Chennai : The international defence and civil security electronics technology supplier Thales group Thursday opened a $1.3 million software centre here, choosing the city for its global system development and export hub.
"Thales Software India has invested 1 million euros in developing the Chennai facility and hopes to triple this investment in the coming years and employ a thousand software engineers here by 2010," said Jean Paul Lepeytre, senior vice president for the Thales security services and services divisions.
TSI earns revenue of over $400 million through its India operations and hopes to increase this in the coming years with export of software systems for all its ongoing and future operations in 50 and more countries, Thales officials said.
The security and services division will form the base for the development centre of the entire group in Chennai, the official added after formally opening the software centre.
"Our Chennai centre will provide the domain specific expertise for all our world operations and anything TSI does here will be exported and available in our products elsewhere," Francois Dupont, country director Thales, told IANS.
"There is a huge market for air traffic control software and we hope to fullfil this need, especially in countries like India", Dupont said.
The central government will be one of the group's biggest in the world at par with its in-flight entertainment system centres in the US and France. To begin with, the Chennai center will develop software for ATMs and IFSs.
Thales (formerly Thomson Components and Thomson CSF) has been a leading global electronics and systems group for 37 years catering to defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide, supported by a comprehensive services offering.
It has been a key components supplier to the US and other militaries and also sells its products to telecommunication, medical, broadcast and science markets.
The group's civil and military businesses have developed in parallel, with 50 percent offerings in the civilian sector, said Reynald Seznec, senior vice president of Thales.
In transport, Thales supplies signalling systems to Germany and Spain, ticketing system for Canada, airport security systems for Gulf countries and urban rail systems to British and Greek markets and hopes to consolidate with Eurobahn.
"We have provided the ticketing system to the Delhi metro rail and hope to look at other rail systems in India", Lepeytre told IANS.
In India, the five Scorpion submarines India signed for are being fitted with Thales systems at the Mazegaon docks. The fire control systems for the new batch of T 90 tanks India got from Russia are also being fitted with Thales systems.
These apart, Indian Airlines, Air India and Kingfisher Airlines are getting their in-flight entertainment systems by Thales.
"Only restrictions on exports from Chennai will be the laws that are in force for defence systems and we comply with the laws of the exporting and importing countries. These legal issues can be managed", said Seznec.