[Trade portrait] “At Naval Group, in-service support (ISS) covers technologies that span from the 1970s to today - some 50 years of development”

01 March 2021 Fleet services Defense Naval Human ressources Story

He has worked at the Platform and Combat Systems department - the department he joined as a work-study student - since 2006, and appreciates “the diversity of work and installations” in his speciality: the maintenance of navigation installation systems. His career path, which includes several positions abroad, has enabled him to develop his technical expertise. He recently obtained an engineering degree (via continuous training) in order to continue to develop as a manager.

An out-of-the-ordinary career path

After four years of work-study experience as an electrician and subsequently an electronics technician in weapons control, Guillaume Desserme was recruited in 2011 as a Combat System Integrator, a position that he remained in until 2017. “I know the field quite well. At Naval Group, in-service support (ISS) covers technologies that span from the 1970s to today - some 50 years of development”, he sums up.

Over this period of time, he was regularly sent on system maintenance and modernisation assignments, at times training crews or local teams in charge of the installations. “These diverse experiences, both for the French navy and foreign navies, allowed me to learn a lot. I was able to strengthen my capacity to adapt as well as my autonomy. It is also rewarding to teach these same skills to our customers by training them to look after their installations.”

In 2017, Guillaume moved to the position of Navigation Equipment Coordinator and decided to pursue his studies “in order to grow within the Group, take part in larger projects and to develop the capacity to propose developments and help the teams on a daily basis.” Moreover, this engineering training allows him to acquire skills in management and project management, to strengthen his work methods and be up to date with technological developments.

A team effort

“In our division, the main role of the integrator-maintenance technician is to take part in the maintenance and modernisation of the navigation installations on all the ships delivered by Naval Group”, he explains. “These installations include different types of equipment: navigation computers, inertial navigation units, speed logs, weather observing networks, readback, magnetic compasses, radio navigation, depth networks, diving drivers, electronic board display systems, black boxes, dynamic positioning systems, as well as standard clocks and NTP servers. With my team - which includes another Installation Manager and six technicians - we contribute to their technical excellence and ensure their performances, which we sometimes need to validate at sea. All navies combined, I have boarded both on surface ships and submarines at sea around a hundred times.”

Guillaume coordinates complex operations, requiring cross-functional management, he monitors technical progress on work and helps ensure that commitments are unheld in terms of cost, quality and lead times. His assignments also include identifying tooling and training requirements, participating in the drafting of definition files, test procedures, technical offers and user guides. He also provides technical support for Purchasing.

Being curious and driven by challenge

“My core activity is providing technical expertise for the customer. In the event of failures, we make every effort to find a solution and allow them to navigate. TLS is always active, even in the midst of a health crisis!”, states Guillaume.

“In addition to having good technical knowledge, you need to be curious and rigorous in this trade as well as driven by challenge: these assets are key in our daily tasks. Flexibility and interpersonal skill are also very important: navigation installations are essential for ships, and the customer’s needs always come first.”