Melchior millions for Thales

Thales has been awarded €252 million by the French defence procurement agency to act as prime contractor for the Melchior communications programme.

The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has appointed Thales as prime contractor for the Melchior programme, which will provide France’s armed forces with a new-generation high-frequency (HF) tactical transit and access communication system.

The contract, worth €252 million, calls for development and production of the system and subsequent through-life support.

Thales says the Melchior programme will provide French Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Forces units with a vital component of theatre communications that will be highly secure. The contract also calls for migration to the Melchior standard of the Carthage and Matilde HF tactical communication systems in service and currently deployed in outside theatres of operations.

Based on a family of latest-generation HF radio equipment and terminals, Melchior will incorporate protocols and waveforms compliant with NATO standards. The system will also integrate commercial IP technology to provide voice, data and messaging services. It will provide long-range links and will complement satcom capabilities on joint and allied operations. In addition, new multimedia capabilities will enhance connectivity between HF terminals and other information and communication systems operated by the French armed forces.

New-generation (TRC 3700) Carthage HF radio sets delivered from 2005 will support the Melchior standard. The initial version of the system and the first 100 Melchior terminals will be delivered in early 2007. By the end of the decade, over 1,200 Melchior terminals will be produced and all existing Carthage and Matilde HF terminals will be upgraded to make up a complement of close to 2,000 Melchior systems.