Officially opening the new facility today (Thursday November 19) Mr Morgan said the investment will initially create around thirty highly skilled new jobs and is supported by the Welsh Assembly through the Single Investment Fund.
Warthog – classed as an urgent operational requirement by the MoD - is based on the Bronco armoured vehicle from Singapore Technologies Kinetics. It will replace the Viking in Afghanistan and provide improved protection for British troops.
The new Thales operation at Stradey Park Business Centre, Llangennech, near Llanelli, will fit out the fleet of more than 100 defence vehicles and enhance their capabilities with sophisticated digital communications systems, specialist electronic counter-measure equipment and additional protective armour.
Following a tour of the facilities Mr Morgan said he was delighted at the first rate collaborative relationship forged between Thales UK and the Assembly Government.
“Thales is one of the top technology-based companies in the world and it speaks volumes that a company right out of the top drawer like Thales has chosen Wales as the location for this key project.
“I know Thales UK considered various options for this new facility but I am delighted to say that the Welsh site fitted the bill and met all their requirements to deliver the Warthog programme – from a well trained local workforce to excellent access to the motorway network.
“While grants are useful, in the modern world of technology it is the skill base and infrastructure and the quality of life you can offer internationally mobile managers and engineers that is the key to winning projects like this.
“Llanelli has been an important centre for the automotive industry for decades and consequently the skills sets are tailor made for this operation. It’s also good to know that the skills of our workforce are helping to support and protect British troops in Afghanistan.
“This is a top quality project and a great opportunity to attract investment from a major international player like Thales. The company has a policy of sourcing locally whenever possible and I hope this investment will also bring new opportunities for Welsh businesses through the development of a local supply chain.”
The new 200,000 sq ft facility, which is part of a former MoD site, will also be used by Thales to undertake the repair, maintenance and upgrading of vehicles already in service and has potential for future expansion.
Thales UK is the main UK sub-contractor to Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd for the MoD Warthog programme.
19 November 2009