Naval Group Chooses iXblue to Provide Navigation Systems for French Navy BRF Logistics Support Ships

iXblue was selected by Naval Group to provide navigation systems to the four logistics support ships being procured by the French Navy.

iXblue’s Phins navigation systems and Netans navigation data distribution and computation systems will equip the vessels called BRF (Bâtiments Ravitailleurs de Forces, “force supply vessels”) in French Navy service.

This contract reinforces a long-standing collaboration with Naval Group, iXblue navigation solutions having already been selected by the defense contractor for French and export programs.

“The BRFs are an essential strategic component of the naval operations of France and its allies. They will enable the French Navy to operate at sea in theaters of operations far from the mainland or from support bases”, explains Benoît Kerouanton, Head of IXblue’s Navigation Division. “Reliable, resilient and high-performance navigational data is therefore essential to the success of the operations of these ships, on which the autonomy of French Navy combat vessels and aircraft depends. Our Phins navigation systems and our Netans navigation data distribution & computation systems satisfy this need for reliability and performance perfectly, whatever the environment, including in GNSS-denied situations. It is a source of pride for our company to have been selected by Naval Group and to continue to play a role in France’s defense capacity by providing navigation systems to these four new BRFs.”

Based on Fiber-Optic Gyroscope (FOG) technology, iXblue navigation solutions already equip more than 650 surface ships and underwater platforms in 40 national navies and coast guards, including major programs such as the French Navy’s future frigates (Frégate de Défense et d’Intervention – FDI), the new Astute-class nuclear attack submarines and the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers of the UK Royal Navy, as well as the F123 (Brandenburg-class) and F122 (Bremen-class) frigates of the German Navy.

FLOTLOG program

The four BRF vessels are being procured as part of the Navy’s FLOTLOG (Flotte Logistique, “Logistics Fleet”) program led by the European Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) on behalf of the French defense procurement agency DGA, and its Italian counterpart, NAVARM.

The FLOTLOG program is executed by a temporary consortium between French shipbuilders Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group.

The design of the BRF vessels is based on the Italian Navy’s LSS Vulcano, constructed by Fincantieri. This vessel is currently undergoing sea trials.

Chantiers de l’Atlantique is in charge of the design and construction of the BRF ships.  Naval Group is responsible for the design, supply and integration of the combat and military systems (aviation, ammunition). The company is also responsible for certain functions such as cybersecurity, electromagnetic compatibility, etc. CdA and Naval Group agreed to outsource the construction of the forward sections of the four French Navy vessels to Fincantieri.

The construction of the first vessel started on May 18, 2020 with a steel cutting ceremony at Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s facility in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The BRF vessels, with a fuel capacity of 13,000 m3, have the mission to provide logistical support to the French and allied navies’ combat vessels. They will carry fuel for vessels, jet fuel for aircraft, weapons and ammunition, spare parts, as well as food. The ships will also be equipped with waste management solutions and repair workshops.

Their characteristics will adapt as well to their specific missions in support to the aviation group constituted around the French Navy’s sole aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

Main characteristics of the vessel:

+ Gross tonnage: 28,700 GRT
+ Overall length: 194 m
+ Overall width: 27.40 m
+ Crew capacity: 190 people (of which 130-people strong crew)
+ Total deadweight: 14,870 tonnes
+ Freight volume: 13,000 m3
+ Total installed capacity: 24 MW
+ Artillery: 40 mm guns
+ Polaris Combat Management System

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