British forces use Starstreak system
An air defence company in Belfast has won a multi-million pound contract to supply missiles to South Africa.
It is the first export order won by the French owned Thales Air Defence for its short-range Starstreak missile system.
The British army currently uses the system.
The contract, with the South African defence forces is believed to be worth about £12m.
The order completes the first phase of South Africa's ground-based air defence programme.
This is intended to provide a "fully integrated man-portable and air-droppable air defence capability for South African troops deployed on peace-keeping operations," Thales said.
Commenting on the contract, Miller Crawford, Thales chief executive, said: "We are delighted to have secured our first export order for Starstreak.
"The very short range air defence market is extremely competitive but we have always been convinced of the capabilities of this system, as is demonstrated by the success of the system which is already in service with the British army."
The Starstreak lightweight multiple launchers will be supported by a radar system also supplied by the company.
Thales Air Defence was previously known as Shorts Missile Systems, but was sold to the French company in the 90s.
It is a world-leading defence company and employs about 600 people.