Thales UK increases weapons production amid war in Ukraine

By Defence Industry Europe

Thales UK has significantly increased its production of weapons in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, with operations doubling and expected to double again.


The escalation follows the outbreak of war following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company, a subsidiary of the French Thales Group, has intensified activities at its two Northern Ireland facilities. High-precision missiles are designed and produced at its east Belfast plant, while final assembly takes place in Crossgar, Co Down.


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The range of missiles produced includes the Starstreak, the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) systems, and the assembly of the Saab-designed NLAW. Additionally, Thales UK has contributed to training efforts, preparing both UK and Ukrainian soldiers in the south of England.

Thales Group, with a global presence in 68 countries, is involved in various sectors, including cybersecurity, aerospace, and defense systems, beyond its defense manufacturing operations. The Belfast plant’s history with missile production stretches back decades, with notable use during the Falklands War in 1982 and later as deterrents in various conflicts, including the Gulf War and Afghanistan. Starstreak missiles were also deployed for the security of the 2012 London Olympic Games and are slated for use in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics.



The increase in production has been directly linked to the need for military aid to Ukraine, with Starstreak, LMM, and Saab NLAW systems previously procured by the UK Ministry of Defence now being replenished after being sent to aid Ukraine.

Thales maintains a policy of selling missiles exclusively to governments, under strict licensing agreements for military exports from the UK.





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