PM marks Thales' 125th anniversary in the UK by opening its Glasgow vehicle integration facility
Thales UK's Glasgow site yesterday hosted a visit from the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to help celebrate the company's 125th anniversary in the UK, with the PM officially opening a new vehicle integration facility at the site that will primarily upgrade vehicles for the UK armed forces but also for potential export customers.
David Cameron at Thales UK, Glasgow.
© Alan McAteer 2013
Thales UK’s Glasgow facility yesterday hosted a visit from the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to help celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary in the UK, with the PM officially opening a new vehicle integration facility at the site that will primarily upgrade vehicles for the UK armed forces but also for potential export customers.
The visit was hosted by Jean-Bernard Levy, Thales Group’s chairman, Victor Chavez, chief executive of Thales UK and Alex Cresswell, head of the new Land & Air Systems global business unit. These Thales leaders were able to brief Mr Cameron about Thales.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Thales followed a trip to the Royal Navy’s submarine facility at Faslane, where he had been onboard HMS Victorious.
In his welcoming address Mr Cameron said: “It was great to visit Thales and I want to wish the company a very happy 125th birthday. Earlier today I was winched from a helicopter onto HMS Victorious, one of our Trident nuclear submarines. One of the things I did on that submarine was look through the incredible periscope made by Thales to scan the horizon. It was an incredible piece of equipment and a signal of the brilliance of this company and this organisation.”
The Prime Minister also expressed his support for the continuation of Anglo-French defence and cooperation, which is welcomed by Thales. Thales is one of only a few companies that have significant defence industrial footprints in both countries, and already uses these to deliver added value through the pull-through and reuse of technology across national boundaries.
Some 700 of Thales UK’s 7,500 work force are based at the Glasgow site, which designs and manufactures world-leading electro-optic night vision systems and equipment for all three UK Armed Services. The site is also home to a contingent of transport specialists that work on communications and safety systems.
Victor Chavez said: “Thales is deeply proud of our heritage and our 125-year contribution to the UK engineering scene, which was born here in Glasgow in 1888 with Barr & Stroud Ltd. Innovation, technology and security were at the heart of the business then, and 125 years later Thales is still providing the cutting-edge technology that keeps UK forces safe in the field of conflict.
“Our UK operations have a long history of innovation and partnership with our key customers in our core markets of aerospace, defence, security and transport. We are honoured that the Prime Minister has joined us today to share our celebrations.”
Thales is an important source of high-tech, high-skill employment in the region. Some 30% of employees at the Glasgow facility are engineers and scientists. The site also has an active graduate and apprenticeship programme, with disciplines including electrical and mechanical engineering.
In 2011 the Glasgow optronics business was awarded a Queens Award for Enterprise for our achievements in exports. The award underlines our leading role in supporting both the UK’s defence industrial capability and the UK’s competitive position in the export market.