The French defense ministry’s integrated structure for through-life support of aeronautical equipment (SIMMAD) has awarded Thales the contract to support its equipment on board the Rafale aircraft in service with the French Air Force and French Navy. Under the terms of the contract, Thales is responsible for supporting the Rafale’s phased array radar, electronic warfare system, avionics, optronics and communication systems.
The ten-year contract, known as MAESTRO, is a renewal of the current through-life support contract and broadens the scope of responsibility to ensure that Thales works more closely with operational personnel to guarantee fleet availability. The fixed-price availability contract represents a major innovation in through-life support delivery and coincides with an increase in Rafale flight hours and the need to comply with tougher military airworthiness standards.
Merry Michaux, Vice-President, Military Aerospace Customer Support and Services Managing Director at Thales said, “Thales is particularly proud to have been awarded this new contract, which we see as a sign of renewed confidence in a trusted partner and an endorsement of our continuing commitment to drive efficiency gains in aeronautical equipment support. The innovative concepts and collaborative working methods that we are putting in place on military bases and shared platforms will make a significant contribution to optimising availability of the Rafale fleet and bringing down the aircraft’s cost per flying hour.”
The Smart Care concept implemented in the MAESTRO program is the basis of a modular approach to availability contracting that Thales also proposes for other equipment types and other aircraft.