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.
Working alongside all of the UK’s local Chambers of Commerce, the British Chambers of Commerce chose to recognise a number of UK businesses across the country who had gone beyond expectations in their response to the pandemic. Leonardo employs over 7,500 employees across the UK at its sites which include Edinburgh, Basildon, Luton, Southampton and Yeovil. The company was named as a UK Business Hero due to its continued work to deliver key capability to the Armed Forces’ current and future programmes, as well as supporting their transportation of personnel and supplies around the country by helicopter in response to the pandemic. Employees were also commended for their dedicated production of PPE for the NHS, which they completed in their own time in addition to their daily duties. Supported the local communities During these exceptional times our employees have repeatedly stepped up in the face of challenges" The initiative has been supported by HRH The Countess of Wessex who, in a letter to the recognised Business Heroes wrote: “It has been a particular pleasure to hear stories of how you have supported your local communities throughout the outbreak and to see you nominated as UK Business Heroes by your local Chamber of Commerce.” Norman Bone, Chair and Managing Director of Leonardo UK said: “During these exceptional times our employees have repeatedly stepped up in the face of challenges. We’ve adapted quickly to dramatically changing circumstances in order to continue to provide the technology and capability that our Armed Forces have relied on in their tireless efforts throughout this crisis." "I am intensely proud of our people’s dedication and commitment: not just to our customers, but to those in the communities in which they live and work across the country.”