Thales inertial navigation system boards French Navy vessel

November 2, 2021  - By
The TopAXYZ inertial navigation unit by Thales. (Image: Thales)

The TopAXYZ inertial navigation unit by Thales. (Image: Thales)

Thales and CS Group partner to offer navies a cybersecure, jam-resistant navigation system inspired by civil aviation

Thales and CS Group have partnered to offer a complete navigation system for navy surface ships. At the heart of the system is the Thales TopAxyz inertial navigation unit, which is integrated with CS Group’s real-time computer to combine high-level performance and resilience in an electronic warfare environment. The system provides high-precision pointing, gyrocompass, location and navigation functionality for all types of naval platforms, from surface combatants and submarines to autonomous vehicles.

The TopAxyz inertial navigation unit has delivered outstanding performance in the rigorous conditions of civil aviation, clocking more than 20 million hours of operation. The naval version of the unit was integrated on a French Navy vessel in less than a day by CS Group, and has already proven its operational value for maritime navigation in a sea trial.

“After proving their value on board aircraft, space launchers and French Army land vehicles, Thales inertial navigation systems are now available for naval platforms,” said Tristan Grivel, vice president business development and sales for Thales’s flight avionics business.

“CS Group has supplied real-time navigation computers, military-grade GPS receivers and other solutions to the French Navy and Naval Group for many years, explained Gilles Rigal, director of CS GROUP’s naval systems business line. “This partnership with Thales allows us to offer an innovative, robust and resilient maritime inertial navigation system for surface ships,” Rigal said.

Countering electronic warfare

In today’s constantly changing naval environment, crews need to contend with the threat of cyberattacks, electronic warfare activity and the high risk of jamming and spoofing of GPS-based radionavigation solutions. Accurate navigation data, real-time data distribution and resistance to external threats are crucial for every mission conducted by a naval vessel today.

Thales and CS Group have worked together for more than 20 years to address these issues. Drawing on their combined expertise across all the key navigation system technologies, the two companies are now proposing a new approach to maritime navigation based on more trustworthy and reliable navigation data.

The TopAxyz inertial unit uses accurate, reliable navigation information that is independent of sea state and vessel location, combined with a function that detects attempts to spoof GPS signals. The navigation data calculated by TopAxyz is distributed in real time by the NDDS (Navigation Data Distribution System) developed by CS Group’s onboard computer.

The computer uses the latest technological advances in cybersecurity, guaranteeing the best level of resilience to attacks. Its architecture offers three key advantages: safer navigation, reduced costs and integration risks, ease of use and simplified maintenance of the system. No calibration is required during the service life of the system, reducing the total cost of ownership.

The new maritime navigation system are now available, and are being manufactured at the companies’ production and integration facilities in Châtellerault and Aix-en-Provence in France.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.