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Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, Chief Commercial Officer at Leonardo
Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, Chief Commercial Officer at Leonardo

With IDEX bringing international industry champions to Abu Dhabi the Italian-headquartered company is looking to leverage its participation to further grow its strong ties with the UAE

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Published: Mon 20 Feb 2023, 10:43 AM

Speaking about the company’s progress in the UAE over the years, Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, Leonardo Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Leonardo’s technologies have been contributing to the security and defence of the UAE for over 50 years and we work closely with its Government, Armed Forces and partners through our local branch in Abu Dhabi.” Leonardo is collaborating with the UAE in a wide range of areas, ranging from local and technological industrial partnerships to tailored higher education courses, supporting the country’s vision and future-focused programmes. “We aim to further strengthen our strategic partnerships, which are already creating value through successful joint projects and efforts, and to enhance our cooperation with Emirati companies,” added Di Bartolomeo.

Leonardo’s proven track record as a provider of innovative technology to the UAE started with the supply of OTO 76/62 naval guns in the mid-1970s, and since then, the company provided integrated naval systems for combat management, defence systems, naval radars, fire control systems, missile electronics and military radios. “More than 40 ships in the UAE are equipped with our technological solutions, including Ghannatha, Baynunah, Falaj 2 and Abu Dhabi-class corvettes, and today, we are also contributing to the Falaj 3 programme,” noted Di Bartolomeo. “Based on this track record, Leonardo signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) to work together for the integration of the Combat System for nearly 30 ships of the UAE Navy. The company is also seeking to finalise a partnership with the domestic defence industry for the design and development of a national Combat Management System for new and legacy vessels.”

The company’s presence and contributions extend beyond the naval sector as the UAE skies see more than 100 Leonardo helicopters (AW139, AW169, AW189 and AW109 models) perform a variety of operations including emergency medical services, law enforcement, as well as offshore and VIP transport. “It is important to highlight that approximately 90 per cent of the VVIP rotorcraft fleet of the UAE is comprised of Leonardo helicopters, and our high-tech platforms in the country also include secure communication applications, space technologies and training aircraft,” stated Di Bartolomeo.

At IDEX this year, Leonardo is focusing on its offer for land, naval and airborne electronics, military fixed and rotary-wing platforms and training platforms and services for aircraft pilots, defence and cyber operators.

“Leonardo offers its advanced expertise in the management of new challenges related to cyber security and we are working with Khalifa University to set-up a Cyber Security Academy on its campus in Abu Dhabi. The institution will offer complete cyber security certification and training programmes, as well as special initiatives designed to meet the needs of UAE organisations,” said Di Bartolomeo.

With cyber defence as one of the main themes of Leonardo’s participation in IDEX, the company’s offering includes the training of cyber security operators and the assessment of digital infrastructures’ resilience against potential cyberattacks. The company’s Cyber Range platform offers advanced scenario set up and high fidelity attack replication capabilities leveraging on virtualisation and interoperability.

For Armed Forces’ defence operator training, Leonardo is showcasing at IDEX its Mirach 40, an un-crewed target drone that can convincingly mimic a variety of aircraft and missiles, simulating radar, infrared and visual threats. The M-40 can be ‘shot down’ in realistic scenarios and then be re-used for further training sessions.

Enhanced with avionics equipment and airframe provisions for supporting specific combat roles, Leonardo’s famous M-346 trainer aircraft is being highlighted at IDEX in its fighter attack configuration. The M-346FA, already in service with the first international export customer, is witnessing strong interest thanks to its operational capabilities added to its advanced training effectiveness. Similarly, in the military field, Leonardo highlights its latest-generation AW149 medium military helicopter, which is characterised by unparalleled survivability and performance, and with an advanced open architecture mission system, enabling the quick and effective integration of mission-specific and customer-specific equipment, avionics, weapons and defence systems.

For aerial surveillance, Leonardo presents the Osprey family of multi-domain AESA radars, already in operation over land and sea with multiple international customers in defence, security, civil protection and environmental monitoring roles, as well as for search and rescue missions. While in air defence, Leonardo is showcasing its new multi-domain and dual-use Tactical Multi Mission Radar (TMMR), the effective solution for short-range air defence, surveillance and protection against air threats including drones, rockets, artillery and mortar.

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