The first M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) production basic/advanced trainer aircraft successfully performed its maiden flight at Venegono Superiore airport (Varese, Italy) with pilots Quirino Bucci and Giacomo Iannelli onboard.
Quirino Bucci, Aircraft Division’s Trainer Project Test Pilot, said: «The airplane performed excellently, perfectly meeting design parameters and expectations. The engine in particular showed exceptional response to power changes, a key factor for the role the M-345 will play, particularly for aerobatic flights. We’ve also tested the advanced on-board systems and I’m extremely happy with the excellent avionics integration and man-machine interface».
Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo Aircraft Division Managing Director, said: «I am extremely happy with what we’ve done so far and the short time it took to achieve such an excellent result. Thanks to its performance and the integrated training system the M-345, which has already generated interest among many air forces worldwide, will deliver a significant enhancement in training effectiveness and operating cost reduction. It’s an aircraft that is able to combine a jet’s superior performance and effectiveness with the cost of a high power turboprop trainer».
The Italian Air Force (ITAF), the launch customer, has a requirement for up to 45 M-345s (designated the T-345A by ITAF) to progressively replace 137 MB-339s, which first entered service in 1982, and to become the Italian Air Force’s new aerobatic team airplane. The customer has so far placed an order for five aircraft and the first will be delivered in early 2020. The new M-345s will integrate the M-346s used during the advanced training phase of the Italian Air Force’s pilots. Through the International Flight Training School the Air Force will be able to strengthen its training school’s growth and internationalization while increasing at the same time capabilities and services offered to customers.
Another major milestone in the European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS) programme was attained with the achievement of the System Preliminary Design Review on November 22nd. This highly significant accomplishment follows the European Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) inviting Airbus Defence and Space on October 31st to submit a Tender for the Development, Production and initial in-Service Support phase of the European MALE RPAS Programme. This milestone will allow the Participating States and Industry to start developing the System with aligned requirements and a clear picture of the overall system design.
As designated future prime contractor, Airbus Defence and Space will coordinate the industrial response to the Invitation to Tender (ITT) with the involvement of major Sub-Contractors: Airbus Defence & Space, Dassault Aviation SA and Leonardo.
The ITT gives testimony to the willingness of the Participating States (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) to continue with the programme after a highly successful requirement alignment phase and a convincing demonstration of the quality and fitness for purpose of the proposed design.
This successful achievement of the System Preliminary Design Review comes after a two-year definition study launched in September 2016 by the aforementioned Participating States. Three of these States had already signed a Declaration of Intent (DoI) to work together on a European MALE unmanned aerial system in May 2015, while Spain joined the programme in 2016.
Designed for flight in non-segregated airspace, its characteristics will include mission modularity for operational superiority in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, both wide area and in-theatre. The Participating States’ agreed on the air vehicle configuration in mid-2017, selecting a twin-turboprop propulsion system.
By the middle of the next decade the MALE RPAS will be operated worldwide to perform Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions.
Adding to the Seagull Unmanned Surface Vessels’ (USV) capability to mount and launch light weight torpedoes, Elbit Systems ISTAR division has teamed with Leonardo to develop and demonstrate Leonardo’s lightweight and mini torpedoes launching capabilities from the USV. The two companies announced the agreement at Exponaval (Valparaiso, Chile, 4-7 December).
The solution will be based on the same architecture used for airborne torpedo launching systems. Operational with the Israeli Navy, Elbit Systems’ Seagull USV performed superbly in the Belgian Defence Ministry 2017 North Sea trials and has been participating regularly in international naval exercises conducting Mine Counter Measures and Anti-Submarine Warfare missions.
Leonardo holds a strategic market position in the design, production and integration of torpedoes with over 30 Countries having selected its systems.
Leonardo has completed series of successful test flights of its Falco EVO Remotely-Piloted Air System (RPAS) in Bulgaria. The flight campaign was to validate a package of upgrades that extends the endurance and operational range of the platform for overland and maritime missions. This includes a Beyond-Line-Of-Sight (BLOS) satellite data-link system and a new propulsion system based on a heavy-fuel engine. As well as extending the flight envelope of the Falco EVO, the new engine was also proven to generate more electricity on-board the platform, granting access to more power-intensive ISR sensors required for complex missions.
Further trials are now planned that will see the Falco EVO flying equipped with Leonardo’s new Gabbiano TS Ultra-Light (UL) surveillance radar (launched at the Paris Air Show in 2017) combined with a high-definition InfraRed (IR) electro-optical system, Automatic Identification System, and a comms relay suite.
The Falco EVO, the longest-endurance model from Leonardo’s Falco RPAS family, is a surveillance and intelligence-gathering platform suited to overland and maritime missions. It can fly for more than 20 hours while carrying a payload of up to 100 kg. The Falco EVO has already been delivered to its launch customer in the Middle East region, while the original Falco RPAS has been chosen by five customers. The Falco EVO is currently engaged in a selection process for a prestigious international client and will shortly be deployed in the Mediterranean for a European surveillance programme.
More than 50 Falco family RPAS are currently engaged on operations around the world. Some customers choose to own and operate Falco family platforms while others, such as the United Nations for its humanitarian MONUSCO mission, have selected Leonardo to deliver a managed service package. Under this kind of arrangement, Leonardo owns and operates the Falco and provides surveillance information directly to the customer. This «managed service» model is expected to be a growth area for Leonardo which is expanding its «drones as a service» offering, including to civilian customers such as police and emergency responders.
Leonardo announces that it has made effective the contract, signed on March 14, 2018, for the supply of 28 NH90 medium twin-engine multirole military helicopters to the Ministry of Defense of Qatar and has therefore booked the order in its backlog and received the advance payment relating to the contract. Leonardo acts as overall prime contractor with responsibility for the management of the entire programme valued at more than €3 billion to the NHI consortium.
Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, stated: «We are proud to have made this important contract effective. We continue to be fully focused on executing our Industrial Plan aimed at ensuring long-term sustainable growth for the Group, also strengthening our commercial approach».
The Group Guidance for the full year 2018 is confirmed, as revised upwards on 30th of July in respect of higher order intake and FOCF to reflect the expected effectiveness of the NH90 Qatar contract, that had been only partially factored into Group Guidance, and the potential for certain export campaigns not to be full finalised by year-end.
Leonardo acts as overall prime contractor with responsibility for the management of the entire programme which includes 16 NH90 TTH for land operations, 12 NH90 NFH for naval missions, a comprehensive support, maintenance training services package and associated infrastructure. The programme could be further extended in the future with the addition of 6 + 6 units in a mix of TTH and NFH variants. Leonardo will be also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice – Tessera facility in Northern Italy and an eight-year support and training services package for crews and maintenance technicians. Meanwhile Airbus will be responsible for the final assembly of the16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Deliveries are expected to start before June 2022 and to continue through to 2025. Leonardo will also supply, contribute to and integrate various equipment, avionics and sensors.
Leonardo is responsible for or contributes to the design, production and integration of a wide range of NH90 critical components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gearbox, hydraulic system, Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, NFH mission system, power plant integration and final assembly of TTH and NFH aircraft for various customers at its Venice – Tessera facility in Northern Italy. Leonardo also integrates additional dedicated systems, avionics and sensors such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system, radar, digital map generator, sonar and naval mission console. Weapon systems Leonardo contributes to comprise pintle mounted Gatling-type guns, torpedoes and air-to-surface missiles for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) missions.
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. It features a quadraplex fly-by-wire flight control system for reduced pilot workload and enhanced flight handling characteristics.
The NH90 is available in two main variants, one dedicated to naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land-based operations. As of today, over 350 helicopters have been delivered in NFH and TTH variants to customers in 13 nations. Aircraft in service have logged nearly 180,000 flight hours in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea. 543 NH90s have been ordered by customers worldwide to date.
The twin-engine, medium-size NH90 helicopter programme is managed by NHIndustries, which is owned by Leonardo, Airbus, and Fokker.
On July 24, 2018, the Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium (CIO), which is 50% owned by Leonardo, signed a contract worth 159 million Euros with the Italian Ministry of Defence for the acquisition of the first 10 new Centauro II armoured vehicles. The signing ceremony took place at Palazzo Guidoni, the headquarters of the Italian Secretariat General of Defence and of the National Armaments Directorate. It was attended by the Secretary General of Defence and National Armaments Director, Aerial Squadron Marshall Carlo Magrassi, the Italian Army Chief of Staff, General Salvatore Farina, and the Director of the Land Armaments, Lieutenant General Francesco Castrataro.
This is the first tranche out of a total 136 units. The contract also includes spares and logistic support.
The contract value for Leonardo amounts to approximately 92 million Euros. The company will be responsible for the development and integration of the complete turret defence system, including the observation, targeting and communications systems.
Centauro II is a major step forward compared to the Centauro I in terms of power, situational awareness, mobility, ergonomics, shooting behaviour and communications, all while providing maximum crew protection. It is a latest-generation wheeled armoured vehicle that can operate in any number of scenarios: from national security missions to peacekeeping and support operations and in other operational theatres in which the Armed Forces need to intervene.
Leonardo has signed a contract to supply an ATR 72MP aircraft to the Italian Customs Police and provide associated logistics support and training services. The contract, valued about 44-million euros, was awarded following a European tender and includes options which would bring the total value up to 250 million euros. The first delivery will take place in 2019.
Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo’s CEO, said: «We are proud that the Italian Customs Police, which already operates our aircraft and helicopters, continues to place their trust in our capabilities. The ATR 72MP, based on the modern ATR 72-600 regional turboprop aircraft, is a tangible example of Leonardo’s leadership position in both platforms and their systems. This is an aircraft that can carry out numerous roles including maritime patrol, searching for and identifying surface vessels, Search & Rescue (SAR) missions, the prevention of narcotic-trafficking, piracy and smuggling, territorial water security and the monitoring-of and intervention-in ecological disasters. It comes equipped with our latest-generation communications and data sharing systems, meaning the aircraft can transmit and receive real-time information to and from ground-based command and control centres and airborne/maritime platforms, improving coordination and maximising operational effectiveness».
The ATR 72MP will be part of the Italian Customs Police’s range of airborne and naval capabilities which can be called on to respond to the wide range of missions carried out by the organisation. Because of its airborne capabilities, the Customs Police is the only law enforcement agency in Italy able to provide full surveillance coverage along the entirety of the country’s coastal border and in international waters.
Equipment on-board the ATR 72MP for the first time will support the Italian Customs Police in carrying out specific surveillance activities that come under their responsibility. The ATR 72MP will perform maritime patrol and search using on-board sensors to detect and identify sensitive targets, maintaining a position of low observability when necessary, monitoring target’s behaviour, recording proof for prosecutions and directing naval and land-based assets.
The ATR 72MP, already in service with the Italian Air Force which refers to it as the P-72A, is equipped with Leonardo’s ‘ATOS’ (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) modular mission system. The ATOS manages the aircraft’s wide spectrum of sensors, fusing the information gathered in complex situations and presenting a single tactical picture to operators, providing excellent situational awareness.
Thanks to the system’s advanced man-machine interface, only two system operators are needed to fully exploit the ATOS in the aircraft’s standard configuration. Thanks to its commercial design, the ATR 72MP also features crew ergonomics that help maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of operators during lengthy missions such as maritime patrol, search and identification, search and rescue, counter-smuggling, anti-piracy and territorial water protection, all of which typically last in excess of 8 hours.
Leonardo will supply Black Shark Advanced (BSA) torpedoes and associated logistic support services to equip the Italian Navy’s U212A 2nd Series submarines. The new equipment will significantly increase the Anti-Submarine Warfare capability of the Navy.
The Black Shark Advanced is an evolution of the Black Shark heavy torpedo, already acquired by many countries including Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal and Singapore.
This latest version integrates an innovative energy production section that can be optimised, according to the use of the system, for training or operational purposes. When the BSA is used for training activities, a newly developed rechargeable battery is used that allows a higher number of launches – up to one hundred – compared to that of previous versions, providing significant cost savings. In the operational configuration, the BSA is equipped with an innovative battery that ensures an increase in capabilities and performance. The new solution also delivers a significant reduction in life cycle costs.
Made in Italy at Leonardo’s Livorno plant, the Black Shark Advanced torpedo is an example of national excellence in the underwater defence sector and is the result of extensive and successful collaboration between the Italian Navy and industry.
The first full scale model of the European Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft (MALE RPAS) was unveiled on April 26, 2018 during a ceremony held at the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show, which opened its gates at Schönefeld airport.
The reveal ceremony, led by Dirk Hoke, Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO and Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director, confirms the commitment of the four European States and Industrial partners to jointly develop a sovereign solution for European Defence and Security.
The unveiling of the full-scale model and the reaffirmed commitment comes after a nearly two-year definition study launched in September 2016 by the four participating nations Germany, France, Italy and Spain and follows the Declaration of Intent to work together on a European MALE unmanned aerial system signed by the countries in May 2015.
«While still a lot of work lies ahead of us, this full-scale model represents a first milestone of what Europe can achieve in a high-technology sector if it bundles its industrial strength and know-how», said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. «The MALE RPAS will become an integral part in guaranteeing Europe’s sovereignty in the future. This programme is ideally suited to meet urgent capability requirements of Europe’s armed forces. This innovative partnership also eases the countries’ constrained budgetary situation through clever pooling of research and development funds», he added.
«Today’s unveiling reflects our companies’ total dedication to the European Defence and Security sovereignty. Cooperation and high technology legitimate the leadership of the European Industry and guarantee the strategic autonomy of Europe», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «Innovative programmes through efficient partnerships will serve European competitiveness and will offer new alternatives to the off-the-shelf acquisition of non-European products. Dassault Aviation reaffirms its full support to Airbus Defence and Space as programme leader of the MALE RPAS».
«Unmanned technologies and their applications represent one of the key technological foundations for the future evolution of European Defence Industries», said Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director. «The European MALE RPAS is orientated to foster the development of high technologies and will contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe providing Armed Forces with a high performance and sovereign operational system», he added.
Leonardo is pleased to announce that the State Border Guard of Latvia has signed a contract for two AW119Kx single engine helicopters plus option for an additional unit, customised configuration and aircrew/maintenance technician training services. The aircraft will be delivered from the Company’s facility in Philadelphia in 2019 and will perform a wide range of missions including Search and Rescue (SAR), transport, firefighting and disaster relief; replacing two ageing AB206B JetRangers.
This order marks a further expansion of the State Border Guard’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters, adding to two AW109 Power light twins which have been successfully in service for the last ten years. The AW119Kx was chosen following a thorough assessment of competing types within the framework of the Ministry of the Interior’s helicopter fleet modernisation programme. The combination of AW109 Power and AW119Kx helicopters will boost the State Border Guard’s mission capabilities and versatility for round-the-clock day/night operations.
The AW119Kx is a best in class single engine helicopter featuring a state-of-the-art avionics system for enhanced situational awareness, mission effectiveness and safety. The AW119Kx has a large cabin able to accommodate up to six passengers and redundancy of all critical systems that are typically available on twin engine aircraft, ensuring outstanding safety.
Nearly 300 AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date in almost 40 countries by over 120 customers. The new AW119Kx is perfectly suited to perform many roles including law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), utility, fire-fighting, VIP/Corporate transport, training and government duties. Several law enforcement operators in the USA, China, Republic of Korea, Finland, and Brazil, to name a few, have already chosen the AW119.