Thales wins £48m missile order for Belfast site

The UK arm of defence giant Thales has won a £48m order from the Ministry of Defence to manufacture missiles at its Belfast factory.

The weapons system project, which is a precision strike missile for the Royal Navy, will see 60 of the site’s 450 staff undertake work with immediate effect.

The weapon has been designed to be fired from a variety of land, sea and airborne platforms and will be used by the Royal Navy to defeat the threat from small ships and fast inshore attack craft.

Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson said the move will secure 60 high quality jobs in Belfast, where Thales has been based since 1993.

“The talents of Northern Ireland’s manufacturing and engineering labour force are now held in high esteem across the global aerospace and defence industries and today’s announcement is further evidence of this,” he said.

The company, which had revenues just short of £90m last year, also hopes the move will provide opportunities throughout its Northern Ireland supply chain.

Enterprise minister Arlene Foster added: “This is a significant contract for Thales and highlights the expertise and highly skilled workforce here in Northern Ireland.

“I’m pleased that Thales has maintained its relationship with Invest Northern Ireland over the years.