Leveraging Benefits of the Corporation to Positive Effect
Benoit Plantier, Vice President Training and Simulation for Thales, took the opportunity of ITEC 2018 to brief journalists on recent and forthcoming developments in his domain.
Emphasising that his is one of 30 business lines across the corporation’s six Global Business Units, Plantier pointed to a long list of recent activities that demonstrate the robust nature of the division’s growth. One of the most interesting is a recent (early 2018) contract to deliver two full mission simulators to Hungary – one for the Mi-35 attack helicopter and one for the Mi-17 utility helicopter. “Both simulators are in production and should be delivered by 2019,” confirmed Business Line Strategy Director, Etienne Chevrau. The simulators are evolutions of the company’s celebrated EDITH tactical simulator which has a long and proud history with French Army Light Aviation (ALAT), Mr. Plantier explained, going on to indicate an agreement has already been reached to further evolve ALAT’s inventory of helicopter simulators, with a view to achieving full networking of 15-20 devices across France within the next two years or so.
Training and simulation business within Thales comes approximately two thirds from the military domain and one third from the civil, Mr. Plantier explained: “We are aiming for a 50/50 split as we continue to grow, but are more likely to hit a ratio around 60/40 in the mid-term,” he told MONCh.
In the terrestrial environment, Thales has a strong pedigree of leveraging expertise from elsewhere in the corporation. One good example, Mr. Plantier pointed out, is in the French Army’s SCORPION modernisation programme, in which Thales “has a deep involvement in the vehicle design” for GRIFFON, JAGUAR and LECLERC and is now proposing integrated training solutions to address the emerging requirements. Thales already has a contract to supply the AJAX combat vehicle training system for the British Army, a solution that it based on its experience with the LAV programme in Australia.
In addition to an impressive catalogue of experience, though, lies the equally (and some would say even more) important issue of synergy – applying levels of competence gained in other business lines to make the training and simulation solution even more compelling. As training requirements continue to evolve and to become even more complex, Thales’ corporate experience in complex technologies such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, ‘big data’ and secure communications become ever more fundamental to finding the right solution, Mr. Plantier argues. And it is hard to gainsay him!