Sagem (Safran), the world specialist in the field of inertial navigation was behind the development of gyroscope-based inertial reference systems in France.
The Airbus Military A400M will feature an inertial navigation system by Safran
Inertial navigation is a center of excellence at Sagem. An inertial reference system is used in vehicles to orient it in space, and maintain a position independently, unlike the GPS type systems that have to communicate with a constellation of satellites.
Thousands of inertial systems with mechanical platforms, using a gyro in a frame, are still in service. But the primary technology today is the laser gyro inertial reference unit, in which the reference axes are the product of an analytical calculation, based on data from sensors: three gyros and three accelerometers. The hemispherical resonator gyro is a technology for the future, greatly simplifying system design. A first application of this technology on the AASM air-to-ground weapon is currently entering service. This technology will subsequently be developed for other uses, on air, land and sea platforms.
|Application||Number of inertial units||Function(s)|
|Rafale multirole fighter||
|Tactical positioning, initialization of weapons based on target coordinates for ground attack, self defense for evasive maneuvers or countermeasure firing, very-low-altitude flight.|
|Airbus A400M (military transport)||
|Very-low-altitude flight, landing on unprepared runways, without external aids.|
|NH90 (military helicopter)||
|Safir navigation system, based on two Sigma 95L inertial reference units, in hybrid configuration with GPS.|
2 to 5
|Heading, speed and attitude, initialization of antiship missiles, participation in self-defense systems.|
|Provide exact positioning even when staying submerged for weeks, without having to surface, or raise a periscope that could be detected by satellite.|