Our approach
Innovation is vitally important to Leonardo. We base our competitiveness on creating cutting-edge technologies and products.

We foster a culture of innovation that is driven by continuous collaboration between our divisions and with external partners. We work with universities, institutes and research centres, customers, suppliers and start-ups, to develop new technologies and products together.

In 2019 we invested more than €1.5 billion in Research and Development (R&D). This equates to about 11% of company revenues. We also have over 9,000 employees involved in these activities (split between Engineering and CTO functions). 

We employ approximately 10,000 engineers, with specialisms ranging from aeronautics, aerospace and electronics to mechanics, IT and telecommunications.



Leonardo's patent portfolio is growing. We have recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 5% in the last decade. Around 19% of the patents in the portfolio were linked to our Innovation Award process which is an engine for new ideas. 91% of these have since been applied in Leonardo's systems, products and services.


Leonardo is ranked 3rd in Europe and 4th worldwide in terms of R&D investments in the Aerospace and Defence sector.

Our contribution to Italy’s total R&D expenditure is significant. Considering spending allocated in Italy, Leonardo represents 16.8% of the country’s R&D expenditure in the high and medium-high technology sectors. Our work also equates to 10.9% of the total R&D expenditure of all Italian manufacturers.

We believe in sharing knowledge and opportunities, which is why we have an open innovation-based model. We know that to reap the benefits of innovation, we need to tap into talent, ideas and solutions from outside the company as well as our own expertise.

We are part of more than 200 collaborative research projects and have partnerships with over 90 universities and research centres around the world. A total of around 50 of these partnerships are in Italy and they include 40% of Italian universities.

We Create a Culture of Innovation