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Walid Zarif Walid Zarif

Focus on the SkyNaute™: equipment for dual applications

Safran has been active for more than ten years in the market for attitude and heading systems for helicopters and regional aircraft, and is now taking a step forward in certified performance with the SkyNaute™ navigation solution. Walid Zarif, Sales Director for navigation products, tells us more about this development.

What is the purpose of an inertial navigation system?

The inertial navigation system provides data on heading, roll, pitch, speed and position, enabling a platform to be piloted and to navigate with precision in its environment.

It is an equipment that integrates sensors. It includes three gyrometers that detect rotation and accelerometers that detect acceleration. Based on this information, we are able to provide completely autonomous data to ensure the piloting of an aircraft, and to reconstitute the navigation point of the carrier.

Drones, commercial aircraft, helicopters... the SkyNaute™ navigation system can equip all kinds of aircraft: is the product's versatility a major asset?

Thanks to HRG Crystal technology, SkyNaute™ displays the most compact form factor on the market in relation to its level of precision with only 3 liters - 3 kilos. This facilitates its installation on all types of platforms, including drones and helicopters that are generally very constrained in terms of space.

In addition, the reduction in weight will reduce the aircraft's fuel consumption and thus contribute to more sustainable aviation, while maximizing the payload. Finally, the equipment is certified to civil aeronautical standards, allowing it to address both the commercial aviation market and the military market in a dual approach.

What is the HRG Crystal?

The HRG Crystal is a disruptive and proven technology patented by Safran Electronics & Defense. The size of a coffee capsule, this Hemispheric Resonator Gyrometer offers unmatched compactness, unlimited life, and robustness in the most severe environments.

SkyNaute addresses both the civil and military markets, what brings these two fields together today in terms of navigation?

The SkyNaute™ navigation system guarantees high levels of performance and accuracy, even when GNSS signals are absent or jammed. This ensures the precise trajectory of the aircraft, whether civil or military, in all circumstances, and thus improves flight safety.

For the armed forces, it is also essential to be able to move with complete discretion, especially in hostile areas.

The SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) program involves the merging of civil and military air traffic control and consequently the insertion of military aircraft into general air traffic.  The A400M program, which entered service in 2013, is the spearhead of a civil-certified military architecture. It is based on civil avionics solutions leading to dual certification of the aircraft by EASA (civil) and the CQC (military).

Since then, we see that this certification is applied to all military aeronautical applications.

When is the civil certification of the SkyNaute™ planned?

Civil certification of SkyNaute™ is planned for 2025.

SkyNaute™ has already been selected to equip 169 Army H160M Guépard helicopters by 2023. Have other customers expressed interest?

Yes, the SkyNaute™'s small size and advantageous weight make it particularly well suited to UAVs and new air mobility solutions (air cabs). Several customers producing this type of platform have also selected or expressed an interest in the SkyNaute™.


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