Innovation by Safran


Safran innovates to develop tomorrow' technologies, products and services for the aerospace and defense markets.

In our constantly accelerating world, Safran conducts Research & Development programs that aim to enhance the circulation and security of people, goods and data.

In a world undergoing deep changes, Safran provides concrete solutions that allow us to address the major issues facing society: conserve our natural resources and protect our environment, support countries' modernization and help stabilize our society.

We are also investigating new area of research and experimentation, even disruptive technologies, to maintain our leadership and invent new horizons.

Innovation is an integral part of Safran's corporate culture, inherited from our founders and perpetuated by the 79,000 men and women who never stop developing tomorrow's technologies.


Over a century of innovation success



over a century of innovative success





Research & Technology (R&T) is a fundamental part of Safran, allowing us to drive continuous improvements for a safer and more environmental-friendly air travel.

Developing new-generation aircraft engines

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Safran is already exploring different technologies to develop tomorrow's aircraft engines. The primary aim is to create quieter, cleaner, more fuel-efficient and more economical engines. These efforts address the objectives for 2050 set by ACARE, the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe:

  • 75% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,
  • 90% reduction in oxides of nitrogen (NOx),
  • 65% reduction in perceived noise

The new LEAP engine, set to enter service in 2016, already promises remarkable environmental performance:

  • 15% lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than current engines.
  • Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions 50% under the CAEP/6 standard.
  • A significant reduction in ground noise, in line with the upcoming Chapter 14 standard.

Towards "more electric" aircraft

Safran is calling on the full sum of its expertise to take a major step towards "more electric" aircraft. What this means is that the traditional hydraulic and pneumatic systems will be gradually replaced by electrically-driven systems. The upshot is aircraft with more available power and greater energy efficiency. They will also be more reliable and more economical, because of lower production and maintenance costs.

Safran is working on an electric taxiing system that will be a major breakthrough in this area. It will allow aircraft to taxi without using their jet engines, an innovation that offers a host of benefits: less noise, reduced fuel consumption and a decrease in CO2 emissions during taxiing. In addition this innovative system will improve the on-time performance of commercial airplanes.

Our resources

Between major investments, a large number of people who work on research & development (R&D) and state-of-the-art facilities, Research & Technology (R&T) is one of the prime movers of Safran's growth.

A proactive, audacious strategy

In our core markets of aviation, space and defense, Safran must anticipate our customers' needs. Innovation is an integral part of our corporate culture and a key to our strategy.

R&D at a glance


billion euros invested
in R&D in 2018
of research is independently financed











Two new cutting-edge research centers

To bolster our innovation policy, in 2014 Safran built two new world-class research centers. One consolidates R&T teams from throughout the Group, while the other focuses on composite materials.

The new Research & Technology center, dubbed Safran Tech, is tasked with fostering the emergence of new technologies. It has three main thrusts:

  • advanced aircraft systems,
  • digital technology,
  • materials, processes and sensors.

Safran Tech is located at the Group's Paris Saclay site, which will also welcome corporate R&T, the Innovation department and Paris area teams from Safran Engineering Services and Safran Nacelles. The site will eventually house 1,500 staff members, including outside partners.

Safran Composites is wholly dedicated to R&D for composite parts. Located in Itteville, in the greater Paris area, it was inaugurated in May 2014. Safran invested some 50 million euros in this composites hub, which will eventually count 150 specialists.








An exceptional organization, capitalizing on research expertise

In addition to our own Innovation and R&T units, Safran has created a highly organized in-house network of 300 experts, responsible for developing the highest-performance technologies around. All of our experts have earned their special status and career management support. Safran nurtures an atmosphere that allows these experts to share their knowledge across the Group.

We have also set up a Scientific Council, bolstering our position within the greater scientific community. Chaired by well-known physicist Mathias Fink, the Council comprises seven internationally known researchers, each specialized in one of Safran's core disciplines: physics, solid and fluid mechanics, applied mathematics, surface chemistry, materials, automation and numerical simulation.

Along with these initiatives, Safran is a major player in Europe's Clean Sky research program, designed to foster the emergence of disruptive technologies in the aviation sector. The overall aim is to improve the environmental performance of aircraft and their engines to make air transport greener than ever.


Employee-driven innovation: a broad culture of innovation at all levels


Over and above major research programs, innovation at Safran is an integral part of everybody's mindset.
In fact, we have organized an annual event to spotlight our people's achievements, the Innovation Awards. This competition mainly recognizes the most promising initiatives developed by Safran employees. Safran has signed the Employee-driven Innovation Charter, initiated by the association Innov'acteurs. Based on seven principles, this charter seeks to spread the innovation culture across the enterprise eco-system.

Hundreds of patents a year

Safran files for over
initial patents a year worldwide
A global portfolio of


Our technologies

The 70 technicians, doctoral students and engineers comprising the Safran Composites team moved into the new building in Itteville, east of Paris at the Le Bouchet site, on March 17, 2014. This brand-new research center spans some 10,000 square meters (108,000 sq ft) and will help Safran maintain its innovation leadership in composites, which are being used more widely than ever today, especially in the aviation industry.
3D weaving of carbon fibers

At Safran, achieving excellence also means reducing the development time and cost of our products. We coordinate innovation through seven main technology fields that apply to all of our business sectors.

We will continue to invest heavily in research and innovation so we can offer our customers the breakthrough, and even disruptive technologies that add significant value, while carving out a position on upcoming programs.


          Philippe Petitcolin, Chief Executive Officer of Safran

Turbomachinery and propulsion systems for tomorrow's aircraft and rocket engines.

At Safran, we're exploring a number of different technologies to help us develop engines that are quieter, greener and less expensive.

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Energetic materials for propulsion: expertise every step of the way

Safran's technological expertise in all aspects of energetic materials makes us a world leader in solid propulsion. Solid propellants provide the energy needed by solid rocket motors, whether for missiles or launch vehicles. To maintain our technological leadership, we deploy innovative processes, coupled with long experience in managing the risks involved. 

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Electrical systems and power electronics: towards more electric aircraft

Safran's comprehensive expertise in aircraft electrical systems is a key driver in the development of a "more electric" aircraft that is more economical, more reliable and less polluting.

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Onboard electronic systems

To optimize the reliability of its onboard electronic systems, Safran produces ultra-durable components capable of withstanding the full spectrum of in-flight environmental conditions.

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Sensors and information processing

Safran designs and manufactures sensors that offer constantly improving capabilities in areas such as real-time engine health monitoring. The aim is to develop autonomous systems that can be used at a day-to-day level.

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Modeling and simulation

Modeling and simulation technologies that deliver important gains in terms of efficiency, reliability and competitiveness are key to Safran's product design and development process.

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Materials and processes

Safran deploys cutting-edge expertise to develop innovative materials and manufacturing processes designed to enhance product performance, in terms of strength, weight and environmental impact.

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Open innovation

Being creative together

Safran is counting on the benefits of sharing expertise to push the innovation envelope. We apply this collaborative mindset via partnerships with not only major research labs, but also our suppliers. By pooling expertise we accelerate the innovation process and better meet our customers' needs.

Safran conducts a collaborative innovation policy with our suppliers

Safran deploys a collaborative innovation approach with our suppliers to further expand the bounds of innovation. An approach of this type allows all stakeholders to fully capitalize on this pooled expertise.

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Scientific partnerships: a key to innovation

Pushing back the boundaries of technology to develop innovative new concepts means working closely with the scientific community. At Safran we call on a wide range of partners around the world, including renowned laboratories, prestigious schools and universities, and dedicated research programs.

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Safran Corporate Ventures

Strategic investor in innovative startups active in Safran's business sectors.



Innovation is the driving force behind Safran's success, so it's vital that such innovation is fed from outside the Group as well. Much of the innovation today is happening at smaller startup companies, not at major corporations like ours. That's why we created Safran Corporate Ventures — to connect Safran with the ecosystem of young innovation-rich companies in the aerospace and defense sectors. To do this, Safran Corporate Ventures will help fund some of these startups and enable them to benefit from Safran's expertise in its key technologies and markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Eric Dalbiès, President of Safran Corporate Ventures.

Established in 2015, Safran Corporate Ventures is the Group's corporate venture capital arm. It funds startups that have developed breakthrough or disruptive technologies or business models which will help Safran to address the challenges of the aerospace and defense markets. This new entity clearly reflects Safran's corporate strategy based on innovation and transformation.


Safran Corporate Ventures will help agile, innovation-driven companies by funding their growth. These companies will also benefit from: 

  • Access to an international network of leading technology experts in Safran's business sectors.
  • The global commercial and industrial reach of Safran companies.
  • Commercial and development agreements to be implemented between such startups and Safran's own entities. 

Employee-driven innovation

At Safran, innovation is an integral part of our competitiveness. It's also a state of mind and a culture that irrigates our entire Group. Each and every employee is invited – encouraged in fact – to submit new ideas. This participative approach to innovation demands a dedicated organization, and is also celebrated each year at the Safran Innovation Awards.

115 000
improvement ideas
from Safran employees were applied in 2016
projects submitted
at 2017 Innovation Awards





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