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Safran Electronics & Defense celebrates 70 years of technological prowess, advancing aerospace and defense, in Massy!


The site in Massy has grown into one of Safran Electronics & Defense’s pillars since its inception 70 years ago. It is active in a wide range of fields—research and development, production, customer support—in the aerospace and defense sectors. Here’s more about its agile attitude and success stories over the past seven decades, and how it has revolutionized the sector!

Steeped in history

François Hussenot and Marcel Ramolfo founded Société de Fabrication d’Instruments de Mesure (SFIM) in 1947 and the company moved to Massy shortly after that. Back then, it furnished the flight test center in Brétigny with the trajectory-charting systems, sensors and other instruments it needed. It enjoyed rapid growth, gradually diversified into new fields of expertise, and was acquired by Sagem (which became Safran Electronics & Defense in 2016) in the late 1990s.

Avionics and onboard electronics

SFIM developed autopilots for helicopters, contributing to France’s self-reliance policy in the 1960s (until then, only the United States supplied these systems!). This heritage shaped the expertise in electromechanical actuators for flight controls that the company boasts today. The company went on to become one of the pioneers in the inertial navigation industry and Safran Electronics & Defense now supplies APIRS attitude and heading reference systems for regional aircraft and helicopters, BGY gyrometric units, and even navigation systems for space launchers and satellites. Massy also designs FADEC full authority digital engine controls.


Back in the 1990s, the company ventured into portable optronic equipment. Today, several armed forces are using over 9,000 JIM multifunction infrared binoculars from Safran Electronics & Defense as a result of that move!

Gyrostabilized sight production, which began in the 1960s, was a huge success. This expertise has brought about the Strix sighting systems on Tigre helicopters and Euroflir 410 pods on NH90 helicopters today. Safran Electronics & Defense sights adapt to any environment, in the sea, on land and in the air, and any weather conditions.

Infantry and robotics

Safran Electronics & Defense is very active in projects revolving around the digital battlespaces of the future, and several of its large-scale programs in this area started in Massy—for example the FELIN, infantry modernization system that 20,000 French soldiers use today. Massy is also where the company is thinking about innovation in areas such as collaborative combat, robotics and infantry equipment to prepare the Scorpion offboard soldier program.

Massy is at the core of the company’s strategy and at the cutting edge of innovation!

Celebrating 70 years of breakthroughs and business success

Safran Electronics & Defense organized a ceremony to celebrate the prominent role that Massy has played in the company and in the aerospace and defense sector over these past 70 years. The event included demonstrations, videos and talks. A new showroom featuring Safran Electronics & Defense’s principal products was inaugurated. Journalists attended a presentation on the company’s equipment alongside Safran Electronics & Defense CEO Martin Sion, followed by an exclusive demonstration of the Euroflir 410 in the Tour de Visée. Over 400 Massy employees then took part in a ceremony commemorating the site’s success stories and expertise, the creativity of its teams and the collective strength that has propelled this site in the lead. A testimonial movie also captured the daily work of the women and men who do Safran Electronics & Defense proud. Lastly, the Prefect of the Essonne, Jean-Benoît Albertini, spoke about the important role that Safran is playing in the area he oversees. The culture of partnership in Essonne is a priority for the company, which has established a solid presence there thanks to the site in Massy!