Thales wins first ID card contract

Thales, the French defence systems engineering firm, has won the first contract for the UK's National Identity Scheme.

The firm will work with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) to design, build, test and operate the technology that will deliver the controversial National Identity Register.

The four-year contract with Thales is worth 18 million. Another contractor, yet to be disclosed, will be responsible for manufacturing the cards.

Thales will also support the issuing of identity cards from the second half of 2009, according to the IPS.

In a statement released by the IPS, the deal "follows a procurement exercise using the NIS Strategic Supplier Group framework arrangement", which was originally awarded back in May.