Leonardo, global leader for the naval sector
Leonardo is one of the most important global players in the naval sector and is a technological partner of numerous Navies around the world. In particular, in the last 50 years over 40 countries have chosen Leonardo systems to equip over 100 naval units. A leader in the design of integrated naval combat systems, Leonardo offers solutions that are able to meet all requirements and are adaptable to continuously evolving mission scenarios, for any type of vessel, of any class and tonnage: from small patrol boats to minesweepers, even large aircraft carriers.
Leonardo’s command and control centres for the naval sector integrate sensors, weapons systems or auxiliary systems to provide full operational awareness of the vessel’s situation and the surrounding scenario. Surveillance and recognition functions, which are always the first line of defence, are performed by multi-function radars, which simultaneously ensure medium-long range surveillance, volumetric search and missile guidance. Other proprietary radar systems offer advanced monitoring, alert, navigation and precision aircraft carrier deck landing functions.
Airborne and underwater scenarios and threats are detected through the use of electro-optics, satellite and sonar imaging, while offence against detected threats develops through the use of a full range of weapons systems that includes small/medium calibre naval guns with guided ammunitions, surface to air and anti-ship missile systems, torpedoes, targeting systems and countermeasures, to provide the vessel with a fully stratified line of defence.
As well as this, light, medium and heavy helicopters are used for all possible roles in the naval field: from transport to search & rescue, sea patrol, anti-piracy operations, and protection from underwater and surface threats. Leonardo offers multiple ship propulsion solutions: from hybrid systems composed of electric motors for low-speed operations, to gas turbine or diesel systems targeted for high-speed pursuit. Leonardo is capable of extending its offer to include further products and services integrated into a single, all-inclusive maritime defence system: maritime traffic control systems, maritime patrol aircraft, coastal surveillance systems, UAVs, satellite systems and services.
The plan for renewing the Italian Navy's fleet
Around 90% of goods travel on shipping routes and around 65% of energy resources directed towards the European Union pass through the Mediterranean Sea. The Italian fleet is the 12th merchant fleet worldwide in terms of capacity and 3% of Italian GDP comes from the maritime sector. Hence the Italian Navy’s need to activate a plan for modernising the national naval fleet with state of the art equipment and technology. From these premises the so-called “Naval Law” of 2014 takes form, which envisages the construction of ships characterised by an intrinsic dual use capacity, or rather the option to be used for non-military operations to support populations affected by natural disasters or serious events, jointly with the activities of the Italian Civil Protection. In particular, the programme involves the construction of three different types of ships: the Offshore Multipurpose Patrol Ships (PPA in the Italian acronym), the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD, or amphibious assault ship) and the Logistic Support Ship (LSS). The essential common feature of all three vessel classes is their very high level of innovation, which makes them extremely flexible in the different fields of use with a high degree of efficiency and configuration capability.
The PPAs are innovatively designed units for monitoring and controlling maritime areas of national interest, overseeing maritime and economic activities, contributing to the protection of marine environments, and supporting rescue operations for populations struck by natural disasters. The LHDs are characterised by high dual usage, low environmental impact and have low operating costs. Designed for strategic projection of military and humanitarian structures, these vessels are able to cope with displacement requirements in crisis areas, humanitarian assistance operations and the coordination and control of rescue missions. LHDs also ensure adequate reception and hospitalisation capacity for managing massive health emergencies, offering radiological and laboratory diagnostics, secondary medical care and intensive care, surgery capabilities, isolation of infectious diseases and dental services. The LSSs are, however, designed to provide logistical support to an offshore naval group, ensuring independent support for prolonged periods, to contribute to humanitarian rescue operations during extraordinary events, through high receptive and health care capabilities; the ability to provide drinking water and electricity; the capacity to load, transport, and the handling of basic and relief materials and foodstuff.
For the PPAs, Leonardo offers a next generation, open architecture, modular and reconfigurable Combat Management System. The bridge is provided with an innovative system named “cockpit” created alongside Fincantieri, which for the first time will allow the integrated management of both vessel navigation and combat system operations, with a reduced number of operators, thanks to the use of augmented reality technologies. The new systems provided by Leonardo include the new multi-sensor fire control radar, a new multifunction Active Electronically Scanned Array radar with four dual band C and X-band radars (DBRs), next generation IFF sensors (Identification Friend & Foe) with circular antenna and the innovative static IRST (InfraRed Search and Track), an infrared sensor for seeking out and tracking targets, based on multiple non-rotating optical heads, distributed over the four sides of the vessel to ensure a seamless 360 degree view.
The PPAs will also be equipped with integrated communication systems which, along with the multi-band satellite systems, also include the new Software Defined Radios. Still for the offshore multipurpose patrol ships, Leonardo will provide the 127/64 LW gun, the most advanced globally in the sector of high-calibre naval guns, thanks to the combination of four elements – the gun assembly, the Automated Ammunition Handling System (AAHS), the Naval Fire Control Support (NFCS) planning system and Vulcano ammunition. The latter is a sub-calibre ammunition, developed in two main variants: guided (GLR) with longer range (100 km) for anti-ship operations or precision shooting against land targets, and non-guided, equipped with a multi-function fuse and that can reach 60 km. In the field of medium calibre weapons, the new “Sovraponte” version of the 76/62 gun will be installed on the PPAs which, in its typical multipurpose function, can be used against airborne, maritime, land and asymmetric targets.
The "Sovraponte" (over deck) version will be equipped with the Strales kit for the use of DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time Of Flight) guided ammunition. In the field of small calibre weapons, 25 mm remotely controlled towers will be installed which can be used for the close protection of larger units or, when installed on smaller units, for use in the interdiction of maritime traffic and the fight against smuggling operations. The remote control ODLS 20 launcher (OTO Decoy Launching System) will be installed on the “full” configuration PPAs, whose main role is to provide the vessel with passive defence from radars and missiles equipped with IR seekers, but also ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) decoys. Leonardo will provide the patrol vessels with a torpedo launcher system, the Underwater Telephone, the Bathy Termograph Unit and the Diver Detection Sonar. Finally, MBDA will provide the airborne defence system and/or the anti-ship system, depending on the configuration of the PPA. For example, the PPAs in the “light” configuration are fitted for possible installation of missiles systems for air and anti-ship defence.
Leonardo will also provide a next generation, open architecture, modular and reconfigurable Combat Management System for these naval units, a system that is able to easily integrate any new systems that the customer may decide to install over time. The LHD will also be equipped with a radar helicopter landing system; multi-sensor fire control radar (X/Ka band), multifunctional four-face Active Electronically Scanned Array radar with fixed X-band (sub-component of the DBR which will be installed on PPAs) and rotating L-band for long radius discovery and ATBM defence; next generation PAR and IFF systems with compliant circular antenna. As is the case for PPAs, the static IRST sensor will be installed on board the LHDs.
The integrated communication systems will be characterised by multi-band satellite systems and will also include the new Software Defined Radio. The unit will also be equipped with an integrated navigation system that includes X-band and Ka-band radars. The company’s 76/62 Super Rapido Multi Feeding Strales gun will be the LHD’s main weaponry system. A radar antenna is applied to the traditional 76/62 gun carriage which guides one or more sub-calibre DART projectiles towards the target by using a radio-frequency beam, ensuring that the target is reached without error margins and thereby preventing the risk of collateral damage. The speed of DART projectiles and their guidance capability make the 76 Strales an instrument that is effective against fast, manoeuvring asymmetrical and traditional threats. As on the “full” PPAs, the ODLS 20 launcher will be installed and will be accompanied by the Black Snake towed sonar: the lightest, most modern and effective autonomous system for anti-torpedo defence for any kind of surface vessel, as well as the previously mentioned Obstacle Avoidance Sonar, Bathy Termograph Unit and Diver Detection Sonar.
For this type of vessel, Leonardo will provide a next generation, open architecture, modular and reconfigurable Combat Management System, which is able to easily integrate any new systems that the customer may decide to install over time. The naval unit will be equipped with the double-headed Janus electro-optical system for panoramic 360° surveillance, an integrated communication system which, along with multi-band satellite systems, will also include the new Software Defined Radio, an integrated navigation system that includes X-band and Ka-band radars, an IFF and an aerial and surface discovery radar.
The company will provide the 25 mm remotely controlled towers that will also be installed on the PPAs and the LHD. Furthermore, Leonardo will contribute to arming the LSS with the Diver Detection Sonar and the Obstacle Avoidance Sonar, which are able to provide complete protection for any type of surface vessel, in the quay or anchored in the harbour, against divers and related means of transport.