Aeronautics

INNOVATION IS THE ENGINE THAT DRIVES THE AERONAUTICS SECTOR. BY OPENING A SITE AT THE TEAM HENRI-FABRE TECHNOPARC IN PROVENCE, WE’RE COUNTING ON ENHANCING OUR R&D PROJECTS IN ORDER TO OPEN NEW MARKETS.

MGP ASQUINI - Mechanics - France

A Proud Tradition of Excellence That Has Resulted in an International Market Leader

For more than a century, Provence has been home to a vibrant aeronautics industry that is driven by both a long-standing passion for the field and an unsurpassed technical expertise. As a result, aeronautics is now one of the major engines of the economy in Aix-Marseille-Provence, led by industry leaders such as Airbus Helicopters, Thales Alenia Space, Dassault Aviation, Safran Snecma, Areva TA, and Daher. These companies foster innovation and expertise across the sector and their major international projects help propel the entire aeronautics ecosystem by generating contracts for collaborators and subcontractors.

The aeronautics sector in Aix-Marseille-Provence is recognized for having five areas of excellence:

  • Helicopters; 
  • Satellites;
  • Flight simulators and flight testing;
  • Drones, blimps, and airships;
  • Light aircraft and green aviation.
     

        The aeronautics ecosystem in Aix-Marseille-Provence is also boosted by the SAFE competiveness cluster that brings together 600 businesses and organizations from the aerospace and security sector. The SAFE cluster is a European leader in security, risk management, and dual use of aerospace technology, while providing its members with the R&D resources they need to remain at the forefront of the global industry.

        Key Figures for the Sector in Provence

        • #1 manufacturer in the world for civil helicopters;
        • #1 research center in France for aerospace mechanics and sciences;
        • €5.5 billion in annual turnover;
        • 5 km test runway, the longest in Europe.

        Provence’s Aeronautics Advantage

        The aeronautics ecosystem in Aix-Marseille-Provence benefits from a network of research centers and innovation labs dedicated to developing the aerospace technology and materials of tomorrow. 

        TEAM HENRI-FABRE

        TEAM Henri-Fabre is a public/private partnership that develops technologies and expertise in advanced manufacturing. Their Technocentre is focused on research into the materials and the processes of the future as well as technology transfer, with a specific focus on helping small and medium-sized businesses adopt the technology that will make them globally competitive. TEAM Henri-Fabre works with businesses in the aeronautics sector as well as those from the naval, the energy and biomedical sectors in order to foster the cross-fertilization of ideas and spark greater innovation. The center has three main sites:

        • The Parc des Florides technology zone in Marignane;
        • The Parc d’Activités d’Empallières business zone in Saint-Victoret;
        • Cap Horizon business zone in Vitrolles.

        There are also three dedicated laboratories at TEAM Henri Fabre’s Technocentre:

        • Physico-chemical analysis of materials (Expiris);
        • Surfaces and coatings of the future;
        • Metal forging and shaping.

        THE JEAN SARRAIL AERONAUTICS CENTER/ISTRES

        This internationally renowned aeronautics center provides a world-class environment for tests and simulations. It provides the local aeronautics sector with resources to face the technological challenges of the future, such as heavy transport, surveillance, telecommunication, and observation. It offers support to the entire aeronautics ecosystem with an array of services:

        - Airship Village: Within the framework of the SAFE cluster, this 33-hectare site includes a 300-meter-long hangar (the former Mercure hangar) that is dedicated to the development of aviation and aerospace materials that are more ecological and more economic. It is also focused on helping the emerging blimp and airship sector to continue to grow and forecasts the creation of 3000 new jobs in this area by 2030.

        - The DGA Essais en Vol Center: This aeronautics test center managed by the French Ministry of Defence is the largest of such test centers in Europe. It provides the infrastructure and technical facilities for the development, testing, and certification of military and civil aircraft. It allows manufacturers, engineers, and designers to test their airplanes, helicopters, and drones in both real-world and virtual environments. The site provides multiple test runways, including a remarkable five-kilometer long runway that is the longest in Europe.

        CENTER FOR DRONE EXCELLENCE / SALON-DE-PROVENCE

        The Center for Drone Excellence (CED) is the cornerstone of the project to create a Flying Capabilities Campus. Supported by both the French military air school (École de l’Air) and the French Air Force’s research center (CReA), the Center for Drone Excellence pools the expertise of different actors in the French drone sector, such as manufacturers, researchers, and universities. As part of its mission to become an international leader in drone innovation, it works with the Provence Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Network and the SAFE aerospace and security cluster to create synergies across the sector. It also has a partnership with ONERA, the French aerospace lab, that features cutting-edge experimental spaces for testing innovations in human-machine interfaces, including specialized departments such as:

        • DAAA: Aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, and acoustics;
        • DOTA: Optics and associated techniques;
        • DEMR: Electromagnetism and radar.
        Silhouette
        PROVENCE PROMOTION