Thales has been present in Singapore for over 40 years. With a presence in various countries in Asia, what is the importance of Singapore for Thales?

Singapore holds a significant importance for Thales, especially in terms of the aerospace industry. It is considered as a paramount MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) hub for Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific, and it is also regarded as the center of connectivity for air and maritime routes. With the right language, infrastructure, and ease of doing business, Singapore provides a favorable environment for the aerospace industry. Additionally, the maintenance activity in the country is crucial for economic development and job-creation. For several decades, the government has launched programs to incentivize companies like Thales to establish operations within Singapore. The aerospace industry places a high value on transparency and reliability, and these traits are indispensable for its demands. Thales works closely with Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) for the growth and development of programs within Thales in Singapore.

Could you outline the Thales Group’s key service offering for the aerospace industry in Singapore and the SEA region?

Thales initially started its operations by serving airline customers as a customer support service center. Over time, Thales has developed its capacity to repair equipment on-board aircraft in Singapore, and it now serves as a regional repair center for Asia-Pacific. Given the success with repair operations, Thales has also established a production facility in the country some six years ago, where the avionics products produced in Singapore are now shipped to companies like Airbus and Boeing directly. The production center leverages a network of suppliers in emerging countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, India, and China as well as established markets like Japan and Singapore. Thales has been successful in developing suppliers in these countries as an alternative to their traditional market. Thales institutionalizes the supplier qualification process and requirements within the network and puts in place a strong partnership program with the suppliers to ensure smooth delivery of components and parts to the production center.

How does Thales in Singapore support Singapore’s Ministry of Defense?

Thales has developed two types of activities alongside the Singapore defense sector. The first is to take care of basic research and technology operations that can be applied to the Ministry of Defense’s operations. The second is to promote and propose defense systems for the sector, based on import technologies. Thales does not develop any hardware or software in Singapore, which means that they need to import nearly 100% of their proposed solutions. Thales also runs a Research & Technology (R&T) center, which was set up more than 10 years ago with some funding from the defense sector, to perform research for their communications division. Thales has focused on underwater communications systems and has supplied hardware and software solutions that were co-developed with the Singapore Defense Agency.

How does Thales assist Singapore in building up local industrial capabilities for avionics production and MRO?

Thales is strongly committed to further Singapore’s goal of acting as a regional center for innovation within the aerospace industry. Thales continues to develop and increase the competencies within the supplier network in Singapore, and they collaborate with some of their partner companies to grow the repair capabilities in the region. Thales also runs an Innovation Hub in the country, which engages customers and partners in user-centered innovation, enabling cross-functional collaborations for co-designing, prototyping, and testing new concepts across areas ranging from defense and maritime security to aerospace, air traffic management, and smart cities.

Looking forward to the future, what are your plans for Thales in Singapore in the next 3 to 5 years?

Over the years, we have witnessed a steady growth rate of 6 to 8% in our avionics and aerospace businesses, with an average annual sales revenue of over US$200 million. As we look ahead, we aim to create more synergies in Singapore to improve MRO and production activities in the country. In addition, we want to focus on providing additional value to our local customers by becoming more involved in the early stages of product development and offering new services to the market. Our vision is to establish Thales as a leading innovator in the aerospace industry in Singapore and beyond.

That’s an impressive growth rate. Can you elaborate on your plans to improve MRO and production activities in Singapore?

Certainly. We plan to leverage our existing network of suppliers in emerging countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, India, and China, as well as established markets like Japan and Singapore to improve our production capabilities. We also plan to continue developing competencies within our supplier network in Singapore and collaborating with our partner companies to expand our repair capabilities in the region. Through these efforts, we aim to enhance the quality and efficiency of our MRO and production activities in Singapore.

How do you plan to provide additional value to your local customers?

One way we plan to provide additional value is by becoming more involved in the early stages of product development. By working closely with our customers from the outset, we can better understand their needs and develop customized solutions that meet their specific requirements. We also plan to offer new services to the market, such as user-centered innovation, which will allow us to co-design, prototype, and test new concepts in collaboration with our customers and partners. Ultimately, our goal is to provide our customers with innovative, high-quality solutions that help them achieve their business objectives.

That sounds exciting. How do you see Thales contributing to the aerospace industry in Singapore and beyond?

Our goal is to establish Thales as a leading innovator in the aerospace industry, not just in Singapore but also in the wider Asia-Pacific region and beyond. To achieve this, we plan to continue investing in research and development to develop new technologies and solutions that address the evolving needs of the industry. We also plan to continue collaborating with our customers, partners, and other stakeholders to drive innovation and growth in the industry. Ultimately, we believe that by working together, we can create a more sustainable, efficient, and innovative aerospace industry that benefits everyone involved.

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