For over 70 years, Safran Electronics & Defense has been an acknowledged leader in inertial technologies — mechanical, laser, fibre-optic and resonant — and a European leader in inertial navigation systems for land, maritime, naval and aerospace applications.
Safran markets a huge range of INS products for naval applications. The Sigma 40 family, long considered the gold standard in key areas, includes INS units based on either the ring laser gyro (RLG) technology or the HRG Crystal hemispherical resonator gyro technology. It is now joined by the Argonyx range.
In recent years, Sigma 40 RLG-based INSs have repeatedly demonstrated their accuracy and reliability in the course of military operations in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, primarily as original equipment on surface combatants. The recent modernisation of the French Navy’s CVN Charles de Gaulle included the installation of a Sigma 40 RLG-type INS. New-build FREMM frigates and Gowind corvettes are similarly equipped.
Safran also supplies international clients. Examples include Sigma 40 INS units for South Korea’s new FFX frigates, PKX patrol vessels and LHDs, Norway’s Skjold- and Nordkapp-class patrol vessels and the UAE’s Baynunah-class corvettes, as well as the Indian Navy’s new frigates and its planned Vikrant aircraft carrier.
Worldwide, Safran has delivered Sigma 40 INS units for 500 surface vessels and the Sigma 40 XP version for over 75 submarines.
In the early 2000s, Safran began developing the HRG Crystal technology. With an MTBF (mean time between failures) of over 1,000,000 hours and a design ensuring exceptional resistance to shocks, vibration and extreme temperature, these are the most reliable INS products on the world market. Now fully mature and a market leader in terms of cost of ownership, they are incorporated into a wide range of Safran products. The company’s latest range of INS units is based entirely on HRG Crystal cores.
The new Argonyx range meets the operational needs of naval surface vessels from patrol boats to aircraft carriers. These units offer precision navigation in the presence of intense jamming of GNSS satellite signals, enabling a vessel’s combat system to align its weapons correctly based on independent position data that is accurate to within 1nm per 72 hours — a vital requirement for maintaining operational superiority.
With their HRG Crystal core, maintenance-free design and market leading reliability (MTBF: 200,000 hours), hence low cost of ownership, Argonyx INS units guarantee client satisfaction.
Thanks to their highly optimised design, Argonyx naval INS units are not only the lightest on the world market, but also the most rugged. Note too that they are interchangeable with Sigma 40 units.
Safran’s leadership in naval INS echoes the group’s success in land and aerospace INS. Overall Safran is one of the few manufacturers in the world to boast this level of expertise in inertial navigation.
More information in Mer et Marine Euronaval 2018 Special issue : "Naval Forces : focus on french technology"