Naval Group chooses iXblue to supply new navigation systems for France’s future high-tech FTI medium-size frigates

Back in November 2017, iXblue was selected by Naval Group to equip the five new FTI Medium-Size frigates intended for the French Navy. With a delivery planned at the end of 2023, the FTI frigates are a new breed of digitally enabled vessels and will benefit from the most advanced technology available to naval forces today. Responsible for the development of these frigates, Naval Group has recently signed a contract with iXblue for the acquisition of Marins inertial navigation systems and Netans data distribution & processing units to equip these five new generation frigates.

“iXblue is proud to have received Naval Group’s strong vote of confidence in awarding us a contract on this major state-of-the-art program for the renewal of French naval forces”, explains Thomas Buret, Head of the Inertial Systems and Applications Division at iXblue. “This contract is the outcome of a long-standing collaboration with Naval Group with whom we are working on several export programs. However, it is the first time that iXblue systems have been chosen by Naval Group to equip a new-built major combat vessel for the French Navy. This contract underlines the quality and reliability of iXblue navigation systems, which have become a standard on the naval defense market.”

Indeed, the Marins units offer high-end inertial navigation capabilities meeting the military requirements of the most modern combat ships. Based on iXblue fiber-optic gyroscope technology, the Marins inertial navigation systems offer very high performance levels and provide very accurate position, heading, roll, pitch and speed information regardless of the environment, including GNSS denied environments.

At the heart of the navigation system, the Netans data distribution & processing unit interfaces directly with the ship’s sensors, acquiring, analyzing, correlating and then distributing data to all onboard systems. Directly contributing to the vessel operational capabilities, iXblue Netans Series is a real-time system that distributes and processes almost instantaneously the diverse and complex data from all navigation sensors. The Netans range thus provides reliable, consistent and accurate navigation information, while addressing the cybersecurity challenges faced by the world’s leading navies.

“Naval cybersecurity is of paramount importance nowadays, as new vessels are being increasingly connected and digitized. The risk of cyberattacks now poses a major threat to this new kind of vessels and the cyber defense capability has become a critical component for any vessel.” states Thomas Buret. “iXblue systems are particularly adapted to high-tech vessels as they provide the most robust protection against sophisticated malwares threats. By providing an architecture capable of managing and controlling that threat, iXblue truly leads the way in cyber secured navigation systems.”

Integrated onto a single platform, the Marins navigation systems and Netans distribution & processing units thus precisely match the exacting requirements of major combat vessels in terms of performance, capacity and cost of ownership. iXblue navigation systems incidentally already equip over 35 navies and coast guards around the world, including some of the most recent and renowned naval programs such as the Royal Navy Astute-class nuclear attack submarines, Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, Duke-class frigates and Vanguard and Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, as well as the German Navy Type 123 Brandenburg-class and Type 122 Bremen-class frigates and the Swedish Navy next generation A26 and Gotland-class submarines. This new contract awarded by Naval Group for the new FTI Medium-Size frigates program thus keeps reinforcing the presence of iXblue on the naval market and further establishes the group’s positioning as a global leading player in the field of navigation.