Leonardo: partnership with O2 to study the opportunities offered by 5G networks to the defense industry

(To Leonardo)
08/02/21

THEInnovation and Technology Incubator Center di Leonardo in Edinburgh, Scotland, announced that it has reached a partnership agreement with O2 (Telefónica UK) to study a number of innovative applications of private 5G technology in the defense and security industry. The possible use of secure and broadband mobile data would, in fact, facilitate both the production capacities of the next generation "future factory" and the supply of protected and high-speed information services, both factors necessary for programs with high activity rates. such as the Tempest, the UK's future fighter aircraft system which records the collaboration of the UK, Italy and Sweden in the development of their air defense capabilities.

O2 will provide a secure 5G private network and a range of applications within Industry 4.0 to evaluate its possible uses in digital business transformation and end-to-end manufacturing processes.

Conceived with the aim of "transforming ideas into reality", theInnovation and Technology Incubator Center di Leonardo offers to those in possession of alternative business solutions or disruptive technology an opportunity to partner with one of the UK's largest engineering and technology companies and a leading supplier to the UK Ministry of Defense.

Leonardo and O2 believe that the enormous potential of 5G technology can meet both the high security standards of the defense sector and provide guarantees of protection within the digital infrastructures of companies.

According to Norman Bone, Chairman and CEO of Leonardo UK, “5G will be an important tool for the UK aerospace, defense and security industry with a view to maintaining its competitiveness on the global market and exporting products and services from the UK. The partnership with O2 will mark the debut of this technology within Leonardo and the study of its wide potential in our sector and in our customers ".

One of the objectives is to assess the potential of 5G to wirelessly deliver mission, support and maintenance data updates to aircraft such as the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter. This could speed up response times between missions and improve platform reliability while meeting the stringent security requirements of front-line military systems.

Another joint project concerns the possible ways of using 5G-enabled technology in Leonardo's production plants to support the processes of the “future factory”, such as digital production and intelligent infrastructures. With a private and highly secure 5G network, Leonardo will be able to take a revolutionary approach to Industry 4.0, while continuing to comply with the security obligations set by government and military customers. These are fundamental elements for the implementation of programs such as the Tempest, the new generation fighter aircraft system, designed to be produced significantly faster and at a lower cost than the previous generation defense aircraft.

In addition to studying the potential of 5G for Leonardo's activities in the manufacturing field and in the provision of services, the project will also evaluate the potential advantages that the company could offer, in terms of capabilities, to its customers through private 5G networks.

The launch of new 5G technologies is particularly important for Leonardo because it invests the three lines of change contained in the long-term strategic plan Be Tomorrow - Leonardo 2030. The new 5G applications will in fact strengthen the company's core business, improving operational capabilities and allowing Leonardo to compete with ever greater success. 5G will also help transform the way people work, creating a more connected, modern and flexible environment. The study of the potential applications of private 5G technology is part of a broader path, within the master the new direction of the Be Tomorrow - Leonardo 2030 strategic plan, aimed at accelerating innovation and new high tech markets: a strategy thanks to which the company will be able to continue to generate value by acting as a strategic asset in the countries in which it operates.

Jo Bertram, MD of Business at O2, said: "The partnership aims to define the ways in which 5G private networks can be used in the broader defense sector, demonstrating their suitability for the digital transformation of a business and using our ability to use a rich application ecosystem. and articulate. It is of great satisfaction to work on such an exciting program, which leverages the technical skills of both sectors of activity, with concrete positive effects on network solutions, mobility and security ".

Other fields of application of O2 technology include training remote expert and solutions for health and safety,asset tracking for complete control of distribution and logistics, solutions to increase security through cameras installed on drones as well as high standards of data protection.