31 Jul 2017

Leonardo officially opens new airborne systems facility in Italy

Leonardo has officially opened a new airborne systems facility in L’Aquila, Italy.

The new facility will be home to the company’s advanced technology including Mode-5 identification friend/foe (IFF) systems and airborne communications equipment.

L’Aquila, the capital of Italy’s Abruzzo region, is home to a number of Defence related operations including Thales Alenia Space, which opened a major site in the city in 2013.

An earthquake damaged the structural integrity of the original buildings back in 2009 requiring a complete rebuilding programme to be undertaken.

The process began almost immediately, with employees temporarily relocated to facilities at the Tecnopolo d’Abruzzo industrial park to keep production on schedule and ensure continuity for customers and suppliers.

The new site, which was completed with the support of the Abruzzo regional authorities, covers an area of 4,500 square metres. Built to high standards that include earthquake resistant construction, the site is also highly energy efficient and can produce electricity from renewable sources.

The industrial park as a whole comprises two main production facilities, one of which is the newly inaugurated site, and hosts a total of 450 staff. 140 are Leonardo employees, predominantly engineers and highly-specialised technicians, while 300 work for Thales Alenia Space in a 22,000 square metre site that includes production areas, clean rooms and offices.

Activities at the new L’Aquila base will concentrate on the design and certification of Identification Friend/Foe systems for civilian and military aircraft and equipment for airborne communications.

Technologies developed on-site are particularly critical to military operations as they allow pilots to automatically recognise ‘allied’ aircraft and to exchange information with them.

CEO Alessandro Profumo said: “The opening of a new industrial park, where state-of-the-art technologies are developed by highly skilled, specialist staff, is a concrete symbol of Leonardo’s commitment to the revival of the Abruzzo region’s economy.

“The expertise of our people here in L’Aquila contributed to Leonardo having recently been awarded a major contract by the UK Ministry of Defence to upgrade the Identification Fried/Foe (IFF) systems on more than 350 aircraft, ships and ground emplacements. We are confident that this site will be an important driver for growth in the region”.

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