Leonardo contributes to protection and defence of the Gulf region
At Leonardo’s stands at IDEX (#06-A03) and NAVDEX (#B35), the group is for the first time exhibiting under its new, unified brand identity. However, while the name is new, the company’s history in the UAE dates back to the 1970s in the fields of military pilot training and defence systems.
Today, the Emirati Armed Forces continue to make use of Leonardo’s advanced technologies, which contribute to the security of the country. The UAE has chosen the MB.339 trainer jet for their national aerobatic team Al Fursan, with Emirati pilots were trained in Italy, using Leonardo aircraft and teaching systems, and the UAE has since selected the company’s M-346 trainer. Leonardo has also provided integrated naval systems for combat management, naval radars, fire control systems, missile electronics, and military radios and it is currently working on supplying and integrating combat management systems for naval programmes including for the GHANNATHA, BAYNUNAH, FALAJ 2 and ABU DHABI-class corvettes.
The Middle East is a strategic market for Leonardo and its countries are looking long-term partners for the development of innovative security technology. This approach is behind the recent contract to supply the Eurofighter TYPHOON to Kuwait, the largest contract ever taken by the company, as well as the choice of Leonardo to supply a system for the surveillance of Qatar’s airspace. Qatar has also selected the company to deliver and integrate combat systems on-board seven new vessels for their Naval Forces. Leonardo has also had notable success in the region providing helicopters, with 230 of the company’s AgustaWestland aircraft having been ordered by various Middle Eastern customers, and with the company providing comprehensive support services and training packages.
Some of these technologies are featured on Leonardo’s stands at IDEX (06-A03) and NAVDEX (B35), with some on display for the first time in the region.
One such new exhibit is a scale model of a multi-role ship bridge and the innovative ‘naval cockpit’, where visitors are able to learn about the workings of a fully-integrated naval operations and combat system, and the benefits of the ATAS (Active towed Array Sonar), the smallest and most powerful variable-depth towed sonar available on the market. Also in the naval domain, Leonardo is exhibiting its DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time-of-flight) guided ammunition, an integral part of the company’s STRALES system, which can be re-directed during flight.
NAVDEX also gives Leonardo an opportunity to highlight technologies that the company is supplying for Italy’s new fleet of PPA (Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship) vessels, including the KRONOS multi-functional AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, also offered in its land version, and the 76/62 OTO AD (Above Deck) naval gun, showing no deck intrusion and characterised by low weight. In the avionics, Leonardo is also promoting its Miysis DIRCM (Directed Infrared Countermeasure), an advanced protective measure for aircraft against heat-seeking missiles, fully exportable to the Middle East. Also in the electronics, Leonardo is marketing its advanced technologies including AESA surveillance radars SEASPRAY and PicoSAR and a family of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) called FALCO. For land forces, visitors is able to find out about the latest technology for secure communications including handheld software-defined radios (SDR).
In the aeronautics field, the exhibition is a key opportunity for Leonardo to draw attention to the new M-345, a basic and advanced jet trainer aircraft also answering to multi-role requirements. The M-345 has the same low costs of acquisition and operation of a turbo-prop trainer, and provides pilots with a more authentic experience thanks to the performance of a jet aircraft. The aircraft flew for the first time on the 29 December 2016 and has already been ordered by the Italian Air Force. Drawing on the M-345 and its M-346 aircraft, Leonardo can provide an end-to-end training syllabus that prepares pilots to fly advanced fast-jet aircraft. This covers the basic and advanced training phases and LIFT (Lead-In Fighter Training). Leonardo is also one of the only companies in the world to have developed, produced and made operational a fully integrated Ground Based Training Systems, including LVC, Live, Virtual and Constructive scenarios, allowing fully immersive training in realistic operational environments. Here, pilots flying in both simulated and real aircraft can participate alongside each other in the same training missions.
Leonardo is also highlighting the new version of its M-346, called the Fighter Trainer (FT), which is able to perform air-to-air and air-to-surface combat missions. The company also presents the multi-mission MC-27J, able to perform search and rescue (SAR) , maritime surveillance and humanitarian activities, civil protection and Special Forces missions in complex operational scenarios.
In the helicopter sector, Leonardo exhibits its range of products for civil and military applications, including the AW101 medium-lift helicopter in combat SAR (CSAR) configuration, the AW159 for naval operations and a full-scale mock-up of a VIP-configured cabin for the AW609 tiltrotor. The AW609 combines the vertical take-off and landing capabilities of a helicopter with the speed of a turbo-prop. It has been chosen by the UAE’s Joint Aviation Command for search and rescue missions. Regionally, the AW139, AW169 and AW189 have been very successful, with the AW139 having been chosen by Abu Dhabi Aviation, Gulf Helicopters and by the armed forces and governmental agencies of Qatar and Oman. In Saudi Arabia, the AW139 has been chosen for offshore emergency transport and air ambulance tasks, while in the UAE the AW139 is also used for SAR and governmental VIP transport. In Abu Dhabi, the AW169 and AW189 are employed by Falcon Aviation for offshore and VIP transport. In the military market, Oman uses Leonardo’s multi-role Super LYNX 300 helicopters, as well as NH-90, AW139 and AW109 Power helicopters for police duties.
Cyber security and Space are new areas of focus in the UAE. In Space, Leonardo provides technologies for observation programmes such as KhalifaSat Earth, in collaboration with the Mohammed-bin-Rashid Space Centre in Dubai and Falcon Eye (through the joint venture Thales Alenia Space – Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) as well as satellite services through Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%). Telespazio, which has a major role in the European Galileo satellite navigation system, recently signed an agreement with UAE Space Company Yahsat, which will see the two companies cooperate in the fields of satellite navigation, telecommunications and geo-information.
Finally, Leonardo offers its advanced knowledge in the management of new challenges related to cyber security and the protection of major events. Here, the company’s goal is to become a strategic partner that can create value through successful collaborations, building on its proven track record as a global provider in innovative technology.