Skip to main content

How do you pronounce ‘Thales’?

​During the first weekend of December 2015, Thales Group will be celebrating its fifteenth birthday as a brand, a milestone which will be recognised internally across the 63,000 global employees.

As part of the larger Thales Group, Thales in the UK are a key component of the organisation.But to many in the United Kingdom, Thales as an entity has only ever been recognised as a “French defence company”, for understandable reasons. However, after operating as a single collective entity since December 2000, we are asking where did an organisation with such technological expertise, and enduring links with the UK government and armed forces, come from? Through a series of features and events over the coming months, Thales in the UK want to show how they have contributed over the years and show that we are not fifteen years old, but have in fact been proudly contributing to the UK economy and to the defence of the British Isles for closer to 130 years.

Barr & Stroud is a name that will be familiar north of the border in the UK, and will become more so to many in the coming months, but really it could be seen as the earliest existence of a component part of Thales in the UK as it stands today. This Glasgow based organisation has been creating sighting systems that have been used over the span of two centuries by the British armed forces in a range of major conflicts, and is just one of the range of examples of heritage companies that have influenced the DNA of Thales as you see it today.

​Since those early days, there have been a wide range of names with links to Thales, many of which will be familiar to those with knowledge of the British defence industry. From Thompson CSF or Marconi Electronic Systems, to Thorne EMI or Racal Electronics PLC, heritage passed onto Thales can be seen in many places. With names such as Vodafone or Alcatel however, it might not be as obvious as to their links to Thales, the “French Defence Company”. Over the coming months, we will answering questions such as; how did Thales contribute during World War Two, what was Thales’s role in developing the mobile phone and how are we linked to the holder of Scotland’s biggest Academy Award winner? This most British of French defence companies has a rich and full history within the United Kingdom, that clearly stretches back much further than the fifteen years old that will be printed on the birthday cake this December. So wish us a Happy Birthday and raise a glass with us, but remember that whilst it’s said “Thales” as in “Alice” on the continent, there are more English, Scottish or Irish accents running through this French defence company in the UK and we know how you say it and we will make sure you know what it has done for the UK during our long and proud history on British soil.