Safran, primarily a manufacturer of aircraft parts, has made a move within France’s defence industry to acquire Preligens – a leading geospatial artificial intelligence (AI) start-up established in 2016.

Exclusive discussions have launched with both parties stipulating an enterprise valuation worth €220m ($236m). The Parisian company accrued $30m in 2023 sales alone, and employs 220 employees, including 140 engineers in research and development.

The transaction will be subject to the usual regulatory approvals, as well as the information and consultation of Preligens’ employee representatives. The deal is due to close in Q3 2024.

What does Preligens do?

Preligens provides AI-powered analytics of imagery, full-motion video and acoustic signals. Its complex algorithms and software analyse and automatically detect and identify objects of military interest, particularly through the use of commercial and government satellite images.

Critically, the start-up says it trains its algorithms using enormous amounts of data from multiple sensors with end-to-end security and traceability.

Nearly two months ago, Preligens revealed that its AI analytics extend to even analysing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite images. Its latest algorithms build on the company’s electro-optical satellite imagery, thus expanding the range of data sources Preligens can analyse.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
World satellite GPS motion aerial analysis element. HUD User Interface. Aircraft Planes detected by satellite camera. Credit: Shutterstock/3d-ganesha5.

For Safran, this deal represents an opportunity to add these diverse AI capabilities to its product offering and to accelerate its digital transformation roadmap, particularly its ‘Manufacturing 4.0’ programme that will leverage a range of technologies to augment its industrial estate.

Safran CEO Olivier Andriès gave some insight into the group’s future plans for the soon-to-be subsidiary.

“With multiple applications, it will represent a step-change for our defence and space technology businesses and will also allow us to deploy AI-enabled digital inspection methods to support our focus on flight safety and quality”.

AI in defence and aerospace

GlobalData forecasts, the total AI market, including platforms, services, and hardware, will be worth $908.7bn in 2030, having grown at a compound annual growth rate of 35.2% from $81.3bn in 2022.

According to the consultancy’s thematic scorecard ranking the top defence industry performers, Safran was already well-positioned in AI behind larger primes such as Airbus, BAE Systems and Boeing among others.

However, the new deal will augment the French group’s industrial capacity, rendering them a more formidable player in exploiting the rapidly emerging technology.