Armed forces and the digital revolution

An interview with Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales in the UK


The DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) show opens its doors on September 12. What does this show represent for the Thales Group?

DSEI is an important exhibition for Thales globally, as it gives us an opportunity to connect with many of our key defence and security customers to discuss some of their major challenges and to understand their ambitions.

DSEI is the largest show of its type in the world and this year there will be over 34,000 attendees and nearly 300 delegations from a wide range of nations.

With more than 1600 companies taking space at the exhibition, DSEI represents the entire supply chain from major platform primes to small tech startups so it's a great place for us to build relationships across the industry.


Today, what are the major strengths of Thales to help meet the ambitions of customers present at the DSEI show?

The digital revolution is impacting our armed forces and this transformation is opening up incredible opportunities for our customers. We can create brand new value propositions combining our knowledge and expertise in all the key technologies underpinning the digital revolution: connectivity and the Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence and cyber security to ensure our armed forces are fully prepared for any eventuality.

The digital revolution is impacting our armed forces and this transformation is opening up incredible opportunities for our customers.

It is in this spirit that we have designed our stand so that all of our customers operating in and across the cyber, space, maritime, land and air domains can explore the new possibilities open to them in an immersive digital environment.

We are also highlighting our exciting developments in autonomy across the land, sea and air domains. This is a capability that the UK has led with Watchkeeper, the only UAV in the world certified to fly in controlled airspace.


Thales’s customers are at the heart of what we do. How does DSEI enable closer collaboration with our customers?

We never forget that our products, systems and services – however advanced and capable they may be – are designed to improve the lives of the people and societies we serve.  So DSEI is a fantastic opportunity to engage and have collaborative discussions with our customers, to understand their mind-set and the challenges they face. Only by getting alongside our customers and understanding their real pain points are we able to support them in an increasingly fast moving and unpredictable world.

No one else can offer the same breadth and perspective as Thales. We are here to challenge boundaries and imagine tomorrow.

No one else can offer the same breadth and perspective as Thales. We are here to challenge boundaries and imagine tomorrow. It is only through meaningful engagements with our customers, that deliver real collaborative approaches will we develop a true customer mind set. This is vital to demonstrate that whatever challenge our customers face we can deliver what they need - whatever it takes.


Thales has just celebrated 100 years of periscope supply to the Royal Navy, what exciting programmes in the UK are you looking forward to in the next few years.

There are a huge range of exciting major programmes in the UK over the next few years.

With the launch of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and the recent signature of the contract for Type 26, the UK is reinvigorating its navy. Thales, as a trusted partner for the Royal Navy, is already engaged on the Dreadnought programme to provide sonar and optronics systems as well as positioning for a major role providing combat systems for the next generation Type 31 frigate. Thales already provides a wide range of naval sensors from sonar to electronic warfare systems for the RN and this is a great opportunity to build on this.

In the Land Sector, we are currently in the process of bidding Bushmaster, the protected vehicle manufactured by Thales Australia, into the UK's Multi-Role Vehicle (Protected) programme. Bushmaster offers an excellent balance of capability in terms of protection, mobility, space and cost as well as being well proven in service for many nations around the world.

With the expansion into the UK of Thales Alenia Space (TAS) in 2013, we are now positioning for involvement in the UK’s Skynet 6 programme. This is a multi-billion pound communications satellite programme which will involve competitions for both the space segment and the ground segment and service delivery. As one of the world’s largest providers of telecommunications payloads, TAS is able to bring together both commercial innovation and high-end military expertise.

More on Thales at DSEI