Création d’ORION, cluster d’innovation navale de défense en Bretagne
Marine Nationale / Ministère des Armées

Creation of Orion, a naval defense innovation cluster in Brittany

On 3 April 2019, an agreement was signed by its five founding partners for the creation of a naval defense innovation cluster called ORION (Organization for Naval Operational Research and Innovation), on the DGA Naval Technologies site in Brest.
The five partners to this agreement are :
Logo DGA
Marine Nationale Logo
Logo Technopôle Brest Iroise
ENSTA Bretagne : logo couleur fond transparent
Logo Ecole Navale
ENSTA Bretagne : Signature du cluster d'innovations navales ORION

The aim of ORION is to detect, orient, experiment and accelerate the integration of innovations contributing to the technological excellence of the national navy and its superiority in operational deployment.

The cluster will mostly involve regional industry, employing a strategy of targeted partnerships with national stakeholders. The participation of ENSTA Bretagne and the Ecole Navale, will enable it to capitalize on the skills of the schools’ researchers in defense fields. This initiative will open its doors to the best technological solutions from the civilian world.

The overall approach of ORION follows the French Ministry of Armed Forces strategy to support innovation, led by the Agency for Innovation of Defense (AID) in close cooperation with the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) (French Procurement Agency).

ORION will set up five workshops covering all the innovation support services for technological maturity and their integration into naval defense applications.

The first steering committee will meet on 15 May 2019.

For more information

The five ORION workshops

Governed by the steering committee, the activities and projects of ORION revolve around the work conducted by five workshops which systematically bring together representatives of the partners :

  • Technico-operational Approaches (piloted by the Navy) : the workshop ensures the definition of the operational elements (context for use, military characteristics, performances…) enabling the orientation of the propositions of technological components gleaned from the local naval industrial infrastructure
  • Research Opportunities for Innovation (steered by the Technopôle Brest-Iroise): the workshop proposes and initiates contacts among the industrial and academic infrastucture, defense integrating industries and State representatives;
  • Evaluation and Integration of Technological Components (steered by the DGA Naval Technologies) : this workshop aims to validate the maturity of a technological solution or product, and its performances in relation to a technical or operational requirement, in view to its integration in weapon systems (in a long or reduced term integration cycle), or immediate operational application;
  • Development of Technological Components (jointly steered by ENSTA Bretagne and Ecole Navale) : this workshop identifies and ensures the follow-up of promising technologies and proposes research activities enabling the development of technological solutions and their enhanced level of maturity and performance in relation to a technical or operational requirement ;
  • Promotion and Capitalization of Technological Components (steered by the Technopôle Brest-Iroise): this workshop updates the catalog of technological solutions and industrial skills for the benefit of the partners and the naval industrial infrastucture.

The workshop pilots will maintain a plan of action which will especially highlight the progress of projects supported by the AID.

The DGA innovation clusters

Innovation is part of the roadmap for transforming the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) (French Procurement Agency) encouraged by the French Ministry of Armed Forces on 5 July 2018.

Within this context, after the creation of the Agency for Innovation in Defense (AID) in September 2018, attached to the Governing Committee of the DGA, responsible for bringing together all the stakeholders in defense innovation, driving forward the research, technology and innovation strategy of the ministry and all the innovation initiatives, in Autumn 2018, the DGA decided to encourage an innovation drive on a local level around its expertise and testing centers throughout France.

The objectives of the technological innovation clusters are to consolidate and encourage innovation within the local economic infrastructure (SMEs, start-ups, laboratories etc.), with the support of the Agency for Innovation in Defense, especially to identify the opportunities for innovation that would be useful for defense systems and weapons programs.

3rd innovation cluster launched by the DGA

The two other clusters : GIMNOTE and NRBC Defense

GIMNOTE (Innovation Group for Naval Mastery in Operations through Technology and Experimentation), initiated by the DGA Naval Technologies, has brought together the DGA, the French Navy, and Toulon Var Technologies and the Agency for Economic Development of the Toulon-Provence-Mediterranean Metropolis since December 2018.

An innovation cluster dedicated to defense against nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical threats (NRBC in French) was also initiated on 5 March 2019 in the Sud-Essonne by the DGA NRBC Mastery. A partnership is being established with 3 other entities: the Governing Board for Military Applications (Direction des Applications Militaires) of the Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA/-DAM), the Military Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA) of the Military Health Service (SSA) and the Technology Section of the Territorial Army (STAT).