Seafuture & Maritime Technologies: Leonardo-Finmeccanica's contribution to international maritime security
- Leonardo offers cutting-edge solutions supporting Navy and Coastguard activities assuring security in more than 40 countries
- Leonardo integrates individual sensors into a single system for ships, aircraft and surveillance UAV
- The relationship between industry and navies across the world is essential for developing systems able to tackle ever changing threats
Leonardo-Finmeccanica will be a key exhibitor at Seafuture & Maritime Technologies, an event that opens today in La Spezia bringing in the Ligurian town, over 28 Navies from across the world.
The cutting-edge technologies produced by Leonardo, from integrated solutions for managing naval missions, to radar and electro-optical sensors, naval communications systems, manned and unmanned helicopters and aircraft for patrolling coasts, are an essential part of the systems which Navies and Coastguards throughout the world rely on for their daily activities. Within the current geopolitical framework, technologies carry out a crucial role in national and international security, due to the continuous evolution of the operational scenarios that call for a number of diversified open sea operations. In fact, the usual activities linked to protecting borders and national strategic interests, have been combined with the fight against piracy, countering illegal traffic, environmental protection, the fight against terrorism and monitoring immigration routes, through operations which in recent years have saved thousands of lives. Only state-of-the-art technological equipment allows these activities to be carried out in an effective and timely manner.
Within this framework, Leonardo supplies command and control systems for the protection and surveillance of ships; radars and optronic sensors to identify and monitor potential threats as well as vessels in trouble in all weather conditions, and communications systems both inside and outside the ship. The company has the know-how required to provide these capabilities to its customers, but is also able to develop the ship’s entire mission system architecture, integrating all components and assuring functionality and reliability.
Furthermore, Leonardo is one of a handful of players worldwide able to produce complex platforms such as aircraft, helicopters, unmanned systems, satellites, and supply the electronic mission systems and integrate all these capabilities into a single operative solution.
In the naval field alone, these capabilities are applied both in the development of latest-generation vessels, such as those included in the multi-year fleet renewal programme of the Italian Navy (the so called “Naval law”), and in upgrading vessels already in operation. Refitting/retrofitting is undergoing a period of growth due to the need to counter new threats by upgrading systems, while taking into account budgetary constraints.
Leonardo and the whole naval industry play a crucial role in this process, which requires significant yet necessary investments to develop innovative technologies as the dual band radar designed by Leonardo, thanks to the Naval Law, which enables the building of new vessels manufactured and fitted with multi-purpose capabilities and cutting-edge systems. All this would not be possible without cooperation between industry and Navy. Furthermore, the long standing relationship between Leonardo and its customers, and first and foremost the Italian Navy, has allowed its Divisions to understand their operational requirements, transforming them into solutions able to address their needs and to evolve with the changes in maritime scenarios.
The continuous development of new technologies and the development of new naval products and systems are an extraordinary boost to competitiveness and export, benefiting the whole economy. Leonardo has supplied technology for more than one hundred naval units, distributed in 40 different countries across the 5 continents. These successes also lead to significant support and maintenance activities, which further consolidate ties with the end customers.
“Mare Nostrum” and “Atalanta” operations, and the rescue of the ship Norman Atlantic, are some examples of different scenarios which deployed vessels from the Italian Navy equipped with solutions supplied by Leonardo. In the first case, the vessels patrolled wide stretches of sea with the aim of intercepting and rescuing hundreds of shipwrecked people in extremely dangerous and precarious conditions, by providing the necessary medical and humanitarian support and carrying out preliminary verification and identification operations. In the second, the vessels assured the security of maritime trade and merchant ships crossing that area of the sea, thus assuring the right to freedom of navigation along maritime routes. In both cases Italian ships are part of international deployment and cooperate with the navies of other countries, interacting with aircraft and vessels to assure the utmost operative effectiveness. In the case of Norman Atlantic, the castaways were rescued thanks to the AW101 and AW139 helicopters in force with the Italian Navy, Air Force and Coastguard.
These objectives may only be achieved by relying on modern instruments and equipment, consistent with that deployed by the international partners, to assure operational readiness, adaptation to any weather conditions, flexibility with respect to changeable and diversified requirements. All these features are assured by the technologies that Leonardo supplies to its partners.
At Seafuture & Maritime Technologies it will be possible to see all these solutions on board the FREMM class and Orizzonte vessels, while in order to get an idea of what maritime operations will look like in the near future, Leonardo is also showcasing Hero, a remotely piloted helicopter (RUAS – Rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial System) weighing 180 kilos. Thanks to its ability to integrate various types of optical systems and radars and communication systems, Hero is able to perform a wide range of operations in maritime and naval settings, including reconnaissance, electronic surveillance, intelligence and support for maritime search and rescue activities.