Leonardo’s Edinburgh, Scotland-based Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre has announced that it will partner with O2 (Telefónica UK) to investigate several innovative applications of private 5G technology in the defence and security industry. High speed and secure information Proposed uses of secure, high-bandwidth mobile data include facilitating next-generation ‘future factory’ manufacturing capabilities and providing high speed and secure information services, both of which will be needed to deliver high-pace programmes, such as Tempest, which is seeing the United Kingdom, Italy and Sweden collaborating to develop future combat air capabilities. O2 (Telefónica UK) will provide a secure 5G private network and a range of Industry 4.0 applications in order to evaluate how they could be used in the digital transformation of business and the end-to-end manufacturing process. Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre Leonardo’s Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre offers those with alternative business ideas Founded with the mission of ‘bringing ideas to reality’, Leonardo’s Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre offers those with alternative business ideas and disruptive technology an opportunity to partner with one of Britain’s biggest technology and engineering firms and one of the principal suppliers of equipment to the UK Ministry of Defence. Leonardo and O2 believe there is huge potential for 5G technology, which can meet the high security standards demanded by the defence sector and provide security assurance within companies’ digital infrastructure. Importance of 5G technology in defence and security Norman Bone, Chair and Managing Director of Leonardo UK said, “5G will be an important tool for the UK’s aerospace, defence and security industry, as we look to stay competitive in the global market and continue to export products and services from the United Kingdom. This partnership with O2 will inform the roll-out of this technology within Leonardo and study its wider potential across our industry and customer base.” One such initiative involves a trial of the potential for wirelessly delivering the mission, support and maintenance data updates to aircraft, such as the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter. This could speed up turnaround times between missions and improve platform reliability while meeting the stringent security requirements necessary for frontline military systems. Supporting ‘future factory’ techniques Another joint project will investigate how Leonardo’s manufacturing facilities could use 5G-enabled technology to support ‘future factory’ techniques, such as digital manufacturing and intelligent infrastructure. By using a private, highly-secure 5G network, Leonardo can adopt such game-changing Industry 4.0 approaches while continuing to meet the security obligations expected by its government and military customers. This will be critical in delivering programmes such as Tempest, the next-generation combat air system, which is being designed to be manufactured significantly faster and at a lower cost than previous generation combat aircraft. Delivering 5G private networks as a capability As well as understanding the possibilities of 5G in the delivery of Leonardo’s manufacturing and service provision, the project will also consider the potential benefits that Leonardo could offer to its own customers by delivering 5G private networks as a capability. Jo Bertram, Managing Director of Business at O2, said, “The partnership will explore how we can use 5G private networks in the wider defence sector, demonstrating their capability to help digitally transform a business and leveraging our ability to draw from a deep and rich application ecosystem. It’s great to be working on such an exciting programme, to leverage the technical capabilities of both businesses that’ll have real positive impacts on network solutions, mobility and security.” Asset Tracking and Health & Safety solutions Asset Tracking to ensure complete control of distribution and logistics Other use cases of the technology from O2 include enabling ‘Remote Expert’ training and Health & Safety solutions, and Asset Tracking to ensure complete control of distribution and logistics, remote camera solutions via drones for increased security purposes, and high level security of data. The rollout of new 5G technologies is especially important to Leonardo because it touches on all three of their Be Tomorrow - Leonardo 2030 pathways to change. New 5G applications will strengthen their core, by improving operations and allowing them to compete more successfully. Making organisations more connected and flexible 5G will help transform the ways of working, in order to make the organisation more connected, modern and flexible. Moving early to investigate the potential applications of private 5G technology is also in line with the drive to master the new, leading the way in innovation and addressing new high tech markets. By doing all of the above, Leonardo will be able to continue to deliver value and act as a strategic asset in the countries in which they work.
The Qatar Emiri Air Force’s NH90 helicopter programme marked a major milestone last week with first flights performed in Italy and France. The first NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH), assembled at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility, and the first tactical troop transport (TTH) over-land aircraft, assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane site, took to the air on 15th and 18th of December respectively. The flights allowed crews to evaluate general handling and basic systems and the helicopters performed as expected. NH90 helicopter programme Qatar’s NH90 programme includes 16 NH90 TTHs for land operations, 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions, a comprehensive support, maintenance & training services package and associated infrastructure. The programme has the potential to be extended in the future with the addition of 6+6 units in a mixture of TTH and NFH variants. Leonardo is prime contractor for the overall programme and is also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice Tessera facility in Italy. The company is also supplying simulators, training aids and an extensive maintenance support and training services package for aircrews and maintenance technicians. Avionics and sensor payloads integration The NH90 is set to provide the Qatar Ministry of Defence an important and longstanding customer" Leonardo is providing, contributing to or supporting the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including the Leonardo LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, HD Mission Video Recorder, Automatic Identification System, Tactical video link and Full HD display for cabin consoles. Airbus Helicopters is responsible for carrying out the final assembly of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Acceptance of the first batch of NH90s by the Qatar Emiri Air Force is scheduled to start before the end of 2021, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025. Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said “We’re extremely pleased to celebrate this important achievement as we continue to work to deliver this programme. The NH90 is set to provide the Qatar Ministry of Defence, an important and longstanding customer, with outstanding operational capabilities suitable for a range of missions.” Cutillo adds, “Together with our industrial partners, we’re committed to completing and introducing this essential defence and security enabler for our customer.” Design and integration of critical NH90 components Leonardo is responsible for, or contributes to, the design, production and integration of a wide range of critical NH90 components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gear box hydraulic system, upper modes of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, power plant integration, NFH mission system (integrating sonar, radar, electro-optics, tactical link, electronic warfare system, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, mission video recording and weapon systems management, including air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine (ASW) missions. LOAM system and LEOSS-T electro-optical system Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the LOAM system and LEOSS-T electro-optical system Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system and the LEOSS-T electro-optical system, as well as pintle-mounted gatling-type guns, for specific customers. The largest military helicopter programme in Europe, the NH90 is the optimal choice for modern operations thanks to its fully composite airframe with a large cabin, its excellent power-to-weight ratio and its wide range of role equipment. Quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system It features a quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system for reduced pilot workload and enhanced flight handling characteristics. The NH90 is available in two main variants: one specified for naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land based operations. As of today, around 430 NH90 helicopters, a mixture of both variants, are in service worldwide. Aircraft on operations have logged over 270,000 flight hours in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea.
Leonardo delivered the first two M-345 jet trainer aircraft to the Italian Air Force, which to-date has ordered 18 units from a total requirement for up to 45 aircraft. The new type of jet trainer aircraft, designated T-345A by the Italian Air Force, will gradually replace the 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982. M-345 jet trainer aircraft Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft Managing Director, said “Building on our heritage and expertise in jet trainers, the M-345 will allow our customers to achieve a significant improvement in training effectiveness while at the same time reducing operating costs. This first delivery to the Italian Air Force is a key milestone, the result of a longstanding and productive team working closely together with the operator.” The new M-345 jet trainer aircraft, designed to meet basic and basic-advanced training requirements, will complement the in-service M-346, which is used for advanced pilot training. Integrated training system Leonardo’s integrated training system developed around the M-345 platform is representative of the company’s technological leadership in training pilots to fly current and future generation aircraft. The system benefits from experience with, and technology developed for, the M-346, which includes a ‘Live Virtual Constructive’ capability. This allows aircraft which are flying live training missions to incorporate simulated ‘friend’ or ‘foe’ elements into scenarios, allowing the pilot to be exposed to the full range of possible operational situations. M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) The new M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) reduces the time required for air forces to train pilots The M-345 is a high-performance aircraft which supports a pilot’s transition from basic trainers to latest-generation fighters. The Italian Air Force’s acquisition of the new aircraft is an important step forward in the modernisation of its fleet, with the M-345 replacing the MB-339A in Air Force’s second and third military pilot training phases. The M-345 has also been chosen as the new aircraft of the Italian Air Force’s acrobatic team, the ‘Frecce Tricolori’. The new M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) reduces the time required for air forces to train pilots. It also gives trainees the chance to fly an aircraft that features higher performance characteristics than other basic/advanced trainer aircraft currently in service around the world. Delivering high quality training at low cost The performance of the M-345 allows it to carry out the most demanding mission types found in a training syllabus, delivering high quality training at significantly lower cost. The M-345 cockpit architecture is the same as that of frontline fighters. The aircraft is also able to perform operational roles, thanks to an extended flight envelope, with a high-speed maneuvering capability even at high altitudes, modern avionics systems, high load capacity and performance. Health and Monitoring Usage System The M-345 is designed with a long life-cycle and a two-level approach to maintenance The M-345 is designed with a long life-cycle and a two-level approach to maintenance, eliminating the need for expensive general overhauls. The aircraft’s Health and Monitoring Usage System (HUMS) also contributes to a lower cost of ownership. A sophisticated on-board training simulator confers a number of benefits. For instance, M-345 pilots are able to plan maneuvers before live training, allowing for higher efficiency during flight. Mission Planning and Debriefing Station Trainees are also able to fly in formation with other pilots in the air and those training on the ground in simulators, via a real-time data-link. The aircraft’s Mission Planning and Debriefing Station (MPDS) allow trainees to analyse the missions they have just flown. The M-345’s engine is a Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbo fan optimised for military and aerobatic use. The cockpit is based on HOTAS (Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick) controls and features a glass cockpit with a three-colour MFD (Multi-function Display) touch screen. The aircraft’s heads-up display is mirrored on a fourth screen in the rear seat.