Leonardo trails Royal Air Force swarming drones: Leonardo, working in partnership with the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), have together successfully conducted a live trial of a ‘swarming drones’ capability. During the demo, a number of small, remotely-piloted aircraft equipped with Leonardo’s powerful electronic warfare jamming technology were used to confuse and overwhelm trial radars simulating enemy air defence systems. Inspired by swarms of insects, the concept for swarming drones has already been recognised by the UK Ministry of Defence as a potentially game-changing future technology. Following a rapid cycle of development which saw the RCO and Leonardo’s engineers working closely together with UK SMEs Callen Lenz and Blue Bear, this live trial of the concept conducted by UK Armed Forces represents a key step towards proving an autonomous swarming drone capability. During the demonstration, a number of Callen Lenz drones were equipped with a modified Leonardo BriteCloud decoy, allowing each drone to individually deliver a highly-sophisticated jamming effect. In addition, the decoy packages were programmed and navigated to work collaboratively to cause maximum confusion. They were tested against ground-based radar systems representing the enemy air defence emplacement. A powerful demonstration was given, with the swarm of BriteCloud-equipped drones overwhelming the threat radar systems with electronic noise. The information gained from the demonstration will be used to inform potential future UK programmes to acquire an autonomous swarming drone capability.
Leonardo demonstrates helicopter-UAV teaming in the UK with its AW159 Wildcat: On 17 September, Leonardo successfully demonstrated unique integrated capabilities between a manned aircraft and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This took place in the UK during Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUMT) trials between a Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter and a semi-autonomous UAV from Callen-Lenz Associates. In this instance, MUMT is when a helicopter crew controls a UAV from the helicopter like it was an onboard sensor being controlled from the cockpit. By integrating control of the UAV into the Wildcat Mission System, Leonardo was able to minimise the pilots’ workload allowing them to focus more on the mission whilst simultaneously controlling the UAV – this is the first time such an integrated capability has been demonstrated in the UK on a military aircraft. A ‘Gateway Processor’ supplied by Callen-Lenz Associates was used to interface with its semi-autonomous UAV. The Leonardo solution allows the Wildcat crew to control both the flight path and payload of the UAV (a capability known as Level of Interoperability (LOI) 4) using an efficient and effective task based Human Machine Interface (HMI), rather than the more operator intensive approaches employed on other systems. Combining the strengths of manned and unmanned platforms, MUMT has the potential to play a transformative role by increasing the situational awareness, tempo, lethality, survivability and combat mass of aviation forces, significantly reducing crew workload allowing pilots to focus on the mission at hand.
Leonardo presents Lionfish family of naval defence turrets: Leonardo expanded its range of naval defence products with Lionfish, the new family of small-calibre remotely controlled turrets. Completely designed and developed by Leonardo, the new line consists of four models, which feature the most advanced technologies available on the market today, including: Ultralight, Inner Reloading and Top of 12.7 mm calibre, and the model 20 of 20 mm calibre. Equipped with a common architecture, the Lionfish family of turrets has a compact and low weight structure. The different models proposed make it a highly versatile solution suitable for installation on board any type of ship, as a primary and secondary defence system. The new technologically advanced human-machine interface systems are easy to use, reducing crew training times to a minimum and the architectural solutions adopted also guarantee excellent reliability and minimum maintenance times. The remote control of the turrets, which takes place via a local control console, and the suite of Leonardo’s state-of-the-art electro-optical sensors which they are equipped with, allows the identification of targets with extreme precision, both at night and during the day. Border control, prohibition of maritime traffic, self-protection and the defeat of any type of threat such as asymmetrical surface, including helicopters and drones, are among the operating scenarios in which the system is able to guarantee high effectiveness. Designed to meet the most stringent customer needs, Lionfish integrates technologies in line with the highest market standards, and offers a great balance between cost and offered performance.
Italian Air Force takes delivery of advanced Eurofighter Typhoon: Taking off from Leonardo’s plant in Caselle (Turin), the final and most advanced Eurofighter Typhoon of the Italian Air Force was handed over, becoming one of the defence aircraft assigned daily to the protection of the Italian skies. The ceremony was attended by the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Gen. Alberto Rosso, the CEO of Leonardo, Alessandro Profumo and the Aircraft Division Managing Director, Marco Zoff. “The collaboration path we are celebrating today, embodied by an aircraft with extraordinary capabilities, is the result of a long-term supranational strategic, political, and industrial vision, which has allowed Europe to have its own security asset, and benefit from a programme that has been able to represent a technological accelerator and a unique engine of development in the history of our continent”, declared Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo. “The Eurofighter Typhoon will be a pivotal element in the path of innovation which is aimed at fully safeguarding European technological sovereignty in the coming years”, he added.