PARIS — Navigation, positioning and imaging firm iXBlue has won a contract from Naval Group to supply navigation systems for five French intermediate frigates, its first deal to equip a new warship for the county’s Navy, iXBlue said.
“Responsible for the development of these vessels, Naval Group has signed a contract with iXBlue for the acquisition of Marins inertial navigation systems and Netans data distribution and processing units to equip these new generation frigates,” iXBlue said in a statement.
Naval Group and iXBlue declined to give a value for the deal.
Naval Group held a competition, which attracted three bidders, a Naval Group spokesman said.
Naval Group and iXBlue have collaborated on export contracts, but this is the first domestic deal with the naval systems company.
“This contract is the outcome of a longstanding collaboration with Naval Group, with whom we are working on several export programs,” said Thomas Buret, head of iXBlue’s inertial systems and applications division. “However, this the first time that iXBlue systems have been chosen by Naval Group to equip a new-built (sic) major combat vessel for the French Navy.”
The contract was signed in early November.
IXBlue won deals in 2016 to equip the British and German navies with its Marins inertial navigation system, based on fiber-optic gyroscope technology. The Netans system, while seeking to address cybersecurity threats, will plug into the ship’s sensors to acquire, analyze, correlate and distribute data to all onboard systems.
Naval Group is due to deliver the first of the five 4,200-ton warships in 2023 under the €3.8 billion (U.S. $4.5 billion) FTI intermediate frigate program. The warship will equip the French Navy, while Naval Group will pitch its export version under the Belh@rra brand name.
That name refers to Belharra, a giant wave on the coast of the Basque region, southwest France, and the unconventional typography in the product name indicates the digital technology designed into the warship.