Tag Archives: Leonardo

MUAS for Australia

Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia’s team has been shortlisted to proceed to the next phase of the SEA129 Phase 5 program for the acquisition of a Maritime Unmanned Aerial System (MUAS) designed to deliver a deployable Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) capability to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The Northrop Grumman and Leonardo proposal will enhance capability effects and tactical decision-making during RAN maritime operations.

Leonardo AWHERO
Leonardo AWHERO – First Ocean 2020 sea trial demonstration (Source: Leonardo S.p.A.)

«Northrop Grumman brings decades of unmatched expertise delivering and sustaining unmanned and manned aerial systems for customers in Australia and across the globe», said Christine Zeitz, general manager, Asia Pacific, Northrop Grumman. «We are confident our MUAS offering delivers world-class capability that addresses the RAN’s ISR&T mission requirements and optimises Australian industry capability».

The Northrop Grumman and Leonardo team’s proposal includes the state-of-the-art AWHero MUAS platform and subsystems, a capability specifically designed to operate in complex maritime environments. The AWHero is based on a mature and modular architecture that allows a wide and easily reconfigurable range of payloads including Leonardo’s Maritime Radar for unmatched ISR&T area coverage.

The team’s offering also includes an exportable variant of Northrop Grumman’s ground-breaking Distributed Autonomy/Responsive Control (DA/RC) command and control system. Integrated with the ship, control station and aircraft, DA/RC will deliver enhanced and automated tactical decision making to the RAN to help outmatch threats in a complex, unpredictable threat environment. The collaborative autonomy software will also be incorporated in Northrop Grumman Australia’s distributed systems integration laboratory which will provide the RAN and Australian industry a collaborative development environment to effectively exploit evolving technologies.

«We are excited to join forces with Northrop Grumman and Australian industry partners, further strengthening our collaborative approach in Australia», said Brian McEachen, VP Military Sales Asia-Pacific, Leonardo Helicopters. «The integrated capability of the AWHero leverages Leonardo’s expertise in rotorcraft, system integration, UAS and operations in the maritime domain, which combined with Northrop Grumman’s extensive portfolio of world-leading capabilities and technologies will provide the Royal Australian Navy with a level of advanced MUAS-based ISR&T they seek both now and into the future».

An integral part of the Northrop Grumman and Leonardo proposal is a commitment to maximising Australian industry participation. A robust and reliable domestic support network of proven industry members will be engaged in the production, delivery, sustainment and follow-on development of sovereign MUAS capability to the Australian Defence Force to meet the RAN’s current and future needs.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Combat System

Leonardo has signed a contract with Fincantieri worth approximately 150 million euro to provide equipment for the initial two U212 Near Future Submarines (NFS), the first of which is due to join the Italian Navy fleet in 2027. This strategic equipment will enhance the surveillance and protection capabilities of the Italian Navy as they carry out operations beneath the waves in Italian and international waters.

U212 NFS
Leonardo signs 150-million-euro contract to provide surveillance and protection systems for the Italian Navy’s new submarines

The contract includes the design and development of a next-generation Combat Management System (CMS) as part of the Italian Navy’s “Naval Law” modernization programme. The supply forms part of a broader programme under which Fincantieri is providing two U212 NFS submarines plus options for two more as well as technical and logistic support.

In addition to the CMS, Leonardo will also provide a simulation and training laboratory at the Italian Navy’s Submarine Centre in Taranto and a package of logistic support including staff training and a set of spare parts.

The new U212 Near Future Submarines build on the U212A (Todaro-class) design while featuring a range of technological advances. Four U212A submarines went into service with the Italian Navy in 2006.

This contract is a strategic development for Leonardo in the naval sector. By adding a submarine CMS to its portfolio, Leonardo is broadening its offer into the submarine market. With commonalities between the submarine CMS and Leonardo’s equivalent system for surface vessels, the company is expecting to exploit synergies between the two systems, with investment in innovation benefitting both product lines.

The strengthening of Leonardo’s core businesses, including by enhancing areas of expertise which cut across business lines, such as command and control, is one of the pillars of the «Be Tomorrow – Leonardo 2030» strategic plan. Leonardo is developing pathways to sustainable growth through leadership in next generation technologies.

SeaGuardian

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is working with Leonardo to integrate the Leonardo Seaspray 7500E V2 radar into the centerline radar pod of its MQ-9B SeaGuardian Remotely-Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). The integration of this market-leading radar onto the SeaGuardian will enable persistent maritime ISR and is available to our international customer base.

MQ-9B SeaGuardian
Leonardo Seaspray AESA Maritime Radar to be Integrated on GA-ASI SeaGuardian

GA-ASI’s MQ-9B is revolutionizing the long-endurance RPAS market by providing all-weather capability and compliance with STANAG-4671 (NATO airworthiness standard for Unmanned Aircraft Systems). These features, along with an operationally proven collision-avoidance radar, enables flexible operations in civil airspace. SeaGuardian has a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, and a High-Definition – Full-Motion Video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras. This sensor suite, augmented by automatic track correlation and anomaly-detection algorithms, enables real-time detection and identification of surface vessels over thousands of square nautical miles.

The Seaspray 7500E V2 radar is well-suited to the SeaGuardian mission set, using Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology to detect, track and classify hundreds of maritime contacts. The integration will also include an Open Mission Systems (OMS) approach, which enables the SeaGuardian and its sensor suite to offer operational and sustainment flexibility to end users.

Numerous countries use Leonardo Seaspray E-scan radars and the company has utilized operational feedback from these customers to expand and optimize the radar’s suite of advanced modes. These include Leonardo’s patented small target detection capability, allowing it to spot extremely difficult targets such as submarine periscopes and shipwrecked individuals at long range, even in very stormy seas. A key discriminator of Leonardo’s E-scan radars is their high reliability and fault tolerance that allows effective operation throughout a mission even if a number of individual radar modules fail.

The Seaspray greatly enhances the capabilities of the MQ-9B and builds on the already close working partnership between GA-ASI and Leonardo. Earlier this year GA-ASI announced the completion of initial integration work of Leonardo’s SAGE electronic surveillance unit onto the SeaGuardian, equipping the aircraft with the ability to gather intelligence information on maritime and land-based radar emitters over a wide area.

Customers will be able to choose from a wide assortment of sensors and payloads on the SeaGuardian platform, with both Seaspray and SAGE as off-the-shelf sensor options.

First two M-345 delivered

On December 23, 2020, 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, designated T-345A by the Italian Air Force, will gradually replace the 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982.

Aermacchi T-345A
The Italian Air Force has a total requirement for up to 45 M-345s. They will gradually replace the 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982

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, designed to meet basic and basic-advanced training requirements, will complement the in-service M-346, which is used for advanced pilot training. 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.

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 modernization 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».

At the Paris Air Show 2017, Leonardo presents the Aermacchi M-345 next generation high efficiency trainer, the solution for tomorrow’s training needs

 

M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer)

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. 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.

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. 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) allows trainees to analyse the missions they have just flown.

The M-345’s engine is a Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbofan 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.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

SIZE

Wing Span 27.78 feet/8.47 m
Length 32.32 feet/9.85 m
Height 12.27 feet/3.74 m
Wing Area 135.6 feet2/12.6 m2

WEIGHTS

Take-off (Trainer) 7,715 lbs./3,500 kg
Take-off (Maximum) 9,920 lbs./4,500 kg
Max External Stores 2,425 lbs./1,100 kg

POWERPLANT

Engine, turbofan Williams FJ44-4M-34
Maximum Thrust, Sea Level Static (SLS), International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) 3,400 lbs./1,540 kg
Max Internal Fuel 1,545 lbs./700 kg

PERFORMANCE (Clean, ISA)

Max Level Speed (SL/20,000 feet/6096 m) 380/425 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS); 437/489 mph; 704/787 km/h
Limit Speed 400 Knots Equivalent Air Speed (KEAS)/0.8 MN; 460 mph; 741 km/h
Stall Speed (Landing, 20% fuel) 92 Knots Calibrated Air Speed (KCAS); 106 mph; 170 km/h
Rate of Climb (SL) 4,700 feet/min; 1,435 m/min
Service Ceiling 40,000 feet/12,190 m
Limit Load Factors +7/-3.5 g
Maximum Sustained Load Factor (50% fuel, SL) 4.0 g
Take-off/Landing Ground Run (SL) 2,050 feet/625 m
Ferry Range, 10% reserve, Clean 720 NM/826 miles/1,330 km
Ferry Range, 10% reserve, 2 External Tanks 1,000 NM/1150 miles/1,850 km
Endurance, 10% reserve, Clean/2 External Tanks 150 min/210 min

 

No place to hide

Leonardo has recently proven the newly-expanded capabilities of its ULISSES acoustic Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) system in a demonstration off the coast of Italy. During the demo, Leonardo showed how the Firefly, AQS-18, dipping sonar from L3Harris Technologies worked in concert with the ULISSES processor to automatically locate simulated enemy submarines and alert the crew to their presence.

ULISSES
Designed to listen for submarines using advanced acoustic technology, Leonardo’s ULISSES ensures that the sea is no place to hide

The demonstration follows the successful integration of the Firefly dipping sonar with the ULISSES system. Firefly incorporates a high-powered active sonar which can dive down up to 200 m/656 feet below the sea surface and detect targets as far away as 20 miles/32 km while transmitting sonar and sonobuoy processing, audio and video to the shore via a wideband data link.

For the demo, the ULISSES and Firefly equipment was installed on a naval vessel while an Italian Navy NH-90 helicopter supported by dispensing sonobuoys during the trial. A key design feature of the ULISSES/Firefly system is its lightweight form factor, which can also be fitted to small, light helicopters for littoral operations. The integrated capabilities shown in the demo represent a solution to the growing requirement from armed forces to conduct ASW operations in blue and shallow waters.

Observers on-board the command ship were able to watch on an operator’s screen as ULISSES combined inputs from the Firefly dipping sonar with data from active and passive sonobuoys to automatically locate potential contacts and raise alerts. The ULISSES and Firefly systems offer ‘multistatic’ functionality where the processors collect and exploit data from up to 64 distributed dipping sonar and sonobuoy sensors, using the multiple sources of information to accurately triangulate the location of enemy submarines.

ULISSES was introduced to the market at Farnborough Air Show in 2018 and was successfully demonstrated in a live sea trial in November 2019. The system is now fully developed and talks are on-going with a range of potential launch customers.

The successor to Leonardo’s well-regarded OTS-90 acoustic system for Italian and Dutch NH-90 helicopters, ULISSES provides highly-advanced capabilities in an even more lightweight package. This makes it ideally suited to smaller helicopters and is designed as a form-fit replacement for the OTS-90, making it an attractive proposition for the retrofit market. The system is also suitable for fixed-wing aircraft, naval vessels and, without the dipping sonar, drone aircraft.

C-27J Next Generation

Leonardo has begun the final testing of the C-27J Next Generation which features new equipment, a new avionics system and advanced aerodynamic devices, these will enhance the existing high performance of the aircraft. The first C-27J Spartan in the new configuration will be delivered to an undisclosed customer in 2021.

C-27J Next Generation
The successful C-27J Spartan sheds its skin to reach new performance heights

The performance and reliability of the C-27J Spartan continues to evolve as the best response to its customers’ needs. Pushing on the aircraft’s versatility and mission flexibility, the C-27J Spartan offers an ever-increasing range of mission solutions, which adapt in response to new challenges faced by operators. A true force enabler, its unrivalled multi-mission capabilities are key in presenting the latest evolution of the Spartan as a cost-effective solution and an intelligent investment for nations, which are selecting it for their military, as well as civil protection requirements.

Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft Division’s Managing Director, said: «The enhanced C-27J brings the unrivalled quality and capabilities of the Spartan to the next, higher level. Its operators will benefit from modern avionics, increased performance and efficiency. The Spartan embodies the essence of national security, proving to be the best asset for armed forces’ defence operations and for their fundamental contribution to population support and disaster relief». In a world hit this year by the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies international media have extensively reported on the C-27J’s relentless and effective support to communities in need. Mr. Zoff also added: «Our customers have discovered in this aircraft an element of social inclusion, because it is the only aircraft capable to reach people in the most remote rural areas of their nations».

Leonardo is committed to serving and protecting communities around the world, contributing to their sustainable growth by leading in next generation technologies. Partnering with Governments, private organizations and industries for the best security and safety capabilities is a cornerstone of Leonardo’s BeTomorrow2030 Strategic Plan.

Already acknowledged as the most effective multi-mission military transport aircraft in its class, the C-27J Next Generation today features comprehensive new avionics and aerodynamic developments with new winglets, for improved operational efficiency and even better performance. Mission-proven across all continents with a number of prime air forces, the Spartan is operated in the world’s most demanding operational environments – from the Andes to Afghanistan – for military transport, cargo and paratroopers air drop, last tactical mile troop support, special operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

C-27J Spartan
The first enhanced aircraft will be delivered to an undisclosed customer in 2021

The brand-new avionics system of the C-27J Next Generation is designed to comply with Next Generation Air Traffic Control requirements, including Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A+ datalink; Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) 7.1; Instrument Landing System (ILS) Cat.II; enhanced video Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS). New cockpit displays; new weather radar; new radio navigation; enhanced satellite communications and radio communication capabilities; new intercommunication system; new cockpit and cargo panels; Mode 5 Friend or Foe/ Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (IFF/ADS-B) out and tactical Vertical Navigation (VNAV) and Search and Rescue; lighting system with Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) technology have also been included. Moreover, former avionics and general systems interface boxes have been replaced with new equipment by Leonardo’s Electronics. The new baseline configuration is also offered as a retrofit to current operators wanting to upgrade their C-27J Spartan fleet capabilities.

Thanks to its exceptional structural strength and systems redundancy, the C-27J Spartan offers unique qualities of ruggedness, reliability, outstanding survivability and manoeuvrability. Its capability to operate from the most rudimentary airstrips, performing Short Take-Offs and Landings (STOL) in extreme environmental conditions is enhanced by the winglets, while Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) provides an independent power source, which can restart engines in flight, or make the aircraft autonomous and self-reliable during deployment missions at improvised airfields.

The aircraft can be equipped with a Defensive Aids Sub-Systems suite, secure communications and ballistic protection in order to operate in high threat environments.

Thanks to its multiple roll-on/roll-off mission kits and systems, the C-27J Spartan can be quickly configured and reconfigured to carry out a wide range of tasks, including a tactical transport, maritime patrol, even incorporating Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) or Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C3ISR) tasks. As a tactical transport aircraft, its capabilities include transport of troops, cargo, paratroops and cargo airdrop, Medical Evacuation/Casualty Evacuation (Medevac/Casevac), VIP, but can also carry out operations of humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and fire-fighting, thanks to its fast operational reconfiguration.

Maiden Flight

On the 13th July, the operational version of the M-346 Fighter Attack, equipped with an optimised variant of Leonardo’s Grifo radar, successfully completed its maiden flight. The M-346FA is the new light attack variant from the Company’s M-346 Light Fighter Family of Aircraft (LFFA). It offers multirole capabilities with a single platform, cost-effectively delivering both training and combat roles.

Leonardo’s M-346 Fighter Attack embarks on maiden flight equipped with Grifo radar

Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Managing Director of Leonardo Aircraft, said: «I am extremely pleased with the work we have done to achieve this important milestone and the pace at which we have reached it. With this latest achievement, the most advanced training aircraft available on the market will soon be joined by the more versatile M-346 Fighter Attack. The M-346FA offers all of the advanced training capabilities of the core M-346 while also integrating latest generation sensors and equipment, allowing it to operate as an effective light attack aircraft. We will now continue development as we prepare to deliver the first aircraft to its international launch customer in 2021».

The aircraft’s primary sensor is Leonardo’s mechanically-scanning, multi-mode Grifo-M-346 radar, a specially-optimised variant developed by Leonardo for the M-346FA. The Grifo-M-346 is a reliable, high performance solution delivering great accuracy. The M-346FA is also protected by a complete Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS), while its high-end, network-centric communications suite which incorporates a Secure Communications system and Tactical Data Link ensures interoperability. The platform can also employ LINK-16 in order to interoperate with NATO forces.

The M-346FA can employ an extensive range of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry (including IR guided, radar and/or laser/GPS) and can be fitted with a gun pod, reconnaissance sensors and target designation pods and electronic warfare, all integrated with a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) system for both pilots.

In the training domain, the M-346FA benefits from all the advanced features of the M-346 trainer, including the ability to integrate into live-virtual-constructive (LVC) environments. This involves linking the real training aircraft in the sky with simulators on the ground and incorporating virtual friendly and opposing forces, allowing trainee pilots to challenge a wide range of tactical scenarios.

The trainer version of the M-346 is currently in service with the air forces of Italy, Singapore, Israel and Poland.

Light Utility Helicopter

Leonardo announced on 10 July 2020 the delivery of the first of two AW169 basic training twin engine helicopters to the Italian Army during an official ceremony held at the 2nd Regiment AVES «Sirio» based in Lamezia Terme in the presence of representatives from the operator and industry. The second aircraft is expected to be handed over in the next few months.

Leonardo delivers its first AW169 basic training helicopter to the Italian Army

The introduction of the new generation training helicopter (designated UH-169B) allows the Italian Army to prepare its crews for the future operational transition to its all-new advanced multirole Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) programme developed on the AW169 dual-use baseline and aimed at longer term fleet modernisation and rationalization plan. The two AW169 trainers, which will enable the Italian Army to familiarise with the platform’s basic characteristics during the development of the new LUH, are being supplied with a comprehensive «turnkey» logistical support and a pilot/maintenance technician training package.

The LUH programme is aimed at progressively replacing ageing models including the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412 to meet the evolving operational requirements, and benefits from a more efficient supply chain based on a ‘one single platform’ approach. The introduction of the AW169 LUH, specifically developed for the Italian Army leveraging on the AW169M military helicopter baseline, also provides the advantage of unique logistical, operational and technical, certification and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW169 fleets of Government operators in Italy. This strengthens the possibility to perform effective and safe joint operations with other users of this modern type and represents a quantum leap in homeland security, emergency response capability and overall, through-life-cycle cost/effectiveness for decades to come. The overall AW169 LUH programme is based on an advanced multirole configuration provided with dedicated flight/mission equipment including, among others, skids landing gear and an advanced Command, Control, Communications, Computers (C4) command, control and communication system to grant full interoperability with the other assets in the NATO environment.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director Leonardo Helicopters, said: «It gives us great pleasure to celebrate with the Italian Army the delivery of its first AW169 in basic training configuration as an essential enabler ahead of the implementation of the new, broader LUH programme. The LUH will definitely represent the start of a new era in terms of capabilities, technical support, mission flexibility and interoperability in the light weight segment. The new programme takes advantage of many decades of a successful partnership and continued exchange of information, intended to fully understand the changing operational needs and how to address them through the possibilities offered by new technologies. We’re committed to supporting the Italian Army to maximise the benefits of these new helicopters».

 

AW169M Helicopter

The AW169M is the military variant of the latest generation AW169 twin-engine helicopter, designed to the latest Federal Aviation Regulations/Joint Aviation Requirements/European Union Aviation Safety Agency (FAR/JAR/EASA) requirements as well as those standards of military, homeland security and government users. The platform features outstanding power, agility and manoeuvrability, which provides excellent handling characteristics in a wide range of operating conditions including hot and high. The unique transmission design provides power to hydraulic, electrical and air conditioning systems with the rotors stopped (Auxiliary Power Unit, APU mode) optimising response time and availability. The cabin is the most spacious in its class and features a constant height cross section for rapid reconfiguration and ease of access. Pilots benefit from a latest-generation, open-architecture avionics suite, including a fully digital glass cockpit and unprecedented external visibility, providing advanced tactical and situational awareness. Orders for over 220 AW169 helicopters have been placed by customers worldwide today, including military and law enforcement/public service operators, to carry out a range of missions including utility, surveillance, special operations, maritime patrol, land reconnaissance, training, rescue and firefighting.

Multirole Missile

Leonardo and Thales are proud to announce the first successful firings of the Thales ‘Martlet’ Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) from Leonardo’s AW159 Wildcat helicopter. The firings were conducted as part of the UK MoD’s Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) programme and demonstrated the integration of the Martlet onto the AW159 platform. This represents a major milestone for the programme and will enable this high-end capability to enter service with the Royal Navy later this year.

The Royal Navy’s AW159 Wildcat will pack a lot of firepower, as it is able to carry up to 20 Thales Martlet lightweight missiles primarily intended to defend against attacking small boats, as well as two Sea Venom anti-ship missiles for offensive missions (Royal Navy photo)

The firing trials were conducted from 27th April to 21st May 2020 and despite the current COVID-19 situation, Leonardo and Thales were able to support the UK Ministry of Defence by completing this critical activity. All of the teams involved had to adopt strict distancing procedures, in some cases having to find new ways of working, in order to make sure that the trials could go ahead. It is a testimony to the professionalism of those involved that these trials were successfully completed under such challenging and novel circumstances.

«This major milestone demonstrates that the combination of the AW159 Wildcat and Martlet missile will be a flexible and effective tool for the Royal Navy. Next year the Wildcat fleet will embark on Carrier Strike Group missions with HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) on its maiden operational deployment. As the only British company to design and manufacture helicopters on-shore, we’re extremely proud to be equipping the UK Armed Forces with world-beating sovereign capabilities», said Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters (UK).

«The successful live firings of the Thales LMM Martlet from the AW159 Wildcat is a key milestone in the programme, delivering a significant step-change in capability for the platform. LMM Martlet will ensure that the Wildcat has the best-in-class offensive capability to protect HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and her task group during her maiden operational deployment next year. With each platform capable of carrying up to 20 Martlet, the Wildcats deployed with the task group will be a significant deterrent to anyone wishing to interfere with UK interests», said Philip McBride, General Manager, Integrated Airspace-protection Systems, Thales UK.

In July 2014, Leonardo signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to integrate, test and install the MBDA Sea Venom (heavy) and Thales LMM (light) missile systems onto Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters, a programme called Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW).

The FASGW (light) part of the programme has now seen the LMM, with its associated launcher and airborne laser guidance unit, successfully integrated into the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat sensor, displays and avionics systems. The LMM provides a step-change in capability for the Royal Navy which, in the maritime environment, faces a major challenge in engaging smaller, fast-moving, asymmetric threats, due to their high mobility, their small thermal and radar signatures and the severe background clutter encountered. The LMM is capable of surmounting these issues where traditional electro-optic and radar guidance systems do not provide the certainty of hit required.

On-board the AW159 Wildcat platform, the LMM Martlet could also allow operators to engage air targets such as UAVs and other maritime helicopters.

The launchers are mounted to the AW159 via the new Leonardo Weapon Wing, developed at the Company’s design and manufacturing facility in Yeovil and first trialed last year. Each weapon wing will be able to carry either ten Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles and generates additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, reducing demands on the main rotor.

The twin-engine multi-role AW159 is able to conduct missions ranging from constabulary to high end warfighting where it has the capability to autonomously detect, identify and attack targets on land and at sea, including submarine threats. The high-performance platform has state-of-the-art systems, including a Leonardo Seaspray multi-mode electronically-scanning (E-scan) radar, and integrated electronic warfare Defensive Aids Suite (DAS).

Over 50,000 flight hours have been logged by the helicopter. The AW159 has also been chosen by the British Army, the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy as a new maritime operator of the helicopter.

Osprey 30 AESA radar

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will upgrade to Leonardo’s latest Osprey radar to support missions such as search and rescue, border protection, fishery and pollution patrols. The Osprey 30 radar will be installed on-board the two customised Beechcraft King Air aircraft provided to the UK MCA by UK-based aviation services company 2Excel.

UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency to get latest radar technology from Leonardo

Currently, the UK MCA is operating Leonardo’s Seaspray 7300E radar, which has been employed to great effect in support of regular fishery and pollution patrols around the UK. The radar comes equipped with Leonardo’s patented small target detection capability, allowing it to spot shipwrecked individuals in the water at long range, even in the most difficult environmental conditions and sea states. Additionally, the radar provides the ability for MCA crews to identify oil spills and rogue polluters at very long range, day or night.

2Excel will build on this success by equipping the MCA King Airs with Leonardo’s second generation Osprey radar, the latest entry in its range of E-scan surveillance radars. Osprey benefits from all of the capabilities of the Company’s Seaspray family whilst also adding additional modes and optimized overland and coastal imaging capabilities. This makes the radar ideally suited to mixed environment operations, such as along the coast.

Traditionally, coastguard aircraft have used radars with restricted fields of view and limited detection capabilities, making searches laborious and resource-intensive. Leonardo’s radars solve these problems. The Company is a world leader in E-scan, also known as Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) technology, which uses a matrix of hundreds of tiny radar modules to ‘steer’ an electronic beam, rather than mechanically moving the radar to point at a target. With a Leonardo E-Scan radar, crews can lift off, scan in 360 degrees and almost-instantaneously detect, track and classify hundreds of maritime contacts, allowing crews to quickly task cooperating aircraft to deeply search an area of interest. Other E-scan advantages include extremely high reliability, as the radar can continue to operate effectively throughout a mission even if a number of its individual radar modules fail. Customers in 30 countries have selected Leonardo’s E-scan radars including the Seaspray and Osprey families, with the US Navy procuring the Osprey 30 radar for its Fire Scout unmanned helicopter programme.