Seventy-five years of history of the Italian aerospace, defence and security industry, and of its markets, technologies and people. Seventy-five years of economic, social and cultural development in our country and the communities served. Because the history of Leonardo, established on 18 March 1948 under the name Finmeccanica, is the common thread running through the evolution of Italy’s manufacturing industry since the end of the Second World War. An original key to interpretation of these three quarters of a century of history is offered in the volume “Leonardo. Motore industriale e frontiera tecnologica dell’Italia”, (“Leonardo: Italy’s industrial engine and technological frontier”), written by Il Sole 24 Ore correspondent Paolo Bricco and published by il Mulino.
As Bricco states in the new book, “Leonardo is an expression of its age, of the age of globalisation and hypertechnological capitalism, as well as of the age of Italy, making an essential contribution to the physiology of the country’s industry”. Five key moments from the company’s 75-year history all share the same constant: the presence of strategic technologies for the industrial development of Italy and its partner nations. The first moment, in 1948, coincided with the country’s beginnings in the thermoelectric and mechanical industry and in shipbuilding, driven by Italy’s Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI) and leading the way in the country’s post-war reconstruction.
The launch of the transatlantic liner REX. Ansaldo Shipyards, Genoa, 1931
Then, between the sixties and the eighties, came a focus on the aerospace industry and the emerging electronics industry on the one hand, and on the other, on the mass market for automobiles following the separation of the shipbuilding industry. The late nineties and the early years of the new millennium saw the consolidation of the Aerospace, Defence and Security industries in Italy, marked after the year 2005 by international expansion, in the United Kingdom, the United States and Poland. Since the end of 2013, this has been followed by rationalisation of assets and reorganisation into One Company to meet the requirements of competitiveness and investment capacity – essential factors for concentrating on innovative lines of business and technological cycles.