Leonardo at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018

The 2018 edition of the Farnborough International Airshow, the main exhibition in the sector as well as the most eagerly awaited event by Aerospace, Defence and Security companies, came to a successful close.


At the Airshow, Leonardo presented its high-tech products and solutions and cost-effective, full through-life support services in domains including airborne sensors, rotorcraft, fixed wing aircraft, unmanned air systems and cybersecurity.


In Leonardo’s 7,000 sqm outdoor display area, the very latest variant of the AW101 helicopter for the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the P-72A maritime patrol aircraft of the Italian Air Force made their first appearance at Farnborough. The outdoor area covered key capabilities in strategic markets for Leonardo, including maritime security and rescue, Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) and training & light attack.


Leonardo’s exhibition area at the Farnborough Airshow


Inside Leonardo’s stand, a stunning exhibition area showcased the Company’s products and systems around the three core themes of ‘Combat’, ‘ISR’ and ‘Training & Support’, while a central focal-point displayed key examples of Leonardo’s integrated capabilities in intelligence, cyber, and Command & Control.


Training and support is one of the strategic drivers for Leonardo and, therefore, was a particular focus at Farnborough. The dedicated section allowed visitors to find out more about Leonardo’s bespoke services that deliver the right training and maintenance capabilities, without the burden of capital expenditure.


The security of Leonardo’s exhibition area was guaranteed by the Security & Information Systems Division through the TETRA system (50 TETRA terminals were used by Leonardo personnel for secure and encrypted communications) and the command and control platform SC2, which integrated the 24-hour video surveillance of the static area (5 cameras, 2 of which thermal scanning) and the geo-referencing of cameras and Tetra terminals.  



Among the announcements made at the Airshow, a highlight was the launch of the UK’s new Combat Air Strategy and the unveiling of the UK’s concept for a next-generation combat aircraft. Team Tempest, composed of British firms including Leonardo, BAE Systems, MBDA and Rolls-Royce, together with the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, signed a contract to provide the technologies, knowledge, skills and expertise to develop a next-generation combat air system which will operate beyond 2040. The contract forms part of the ongoing Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI) programme and will see Leonardo developing the integrated sensors and communications technology for the next-generation aircraft.


The ItAF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. E. Vecciarelli, the Italian Minister of Defence E. Trenta and Leonardo CEO A. Profumo


In the aeronautics field, Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo and the Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, signed a collaboration agreement that will strengthen the training services already offered by the Air Force’s 61st Wing and will establish the all-new International Flight Training School (IFTS) to support military pilot training.


In the helicopter field, Leonardo announced, together with Milestone Aviation Group Limited, a contract for 17 Leonardo AW139 helicopters plus 4 options to Aramco Overseas Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco – a fully integrated, global petroleum and chemicals enterprise. Magpas Air Ambulance, a leading HEMS provider in the UK, selected the AW169 as its new generation helicopter, while QME Mining Equipment Ltd of Ireland, a leading company in the supply of complete solutions to the mining and tunnelling industries worldwide, signed a contract for an AW109 GrandNew helicopter for VIP/corporate transport operations with delivery expected in early 2019.


Signing of the contract with Aramco Overseas Company for 17 Leonardo AW139 helicopters plus 4 options


In regards to avionics systems, Leonardo announced at the Airshow that it secured a customer in the Middle East region for its Miysis’ Directed InfraRed CounterMeasure (DIRCM) system. The Company also highlighted the success of its Osprey Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar family, with over 40 Osprey radar ordered by eight different customers.


Leonardo and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) signed an agreement that will see the companies jointly investing to integrate Leonardo’s  SAGE electronic warfare surveillance system onto the GA-ASI MQ-9B.


Finally, in the Space sector, it was announced that SEonSE (Smart Eyes on the SEas), Leonardo’s geospatial maritime security platform implemented by e-GEOS (Telespazio 80% - ISA 20%), went online. Thanks to the use of cloud computing and of advanced big data analysis models, SEonSE makes it possible to access in real-time, even from tablets or smartphones, customised information on what happens at sea.



Numerous institutional and international delegations visited Leonardo’s exhibition area. The Italian Minister of Defence Elisabetta Trenta, who attended the Airshow with a delegation from the Italian Senate’s Defence Committee, was provided an overview of Leonardo's flagship products and technologies.


Minister Trenta gave the introductory remarks at the International Flight Training School’s official signing ceremony for the collaboration agreement between Leonardo and the Italian Air Force, represented respectively by  Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo and the Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli. Also in attendance at Farnborough was the Italian Chief of Defence Gen. Claudio Graziano, who visited Leonardo’s exhibition area accompanied by the CEO.


On the international side, Leonardo had the pleasure of hosting delegations from many countries including, to name a few, Malaysia, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the United States,  Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and South Africa.


Visit of the Italian Chief of  Defence Gen. Claudio Graziano


Among the events that took place in Leonardo’s exhibition area,  the signing ceremonies with Magpas Air Ambulance for an AW169 helicopter and QME Mining Equipment Ltd of Ireland for an AW109 GrandNew.


A ceremony was also held to celebrate the 10,000 flight hours achieved by an AW139 helicopter of Sky Shuttle Helicopters Limited of Hong Kong. In addition, Leonardo held an event to recognise the United Kingdom's charity operators of the AW169 EMS (Emergency Medical Services) engaged every day in health assistance.


The United Kingdom's charity operators of the AW169 EMS (Emergency Medical Services)


During the show, there were also events dedicated to the financial community and media to present products and technologies and long-term business opportunities.


Great attention was also dedicated to the future generations of engineers, scientists and technicians. British students (11-21 years of age) were, in fact, the stars of the fifth day at the Farnborough Airshow, thanks to Futures Day, an initiative organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) and the Inspiring Futures association.


As a sponsor of Futures Day and an official partner of the Royal Air Force for RAF100, a national campaign to mark 100 years of service, Leonardo welcomed to its exhibition area numerous students who were able to admire and experience up close the Company’s technologies, systems and capabilities on display at the Airshow. During Futures Day, Leonardo’s STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering, Mathematics) Ambassadors met with the students, allowing them to learn about possible career paths that open up by studying and specialising in engineering and aerospace and, in general, bringing them closer to STEM disciplines, fundamental to guaranteeing technical competencies in the future.



New products presented by Leonardo during this Farnborough Airshow edition included, Grifo-E, the E-scan radar for fighter jets; Spider, the latest-generation communications intelligence system and the latest generation Anti-Submarine Warfare acoustic system based on Leonardo’s new lightweight ULISSES (Ultra-LIght SonicS Enhanced System) processor.


The Grifo-E, an E-scan radar for fighter jets


Grifo-E is the evolution of the well-received Grifo (M-scan) fire control radar for fighter aircraft, which has seen more than 450 units fly with six Air Forces. Re-using Leonardo’s proven E-scan antenna technology while adding a variety of advanced capabilities based upon a multi-aperture array and multi-channel receiver, Grifo-E offers high-spec E-scan fire-control capabilities in a cost-effective, lightweight and low consumption package. The system is expected to be qualified in 2019, with first deliveries ready to take place in 2020.


Spider is a new Electronic Warfare (EW) communications intelligence (COMINT) product that takes its name from the eight Radio Frequency (RF) antennas contained within the system. Spider is able to intercept and analyse enemy communications in real-time. This gives commanders the ability to monitor hostile forces’ intent and location utilising Spider’s built-in geolocation technology. Trials of Spider were conducted in 2018 and first deliveries will be available from 2019.


The latest generation Anti-Submarine Warfare acoustic system ULISSES (Ultra-LIght SonicS Enhanced System)


At the Farnborough Airshow, Leonardo also announced that it had entered into partnerships with L3 Technologies (“L3”) and Ultra Electronics Command & Sonar Systems (“Ultra”) in order to offer a complete Anti-Submarine Warfare acoustic system based on Leonardo’s new lightweight ULISSES (Ultra-LIght SonicS Enhanced System) processor. In particular, Leonardo will offer an integrated system comprising ULISSES and either a dipping sonar provided by L3 or sonobuoys provided by Ultra, or a combination of both. The integrated system will be trialed for the first time later in 2018 with the complete system available for deliveries in 2020.