[Profile] Florian Hugues : A passion for acoustics

16 March 2023 Innovation Human ressources Story

A mechanical engineer with a doctoral degree in acoustics and vibrations, he was recently awarded Naval Group’s La Pérouse prize for disruptive research on controlling acoustic signatures. While passing on knowledge and experience to youth is at the heart of his mission, he also designs new tools or methods in his preferred field - underwater acoustics. Here’s introducing Florian Hugues, a passionate and visionary researcher.

At Naval Group, the acoustic signature, or in other terms, ship stealth, is a must.  This is indeed a mantra for Florian Hugues, inspiring his R&D project centred around a new method for assessing submarine acoustic signatures. At the end of 2022, SEA UBF was awarded a prize by Naval Group’s scientific committee who deemed the project innovative and audacious, fulfilling a real industrial need.

Disruptive innovation

The method developed by Florian is disruptive.  In recent years, sonars used by navies have been capable of detecting targets in the ultra low frequency (ULF) field. “ULF sources emit acoustic waves, characterised by their capacity to radiate over great distances.  Depending on how they radiate in the water, the submarine is detectable and its unique identity decipherable”, explains Florian.  “The use of ULF by adverse parties on their sonars has led us to reinforce control over the acoustic signature of our submarines, thereby enabling them to fulfil their missions.” This is why Florian’s R&D project is of great interest, making it in fact possible to control a submarine’s acoustic signature, thereby rendering it “undetectable”. 

A passion for sound

While Florian had always been passionate about acoustics, it’s when he joined Naval Group in 2019 that he discovered underwater acoustics.  “I particularly appreciate having access to considerable means to conduct sea trials.  In the field of underwater detection, which is my current field of research, we innovate upstream and we test our research downstream in real conditions.  This comes with a great sense of responsibility.”


He is also engaged in other projects alongside SEA UBF. “In 2023, a 100% of my time will be dedicated to SEA UBF but I will continue to undertake other work in the field of controlling acoustic signatures such as designing new digital tools or new mathematical methods.” Florian will also have his hands full supervising a doctoral student, with another one joining in 2024, not to mention interns completing the second year of their Master’s degree.  “I believe that it is vitally important to pass on knowledge and experience and create awareness amongst the new generation with respect to industrial issues and train them in applied R&D in the industrial domain”, concludes Florian.