The Italian industry signs the contract for the new development phase of the 6th generation air system


The Italian team that will develop the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), made up of Leonardo as a strategic partner and the leading national companies in their respective domains: Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italia - has signed the contract to support the Ministry of Defense Italian in the new concept & assessment phase and in the demonstration activities of the programme. In particular, the team will guide developments through a process of technological transition towards the GCAP "system of systems", based on sixth generation air combat platforms capable of operating in multi-domain scenarios.

Furthermore, the industry will collaborate with universities, research centres, SMEs and start-ups, for the benefit of the exchange and growth of national skills, and in close synergy with the Ministry of Defense - responsible for defining the needs of a operational - to direct technological development and, consequently, industrial support.

"This new phase is a crucial step in a process that aims to identify and make available those innovative technologies that will ensure our defense capabilities the necessary generational, technological and operational leap, allowing the national system to reach the highest level of excellence and of strategic autonomy”, underlines Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo. "With the GCAP program, Italian companies play a fundamental role for the future of the defense industry, also at an international level, in a framework of growth that at the same time strengthens the operational capacity of the Armed Forces and generates positive returns and technological progress, economic and social for the entire country system".

Enzo Benigni, Chairman and CEO of Elettronica, commented: “With the new phase of the GCAP program we are in the process of developing a technological and industrial plan that will take the national technological sector from the Typhoon era, the last major European program for the development of an aerial platform, to that of an aerial systems platform sixth generation. The geopolitical context we are experiencing underlines how vital it is to achieve the right level of readiness, interoperability and availability of technologies, in order to be prepared to manage the crises that affect us. A qualified role of Italian industry in the GCAP program becomes a national, European and international heritage, helping to make the concepts of strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty concrete. Elettronica is ready to give its contribution and recognizes the objectives of the program as its own".

"The current challenging geopolitical context requires technological solutions that focus on operational excellence and the ability to adapt to future scenarios", underlines Riccardo Procacci, Chief Executive Officer of Avio Aero. “The GCAP program responds to this need and will contribute to providing adequate support to the Armed Forces, while also guaranteeing real strategic autonomy. Avio Aero, as a European company in the propulsion sector and historic partner of the Armed Forces, participates in the program not only by making its industrial capabilities and recognized technological excellence available, but also by continuing to invest in the development of innovative technologies, with the support and the involvement of its network of collaborations with universities, research centers and SMEs”.

Lorenzo Mariani, Executive Group Director Sales and Business Development MBDA Group and CEO of MBDA Italia, stated: “By participating in the GCAP program and activating this second phase of the contract, MBDA Italia, also through collaboration with universities, research centers and SMEs, deploys its ability to cooperatively manage the effectors and the related technologies to support the system of systems. These technologies will form the basis of complex systems for national air defense. The ability to counter the most challenging threats will be a key element of the performance of the sixth generation air combat system ".

For the GCAP programme, Italy has already allocated 6 billion in investments to be dedicated to research and development activities which will allow the launch of technological development projects in areas of strategic interest, allowing the national industrial component to participate in the future phase of development of the system of systems.

The development of a national collaborative work platform, with a digital structure characterized by the most advanced levels of security, essential for the protected sharing of information, services and activities, will favor the subsequent implementation phases of the program in a secure and classified virtual environment. The activation of technological growth projects in areas of strategic interest will allow the national industrial component to actively participate in the development of the system of systems, considering the relevance of this activity for the achievement of an adequate level of national sovereignty.

The initiative allows us to look at future collaborations with other nations in the development of technologies relating to sixth generation aerial platforms, thanks to the enhancement of national industrial competitiveness, its strategic autonomy and the academic and professional skills contributed by the new generations. In this context, industries have already begun to invest in research, to activate collaborations with universities and to structure technological incubators, promoting the most promising ones in the innovation sector at both a national and international level.

(Leonardo / Elettronica / MBDA / Avio Aero joint press release)