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2 minute read

Thales secures £98m air defence contract extension

Thales UK has secured a £98.4m contract extension, supporting 119 jobs, to maintain Short-Range Air Defence (SHORAD) for the British Army and Royal Marines.

SHORAD is made up of high velocity and lightweight multi-role missile systems that can intercept air threats including fast jets, helicopters and unmanned air systems in a matter of seconds.

Thales UK won the initial contract in 2018, helping to modernise and develop the missile systems as part of the Future Air Defence Availability Project (F-ADAPT). This latest announcement confirms a five-year extension to the contract – until the end of 2026 – sustaining over 100 jobs at Thales UK’s Belfast site and within the wider Northern Ireland supply chain.

Thales has secured a £98m air defence missile contract extension, securing 119 jobs at its Belfast site / Picture: Ministry of Defence © Crown copyright


Defence minister, Jeremy Quin, said: “This contract ensures the vital air defence capabilities, capable of dealing with a multitude of threats, are maintained and readily available to deploy.

“The £98.4 million investment is the second major contract awarded to Northern Ireland’s defence industry in less than three months highlighting Northern Ireland’s important contribution to the delivery of our critical defence capabilities.”

Delivering rapid potent attack capability, the SHORAD missile systems can be fired from three platform variants. These include a shoulder-launch for single fire, a lightweight multiple launcher capable of firing three missiles via a tripod, and a self-propelled launcher designed to fire up to eight missiles from a Stormer armoured vehicle.

Northern Ireland plays an imperative role within UK defence and its supply chain. This is the second multi-million pound contract awarded to Northern Ireland’s defence industry this year. In January, Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast, won a £30m contract for the UK’s first uncrewed fighter aircraft supporting over 100 local jobs.

The UK defence industry has secured a substantial settlement of more than £24bn over four years acknowledging the responsibility and recognition the UK holds internationally in the defence realm. Through strategic and pivotal investments, defence will be in a stronger position to tackle challenge future threats whilst advancing UK prosperity.

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