‘We value the trust of Omani people’: Thales
August 7, 2019 | 5:45 PM
by Madiha Asif [email protected]
Pascale Sourisse, Senior Executive Vice-President, International Development at Thales. Picture: Supplied

Muscat: With a presence in Oman for over 35 years, Thales, the French aviation and defence specialists values the trust of the Omani people, according to a senior executive.

Talking exclusively to Times of Oman, Pascale Sourisse, Senior Executive Vice-President, International Development at Thales said: “Oman is a very important country to us - we are working closely with them, by supplying security solutions to the airports in Muscat and Salalah.”

She continued: “We really value the trust that Omani customers are putting in us.”

Thales is considered the global leader in the development of high technology systems and services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets. Locally, they work closely with the Omani Armed Forces as well as Oman Air. Both Muscat and Salalah Airports are fully equipped with Thales security solutions.

The group, which combines a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, are coming up with new generation avionics solutions that will help airlines reduce their carbon footprint by between 30-40 per cent. In addition to this, the group has introduced other new products and concepts such as UTM - unmanned traffic management. This

is an area of great interest for both Thales and Sourisse.

Displaying the model of the avionic solutions at the 2019 Paris Air Show last month, Sourisse said that this has been one of her favourite technologies unveiled by the group this year.

“New generation avionics solutions, with multiple screens in the cockpit are very interesting. This solution will enable airlines to reduce their carbon footprint due to its compactness, lower their weight, volume and energy consumption. Therefore, with the installation of this solution, there will be a reduction of 30-40 per cent in terms of carbon footprint.”

“Environmental impact is something that all airlines are extremely interested in. Our avionics solutions are signed off, and ready to be introduced to the market. We have already been selected to equip helicopters and are now ready to bring this to the wider market,” Sourisse said.

She added: “Technological developments are moving extremely fast. This kind of compact solution can be used for helicopters, regional aircraft, business jets, and we have bigger versions for large commercial aircraft as well.”

Speaking on the side-lines of the Air Show, Sourisse said the main motivation for Thales’s presence there was to meet with a large number of customers and partners and discuss new technologies the group is providing in the sector. She also explained their concept of TrUE Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“Broken down, TrUE means ‘TR’ for transparent, U for understandable and E for ethical. Transparent means ensuring that operators know exactly what data and how this data is being used so that the results can be justified and understandable. This is the first step towards an explainable AI, which is required to go to the next step, which is certifiable AI.”

“In aerospace, you cannot install safety-critical equipment or software on an aircraft without certification. The same is true for AI. You cannot take chances on what the result will be. The last word is ‘Ethical’ because our systems must work on open and objective standards. We believe it is important for human beings to remain in control of systems, and remain ultimately responsible for the decisions taken,” Sourisse said.

Recently, Thales completed the acquisition of Gemalto, creating a global leader in digital identity and security. With this, the group will cover the entire critical decision chain in a digital world, from data generation via sensors, to real-time decision support. Moreover, this acquisition increases Thales’ revenues to €19 billion and self-funded Research & Development to €1 billion a year, with 80,000 employees in 68 countries.

“The acquisition of Gemalto will see us boost our competencies in the digital domain as it is a well-established leader in the field of digital technologies, digital identity and cybersecurity, “ said Sourisse.

"Thales is proud to have invested over €7 billion in the field of digital technologies over the last three years, focusing on four key digital technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Cyber Security and Connectivity. We provide new solutions to all our customers in various fields using these technologies, and more. We mainly operate in five markets – defence, civil aerospace, ground transportation, satellites and security,” she continued.

Speaking further on the difference between Thales and more traditional pure IT companies, Sourisse said: “At Thales, we combine IT competencies (software and IT engineers), together with domain knowledge (defence, aerospace, security, etc). We have a deep understanding of operational needs and have developed this knowledge over years of experience of working with them. This kind of double competency in our different markets is something very unique.”

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