In Defence, Thales has been selected to supply major electronic air defence and protection systems by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Thales is a key player in the Kingdom for the Naval Sawari programmes and for the Saudi Armed Forces radio communication systems.
Solutions supplied to the MoD include short-range anti-air Crotale and Shahine missiles together with counter battery radars (COBRA) systems. These form part of the air defence solutions provided by the Group in the country.
In 2007, Thales was selected to supply a system, comprising of the implementation of a national centre for electronic warfare in Riyadh, plus six regional hubs known as ‘Al Madhallah’ (Arabic for ‘the umbrella’). Mobile centres to train personnel operating missile batteries (including the Crotale, Shahine, Patriot and Hawk missiles) and electronic warfare systems were also provided, reinforcing the long-standing cooperation between Thales and the Saudi authorities.
In 2011, SOTAS vehicle systems, a family of modular components providing optimal system configurations, were supplied to the MoD.
After the successful integration and performance of pods under Tornado, in 2013, Thales was awarded with contract for third generation high performance Damocles pods. The targeting pods are now equipping both Saudi Arabia’s Tornado and Typhoon combat jets.
For the Royal Saudi Navy, the Group was the prime contractor for both the Sawari I and Sawari II programmes. Sawari I, commissioned in the mid-80’s, included four Al Madinah class Frigates equipped with Thales Crotale missiles, and two oil tankers of Boraida class. In 1994, the Sawari II programme was agreed between France and Saudi Arabia. Thales was awarded a contract for the commissioning of three Al Riyadh Frigates.
Since 2013, Thales has been working alongside DCNS, MBDA and ODAS for the upgrade of the six ships under the LEX (Life Extension) Sawari I contract. The contract covers a large-scale modernisation of the ships, including the fitting of new Combat Management systems, anti-ship and SAM systems, and sensors & electronics.