Thales S.A.
Company typePublic (Société Anonyme)
Founded6 December 2000; 23 years ago (2000-12-06)
FounderDenis Ranque
Area served
Key people
Patrice Caine (chairman and CEO)
ProductsTactical radios, remote controlled weapon stations, radars, infantry mobility vehicles, aerospace electronics, aeronautics
RevenueIncrease 18.43 billion[1] (2023)
Increase €1.77 billion[1] (2023)
Decrease €1.02 billion[1] (2023)
Total assetsIncrease €38.76 billion[1] (2023)
Total equityDecrease €6.97 billion[1] (2023)
Number of employees
81,060 [1] (2023)

Thales Group (French pronunciation: [talɛs]) is a French multinational company that designs, develops and manufactures electrical systems as well as devices and equipment for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security sectors. The company is headquartered in Paris' business district, La Défense,[4] and its stock is listed on the Euronext Paris.

The company was previously known as Thomson-CSF since its foundation in 1968. It was rebranded Thales (named after the Greek philosopher Thales [talɛs] pronounced as in French) in 2000, after a communication audit highlighted Thomson-CSF's unfavorable public image, particularly among the young French graduates it sought to recruit. The new name was also meant to facilitate the company's worldwide expansion.[5][6][7]

Thales is partially owned by the French state[8] and operates in more than 56 countries. In 2019 it had 80,000 employees and generated €18.4 billion in revenue. As of 2017, it was the 8th largest defence contractor in the world[9] with 55% of its total sales from military work.[8]

Patrice Caine was appointed chairman and CEO in December 2014.[10]


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The research centre of Thales in the business cluster of Paris-Saclay, France.

The firm began as Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston (CFTH), established 1893. In 1968 Thomson-Brandt (a renamed CFTH) merged its electronics arm with that of Compagnie générale de la télégraphie sans fil (CSF) to form Thomson-CSF, which changed its name to Thales in December 2000.

In October 1999, Samsung Electronics and Thomson-CSF agreed to a joint venture with equal ownership. Thomson-CSF received technology transfer of Samsung's defense products such as communication equipment, satellite communication systems and terminals, fire control system (FCS), detection and tracking devices, radar guidance equipment, and Korean Gunner's Primary Sight (KGPS); while Samsung gained access to Thomson-CSF's overseas export network.[11][12]

In June 2001, Thales formed ThalesRaytheonSystems, an equal-ownership joint venture with Raytheon combining their radar and communication systems divisions. It was restructured in 2016 to sell exclusively to NATO agencies and member states.[13]

In 2002, Thales set up the joint venture company Armaris with the French shipbuilder DCN to offer a total "bottom up" shipbuilding capability. Also in 2002, Thales Broadcast Multimedia, a former subsidiary of Thales, provided China with standard short-wave radio-broadcasting equipment designed for general public radio broadcasting. Though the contract was not for this purpose, it later appeared that China used these ALLISS antennas for jamming foreign radio broadcasts to China.

In 2003, Thales UK's design won the competition for the Royal Navy Future Carrier (CVF), and the company now participates in an alliance company with BAE Systems and the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence.

Thales Navigation, a division that produced satellite navigation units, was sold to private equity group Shah Capital Partners in 2006 for $170 million and renamed Magellan.[14][15]


In 2006, Thales acquired Australian Defence Industries, a major manufacturer of military equipment such as smokeless gunpowder and the Bushmaster IMV.

In April 2006, Thales announced it would acquire Alcatel's space business (67% of Alcatel Alenia Space and 33% of Telespazio) and Alcatel's Rail Signalling Solutions division, in a deal which raised Alcatel's ownership of Thales to 21.66 percent. The French government would also decrease its ownership in Thales to 27.1 percent from 31.3 percent as part of the acquisition.[16] The deal would also include the Systems Integration activities (those not dedicated to telecoms operators, and covering mainly the transport and energy sectors). In January 2007, the 1.7 billion Euro deal ($2.24 billion) was approved.[17]

In 2008, Thales acquired British Hardware security module vendor nCipher.[18]

In December 2008, Alcatel agreed to sell a 20.8% stake in French engineering group Thales SA to Dassault Aviation SA for €1.57 billion ($2.27 billion).

In 2014, Alcatel-Lucent initiated talks to sell its cybersecurity unit to Thales.[19] The deal was signed in October of that year.[20]

In 2016, Thales acquired Vormetric, a data security company, for $400M.[21]

In 2017, it acquired Guavus[22] and bid €4.76B for digital security company Gemalto.[23]

In 2018, Thales committed to divesting nCipher as a condition for its acquisition of Gemalto;[24] in June 2019 it divested nCipher to Entrust.[25]

In 2023, Thales acquired cybersecurity company, Imperva, from Thoma Bravo for $3.6B.[26] The acquisition was completed in December 2023.[27]


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Thales Group supplies electronic devices and equipment used by the French Armed Forces from its past as Thomson-CSF, including the SPECTRA helmet for the army and the gendarmerie. It has worked with Dassault Aviation on the Dassault Rafale aircraft and made its SPECTRA defensive aids. Thales often worked with DCNS and designed the electronics used on French ships, and it is involved in the construction of both the Horizon and FREMM programs. Thales, as Thomson-CSF, was involved in the Taiwan frigates scandal, relating to the sale of La Fayette-class frigates to Taiwan.

It is also present in Eurosam as Thomson-CSF was a founder of the consortium along Aérospatiale and Alenia Aeronautica. In February 2004, Thales was awarded a contract for a new command and control system for the French Navy, the SIC 21, that will be fitted on the Charles de Gaulle, many vessels and shore locations.

Additionally, the initially planned French aircraft carrier PA2 involved Thales as the main designer of the ship. However, the project was cancelled in 2013.[28]

Thales is also working on X-ray imaging, finances, energy and operating commercial satellites.

By 2012, the company is mainly composed of five branches: Defense, Security, Space, Aerospace and Ground transportation.

Among the EU supported projects Thales participates in are:


Thales Ground Master 200 active electronically scanned array

The company's design won the competition for the Royal Navy Future Carrier (CVF). It is part of the AirTanker consortium, the winning bid for the RAF's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. Thales UK won the contract for the British Army UAV programme, Watchkeeper. It also produces the SWARM remote weapon station. Thales simulators include full motion devices as well as flat panels and other training facilities.

Thales Air Defence produces a range of short-range missile systems such as the Starstreak surface-to-air missile or Lightweight Multi-role Missile (LMM).

In 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, major arms manufacturers, including Thales,[31] reported a sharp increase in interim sales and profits.[32]


The Thales ATM (Air Traffic Management) solution is marketed under the name "TopSky", previously named "EuroCat". Thales supplies avionics to civil aircraft manufacturers, including Fly-By-Wire systems, cockpit systems, navigation computers, satellite communication, inflight entertainment and electrical systems. The coordination of Thales parts' servicing and maintenance is coordinated by its MRO division; OEMServices, which handles the repair flow for component maintenance support.

In November 2017, Thales acquired a UK radar provider called Aveillant which produces software-defined holographic radar technology, which can detect small targets such as drones.[33]

In February 2018, Thales won on a A$1.2 billion ($946 million) contract with Airservices Australia and the Australian Department of Defence to unify Australia's civil and military airspace under a single air traffic control system, named "OneSKY".[34]

Ground transportation

Thales has major involvement in the UK rail industry as a result of the Racal merger and the 2006 acquisition of Alcatel's Rail Signalling Solutions division and transport business.[35] Thales is to modernize 40 per cent of London Tube network London Underground.[36]

In Denmark, Thales now owns 100% of the "East-west Consortium" contracted for a nationwide travel card (Danish: "Rejsekort").[37]

In India, Thales was selected in December 2014 by the New Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to deliver a completely automatic fare collection system, as well as ticketing equipment.[38] Thales has also been contracted by Hyderabad Metro Rail since 2017 to provide train control automation and communication services for the metro in Hyderabad.[39]

In 2014, the company was tasked with equipping the public transport system of Bordeaux, France, with a contactless ticketing and revenue collection system, to be installed by February 2017. However, due to delays, the system is not expected to be operational until 2019.[38]

In Singapore, Thales was involved in a train collision resulting from a compatibility issue between the old signalling system's interface, and the new one. The accident resulted in 38 minor injuries.[40] A similar incident would occur in March 2019 in Hong Kong on the Tsuen Wan line.[41]

In Vietnam, the company was awarded a €265 million contract in 2017 to deliver the telecommunications system for the currently constructed Line 3 of the Hanoi metro.[42] Running behind schedule by one year, the metro line is stated to be launched in 2023.[43]

In Turkey, the Thales team delivered the first High Speed Line in the country in 2009, and has completed more than 400 km (250 mi) of the Ankara Istanbul High Speed Line.[44]

Effective 31 May 2024, the ground transportation division was sold off to Hitachi Rail.[45] The deal was made at $2.5 billion.

Other activities

Thales is also a major manufacturer of in-flight entertainment systems on board airliners.[46] Thales' primary competitors in this area of business include Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Rockwell Collins, and LiveTV (originally owned by JetBlue, now owned by Thales).

Thales also produces and installs ticketing and communications systems for public transportation via its ticketing and revenue collection division. In November 2016, Thales announced its intention to divest from its transport ticketing, revenue collection, road toll and car park management business.[47] The company entered into negotiations with Paris-based Latour Capital, but the negotiations ended in 2017 after Latour Capital announced this business was "not aligned closely enough with its investment priorities."[48] After subsequent talks with Chinese investors failed, Thales abandoned the divestment.[49]

Thales international

Thales' international subsidiaries generated 52% of the company's revenue in 2008, with Thales UK being the largest of these accounting for 13% of group revenue.[50] Its large presence in the UK (largely as a result of the Racal acquisition) has resulted in several high-profile contracts.

Thales has offices in:[51]


This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (November 2015)

Financial information

As of December 2020, Thales' major shareholders are the French state (25.68%) and Dassault Aviation (24.62%).[60]


Greater Manchester

A High Court case decided in 2012 between Thales (supplier of Greater Manchester's tram management system)[61] and Transport for Greater Manchester (TGM) considered the operation of an audit clause in a contract, and the extent to which a supplier must comply with this. Thales had submitted claims for increased costs and for extensions to the time allowed for delivery of the system. TGM made various requests for documents intended to better help assess their claims. The Court instructed Thales to supply the requested documents.[62]

Bordeaux project mismanagement

Although the ticketing system in Bordeaux was originally due for launch in the summer of 2017, multiple delays pushed the new launch date back by 20 months to 2019.[63] The project's many setbacks are considered to reflect negatively on the city's reputation, with Bordeaux's city's mayor and former French prime minister Alain Juppé, calling Thales' inability to meet its commitments "unacceptable behaviour."[64]

Centralised slush fund

Michel Josserand, former head of THEC, a subsidiary of Thales, and Dominique Monleau, alleged that Thales has a centralised slush fund that it uses to bribe officials.[65]

South Africa

Main articles: Schabir Shaik trial, Jacob Zuma corruption charges, and South African Arms Deal

On 30 May 2005 Schabir Shaik, the financial advisor to Jacob Zuma, the former president of the African National Congress party, was found guilty by the High Court in Durban of organising a bribe on behalf of Thomson-CSF.[66]

On 22 January 2020 the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg ruled that both the Thales Group and Zuma could be criminally tried for alleged illegal arms dealings which Thales was allowed to undergo in South Africa.[67][68] Zuma is said to have allowed these illegal Thales arms dealings when he was the nation's president and is also believed to have partaken in them as well.[68][67]

Taiwanese naval order

.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}@media all and (max-width:500px){.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{width:auto!important;clear:none!important;float:none!important))You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (January 2015) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the French article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 1,448 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:Affaire des frégates de Taïwan]]; see its history for attribution. You may also add the template ((Translated|fr|Affaire des frégates de Taïwan)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.

On 10 June 2011 Thales Group and the French government were ordered to pay 630 million euros (almost a billion US dollars) in fines after the courts heard that bribes had been paid to the Taiwanese government to win a large naval contract. Part (about 27%) of the responsibility was transferred to Thales Group because it held the legacy from Thomson-CSF. As of 2011, this is the largest corruption case in French history.[69]


See also


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  10. ^ "Patrice Caine". Thales Group. Retrieved 2022-08-26.
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  35. ^[permanent dead link]
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  62. ^ Fenwick Elliott, Dispatch, Issue 152 February 2013, accessed 8 May 2022
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  65. ^ "Section socialiste de l'île de Ré » Thales à la barre du tribunal". Retrieved 26 December 2016.
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