London snubs BAE, chooses France’s Thalesfor UK drones

20th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

FARNBOROUGH, England, July 20 (AFP) - Britain Tuesday chose French defence electronics group Thales as its preferred candidate to supply the Ministry of Defence with unmanned reconnaissance planes, otherwise known as drones, in a deal worth GBP 800 million (EUR 1.2 billion, USD 1.5 billion), Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced.

FARNBOROUGH, England, July 20 (AFP) - Britain Tuesday chose French defence electronics group Thales as its preferred candidate to supply the Ministry of Defence with unmanned reconnaissance planes, otherwise known as drones, in a deal worth GBP 800 million (EUR 1.2 billion, USD 1.5 billion), Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced.  

Hoon's announcement on the Watchkeeper contract came at a press conference on the second day of the Farnborough Air Show, being held near London.  

"We'll start negotiations (with Thales) immediately and the contract will only be let once these have been successfully concluded," Hoon told reporters.   

"The letting of this contract worth several hundred million pounds will depend on the successful completion of these negotiations," he added.  

The government expects the contract to be signed before the end of 2004, Hoon said.   Thales' bid bested a rival offer by a consortium led by US group Northrop Grumman that included British company BAE Systems.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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