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France-UK: doing business together in Training and Simulation

Feb 29. 2016 

Stephen McCann, UK Training and Simulation Managing Director, strongly believes that training and simulation is a very good example of successful and promising cooperation between the UK and France, at both governmental and industrial levels. With OnBoard, discover why.

What is your best example of cooperation?

Over the years Thales has developed a unique ability to serve forces around the world. One example of successful collaboration between teams in France and the UK is the A400M training capability. In close cooperation with Airbus Defence and Space, Thales is the core supplier for France and the UK of the A400M full flight simulator and training services.

Are there other areas?

There are many other promising areas where we are developing capacities that will enhance operational cooperation. The first area is collective training. The force preparation of our armies is a key challenge considering the very high level of engagement required today, for both external operations and domestic protection. Simulation is clearly one of the fast growing technologies that can significantly contribute to high-level preparation. With simulation you can train forces for harsh, various and complex environments using a safe device. Our objective is to deploy a simulation framework that allows collective training, implicating different and numerous forces in coalition exercises. Thales is already working on this kind of application for air and land collective training.

The second area is to propose training services with minimum resources whilst allowing large and complex exercise. Thales has significant experience, especially in the UK, of delivering successful full turnkey training services for airborne training. For example every single Royal Air Force fast-jet pilot in the UK will have trained at some point on a Thales system in a training service run by Thales. This model can be extended to other forces, allowing them to focus their energy and resource on the exercise itself.

The third area is mission readiness. Current simulation technologies allow a level of realism unseen before by using immersive views and very high resolution databases. Simulation is becoming more and more a tool to prepare and rehearse the next mission. This application of simulation provides crews and the command chain with a precise representation of the environment they will be confronted with. This is an area where Thales has invested and continues to do so.

Do you cooperate with French-UK partners at R&T level?

To energize the whole French and UK ecosystem at the different stages of research and technology development, we work with labs and SMEs. It is very useful to explore disruptive technologies. Some examples of cooperation involve areas such as Human Behaviour Representation, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, smart machine to human interface and software solutions as a service, to name a few.


Thales in the UK
The UK is the second country for Thales in terms of industrial footprint. Thales UK and its subsidiaries employ approximately 7,000 people. Approximately 400 people work in training and simulation based at offices in Crawley and a further 400 employees are based in Cergy just outside Paris. We have 10 main sites in the UK, including in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Thales UK works with over 350 subcontractors which correspond to the indirect employment of nearly 24,000 people.


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