The Franco-German maintenance organisation for CIT radio equipment in Koblenz with its 30 employees becomes Thomson-CSF Elektronik-Wartungsgesellschaft mbH through acquisition. The Elektronik group operates its first subsidiary in Germany. At the same time, the course is set for a portfolio expansion. In 1971, a branch for the naval radar business is established at the Howaldtswerke - Deutsche Werft AG location in Kiel. With the introduction of the Franco-German Air Defence Missile System Roland, the subsidiary in the Rhineland region takes over the repair of the German systems. In 1979, Thomson-CSF Elektronik GmbH (TEK) arises from the merger with SEMS Computer GmbH.
1976 Simulation: Close to reality
From 1976 and parallel to Roland, the Federal Armed Forces have another project running: the Gepard anti-aircraft tank. For training the crew, the German branch of Philips supplies the “Ausbildungsanlage Flakpanzer” (anti-aircraft tank training system) and the “Übungskampfraum” (practice combat room). The simulator technology allows for a safe, economic, environmentally friendly but also realistic training. And it becomes one of the trademarks of Thales and its predecessors in North Germany and Koblenz: with tactic trainers and torpedo simulators for the navy, flight simulators for civil and military pilots, driving instructors for roads and railways, training equipment for the weapon platform Wiesel and the shooting simulator Sagittarius, which introduced in the Federal Armed Forces as AGSHP.
1978 Networked modular system
Around 1970, the Hamburg shipyard Blohm + Voss presents a completely new concept for naval shipbuilding. The multi-purpose combination, or MEKO, bases on container-based functional units for weapon systems and electronics that are installed into the hull according to a modular system. In 1978, the first MEKO ship, the frigate Aradu, is laid down. The shipyard’s concept comprises the integration of sensors, navigation systems and combat direction systems. In the early 1980s, the relevant expertise bundles Blohm + Voss in the new SME 3 department. During the preparatory works for the frigate F124, HSA as a long-term partner for radar, guidance and fire control systems will take over the special department in 1996. The current Thales subsidiary, however, will continue to work at the usual place at the port of Hamburg until 2006.
1978 The world is moving closer together
Since the 1960s, the world has grown together. Transatlantic telephony is already a routine. In 1965, the first commercial communications satellite is launched into space. In 1966, the last manual transfer of the Federal Post Office is shut down, and in 1972, the second West German mobile radio service, the B-Netz, goes into operation. Standard Elektrik Lorenz also helps to closely connect the communication networks. The portfolio at that times comprises office communication and traditional pneumatic tube systems as well as satellite terminals and directional radio systems for exports to Latin America and Southeast Asia. In the mid 1970s, the SEL group with up to 40,000 employees ranks among the 10 largest German industrial companies.
As of 1978, SEL, Telefunken and other companies participate in a field test by the Federal Post Office regarding the practical application of a new technology. Fibre-optic cables made from glass fibre shall replace copper cables within the telephone network. After a first test connection between two central offices, 150 subscribers are connected to the Berlin local network via fibre optic cables – with convincing results.
1979 Globalisation: Risk and opportunity
In the 1970s, globalisation gains momentum. The Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system was dismissed; a liberal economic policy is in vogue. In East Asia, developing countries enter the global market with low-cost products. Like other industries, the European electrical industry comes under pressure. Burdened with misinvestments, AEG-Telefunken struggles with increasing economic difficulties. To maintaining competitiveness, more and more business areas are outsourced or sold. As of 1979, Thomson-Brandt – an affiliate of Thomson-CSF – takes over television tube manufacturing from Telefunken in Ulm. The Thomson group, however, faces a crisis itself. It is subject to the wave of nationalisation in France and has to give up the unprofitable production in Ulm. The tube technology part that remains with AEG-Telefunken , however, experiences another flourishing period on concentrating on the special segment of high-quality and innovative technical tubes. Later, Thales will continue this tradition.