Thales expertise at the French defence ministry's new headquarters
Thales is playing a major role in the 30-year programme to design, construct, operate and maintain the French Ministry of Defence's new headquarters in Paris. Thales's role covers the overall design of the defence engineering side of the project, operation and maintenance of the new information and communication systems and responsibility for the site security systems. The design & build portion of the Balard project is a huge undertaking — and the task of protecting the site and its information and communication systems is no less critical.
The French Ministry of Defence, Thales's largest customer, signed a public-private partnership agreement with Opale Défense to finance, design and construct the Balard headquarters as well as operate the complex and provide maintenance services for 30 years. Thales's involvement begins at the design & build phase of the project, led by Bouygues Bâtiment Île de France, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction.
Located in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, the Ministry's new headquarters will include the offices of the Minister for Defence and his special advisors, the Joint Staff of the French armed forces, the Chiefs of Staff of the three armed forces, the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and other key military departments and administrative services.
From the handover date, Thales will operate and maintain these systems for a further 27 years. The Group is also responsible for the continuing evolution of the installed networks to ensure that they always incorporate the latest technologies and offer the highest levels of security. Thales will also guarantee the highest levels of availability for the communication and security networks and provision of 24/7 technical support.
Thales is now operating and supporting the critical information systems and security systems for the 2,000 users who have already moved into the new facility.
By 2015, Thales will have a dedicated local team of around 100 people in place at the site.
Key objectives of the project:
- Deliver the high-grade security required for the Ministry's sensitive and classified data, combined with best-in-class continuity of service.
- Ensure the resilience of networks and communications against the most critical physical and cyber attacks.
- Integrate with the Ministry's broader information and communication system policy, including interoperability with legacy and future systems.
Building on its proven strengths and extensive experience in network security and protection of critical sites, Thales is stepping up to these challenges.
- 145,000 m² of purpose-built facilities and 135,000 m² of redeveloped space.
- Capacity for up to 10,000 military and civilian personnel.
- Two conference centres and a media centre for press conferences.
- 1,000 km of fibre optic cables.
- Highly secure information and communication networks.
- A highly secure site protection, security and surveillance system.
"With this project, Thales is further consolidating its established strengths and expertise in network security and critical site protection, delivering the high-grade security the ministry requires, ensuring resilience against the most critical physical and cyber attacks and integrating with the ministry's broader information and communication system policy, including interoperability with legacy and future systems."
Rémi Gille, Vice President in charge of Thales's network and infrastructure systems activities
Surveillance and protection of the Balard complex
Balard is a strategic site and will benefit from the highest levels of protection and security: security systems, access control, intrusion detection and videosurveillance.
The new headquarters is a complex and sensitive site, making security a major concern at all times.
As a defence facility housing a huge number of personnel, the Balard project needed to ensure that security considerations were an integral part of the design, management, operation and maintenance of the site.
- June 2009: launch of consultations and competitive bidding procedure.
- February 2011: Opale Défense consortium selected for a 30-year programme covering the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the Ministry of Defence's future headquarters.
- January 2014: main structural work completed.
- February 2015: handover of buildings.
- Thales to operate information and communication systems for 27 years.