Safran S.A. is a French multinational aircraft engine, rocket engine, aerospace-component, defense, and security company. It was formed by a merger between the aircraft and rocket engine manufacturer and aerospace component manufacturer group SNECMA and the security company SAGEM in 2005. Its headquarters are located in Paris. The company is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.
The name Safran, literally meaning "rudder blade", was chosen from 4,250 suggestions. As a holding company for many subsidiaries the name was deemed suitable for the suggestion of direction, movement, and strategy. Safran also translates as saffron, which the company highlights as one of the catalysts for early international trade.
In 1905 Louis Seguin created the company Gnome. Production of the first rotary engine for airplanes, the Gnome Omega, started in 1909. This company merged with the Le Rhône, a company created in 1912 by Louis Verdet, to form the Gnome et Rhône engine company. Gnome & Rhône was nationalized in 1945, creating Snecma. In 2000, this company gave its name to the “Snecma Group”, and carried out a number of acquisitions to form a larger group with an array of complementary businesses.
Sagem (Société d’Applications Générales de l’Electricité et de la Mécanique) was created in 1924 by Marcel Môme. In 1939, Sagem entered the telephone and transmissions market by taking control of Société anonyme des télécommunications (SAT). It acquired Société de Fabrication d’Instruments de Mesure (Sfim), a measurement instrument specialist, in 1999. However, by 2008 Sagem Mobile and Sagem Communications had been sold. Sagem Mobile became Sagem Wireless in January 2009.
The Safran Group was created on May 11, 2005, with the merger of Snecma and Sagem SA.
In June 2014, Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel announced that European efforts to remain competitive in response to SpaceX's recent success have begun in earnest. This included the creation of a new joint venture company from Arianespace's two largest shareholders: the launch-vehicle producer Airbus Group and engine-producer Safran.
By May 2015, Safran had created a launcher division as well called Airbus Safran Launchers. This entity is currently developing the Ariane 6 launch vehicle for initial flights in the 2020s.