A Thales Ground Master 200 radar at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, Paris, France, on Monday, June 19, 2023. (Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

PARIS — Indra, the Spanish technology company, and French defense giant Thales announced today they have signed an agreement to “accelerate the development of cutting-edge European technologies and leverage synergies” to strengthen both companies’ positions in the global market, especially in the defense realm.

“We are living in a true technological revolution in which advances are happening at breakneck speed. Industrial collaboration is absolutely critical for Europe to maintain its leadership and have a voice in deciding where our future is going,” Indra’s CEO, José Vicente de los Mozos, said in the announcement. He said that “this agreement is about finding synergies, delivering better systems and developing new state-of-the-art technologies.”

Thales Senior Executive Vice-President, International Development, Pascale Sourisse agreed that “companies must collaborate and co-create to equip customers with the necessary capabilities in this fast evolving environment.”

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The announcement specifically said the companies planned to work together on innovation for “critical defence systems” and to strengthen Europe’s “defence industrial base.” It added that they “want to take advantage of the business opportunities that are arising both nationally and internationally, especially those related to radar systems, cybersecurity, communications systems and simulation.”

The two companies know each other well, having already collaborated on major technology programs in the past and both being partners in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project for which Indra is the lead company in Spain.

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The companies also said today they planned to work together on “cyber defence” where both companies will collaborate “in EU-driven programs such as AIDA (Artificial Intelligence Data Analysis), as well as other initiatives with European and international customers.”

A spokesperson for Indra told Breaking Defense in a telephone interview that this was an “initial” agreement. He explained that a joint Steering Committee would be created to not only define joint strategies and analyse opportunities but would also set up specific working groups in which team members would come from both groups.

A spokesperson for Thales said that the agreement would formalise the discussions and collaboration that the two companies already have and will enable them to develop new ones. She said that as in many such collaborations there will also be times when the two groups will be competitors, “but this will help us to work together when it’s pertinent to do so.”