Safran Electronics and Defense and Sodern offer France a new technology, applicable to several strategic fields. A new potential for economic growth for manufacturers.
An innovative project
In June 2020, was presented the project for an innovative navigation system that aims at the stars in broad daylight, and is capable of operating on aircraft, despite the Sun and through the atmosphere.
The project has been developed since 2016 by Safran Electronics and Defense (responsible for the project and the navigation function) and Sodern (responsible for the star sighting function), at the request of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and the Defence Innovation Agency (AID).
Now called Vision, the daytime stellar sighting demonstrator was tested for the first time last November-December on board a flying test bed.
Boarding on a flying test bench
Four test flights (three by day and one by night) were carried out by DGA Maîtrise de l'information (DGA MI), the technical expert of the Ministry of the Armed Forces for information and communication systems, cyber security, electronic warfare and tactical and strategic missile systems.
The flights lasted about ten hours in total, at different altitudes.
Throughout the trajectories of each flight, numerous stars were hooked on and finely tracked by the demonstrator.
Towards mass production
France thus finds itself a pioneer in this avant-garde technology, while Sodern sees strong growth potential.
Now that the concept has been proven, the manufacturer plans to develop a refined prototype this year, and then prepare for mass production of the product by 2025, first for the Armed Forces, then possibly for the civilian market.
A large number of aircraft could benefit from these new star sights : transport and refuelling aircraft, long-endurance drones, weapon aircraft, ships and even, according to the IDA, missiles in the long term.
Sodern is delighted that its technology can thus benefit other technologies and be spread to other sectors.