at GBP 1.8 billion has been awarded to French defence and electronics firm Thales to improve the availability and resilience of Royal Navy (RN) ships for a period of 15 years.

In a press statement, Thales says that the new contract is in response to the increasing need for Royal Navy platforms to be on active duty for longer periods because of increasing global instability.

The statement adds that the contract, Maritime Sensor Enhancement Team (MSET), will sharpen the focus on equipment availability, predicting problems, through AI innovations and data management, rather than reacting when they emerge.

Thales adds that the contract will support over 450 highly skilled, UK-based, engineering, IT and supports jobs as well as many hundreds of apprenticeship and training opportunities all across the UK.

During the life of the MSET contract, the Royal Navy will undergo a significant transition including the introduction of the new Type 26, Type 31 and Dreadnought platforms, as well as autonomous systems.

MSET, a scalable service model, will provide greater stability and breadth in the level of support delivered to the Royal Navy during this complex transition period. By investing in new dockland facilities, AI, data analysis tools, and skills, this will deliver greater resilience for the RN platforms.

Over the life of the contract, it will deliver an average reduction in turn around times of 100 days per repair, spares lead times will be reduced by an average of 44 days and reliability improved by 10 pc.

The statement adds that data-driven decision making will enable MSET to see beyond the current support horizons and with the increased investment in emerging technologies, including AI, virtual reality and Big Data and also create a more proactive and predictive maintenance regime.

Investments will include improving facilities at HMNB Devonport, Faslane, Portsmouth and Bahrain to deliver an advanced test and repair capability, allowing specialist technical and engineering skills at the waterfront to provide direct support to the Royal Navy.

Alex Cresswell

Alex Cresswell

The contract will create 450 high skilled jobs all across the UK and support the training hundreds of apprentices in much needed engineering skills in numerous local communities, with a further threefold increase in supply chain spend, supporting approximately 1,200 additional staff, says Thales.

‘‘Thales is delighted to strengthen our century-long partnership with the Royal Navy, and support its vital role in defending the UK and keeping the worlds critical sea lanes open. This GBP 1.8 billion contract with Thales will help keep more Royal Navy ships at sea for longer, by harnessing the latest developments in artificial intelligence, data analysis and improved dockland facilities,’’ says Alex Cresswell, Chairman and CEO of Thales in the UK.

‘‘Data-driven decision making enables MSET to go beyond the current support horizons and make a substantial improvement in the availability and resilience of the Royal Navy whist preparing for AUKUS, the landmark security and defence partnership between Australia, US and UK. This will be the third generation of Thales apprentices, engineers and support staff helping to keep the Royal Navy at sea in an increasingly unstable world,’’ Cresswell adds.



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