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Belfast weapons factory receives contract to produce anti-tank missiles


Belfast weapons factory has received a contract to produce anti-tank missiles for the British Army.

It follows a recent announcement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) around future anti-tank missile provision.

Thales in Belfast has been awarded a contract to produce a further batch of NLAW effectors (Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon).

Saab’s NLAW is a shoulder-launched missile system that attacks a tank from above.

It combines the simplicity of light anti-armour weapons with the advantages of heavy, crew-operated guided missile systems, and allows a single soldier to take out a heavily protected modern main battle tank at ranges between 20 and 800 metres.

The NLAW has played an important role in Ukraine’s defence capacities, making up part of the 10,000 anti-tank weapons the United Kingdom has supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces.

Thales Belfast has provided the final assembly of NLAW on behalf of Saab since 2008.

The site is also home to the Thales STARStreak and Lightweight Multi role Missile (LMM) both of which have also been central to the UK’s support to Ukraine.

More than 600 people from the region are employed in the plant which has in recent years secured contracts worth hundreds of millions from the MoD and in export contributing significantly to the economy of Northern Ireland and the UK.

Philip McBride, managing director of Thales Belfast said, welcomed the announcement on Wednesday.

“I am delighted to receive this contract today cementing our long standing relationship with Saab,” he said.

“It is yet another vote of confidence in the talent of our workforce here at Thales Belfast.

“Once again, Northern Ireland is demonstrating its significant role in the UK defence enterprise.

“We are proud to continue to provide skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs.”

Dean Rosenfield, group managing director of Saab UK, added: “We are pleased to be able maintain our close bond between Thales and Saab which has been a good working relationship for many years.

“I have seen first-hand the expertise and enthusiasm of the workforce in Belfast and their seamless integration with Saab’s NLAW team, so I look forward to seeing this continue as part of the contract.”

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