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Safran Hired to Upgrade Navigation System for French Subs

January 9, 2017 (Photo Credit: Marcel Mochet/AFP via Getty Images)
PARIS — France has awarded Safran Electronics & Defense a contract to upgrade the global navigation system on the French Navy’s nuclear ballistic missile submarines, the company said Monday.

“The French defense procurement agency DGA has chosen Safran Electronics & Defense to design, develop and build an improved version of its global navigation system now used on the country’s Triomphant-class ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SNLE),” the company said in a statement.

A contract was signed toward the end of last year, a company spokesman said. The value of the deal was not immediately available.

An updated version will fit new technology to improve performance and draws on feedback from the present laser gyro-based navigation system, Safran ED said.

A global navigation system on the ballistic missile boat is distinct from Safran’s Sigma 40XP inertial navigation system, which is being fitted on the Barracuda nuclear attack submarine.

The first Barracuda boat will be delivered in 2019, two years late, business weekly La Tribune has reported. “The postponed delivery is due to an industrial delay,” according to a document from the economy ministry, which gave no details, La Tribune's report said.

A six-strong Barracuda fleet, with the first of class dubbed Suffren, will eventually replace the Rubis boats, which are also being fitted with the Sigma 40XP as part of a modernization.

Safran has supplied an undersea navigation system since equipping the Redoutable, the French Navy’s first nuclear ballistic missile submarine, launched in 1967.  The company also supplies the navigation system on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, which is undergoing a major 18-month overhaul.

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