It is no historical secret that France has aggressively worked to compete and undermine the defense military exports of the United States. In order to ensure that socialist François Hollande is reelected, the French Government has worked with the EU to sanction Russia, to resell Russia’s billion dollar orders for two helicopter carriers to Egypt, to embrace Iran’s ten year nuclear weapons development program, and to provide French banks the opportunity to be part of the “peace investment” to rescue Ukraine’s financial debt burdens.
Thales SA is a France-based firm providing integrated solutions and equipment of security systems to the aerospace and defense markets. It operates in many countries through its divisions, including Aerospace. In 2015, Thales SA had a net profit of 4.68% and 65,000 unionize employees competing against America’s Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and L-3 Communications. According to an October 5, 2015 news report from Rupert Murdoch’s publication, a “fleet of HAWKEI light-armored vehicles manufactured by the Thales SA aerospace and defense contractor (worth US$916.4 million) was awarded by the Australian Defense Department. The Thales order will consist of 1,100 (military) vehicles and more than 1,000 trailers.” Considering that Australia’s twenty-three million population is small and no roads or bridges lead to any of the Pacific Asian Nations, the vehicles’ contract seems out of portion. Could the Australia’s military be preparing for greater homeland security or future participation in Asia-Pacific military operations?
The French Thales designed HAWKEI vehicle will be “home-designed” and manufactured in Bendigo Australia that consist of a population of 111,000 of which 25% are Chinese. Speculation exist that China could also be part of the French deal as an investor in the manufacturing plant. Unemployment is high in Australia and France. The Australia Defense Department’s increasing military spending should help the Conservative Party in gaining local jobs and votes. “Mr. Turnbull said the order will create 170 jobs in Bendigo and another 60 in the state. Thales said a 3½ year production phase for the vehicles is scheduled to begin from mid-2017, with the first deliveries planned toward the end of that year. To ensure that American manufactures were eliminated from the bidding process, the vehicles can only be transported by Australia’s military helicopters.”
“The French Airbus Eurocopter MRH-90 is the ultimate multi-role helicopter, capable of transporting troops, completing search and rescue missions, and special operations. It’s capable of carrying 18 fully equipped troops at speeds up to 300km/h.”
The U.S. has had an embargo on exports to China of satellites and other space vehicles that were legislated under U.S. ITAR regulations. Thales is well remembered as the “French State” owned firm that worked to “side-step” the U.S. ITAR rules by selling so called “ITAR-free” W3C satellites to the Chinese and which the PLA had launched on its Long March launch vehicles.