The digital age

Sea, air, earth, space and cyberspace, the so-called ‘fifth dimension’, the new technological frontier and the theatre of confrontation between global powers. Increasingly integrated with the real world, the digital dimension is a new ecosystem to be protected with connected, multi-domain systems and solutions.

A driving asset of the country’s economy, Leonardo set off on the pathway to becoming an ‘Industry 4.0’ company in which manufacturing and digital converge. This marked the start of a new historical period based on the rationalisation and enhancement of the Group’s consolidated businesses in order to accelerate innovation, increase competitiveness, pursue internationalisation in the market and respond effectively to customer needs with a service-based offer. In a constantly evolving scenario, the Cyber & Security Solutions and Electronics business areas were created in 2018. The avionics, space systems, and land and naval defence electronics activities all converge in the latter.

Today, Leonardo is advancing the technological frontiers of the future - through artificial intelligence, digital twin and quantum technologies - by building interconnected and multi-domain systems, new platforms, and services based on big data and high levels of information analysis and integrability thanks to the supercomputing capabilities of the high performance computer davinci-1.

Open Innovation, training and the continuous updating of skills are the common denominators activating new investments in the Group: the International Flight Training School (IFTS), the Leonardo Labs, and the Cyber & Security Academy.

At Leonardo, innovation and the race towards the new frontiers of technology are keeping pace with the new challenges of a sustainable and circular economy model, all contributing to the well-being of people and the planet, and that of future generations.

In the photo, while training inside the Full Mission Simulator (FMS) a pilot wears a Helmet Mounted Display, which has an integrated visor on which mission data and flight parameters are projected


In cooperation with the Italian Air Force, Leonardo launches the International Flight Training School

Established under a cooperation agreement with the Italian Air Force, the International Flight Training School (IFTS) is a centre attended by military pilots from air forces worldwide. This is an advanced training system based on the M-346, a training jet equipped with the Embedded Tactical Training System (ETTS), which enables the aircraft to emulate sensors, armaments and Computer Generated Forces (CGF). It also enables pilots to operate simultaneously and in combination in Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) mode by also integrating the Ground Based Training System (GBTS) that brings together various flight and mission simulation systems. Initially operating at the Air Force base in Galatina (Lecce), the IFTS is now based at the new campus at Decimomannu, Cagliari.

Watch the video presentation of the IFTS at Decimomannu (Cagliari)


OCEAN2020 demonstration exercise in the Gulf of Taranto, 20 and 21 November 2019, under the leadership of the Italian Navy. Leonardo, the project leader, participated with: surveillance, defence and communication systems on board the two Italian Navy frigates, Virginio Fasan (pictured) and Federico Martinengo; maritime domain awareness solutions; the remotely piloted SW-4 SOLO and AWHERO helicopters; the SH-90A helicopter on the Martinengo frigate; advanced electronically scanned radar sensors on board uncrewed aircraft; Athena Fidus telecommunication services (developed by Telespazio); and Earth observation services, delivered through the E-Geos Seonse platform using COSMO-SkyMed capabilities


Leonardo wins Ocean2020, European maritime security tender

Ocean2020 (Open Cooperation for European mAritime awareNess), the largest European defence tender in maritime security technologies, is a military research programme promoted by the European Defence Fund with Leonardo as the lead partner, involving 15 countries and 42 partners.

The project enables the integration of maritime surveillance and interdiction missions, of uncrewed platforms of different types (fixed-wing, rotary-wing, surface and underwater) with ships’ command and control centres, and provides for satellite data exchange with command and control centres on land. The first demonstration took place in 2019 in the Mediterranean, also involving the AWHERO remotely piloted helicopter.

The M-345 HET is the latest Leonardo solution for the basic-to-advanced training syllabus for military pilots. The photo shows the first flight of the M-345 HET, 21 December 2018 Venegono Superiore (VA)


The first mass-produced M-345 HET takes off

On 21 December, the first M-345 High Efficiency Trainer (HET), piloted by Project Test Pilot Trainers Quirino Bucci and Giacomo Iannelli, took off from Venegono Superiore Airport (Varese, Italy). The M-345 is a new basic-advanced training aircraft produced by Leonardo that will gradually replace the MB-339 aircraft and complement the fleet of M-346s used for the advanced training of Italian Air Force pilots.


Launch of the Leonardo – Civiltà delle Macchine Foundation

A new player on the Italian cultural scene with a ‘Digital Humanism’ slant. Established in November 2018 during the Group’s 70th anniversary celebrations, the Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine Foundation was officially launched in Rome in May 2019. Through the sharing of skills and knowledge from the company’s industrial and technological heritage, the Foundation promotes the awareness of corporate culture. It contributes to the advancement of civil society and the development of local areas by nurturing a cultural exchange involving industry, technology and science.

The first issue of the new edition of ‘Civiltà delle Macchine’ was published in May 2019. On the cover: ‘Identikit of Leonardo da Vinci’ by the artist Grit Schüler (Forensisches Institut Zürich). Among the names featured were Luciano Canfora, Pietro Greco and Mariangela Gualtieri.


The new edition of "Civiltà delle Macchine" magazine

With the creation of the Foundation of the same name, on 5 June 2019, at the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, the first issue of the new edition of ‘Civiltà delle Macchine’ was presented. Founded by Sinisgalli in 1953, the historic magazine, a ‘think tank of a modernity’ that supported the role of ‘machines’ and industrial progress, is now the Leonardo house organ. It features contributions from leading names on the contemporary scene and continues to nourish the debate between science, new technologies and the arts.

Read the first issue of the new edition of ‘Civiltà delle Macchine’

The Medium Altitude Long Endurance - MALE) reconnaissance drone made its maiden flight on 15 January 2020. Taking off from Trapani Birgi Airport, the base of the 37th Air Force Wing, the FALCO Xplorer flew for around an hour over a limited area of the sea opposite Trapani, escorted by an HH-139A helicopter of the 15th Wing of the Italian Air Force


The FALCO Xplorer is unveiled

This new remotely piloted aircraft is unveiled in 2019 at the International Air and Space Exhibition in Le Bourget, Paris. Designed to perform military and civil missions, it is entirely developed and built by Leonardo: from the aircraft to the suite of sensors, from the mission management system to the ground control station. It is the latest evolution of the FALCO family of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) with the following features: a maximum payload of 350 kg, over 24 hours of autonomy, a 30,000 ft ceiling and a satellite data link for operations outside terrestrial radio coverage, all with a maximum take-off weight of 1.3 tonnes.

PRISMA is a hyperspectral mission that aims to map the Earth’s surface for environmental risk management. Developed by Leonardo, the hyperspectral instrument (pictured here) can operate in over 200 bands in the visible and short-wave infrared spectrum, allowing the analysis of the chemical and physical composition of the areas observed


PRISMA mission brings a revolution in Earth observation

Launched on 22 March 2019 from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) with a VEGA launch vehicle, PRISMA (PRecursor HyperSpectral Application Mission) is a satellite that looks at the Earth through the world’s most powerful hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic (i.e. sensitive to all colours) camera. This technology can distinguish the geometric features of observed objects and provide data on the chemical and physical composition of the earth’s surface. The satellite was built by a Temporary Grouping of Companies (TGC) led by OHB Italia, in charge of the mission, and Leonardo which, as well as the electro-optical instrument, also produced the solar panel, the star compass, and the ground segment of the mission through Telespazio. Thales Alenia Space built the satellite’s onboard data transmission system. Coordinated by the Italian Space Agency, the mission monitors the planet’s health and studies the effects of climate change and the consequences of human activities on the Earth’s ecosystem.

GCAP is one of the aerospace industry’s most challenging and forward-looking programmes that will drive technological development and the long-term growth of the economies of the countries involved: the UK, Italy and Japan. Leonardo is a strategic partner together with Britain’s BAE Systems and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries


Italy joins the next generation Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP)

This is an international programme, launched by the UK in 2018 and subsequently joined by Italy (in 2019) and Japan (in 2022), focusing on the design and implementation of a next-generation aircraft system that will enter operation by 2035 for multi-domain missions. It is the future air combat system: a ‘core platform’ connected with other peripheral systems, piloted and otherwise, which uses cloud architecture and powerful datalinks to process, analyse, prioritise and make available vast amounts of data.

The result of constant investment in R&D, the 12 Leonardo Labs, each with their own technological focus, operate in different centres in Italy and abroad. They are engaged in nine areas of technological research: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Twin and Advanced Simulation, Big Data, High Performance Computing (HPC) and Cloud, Quantum Technologies, Autonomous and Robotic Systems, Electrification, New Materials, and Sustainability.


Leonardo keeps pace with the future: the launch of Leonardo Labs

A network of technology incubators launched in 2020 offers support across Leonardo’s various business areas in researching and developing frontier technologies. A true ‘engine’ of innovation, the Labs aim to investigate emerging technologies, anticipating future market demands.

Integrated with universities, research centres, companies and partners, they are a resource for the company and the entire national economic system for competing in the most technologically and industrially advanced sectors: artificial intelligence, HPC, Cloud, Big Data, Optronics and robotic applications. In these hubs, young research fellows, together with Leonardo experts and technicians, work on a daily basis to ensure the innovation of tomorrow.

The photo shows the Aerotech Campus in the Leonardo plant at Pomigliano d'Arco (NA), where the Aerotech Academy is located


The Aerotech Academy opens in Pomigliano d'Arco (Naples)

Part of the Leonardo Labs ecosystem, the Aerotech Academy is a strategic pool for developing professional skills established in partnership with the University of Naples Federico II. Based at the company’s site at Pomigliano d'Arco (Naples), it offers advanced training courses on frontier engineering topics such as digitisation, Industry 4.0 and next-generation aircraft.

Its flexibility, light weight and low power consumption make the Gabbiano radar increasingly competitive and suitable for installation on various platforms, crewed and uncrewed, fixed-wing and rotary. In the photo, the Gabbiano radar being mounted on the FALCO EVO


100 models of the Gabbiano radar

The Gabbiano family of mechanically scanned surveillance radars celebrates the delivery of its 100th unit. Manufactured by Leonardo in its Nerviano (Milan) factory, this radar boasts a long history of excellence dating back to the first unit developed for the ATR-42 aircraft. This technology can fulfil patrol and surveillance requirements in all weather conditions, on land, at sea and in the air, providing a full range of operational modes. Gabbiano radars are mainly used in Search and Rescue, national security and border control missions

One of the world’s most powerful HPCs, it is at the heart of all Leonardo and Leonardo Labs business areas. The davinci-1 supercomputer is an enabler of digital transformation, being capable of digitally enhancing the Leonardo product legacy and accelerating the evolution of its technology ecosystem


Debut of the ‘davinci-1’ supercomputer

At the heart of Leonardo’s digital transformation processes, the davinci-1 is composing a ‘new grammar’ of scientific and technological knowledge. This supercomputer is a knowledge accelerator equipped with 100 supercomputing units, a total power output of over 5PFlops (five million billion floating point operations per second), a high-performance network, and a cloud storage system using the latest hardware and software technologies for a storage capacity of around 20 million Gigabytes. With the davinci-1 Leonardo can accelerate its progress in the disruptive technologies, through Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, High-Performance Computing (HPC) and quantum technologies.


A new Foundation for Leonardo: Med-Or

Leonardo set up the Med-Or Foundation in 2021 in order to promote cultural, research and scientific training activities to strengthen ties, exchanges, and international relations between Italy and the countries of the wider Mediterranean as far as the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Red Sea (‘Med’) and the Middle and Far East (‘Or’).

New of its kind, global and collaborative, the Foundation combines the industry’s expertise and capabilities with those of academia, fostering the development of geo-economic and socio-cultural partnerships.

To mark the opening of the innovative ‘Casa Agusta’ helicopter terminal, built by Leonardo for Expo 2020 in partnership with Falcon Aviation Services, the AW609 arrived in Dubai on 3 October 2021


Unveiling of the AW609 at the Dubai Expo

The AW609 tiltrotor is a concentrate of technological innovation that surpasses the requisites of fixed wing and the performance of rotary wing aircraft. It has a top speed of over 500 km/h, a range of nearly 1,400 km extendable to over 2,000 km with auxiliary fuel tanks, and - through its ability to change the position of its two rotors in less than 60 seconds - can take off vertically like a helicopter and fly like a fixed-wing aircraft. The AW609 can perform different missions: passenger transport, medical assistance, civil defence, search and rescue. It was the star of the 2021 Dubai Expo inside the innovative ‘Casa Agusta’ terminal, built to relaunch the well-known brand as part of Leonardo.

Since 2019, in the context of Ocean2020, the AWHERO has been used in maritime surveillance demonstration activities on board vessels


AWHERO obtains military certification from the DAAA

For the first time, a remotely piloted helicopter obtained basic military certification from the Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA), including the aircraft’s ability to operate on board naval vessels. With this initial certification, the AWHERO paved the way for developing, integrating and validating further capabilities already designed and planned for this system.

Within the ambit of global monitoring technologies that are contributing to the sustainable development of the planet, the X-2030 platform is a strategic tool used in environmental and man-made risk prevention and management, city management and urban security


Launch of the X-2030 platform

The Group’s cutting-edge technologies integrate - within a single platform - data from satellites (Copernicus and PRISMA), telecommunications systems (Athena Fidus), drones, high-resolution fire-fighting systems, video-acoustic sensors, Artificial Intelligence, 5G networks and Big Data Analytics. The new X-2030, a so-called C5I solution, or ‘command, control, communication, computer, cyber and intelligence’, can correlate large quantities of data from various sources in real-time to enable situational awareness (necessary for managing significant events), the protection of an area at risk, and the security of an entire territory.

The national hub dedicated to the digitalisation of Italian industry in Genoa hosts one of the world’s 100 most powerful supercomputers to develop new technologies and train the skills of the future


Launch of the national competence Hub for industrial digitalisation

In the era of the data-driven economy, Leonardo created a national hub dedicated to the digitalisation of Italian industry in Genoa to contribute to the country’s digital transformation. It will host a Cyber Security Academy and Leonardo Labs, research laboratories on technological innovation in defence, security and aerospace, which will dialogue with the University of Genoa and the National Institute of Technology.

The Leonardo Cyber & Security Academy is a new advanced training centre that enables institutions, companies and strategic infrastructures to train and enhance their skills in security within the technological, regulatory, methodological and process contexts. A centre to lead the entire national economic system towards a secure digital transition


Founding of Cyber & Security Academy

The Leonardo Cyber & Security Academy in Genoa is a centre for the advanced training, study and integration of cyber-security skills to support the digital transition. An educational resource geared towards bridging the training gap - of companies, institutions and citizens - related to the skills needed to face challenges and threats in the cyber environment. At the ‘technological heart’ of the Academy are the Cyber Range and Cyber Trainer platforms, which leverage virtualisation and interoperability to simulate immersive and complex operational scenarios by creating digital twins of networks, systems, and applications to be protected, as well as threats and tools for attack and defence.

Seven square metres of occupied space, five additional control stations, three multi-touch screens and two operators for a 360° view of situational awareness. These are the figures for the new Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Vessels (PPA) naval cockpit. This new system provides specific training for future officers with on-the-job training, both on board and at Italian Navy, Leonardo and Fincantieri NexTech facilities


A new naval cockpit on Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Vessels

An innovative naval cockpit commissioned by the Italian Navy as part of a modernisation programme for its fleet of Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Vessels (PPA). The integrated workstation, co-produced by Leonardo and Fincantieri NexTech, enables ship and airborne operations to be conducted by just two operators who can manage the machinery, rudders and platform systems as well as some functions of the Combat Management System (CMS). As well as radically cutting the number of personnel on the bridge, the cockpit enables the ship to remain in a high state of readiness for any sudden threats and gives access to all of its optical sensors from a single location, each of which provides a 360° view using day, night and infrared cameras.

Passing just 130 km above the lunar surface, Orion successfully completed its planned tests, trialling all its systems and verifying their reliability in preparation for an upcoming manned flight. After a 25-day mission the probe returned to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, on 11 December 2022


Launch of the Artemis I mission to return to the Moon

A mission to return to the Moon and, for the first time, with a female astronaut. Leonardo’s capabilities and technology will enable Italy to play a leading role in the Artemis I mission. The Orion spacecraft will carry the capsule housing the astronauts during the journey, and the European Service Module (ESM) will provide electricity, propulsion, thermal control, air and water. At its Nerviano (Milan) factory, Leonardo will build the photovoltaic assemblies (PVAs) that make up the four ‘wings’ of the service module, and the electronic units (PCDUs) for controlling and distributing energy in the spacecraft. Thales Alenia Space will build the structure of the ESM module and critical subsystems, including the micrometeorite protection and thermal control system. Orion was launched on 16 November 2022 (without astronauts on board) for a test flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Leonardo is a world leader in the naval sector and a strategic partner of the Italian Navy. The photo shows the U212 submarine, forerunner of the future U212 NFS (Near Future Submarine), the sensors, mechanics, energy and structure of which will be state-of-the-art. Production of the first of two new U212s officially began at the Fincantieri Integrated Naval Shipyard at Muggiano (La Spezia) in January 2022. Credits: Marina Militare Italiana


Athena MK2/U: the Combat Management System for the submarines of the future

Athena MK2/U is a result of the technological innovation that is increasingly impacting the underwater sector. The new Combat Management System (CMS) with underwater capabilities will equip the Italian Navy’s U212 Near Future Submarines (NFS). In addition to the features of its predecessor ATHENA MK2, such as tactical situation management and organic sensors (adapted to sonar systems), situational awareness acquisition, interoperability, data logging and analysis, the new system has additional capabilities (Underwater Extended Capabilities): Target Motion Analysis (TMA) to understand the position in submarine space, and Video Processing to provide a more complex tactical situation that is processed using artificial intelligence and algorithms. The multifunctional consoles that make up the man-machine interface will use augmented reality for an improved visualisation of the data and better rendering of the tactical scenario.

The ECRS Mk2 electronically scanning radar is the Eurofighter Typhoon’s main sensor, with a full suite of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface modes. Equipped with a newly developed multifunctional array (MFA) antenna, it can oversee traditional radar functions, such as target search and acquisition, plus electronic warfare tasks. The Eurofighter Typhoon will be capable of locating and neutralising enemy radar by generating powerful electronic jamming, thus staying out of range of the threat


Leonardo delivers the first CAPTOR-E MK2 radar for the Typhoons of the Royal Air Force

Under a contract to complete the development and integration of the new European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2 radar for the Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fleet, the first radar was delivered in April. Designed and manufactured by Leonardo UK at its Edinburgh and Luton facilities, the new sensor will transform airspace patrol capability by enabling aircraft to simultaneously detect, identify and track multiple ground and sea targets, providing enhanced defence capabilities and advanced self-protection capabilities for the skies.

The high-power laser diode system developed by Leonardo Electronics US enables the generation of laser energy while creating less heat dissipation and allowing a more rapid succession of laser pulses, maximising the usability of the energy produced


New laser technology for applications in energy and medical therapy

Developed at Leonardo Electronics US in Arizona, this high-power laser diode system is a new technology for advanced photonics research. Installed at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) national research centre in Oxfordshire, UK, it will enable the scientific community to accelerate research projects conducted in various sectors, from the medical field (in cancer therapies) to imaging and green energy production.

A reproduction of the hyperspectral instrument that Leonardo will provide for the PLATiNO 3 and 4 missions and the high-resolution optical camera. Produced at the Campi Bisenzio plant in Florence, the payloads will support the monitoring of land, natural resources and the atmosphere for a more sustainable and safe management of the environment


New instruments for the PLATiNO 3 and 4 Earth observation missions

Two optical instruments will be the technological backbone of PLATiNO (miniature High-Tech Space Platform), an Italian Space Agency programme using mini-satellites to support a wide range of missions in Earth observation, telecommunications and science. Leonardo will produce an ultra-compact, ultra-high resolution optical camera for PLATiNO 3, with a ground detail level (spatial resolution) of at least 50 cm. For PLATiNO 4, the company will supply - modelled on PRISMA, with the same performance but half the size and mass - a compact, lightweight, latest-generation hyperspectral camera. This will be used for the chemical-physical analysis of observed land surfaces and for gathering information to support natural and anthropogenic risk prevention activities.

Video banner : Compagnia Generale di Elettricità factories, Milan, 1955 - 1956,
Courtesy Fondazione Ansaldo