By PIERRE TRAN, 1 Jul 2011 05:57
PARIS – Thales aims to at least double its cybersecurity sales to 700 million euros ($1 billion) by 2020 with the creation of a new specialist company, Thales Communications & Security, senior executive Pascale Sourisse said.
The new company, created July 1, has been formed from the merger of two Thales subsidiaries, Thales Communications and Thales Security Solutions, said Sourisse, who will be executive chairman of the company.
“We make 350 million euros in cybersecurity a year,” Sourisse said. “We’re already very significant.”
The company’s cybersecurity experience is rooted in its cryptographics business.
Sourisse said she aims “at least to double sales by the 2020 horizon.”
Thales, in October, launched its Cybels cybersecurity package, aimed at protecting the computer systems of operators of critical infrastructure and sensitive networks. The company is in advance talks with the French Defense Ministry and is also actively pursuing export clients.
The French company provides cryptographic systems to the British Ministry of Defence and NATO. Its links with the alliance serve as a letter of introduction to administrations of member countries, Sourisse said.
Thales sees companies RSA and Safenet as its main rivals in the cybersecurity segment.
The merger of the two existing companies is intended to break down barriers, simplify the organization and help people work together, she said. The new company will draw on dual civil and military technology to attack the defense, security and transport markets.
The new company will have 7,000 employees, annual sales revenue of 1.8 billion euros and will account for more than half of Thales’ sales in command-and-control and communications systems for defense and security clients.
Sourisse said she hopes the corporate consolidation move will strengthen Thales’ position in the European market in communications and command (C2) systems – she said the company is No. 1 in Europe – and boost competitiveness against American companies. U.S. rivals include Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, while in Europe, major competitors include EADS and Selex Communications, which is part of the Finmeccanica group.
Thales Communications & Security will bring under one management roof capabilities for making equipment, systems and services for military and civil markets. The overall approach is to use, where possible, commercial off-the-shelf technology and adapt it to make it secure and resilient for defense applications, Sourisse said.
Technologies in C2 systems are increasingly transverse and can be applied to applications such as transport networks, toll collection and air traffic management.
Surveillance and C2 systems can be applied to national borders, whole cities such as Mexico City and sensitive sites.
In the military communications sector, in December, Thales won the French government’s Deport contract for a feasibility study on a future software-defined tactical radio, dubbed Contact, which will replace the current PR4G gear. The Deport study is due in 2012.
Thales is also part of the Mars joint venture, with Nexter and Safran’s Sagem, which is drafting the architecture for the French Army’s Scorpion modernization program. Part of the program involves delivering a single battle management information system, the SIC-S system.
The new armored vehicles to be acquired under the Scorpion program are expected to be highly network-capable, effectively acting as mobile nodes helping to plug the soldier into a deployed digital battlefield system.
Thales also holds a contract for building and operating the secure communications network for the planned new French Defense Ministry complex at Balard – commonly called Balard-gone – on the eastern edge of the capital. That communications contract is worth more than 100 million euros and was booked in the first half of this year, a company spokeswoman said. The communications deal is part of a 30-year, 3 billion-euro public-private partnership contract for the Balard site, which will be run by builder Bouygues, service company Sodexo and Thales.
One of Thales’ offerings is an office communications network with Dassault Systèmes and telecommunications operator Orange – a secure cloud-computing system, which may be of interest to the French Defense Ministry.
EADS recently also reshuffled its defense and security activities, placing senior executive Hervé Guillou in charge of cybersecurity in its Cassidian division.