Safran's navigation systems : from strategic submarines to armed coast guard vessels


Sagem (Safran) is the European leader in inertial navigation, including production of the navigation systems for France's SNLE ballistic missile nuclear submarines. Today, Sagem offers two main families of shipborne inertial navigation systems: SIGMA for warships and BlueNaute for commercial ships, and for offshore and government vessels.

For warships, Sagem offers all the advantages of the SIGMA 40 family, a system based on a laser gyro inertial core. Drawing on this advanced technology, the SIGMA 40 provides continuous, high-precision navigation data used by the ship's combat system. In line with NATO standards, SIGMA systems guarantee high precision even in the harshest environments, especially in the absence of GPS signals. Sigma's other main advantage lies in Sagem's ability to provide complete support, by calling on its world-class development and production facilities. Sagem is a full-fledged partner in a number of major defense programs, and guarantees support up to and beyond 2050. 

Reflecting the confidence of operational units, Sagem was chosen to modernize the navigation system on the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, with SIGMA 40 units supporting all of its missions, whether conventional or strategic. In operation on the carrier, the SIGMA 40 system is also used for the sea alignment of its aircraft.

The SIGMA 40 was also chosen to modernize Rubis class nuclear attack submarines. Other ships equipped with this system include the Suffren class submarines in the Barracuda program, which will offer land strike capability using the naval Scalp missile, as well as FREMM frigates. For the latter, SIGMA 40 will be used as part of the weapon system, including deployment of the Scalp Naval cruise missile. Norway recently chose a SIGMA system for its future polar research and logistics vessel, the RV Kronprins Haakon, and South Korea acquired the SIGMA 40 XP to modernize its Chang Bogo submarines. All in all, SIGMA 40 systems are used on more than 500 surface warships and 75 submarines.

The new BlueNauteTM system is also going from success to success. It is based on an innovative and proprietary technology, the hemispherical resonator gyro (HRG). BlueNaute is a very competitive system, and was recently chosen by the Canadian navy for its new offshore patrol vessels of the DeWolf class, and by the US Coast Guard to modernize two different types of ships, as a replacement for older technologies (mechanical and fiber-optic gyros). 

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