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iXblue's navigation systems picked for the French Navy FTI program

iXblue, a specialist in maritime navigation and positioning, has been selected by Naval Group to equip five new 4000-ton frigates intended for the French Navy. 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 & processing units to equip these five new generation frigates.

FTI Belharra frigate Naval Group DCNS French Navy PACIFIC 2017 1 The Belharra scale model showcased by Naval Group at Pacific 2017 in Australia features several design improvements compared to the original design unveiled one year ago at Euronaval 2016.

"iXblue is proud to receive Naval Group's strong vote of confidence in awarding us a contract on this major state-of-the-art program for the renewal of French naval forces", explains Thomas Buret, Head of the Inertial Systems and Applications Division. "This contract is the outcome of a long-standing collaboration with Naval Group with whom we are working on several export programs.

However, it is the first time that iXblue systems have been chosen by Naval Group to equip a new-built major combat vessel for the French Navy. This contract underlines the quality and reliability of iXblue navigation systems, which have become a standard in the naval defense market.”

Already selected by the English and German navies in 2016, the Marins units offer high-end inertial navigation systems meeting the military requirements of the most modern combat ships. Based on iXblue fiber optic gyroscope technology, Marins inertial navigation systems offer very high performance levels and provide very accurate position, heading, roll, pitch and speed information regardless of the environment, including GNSS denied environments.

At the heart of the navigation system, the Netans data distribution & processing unit interfaces directly with the ship's sensors, acquiring, analyzing, correlating and then distributing data to all onboard systems. The Netans range provides reliable, consistent and accurate navigation information in the most challenging operating environments, while addressing the cybersecurity challenges faced by the world's leading navies.

Integrated onto a single platform, Marins navigation systems and Netans distribution & processing units precisely match the exacting requirements of major combat vessels in terms of performance, capacity and cost of ownership. iXblue navigation systems already equip more than 35 navies and coast guards around the world, including a number of French naval vessels. The entire French fleet is also equipped with WECDIS navigation software produced by iXblue (SENIN). This new contract with Naval Group reinforces the presence of iXblue in this market and further establishes the group’s positioning as a leading player in the field of navigation.

About the FTI
The French Defence Ministry announced the attribution to DCNS (now Naval Group) of a contract for the development and construction of five FTI (Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire or mid-size frigate) surface combatant intended for the French Navy in April this year. The first of the five frigates from this DGA-managed programme should be delivered in 2023 with an entry into active duty in 2025.

The FTI will have a displacement of about 4200 tonnes with a crew of 125 sailors. It will be capable of anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare as well as the support of special forces missions.

The prime contractor is Naval Group while Thales is set to supply a number of brand new, next-gen systems:
- The CAPTAS-4 Compact sonar
- The SEA FIRE radar
- Aquilon integrated naval communication system
- The SENTINEL electronic warfare system

Safran Electronics & Defense will supply a new electro-optical FCS, the PASEO XLR.

Provisional configuration (to be confirmed):
76mm main gun
2x Narhwal 20mm remote guns
8x Exocet MM40 Blk III anti-ship missiles
2x Sylver A50 launchers for 16x Aster 30 missiles
Space for 2x extra Sylver A70 launchers
MU90 torpedoes
Hangar for one NH90 helicopter and one UAV
Fitted for 4x Sylena Mk2 decoy launchers but with 2x of them