Innovation by Safran

plane of the future


Safran innovates to develop tomorrow' technologies, products and services for the aerospace and defense markets.

In our constantly accelerating world, Safran conducts Research & Development programs that aim to enhance the circulation and security of people, goods and data.

In a world undergoing deep changes, Safran provides concrete solutions that allow us to address the major issues facing society: conserve our natural resources and protect our environment, support countries' modernization and help stabilize our society.

We are also investigating new area of research and experimentation, even disruptive technologies, to maintain our leadership and invent new horizons.

Innovation is an integral part of Safran's corporate culture, inherited from our founders and perpetuated by the 58,000 men and women who never stop developing tomorrow's technologies.



Research & Technology (R&T) is a fundamental part of Safran, allowing us to drive continuous improvements for a safer and more environmental-friendly air travel.

Moteur Leap HS
The LEAP engine

Developing new-generation aircraft engines

Safran is already exploring different technologies to develop tomorrow's aircraft engines. The primary aim is to create quieter, cleaner, more fuel-efficient and more economical engines. These efforts address the objectives for 2050 set by ACARE, the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe:

  • 75% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,
  • 90% reduction in oxides of nitrogen (NOx),
  • 65% reduction in perceived noise

The LEAP engine, set to enter service in 2016, already promises remarkable environmental performance:

  • 15% lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than current engines.
  • Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions 50% under the CAEP/6 standard.
  • A significant reduction in ground noise, in line with the upcoming Chapter 14 standard.

Towards "more electric" aircraft

Safran is calling on the full sum of its expertise to take a major step towards "more electric" aircraft. What this means is that the traditional hydraulic and pneumatic systems will be gradually replaced by electrically-driven systems. The upshot is aircraft with more available power and greater energy efficiency. They will also be more reliable and more economical, because of lower production and maintenance costs.

Safran is working on an electric taxiing system that will be a major breakthrough in this area. It will allow aircraft to taxi without using their jet engines, an innovation that offers a host of benefits: less noise, reduced fuel consumption and a decrease in CO2 emissions during taxiing. In addition this innovative system will improve the on-time performance of commercial airplanes.

Reducing technology costs for space and defense applications

Today, especially in the West, governments are cutting their space and defense budgets. At Safran, that means we have to boost performance and reduce costs to address changing conditions. We are now developing innovative new technologies in these sectors to underpin tomorrow's more cost-effective systems, while maintaining impeccable quality and reliability.



Safran Electronics & Defense launches the Patroller cluster


Our resources

Between major investments, a large number of people who work on research & development (R&D) and state-of-the-art facilities, Research & Technology (R&T) is one of the prime movers of Safran's growth.

A proactive, audacious strategy

In our core markets of aviation, space, defense and security, Safran must anticipate our customers' needs. Innovation is an integral part of our corporate culture and a key to our strategy.

R&D at a glance (2016)

billion euros invested
in R&D in 2016, equal to nearly 11% of sales
of research is independently financed













Two new cutting-edge research centers

To bolster our innovation policy, in 2014 Safran built two new world-class research centers. One consolidates R&T teams from throughout the Group, while the other focuses on composite materials.

The new Research & Technology center, dubbed Safran Tech, is tasked with fostering the emergence of new technologies. It has three main thrusts:

  • advanced aircraft systems,
  • digital technology,
  • materials, processes and sensors.

Safran Tech is located at the Group's Paris Saclay site, which will also welcome corporate R&T, the Innovation department and Paris area teams from Safran Engineering Services and Safran Nacelles. The site will eventually house 1,500 staff members, including outside partners.

Safran Composites is wholly dedicated to R&D for composite parts. Located in Itteville, in the greater Paris area, it was inaugurated in May 2014. Safran invested some 50 million euros in this composites hub, which will eventually count 150 specialists.



An exceptional organization, capitalizing on research expertise

In addition to our own Innovation and R&T units, Safran has created a highly organized in-house network of 300 experts, responsible for developing the highest-performance technologies around. All of our experts have earned their special status and career management support. Safran nurtures an atmosphere that allows these experts to share their knowledge across the Group.

We have also set up a Scientific Council, bolstering our position within the greater scientific community. Chaired by well-known physicist Mathias Fink, the Council comprises seven internationally known researchers, each specialized in one of Safran's core disciplines: physics, solid and fluid mechanics, applied mathematics, surface chemistry, materials, automation and numerical simulation.
Along with these initiatives, Safran is a major player in Europe's Clean Sky research program, designed to foster the emergence of disruptive technologies in the aviation sector. The overall aim is to improve the environmental performance of aircraft and their engines to make air transport greener than ever.



Employee-driven innovation: a broad culture of innovation at all levels

Over and above major research programs, innovation at Safran is an integral part of everybody's mindset.
In fact, we have organized an annual event to spotlight our people's achievements, the Innovation Awards. This competition mainly recognizes the most promising initiatives developed by Safran employees. Safran has signed the Employee-driven Innovation Charter, initiated by the association Innov'acteurs. Based on seven principles, this charter seeks to spread the innovation culture across the enterprise eco-system.

Hundreds of patents a year

for the most patents filed
by a company in France in 2015
Safran files for
initial patents a year worldwide
A global portfolio of


Our technologies

At Safran, achieving excellence also means reducing the development time and cost of our products. We coordinate innovation through seven main technology fields that apply to all of our business sectors.

Les 70 techniciens, doctorants et ingénieurs formant l’équipe de Safran Composites se sont installés lundi 17 mars 2014 sur le site du Bouchet, à Itteville (Essonne). D’une superficie de 10 000 m², ce tout nouveau centre de recherche va permettre au Groupe de conserver son leadership dans l’innovation liée aux matériaux composites, dont l’emploi se généralise à grande vitesse, tout particulièrement dans l’industrie aéronautique
3D weaving of carbon fibers
We will continue to invest heavily in research and innovation so we can offer our customers the breakthrough, and even disruptive technologies that add significant value, while carving out a position on upcoming programs.
Philippe Petitcolin, Chief Executive Officer of Safran

Turbomachinery and propulsion systems for tomorrow's aircraft and rocket engines.

At Safran, we're exploring a number of different technologies to help us develop engines that are quieter, greener and less expensive.

Energetic materials for propulsion: expertise every step of the way

Airbus Safran Launchers' technological expertise in all aspects of energetic materials makes us a world leader in solid propulsion. Solid propellants provide the energy needed by solid rocket motors, whether for missiles or launch vehicles. To maintain our technological leadership, the joint-venture between Safran and Airbus Group deploys innovative processes, coupled with long experience in managing the risks involved.

Electrical systems and power electronics: towards more electric aircraft

Safran’s comprehensive expertise in aircraft electrical systems is a key driver in the development of a “more electric” aircraft that is more economical, more reliable and less polluting.

Onboard electronic systems

To optimize the reliability of its onboard electronic systems, Safran produces ultra-durable components capable of withstanding the full spectrum of in-flight environmental conditions.

Sensors and information processing

Safran designs and manufactures sensors that offer constantly improving capabilities in areas such as real-time engine health monitoring. The aim is to develop autonomous systems that can be used at a day-to-day level.

Modeling and simulation

Modeling and simulation technologies that deliver important gains in terms of efficiency, reliability and competitiveness are key to Safran’s product design and development process.

Materials and processes

Safran deploys cutting-edge expertise to develop innovative materials and manufacturing processes designed to enhance product performance, in terms of strength, weight and environmental impact.

Our success stories

Safran offers products at the cutting edge of innovation, reflecting our technological excellence. Below we show you two excellent examples.

3D woven composite materials, lighter and stronger

Safran is deploying innovative materials and production processes to reduce aircraft weight and improve engine performance. One of these solutions in 3D weaving using the RTM (resin transfer molding) process, enabling the production of complex organic matrix composite parts, as light as they are strong. They are made by injecting liquid resin into a preform made of carbon fibers woven in three dimensions, then placed in a metal mold for curing. This innovative technology is used on the fan blades and cases for the LEAP engine.

LEAP engine - Composite Fan Blades & Case


Hemispherical resonator gyro (HRG), the future of inertial navigation

Safran is the European leader in inertial navigation, a technology that allows autonomously determining the position of a vehicle in space. The hemispherical resonator gyro (HRG) is the future of navigation. It's the third generation of inertial reference units designed by Safran, and will take over for mechanical and laser gyro based units.

The HRG offers a host of benefits, especially small size and exceptional reliability, because its measurement of angular velocity is virtually unaffected by interference. This means it can operate continuously and failure-free for dozens of years.

The hemispherical resonating gyro - HRG - the heart of the new center heading and attitude BlueNaute.
The hemispherical resonator gyro


Safran Corporate Ventures

Strategic investor in innovative startups active in Safran's business sectors. 

Know more

Employee-driven innovation

At Safran, innovation is an integral part of our competitiveness. It's also a state of mind and a culture that irrigates our entire Group. Each and every employee is invited – encouraged in fact – to submit new ideas. This participative approach to innovation demands a dedicated organization, and is also celebrated each year at the Safran Innovation Awards.

115 000
improvement ideas
from Safran employees were applied in 2016
projects submitted at 2017 Innovation Awards