Thales UK has been a trusted partner of the UK Armed Forces for 130 years. Their 103-year relationship with the RAF was reinforced when the company presented a £10,000 cheque to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Stuart Boulton, Vice President Land and Air Systems of Thales UK made the donation to Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson, Air Officer Scotland, at Thales UK's Glasgow site. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal also attended, almost 25 years to the day since she officially opened the facility. Stuart Boulton said: "Here at Thales UK we are immensely proud of our relationship with the RAF and to be able to make this contribution in this, the RAF's centenary year, simply underlines our commitment and deep respect for the men and women of the Royal Air Force, past and present."
AVM Paterson said: "On behalf of the Royal Air Force, the RAF Benevolent Fund and, most importantly the entire RAF Family who will receive financial, emotional and physical support as a consequence of this donation, I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to Thales UK."
Baz Dale, Area Director for the RAF Benevolent Fund, commented: "We are absolutely delighted to have the support of Thales UK, especially during such a seminal year for the RAF. This significant donation will mean we are able to continue our support of the RAF Family – be they serving personnel, veterans or dependants."
Thales UK and the RAF
W Vinten Ltd, whose airborne reconnaissance activities are now part of Thales UK, began the proud relationship back in 1915, supplying cameras for airborne reconnaissance to the Royal Flying Corps. Over the years many other companies which would subsequently join the modern Thales UK family would make their own contribution to the relationship, through the supply of a wide range of equipment and systems. Their innovation and creativity, especially in some of the darkest and most challenging moments in our nation's history, often made a critical difference to the success of a mission, enabling aircrew to return home.
The Thales site in Glasgow was a major supplier of optical sights to the RAF during WWII. Between 1939 and 1944, every bomber in Bomber Command was fitted with a sight either designed or built at the site, then known as Barr & Stroud Ltd. The Company's MkII reflector sight was also fitted to Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft, providing a vital capability during the Battle of Britain. Today, the RAF Typhoon aircraft based at Lossiemouth use state of the art Infra-Red Search and Track sensors built at the Thales Glasgow site and in doing so continue the proud relationship well into the 21st Century.