Leonardo has inaugurated its airborne systems facility in L’Aquila, Italy that is also home to Thales Alenia Space (a joint venture between Thales, 67% and Leonardo, 33%) which opened a major site in the city in 2013.
L’Aquila, the capital of Italy’s Abruzzo region, is one of the birthplaces of Leonardo’s airborne and space systems division.
In the wider region, Leonardo has two additional cyber security site in Chieti and Telespazio’s Space Centre in Fucino (Telespazio is a joint venture between Leonardo, 67% and Thales, 33%) which together employ around 850 staff.
“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.” said CEO Profumo.
Leonardo started reconstruction of the site immediately following an earthquake in 2009 that damaged the structural integrity of the original buildings.
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.
Activities at the new L’Aquila base are focused 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.