Thales positive about SANDF projects
Thales is expecting to benefit from extensive South African National Defence Force (SANDF) contracts, and hopes to supply vessel combat management suites and radars for Projects Biro and Chutney. Justice Tootla, CEO of Thales South Africa Systems, told defenceWeb that his company is hopeful regarding Biro, which calls for three offshore and three inshore patrol vessels for the South African Navy. Thales would offers its services as a systems integrator to shipyards and provide the combat management systems, as it did with the SA Navy’s four Meko frigates. As it has a strong combat management systems background, Thales South Africa is currently doing integration work on the French Navy FREMM frigates, and provided equipment for the FREMM that was delivered to Egypt last year. This involves providing bridge equipment for these vessels. Tootla said that although SANDF spending has been “very subdued” due to the limited defence budget, the 2014 Defence Review could see more participation from Thales. At the moment Thales South Africa has support contracts in place with the SANDF as it has done work on the Meko frigates, provided surveillance and communications equipment (Squire radars and Sophie thermal imagers amongst other items) to the Army under Project Cytoon, and supplied artillery fire control systems to the Army under Project Klooster. Tootla said he was also hopeful that the Air Force’s Project Chutney, to replace its ground based radars, would move forward and was optimistic of project requirements being released this year. Thales would offer the Ground Master 400 radar, with a range of 560 kilometres, as its top of the line product, but would also offer items like its medium range Ground Master 200, depending on the specifications.