Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2016-06-02

Thales: Offering State-of-the-Art Solutions

Nation Shield sat down with Thales Vice President and Country Director UAE, Thibaut Trancart, on the sidelines of ISNR and found out more about the company’s latest innovations
 
By Sakha Pramod
 
At the recently concluded International Security and National Resilience (ISNR) exhibition in Abu Dhabi, Thales showcased its full range of cyber security solutions for government agencies and homeland security forces. The company also presented the Spy’Ranger, the latest-generation surveillance and reconnaissance mini-drone, specifically tailored to meet the needs of armed forces, security forces and essential operators.
 
Thales Vice President and Country Director UAE, Thibaut Trancart said, “Thales has been present in the country for quite some time now. We have a longstanding relationship with various organisations here, be it the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence, amongst others. We are constantly trying to find ways through which our innovations can support them.”
 
This collaboration was in evidence at the display of the Spy’Ranger at ISNR, which was showcased for the first time outside of France. Trancart said, “We also showcased the SiX watch, which is an interconnected device and is one of our key solutions for smart cities. It offers interconnection between people as well as agencies. The “6W4U” (Six Watch For You) is a standard smartwatch running a special app for plainclothes police.
 
It displays a discreet watch face most of the time, but swipe it and you will see a grid of photos of your team, yourself at the center. Another swipe shows you a map of the area around you, with dots indicating the position of your team members. A companion web app back at headquarters also monitors the position and status of each 6W4U watch wearer.”
 
He added, “These are two examples that clearly show how we have adapted to the operational requirements and expectations that customers have from us. We have developed solutions to create the safe city and the smart city, whilst formulating an optical sensor to small-integrated UAVs, enabling various applications. These are just a few examples of our growing portfolio of critical services.”
 
At ISNR, the company highlighted solutions in six categories - cyber security, smart city, Spy’Ranger, critical infrastructure, counter UAVs and network. Thales offers a portfolio of products and services spanning the entire lifecycle of information systems today, enabling customers to maintain continuity of operations.
 
“Cyber security, as you know, applies to all applications and is an increasing concern for everybody,” said Trancart. “We are also focused on counter UAVs as there is an increasing demand for it. For instance, when watching airports, chemical plants, critical infrastructure etc.”
 
Emphasis on Cyber Security
When it comes to cyber security, Trancart said that there are a number of elements to consider. First, there is the question of how to secure the equipment that is being delivered. “Our equipment is mainly software centric, which means it can come under cyber-attack. When we are delivering, we have to make sure that it is cyber protected. We are working with our customers to develop operation centres in order to work with them to secure the data, and to make sure there will not be any kind of attack. We are also working with banking systems where we are securing the banking payments and transfer through our systems,” he added.
 
Trancart explained that there are four different scenarios featuring the critical infrastructure. The first scenario is prevention, which works for both civil and military customers. He said, “Prevention is the priority at the consultation and audit stage for our cyber experts. Their remit is to reveal vulnerabilities in the system and to make recommendations regarding prevention of cyber-attacks. This process will reduce the likelihood and impact of such attacks. We are able to rebuild a system and implement security in design or deploy encryption systems for civil customers. This is especially applicable to banking, where there can be added security measures.”
 
For military customers, Thales has some specific encryption systems used by allies of the US and NATO countries. They are able to deliver security audit reports to the customers, compiling of both software and hardware products. 
 
In the detection phase, Thales works on critical infrastructure, including water distribution. “In this case, as there are mobile workers, we must monitor the information system and through our security operation centres. We are well covered, with three in France, one in the UK, one in the Netherlands and we are building one in Hong Kong,” said Trancart.
 
In the Operation stage both voice and data is encrypted, while in the Reaction stage the data is collected and given to a third party for information. 
 
Trancart added, “We also have a rapid reaction team, which can be deployed within 48 hours. They analyse the cyber attacks with the customers. Once we detect intrusion we will isolate the part of the network to evaluate what they are attempting.”
 
Joint Ventures
Thales has developed its local presence in the country through numerous joint ventures and partnerships. This has allowed the company to expand its local footprint, to be able to adapt and meet customer needs, and to develop talent through the means of high-level professional and academic training programmes.
 
Trancart said, “Thales has a number of joint ventures in the UAE. One of them is Thales Advanced Solutions (TAS) with EAI (Emirates Advanced Investments), which is now merging with EDIC (Emirates Defence Industries Company). We have developed a number of projects, such as air defence radars, maintenance services etc. We have also been implementing transfer of technologies, which we will continue with over the coming years in the UAE.
 
He added, “Additionally, we announced a MoU with Injazat a few years ago, and have been working with them collaboratively on cyber security and ways of managing services together.
 
Another association is The CERT Thales Institute, from which the company is carrying out a number of training and education programmes in the UAE. 
 
In the country, Thales works closely with the UAE Armed Forces, the Air force, land forces, Navy, avionics, as well as the inflight entertainment for Etihad satellite. “We have handled critical infrastructure for oil and gas and infrastructure security at Dubai airports. We have completed air traffic control radars in Dubai and air traffic control in Abu Dhabi. For the Dubai metro, we have worked on all integrated systems – the signalling, communication and security. There are about 300 people working locally, and are spread between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We are very proud of these achievements,” said Trancart.
 

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