Naval & Governmental
Promoting national and international security.
Growth in a challenging context
In an unpredictable international context, the global military and naval vessel sector continues to grow. However, a full recovery from Covid-19 may take longer than expected. Growth in the naval vessel market – frigates, submarines and aircraft carriers – is being driven by global defence spending as the number of regional conflicts in the world rises. Countries are focusing on upgrading their defence and naval vessels to safeguard their maritime rights and interests.
Increasing protection and performance
In this context, it is more important than ever to provide the highest levels of security and protection from extreme weather, pirate attacks and other high-risk situations. New technologies and materials are being developed across all applications, from the hull to the wheelhouse, whether for rescue or defence purposes. Saint-Gobain Marine continues to contribute to these advances through specialist brands such as Sully, Vetrotech and SHEERGARD®. Glazing plays a key role in protecting vessels and passengers from physical or electromagnetic attacks and ballistic impacts, as well as machinery malfunction and destructive weather such as high-pressure wind and waves.
Vetrotech invests and innovates to develop and optimise pressure-resistant glazing for the hull and upper structure. While Sully delivers an ever more diverse, customisable portfolio of armoured windows and glazing solutions with a capacity to add wiper system (including control) up to on-board installation that protect against from pirate attacks (including blasts, radar detection and bullets). On the other hand, SHEERGARD® is committed to providing engineered radome solutions for marine system integrators, manufacturers and operators who require maximum equipment protection while optimising system performance to navigate in challenging weather conditions.
At the cutting-edge of technology
To remain competitive and keep a technological lead, naval shipbuilders and, indirectly governments, are investing massively in new technologies. At the surface, these include virtual ships, simulation, maintenance and oceanography. For example, virtual training is already being used to enable to sailors “walk” around the ship to familiarise themselves with the layout and location of emergency equipment, without losing valuable time at sea.
Subsea technologies are also essential to optimise performance and reduce risk, from hydrodynamics and Uninhabited Vehicle (UXV) integration to modularity and vulnerability reduction. UXV can significantly reduce the exposure of human life to military threats. Several navies are already employing UXVs for a variety of applications. Operating a fleet of such vehicles from a mothership supporting overall operations during a mission could soon become a reality.
Moving forwards, 3D printing, high-capacity batteries, augmented reality and drones will all play an increasingly important role in the navy sector. The U.S. Navy are already experimenting with giant liquid-metal 3D printers. These small aluminium fabrication facilities use hot liquid metal to fabricate metal parts that might be needed at sea.
Reducing the impact on the environment
Increasingly aware of how important it is to protect our planet and reduce carbon emissions, surface combatants and vessel manufacturers are adopting and developing advanced materials that reduce pollution, use fewer natural resources and are easier to recycle. Sustainable materials, like fibre-reinforced polymer composites for mine hunters, are helping limit the sector’s carbon footprint. Lighter materials can significantly reduce the weight of the vessels and therefore their fuel and energy consumption.
At the same time, cleaner alternatives fuels – such as biofuels derived from biomass such as plant and algae materials and animal waste – are also being developed and used more widely. For instance, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and KSOE are collaborating to develop a ship that can sustain and carry liquid carbon dioxide at low temperatures and high pressures.