Tim Ripley

A new company bringing together the UK-based defence interests of Thomson-CSF and Racal is to be formed "in a few weeks", after which details will be made public, says Julian Browne, strategic marketing director, of the old Racal Defence Electronics. "It is only three weeks since the purchase of Racal by Thomson-CSF cleared the regulatory hurdles. We are on track for a speedy resolution of all issues."

Browne says a holding company, Thomson-CSF Racal, will oversee the operations of UK-based military businesses, while the civil side of the two company's operations will come under the Thomson-CSF global business. Lord Freeman is to be non-executive chairman and former Racal Defence Electronics chief Richard Moon is to be chief executive. The defence subsidiary is to be know as Thomson Racal Defence.

"I am excited by the future," says Browne. "We will be part of the largest communications company in the world. Thomson and Racal have a good strategic fit, immediate earnings are positive and that is a catalyst for growth."

The new company will be involved in communications, electronic warfare, reconnaissance systems, radar, unmanned aerial vehicles, avionics and command systems. Prime contracting is a major ambition as the company builds on its record as lead on a number of complex programmes including the airborne early warning Sea King Mk.7. "We were disappointed on ASTOR last year," he says. "We got a tick in the box for our radar but our prime contractor was not selected. In future we will prime, not offer as a subcontractor." Naval systems is a main area of interest for the new company, particularly the contract to build the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers. "We have inspirations in this area, and our position is strong."

"Thomson has given assurances to the UK Ministry of Defence on security so we can remain a List X company in the UK. Racal's companies take on work in highly classified areas in the defence and in the civil security area."

Source: Flight Daily News