There is no universally recognized definition for the concept of "controversial weapon". Indeed, it covers different types of armaments according to the culture and type of entities defining it: international bodies, non-governmental organizations, financial organizations, companies, etc.
This concept also varies from country to country, even within Europe.
For Thales, controversial weapons cover armaments for which prohibition treaties are in force and recognized by France and Europe.
Thales thus does not design, manufacture or sell chemical or bacteriological weapons, which the Geneva Conventions ban.
Similarly, in accordance with the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines (1997) and the Oslo Convention on cluster munitions (2008), Thales does not design, manufacture or sell any of these weapons or their component parts.
International treaties do not ban the use of white phosphorus in weapons. However, given its pyrophoric characteristics, NGOs or financial organizations often categorize white phosphorus as a "controversial" weapon.
Thales does not produce incendiary weapons. Today, Thales uses white phosphorus only for the production of smoke equipment as a protective agent for soldiers by creating smoke screens. This activity is extremely marginal, since it generated no revenue in 2019 and 2020.
However, aware of the controversies related to this substance, Thales has initiated a substitution program since 2018, which aims to develop a new generation of phosphorus-free smoke products.
Without waiting for the results of this program, Thales has committed to no longer produce or sell materials containing white phosphorus beyond mid-2022.
Thales has now stopped selling and promoting materials containing white phosphorus. The last activities using this substance concern the manufacture of a batch of smoke shells intended exclusively for the French army to protect its soldiers in combat zones.