The world specialist in inertial navigation, particularly for warships, Sagem (Safran) has been awarded the contract to modernize South Korean submarines. This latest success reinforces the company’s leadership in the field of precision inertia.
Under water, there is no point relying on GPS for guidance. Inertial navigation is therefore particularly important to submarines. To modernize the navigation system on board its Chang Bogo-class KSS-1 submarines and meet its precision requirements, the South Korean Navy has selected Sagem to supply its latest-generation system.
A first submersible will be equipped with two Sigma 40XP inertial navigation units, and once the retrofit has been checked in operation, five more vessels in this class will in turn be upgraded.
“Seoul is already using around fifty of our laser gyro inertial reference units on surface vessels,” said Fabrice Delhaye, director of Sagem’s Navigation Department. “With the contract we have just signed, we are now making headway into the submarine fleet where technical constraints are even greater.”
The Sigma 40XP (“eXtended Performance”) inertial system due to equip South Korean submarines is the high-end variant of the best-selling Sigma 40, designed for surface vessels, 600 of which have been sold across the world. “Sigma 40XP is built on the success of the Sigma 40 with which it shares several components,” Delhaye pointed out. “This not only means reduced manufacturing costs, but it also has a favorable impact on the maintenance budget.” The system’s success also lies in its compact footprint and very high precision. Sagem’s highly robust laser gyro technology is perfectly suited to endure the tough demands of a warship.
The high-performance Sigma 40XP inertial unit has won over the new and retrofit submarine market in no time at all. French (DCNS) and German (HDW) shipyards are making the system available on new vessels while a number of countries are opting for this equipment in their fleet modernization programs.
In a part of the world where submarine forces are growing fast, India and Vietnam have joined South Korea in making this choice. In France, the Sigma 40XP laser gyro inertial navigation system has been selected for the renovation of nuclear attack submarines while the version due to be fitted on the future Barracuda will offer even greater performance.