The ForceSHIELD system is designed to counter threats from high performance, low-flying aircraft and fast 'pop up' strikes by attack helicopters

Thales agrees air defence deal with Indonesia

Defence contractor Thales has agreed a deal to supply Indonesia with an integrated air defence system built at its Belfast plant.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who visited Indonesia in 2012 in attempt to boost arms sales, welcomed the agreement to supply the firm’s ForceSHIELD air defence system to the Southeast Asian country.

The system comprises of Thale’s STARStreak short-range air defence missiles, CONTROLMaster200 radar and weapon coordination systems, RAPIDRanger mobile weapon systems and Lightweight Multiple Launchers, as well as associated communications, training and support equipment.

"This deal worth over GBP100m is great news for the UK and the aerospace industry, and a strong vote of confidence in this Government's long-term economic plan. It will help secure highly-skilled jobs in Northern Ireland and throughout the supply chain," he said.

"This is precisely the reason why I go on these trade missions to countries like Indonesia, to drum up jobs and investment for our country, and I'm delighted my trip has resulted in a clear win for Thales."

The CONTROLMaster200 is a solid-state radar, capable of detecting and tracking 200 targets simultaneously out to ranges up to 155 miles.

The RAPIDRanger is a lightweight vehicle-based launcher and fire control system that can be equipped with the STARStreak high-velocity missile, which operates at a speed in excess of Mach 3.

The missile features laser beam riding guidance, which the firm says is immune to all known countermeasures, and uses a three-dart ‘hittile’ configuration, whereby three dart-like sub-munitions are released once the second stage rocket motor burns out before flying in formation to their target.

Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK, said: “Thales is the only European defence contractor with the in-depth knowledge and range of advanced technologies to deliver a leading-edge integrated air defence solution such as ForceSHIELD.

This solution for the Indonesian Army marks a new approach to air defence in that it provides a complete turnkey solution comprising latest-generation ‘sensor to effects’ technologies. I would like to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister for his personal support on this project and the support of the government – it makes a huge difference to industry and our customers.”

Cameron sought to promote defence sales to Indonesia after the previous Labour government had imposed an arms embargo over allegations that British-built Hawk jets were used to bomb civilians in East Timor.

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