Local MP visits Thales site

August 14, 2009 10:42 AM

Mark Hunter MP (centre) is shown the Thales technology that makes rail journeys safer by Ed Sykes (left). Thales's Tim Porter looks on.

Mr Mark Hunter, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cheadle, this week visited the Thales UK site at Cheadle Heath for a briefing on its defence, security and transport businesses.


Jeff Clarke (left) Cheadle's naval site director & Mark Hunter MP.

During the visit to Cheadle, Mark was updated on Thales UK programmes, including support to current UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) operations across the naval sector, as well as being given an insight into the Thales systems for the UK and European Rail from its security, solutions & services business. Hosted by naval site director Jeff Clarke, Mr Hunter was updated about some of the Thales sonar systems that serve with the Royal Navy, including the world-beating 2087 and 2076 systems. Thales has recently been awarded an important contract by the MoD to supply Sonar 2076 to the fourth Astute-class submarine, Audacious. A number of Thales sonar systems were recently involved in Exercise Taurus 09, one of the Royal Navy's largest overseas exercises for more than a decade. A Type 23 frigate (2087) and a Trafalgar-class submarine (2076) played a central role in the anti-submarine warfare exercise.

The Cheadle site's excellent educational and community relations were discussed, including its existing links with York and Manchester universities. Recent environmental campaign successes to improve the site's carbon footprint were also highlighted. The visit was also an opportunity for the Liberal Democrat Deputy Shadow Transport spokesperson to learn more about the transport and security businesses that are also located at the Cheadle site. Mark was able to meet a team from the security, solutions & services team, led by Global Marketing and Sales Director Tim Porter. Topics included the development and running of National Rail Enquiries' Online Journey Planner (www.nationalrail.co.uk) and the Station Management systems that are being installed at nearly 100 London Underground stations to improve safety, security and passenger information.

Speaking after the visit Mr Hunter said, "Thales is a very important business locally, which employs around 300 personnel in the site's naval business and around 240 in Cheadle's security, solutions & services sector. I visit the site regularly to update myself on their newest developments, including the high profile work they do with the MOD, National Rail and London Underground, and was pleased to hear about their exciting new projects.

"It's great to see an internationally renowned business based in our area go from strength to strength especially in the current economic environment."

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