Underwater Systems unit

The Underwater Systems (Systèmes Sous-Marins — SM) unit is in charge of the development, engineering and monitoring of underwater operations, reconnaissance and surveillance systems and methods for exploratory or specific purposes.


The Underwater Systems unit located in Toulon is composed of three research groups:

  • Positioning, Robotics, Acoustic and Optics (Positionnement, Robotique, Acoustique et Optique — PRAO): Its expertise lies in the areas of positioning, robotics and acoustic systems and the acoustic environment of ships and underwater vehicles as well as imaging optics and image processing.
  • On-board Electric Electronic Systems (Systèmes Electroniques Electriques EmbarquésS3E): Its expertise covers general electricity, electronics and electrical engineering, particularly for power production, propulsion, lighting systems, electrical architecture, underwater connectors, onboard electronics, instrumentation, real-time software, etc.
  • Mechanical Operations and Development Engineering (Ingénierie d'Intervention et Développement Mécaniques2IDM):Its expertise lies in the areas of operations engineering, mechanical and hydraulic systems, and management of technical data as well as underwater systems engineering.

Research focus

This unit seeks to

  • Organise and manage the expertise required to respond to needs of research programmes that rely on underwater systems;
  • Conduct projects on underwater systems and operations methods from needs analysis (diagnosis) to preliminary technical studies to transfer to operators and end-users;
  • Carry out technical inspections of underwater systems and maintain them in good working condition in collaboration with GENAVIR;
  • Contribute to writing up proposals and identifying funding opportunities earmarked for improving underwater systems, vehicles and instruments, observatories, underwater infrastructures, and also to direct major overhaul operations;
  • Identify the main areas that involve funded research and development and remain abreast of current advances based on active and targeted technological intelligence.