This article by David Ellis should be read, and fully comprehended, by as many Britons as possible:http://www.ukcolumn.org/article/rolls-r ... oing-cheap
It is important that we all understand what the following quotation from the above link really means to British industry, employment, and nationhood. The Defence industry was always the driving force of cutting edge technology, and it always will be. Without a viable Defence industry there can be no engineering industry of any significance or value in Britain; neither will Britain ever pay its way in the world without a strong engineering sector that actually produces high tech products that the world demands.QUOTATION:
Yet those unfamiliar with engineering should not switch off here. The above press angle relates to the merchant shipping market. And, as my above-linked submission to the Defence Committee pointed out, civilian production of ships and aircraft is not the driver of engineering knowledge or engineering technology, nor is it the basis of a healthy order book for a company of the specialism and scope of Rolls-Royce. Rather, military production is the driver which spins off the production (to far less exacting standards) of civilian ships and aircraft.
A similar treacherous process to that described by David Ellis in the above linked article, also affected employment in and around Hayes, Middlesex.
I worked for EMI Missile Electronics (EMI ME)for many years, and for a few months beyond the take-over of EMI ME by the French organisation, Thales. All the work I was engaged in was covered by the Official Secrets Act. Every page of all the technical documents that I had access to was headed “FOR UK EYES ONLY
”. The Front covers of all these documents were clearly identified as “SECRET
”, in large red characters. I had to sign for, and be accounted for, all the documents under my charge. Any loss, misuse, or wrong communication to any unapproved person or orgaisation, of any of this documentation carried severe penalties.
For some months, when EMI Defence was “on the market”, it appeared that EMI Defence would be taken over by BAE Systems (a natural partner). At least BAE had strong links to the British Government and the MoD. At the time, EMI Defence was a sub-contractor to BAE for several Government contracts. Employees were led to believe that BAE would retain the EMI Hayes site as a going concern. From time to time I worked with BAE engineers, and MoD staff.
EMI ME staff suddenly heard that Thomson (later named Thales), was carrying out due diligence on a possible take-over of EMI ME. As I said, every project I worked on, or had access to, was “SECRET
”, and “FOR UK EYES ONLY
”. The surprise and shock felt by myself and many of my colleagues, that a French, and foreign organisation, was about to take over was simply unbelievable. What on earth was the British Government, and the MoD, doing permitting a foreign nation to have access to, and control over, some very important contracts; most of which were destined for the MoD? (At this point it is worth mentioning the Falkland War; the French supplied Argentina with Exocet anti-ship missiles to destroy British ships. I was working hard, and long hours at the time to supply the Royal Navy with weapon systems.)
The take-over of EMI ME occured about 20 years ago now, but it still shocks me the know that The British Government of the day permitted this take-over. Thales closed the Hayes site and moved the business to Basingstoke (I left Thales for alternative employment after a few months at Basingstoke). EMI to Thales:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_EMI
From its formation until the mid-1990s Thorn EMI was one of the United Kingdom's largest defence companies.
The MEL Division, acquired from Philips, was involved in radar, electronic warfare and communications. The MEL communications business was sold to Thomson-CSF, now Thales.
In 1995 the various defence businesses were sold:
Thorn EMI Electro Optics to Pilkington Optronics
Thomson Thorn Missile Electronics to Thomson-CSF, now Thales
Thorn Sensors Group to Racal (to become Racal-Thorn Wells, now also part of Thales)
[/quote]Thales Group acquisition:
Thales' optronics businesses in the UK trace their origins to Pilkington Optronics, which was formed by Pilkington plc in 1988 to take control of the company's optronics businesses: Pilkington PE located in North Wales(formed in 1966) and Barr and Stroud, which was based in Glasgow. Pilkington PE later became Thales Optics Ltd., which was divested from Thales in December 2005 as Qioptiq Ltd.
In 1991 Thomson-CSF acquired 50% of Pilkington Optronics. In 1995 Pilkington Optronics acquired Thorn EMI Electro Optics which was renamed Pilkington Thorn Optronics. Three years later, Thomson-CSF purchased another 40% of Pilkington Optronics from Pilkington and the remainder in 2000 to make it a wholly owned subsidiary. In 2000 Thomson-CSF was renamed Thales and Pilkington Optronics Ltd. became Thales Optronics Ltd. Soon after, Thomson-CSF acquired W Vinten Ltd, a British reconnaissance equipment manufacturer, including the Joint Reconnaissance Pod, who now operate as Thales Optronics (Bury St Edmunds) Ltd.
In November 2006 Thales Optronics Limited announced the closure of its manufacturing facility in Taunton, Somerset, with the loss of 180 jobs. In June 2007 Thales sold the beryllium mirrors and structures business of Thales Optronics Limited to GSI Group Inc. for an undislosed amount.
Thales Optronics Limited was awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise in June 2011.