The pandemic crisis has led to innovation in the conduct of commercial activities. For Leonardo innovation is the main driver of development and competitiveness and an important international commercial campaign can be an opportunity to experiment with new ideas. An example of this is Leonardo’s virtual Industry Days that took place in November and December 2020, and will continue into the first months of 2021. The Industry Days will be covering all regions: Québec, Northern Ontario, Southern Ontario, Atlantic and Western Canada, including an event dedicated to indigenous communities.
Canada has proven to be a challenging market for Leonardo due to the solutions and methods required to make an offer successful. This is also the case for FAcT - Future Aircrew Training, the Royal Canadian Air Force training program which provides fixed- and rotary-wing training aircraft, crew and ACSO (Airborne Combat Systems Officer) training, AES Op (Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator) and In-Service Support to three dedicated military bases. FAcT will manage Air Force training requirements for the next 25 years, and the tender will be awarded in 2023. Six suppliers qualified initially and now three suppliers selected by the Canadian government remain among these is Leonardo, through its subsidiary Leonardo Canada. FAcT is the first tender in which Leonardo participates with all its divisions: Aircraft, Helicopters and Electronics.
Of significance to this tender, and Canada in general, are the activities generated through the offset/ ITB mechanisms, which are particularly stringent and challenging within this country, and amount to 100% of the tender calculated in Canadian work. For this reason, Leonardo organised the Industry Days with Canadian regional economic development agencies to meet with Canadian suppliers for the FAcT program and for other future business opportunities.
An integrated Offset team from Aircraft, Helicopter and Electronics Divisions coordinated by the Offset Corporate CCO, worked on the program. FAcT involved Canadian industry, mainly aerospace small- and medium-sized enterprises, regional agencies members, Canadian Embassy in Italy, and Leonardo employees (Offset, Marketing, R&D, procurement, CSS & T) and Leonardo Canada’s president, Francesco Norante.
The webinars were structured with an introductory part, lasting about an hour, in which Leonardo's Canada president, Integrated Program Team leads of each division, and Leonardo's corporate Offset director presented the company, its activities in Canada, its training skills and the Offset/ ITB requirements of the program. Then a series of B2B meetings with Canadian companies took place.
At the end of the virtual roadshow, Leonardo met more than 100 companies for future collaboration in the program. Furthermore, local authorities' involvement in companies' pre-selection process and the organization of these events led to better understanding of Leonardo in North America, which will be helpful for future program commitments in Canada.