Mobile network operator Vodafone is teaming up with BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest defence, aerospace and security companies, to bring industrial-strength mobile security products to its global enterprise customers.

The five-year partnership will deliver a range of communications security products and services for businesses, initially focused on smartphones and tablets.

“As a new generation of mobile-centric security risks begins to emerge, our customers are looking for our help to protect their businesses,” said Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone Group.

“Our partnership with BAE Systems will strengthen further our commitment to meet our customers’ increasingly complex cyber security needs.”

The first commercial element of the partnership will be a new cloud-based mobile security solution, Vodafone Mobile Threat Manager, which will be brought to market in Spring 2013 and initially be available to Vodafone's largest 1,500 global enterprise customers.

Based on BAE's mobile security platform, Vodafone Mobile Threat Manager works across all networks, scanning traffic to and from a company’s mobile devices in order to safeguard against malicious attacks and block inappropriate content, without impacting on device performance.

Under the terms of the deal, BAE Systems will also select Vodafone as its preferred global supplier of mobile communications outside the US.

This means that Vodafone will provide services to BAE Systems’ 35,000 UK employees from July 2013, with a view to expanding these services across its global workforce over the term of the contract.

Vodafone is also discussing the supply of Unified Communications to BAE Systems in the UK, as well as exploring a broader range of joint security products for other business areas including interconnected devices using machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.

“These technologies are subject to the vulnerabilities of cyber space and we can provide the mobile marketplace with protection against today’s threats and the advanced threats of the future,” said Ian King, CEO of BAE Systems.

The partnership is part of BAE Systems’ efforts to grow its cyber and security arm, BAE Systems Detica, in areas such as the communications technology market.