History of ENSTA Paris

From maritime engineering to contemporary engineering challenges

The origin of the School dates back to the initiative of Henry-Louis Duhamel du Monceau, Inspector General of the Navy, who identified the need for master shipwrights with theoretical knowledge, particularly in mathematics and physics, required for a better understanding of their profession.

After having created a first school in Toulon, he transferred it to Paris in 1741, the date which marks the origin of our establishment. After experiencing a 7-year period of difficulty for budgetary reasons, in 1765 he managed to convince the Duke of Choiseul to reopen it. He would continue to lead it for the rest of his life.

Housed at the time in the Louvre Palace, the École des Ingénieurs-Constructeurs de Vaisseaux Royaux (School of Engineers-Builders of Royal Vessels) thus created would later become the École Nationale Supérieure du Génie Maritime (National Higher Education School of Maritime Engineering).

It merged in 1940 with the Ecole d'Application de l'Artillerie Navale (School of Application of Naval Artillery).

In 1970, the Directorate General of Armaments, merged the School with three other of its establishments (Schools of Application Ecole Polytechnique):

●    L'École Nationale Supérieure des Poudres
●    L'École Nationale Supérieure de l'Armement
●    L'École des Ingénieurs Hydrographes de la Marine

Thus was established the École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées (ENSTA Paris), with the mission of training engineers in the naval, mechanical, nuclear, chemical, electronic and related fields. The scientific skills of each of the founding schools are found in the wide range of disciplines practiced at ENSTA in terms of research, as well as in the general nature of its teaching and the variety of in-depth studies offered to students.
ENSTA Paris is today a public administrative establishment, placed under the supervision of the Minister of Defence.

The Techniques Avancées catamaran

The Techniques Avancées catamaran is part of the more recent history of the School.
Designed by the students of ENSTA Paris in the early 1990s with the help of the school's Laboratory of Mechanics, engineers from the DGA, in particular Mr Lefaudeux, as well as the DCN, this catamaran is equipped with 3 foils and propelled by rigid sails. From a speed of 15 knots, its hulls rise up out of the water, carried by the foils, and the boat "flies" above the choppy water.

On 24 June 1997, in Toulon harbour, it established the world sailing speed record for large boats (category D: sail area greater than 27.88 m2). Helmed by Gérard Navarin, with Christian Colombo as a teammate, it reached a speed of 42.1 knots, approved on a 500 m journey.