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Euronaval: from geopolitics to technological challenges


From October 19 to 25, 2020, Euronaval, the largest international show for naval and naval aviation technologies, is meeting you on its Euronaval-Online platform. On the occasion of this twenty-seventh and different edition, let's come back to the threats and new technological challenges for the world’s navies and the solutions provided by Safran.

In addition to an unprecedented global health crisis, 2020 has been marked by rising conflictuality. New tensions are raising doubts about EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zones[i]), which date back to 1982 and the Montego Bay Convention. As a trade gateway between Europe and Asia, the Mediterranean Sea is the backdrop for power play between a host of players, including military forces of the highest importance. In this context of fresh outbreaks of tension, nations, and particularly France, would be well advised to provide their navies with the technological – and therefore operational – means to ensure their sovereignty.

Protecting trade routes from asymmetrical threats.

One of the greatest challenges for naval forces is to reconcile maritime tension and a globalized world. To date, 80% of goods exchanged pass by the sea or ocean and 99% of internet and telephone data is transmitted through submarine cables. Carriers pass through potential risk zones, such as the Gulf of Aden or the China Seas. In 2018, 201 piracy incidents were recorded in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. Such attacks are now spreading to new zones like Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. In these areas, it is vital that transit corridors remain protected to ensure trade can take place. In this respect, technological innovations such as maritime surveillance using drones will be a key element of naval forces’ agility.

Innovating and perfecting existing technologies.

The technological upgrading and operational capacity of some previously lower-ranking world powers regularly readjust the existing geopolitical balance. Some Asian and African countries, such as Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia, now have military submarines, which was not the case twenty years ago. A total of 500 submersibles are deployed worldwide every day. So, the asymmetric gulf between maritime powers is narrowing just as the number of players capable of intervening is growing. Nations must therefore provide their navies with cutting-edge operational capacity that will enable them to maintain their national sovereignty, particularly by supporting innovation within manufacturing companies like Safran Electronics & Defense.

Defending exclusive economic zones against antagonistic pretensions.

Increasingly, the ocean’s much coveted halieutic, gas and oil resources are the object of dispute. Proof of this lies in outbreaks of tension in the China Seas, Taiwan, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Pacific, and around EEZs. International law, which has always been fragile in open spaces, must be constantly upheld. This means being capable of defending one’s resources through operational superiority underpinned by cutting-edge technology. This is an even greater challenge for France, which has the second largest maritime space in the world.

Safran: a solution to the challenges of both today and tomorrow.

In this current climate, Safran develops innovative and efficient products for data collection and navigation. At the cutting edge of technology, these products enable naval forces to maintain their operational superiority over the long term.

  • In terms of intelligence, Safran offers constantly upgraded optronics systems, which detect, recognize and identify all the different players in maritime space, in all conditions. These optronics systems combine reliability, autonomy and versatility and exist in surface and submersible versions. They are designed to meet different maritime requirements and assignments, in both low and high intensity situations.
  • As European number one in the tactical drone sector, Safran is currently involved in the OCEAN2020 program, which aims to offer a maritime surveillance “nautical drone” system.
  • In terms of navigation, Safran offers high-performance inertial navigation solutions, suited to every type of need. These systems, which use various technologies including HRG (Hemispherical Resonator Gyro), meet the highest navigation and weapon system stabilization requirements. This cutting-edge technology is installed on over 900 ships, making the Group number three worldwide for inertial navigation systems.


[i] An Exclusive Economic Zone is a sea zone over which a coastal state exercises its sovereign rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources. According to international law, the zone stretches out to a maximum of 370km from the coast.