Leonardo, convergences between Tempest and Fcas?

Leonardo, convergences between Tempest and Fcas?

The future of the Tempest and Fcas projects for the sixth generation fighter, consolidation of the European industry, control room for the Italian defense. Here's what emerged from Rid's webinar with Fincantieri, Leonardo, Mbda Italia, Elettronica and Undersecretary Tofalo (M5s)

The importance of the defense sector in this moment of coronavirus crisis is even more evident. "The sector has shown greater resilience and continuity than in the civil sector." Pietro Batacchi, director of the magazine Rid (Rivista italiana defense), who organized a webinar with the leaders of Leonardo, Fincantieri, Mbda Italia, Elettronica and Aiad and the Undersecretary of Defense Angelo Tofalo (M5S), supports it.

From the need to inject investments in the sector to the establishment of an industry-defense control room, to the sixth generation fighter programs and the new corvette of the future. Here is what emerged.


First of all, the defense sector invests heavily in research and development, there is talk of 10-12% of revenues. “The defense industry has a high value multiplier (if I invest 1 euro I will return 3.5) and the same goes for an employment multiplier. It also adds the control that the Italian state exercises over industry, strengthened with tools such as golden power or G2G , which recently has seen a further step forward with the possibility for the defense to also carry out contractual activities in other countries ". Stressed the director of Rid. It also weighs “the high propensity to export, 70/75% of what is produced is exported to allied and strategic countries that are important for our security. Military export is important because it allows you to establish long-lasting relationships and creates training, logistic, doctrinal and operational dependence. To some extent those countries benefiting from large military orders (such as Kuwait and Qatar may be) become our strategic, structural partners. "


“The importance of the sector is also evidenced by the change in the geopolitical scenario, underway in some cases, such as the Libyan one, a few hundred kilometers from the Italian coast. Libya itself is an example of the aforementioned change, "said Batacchi. "The active military intervention by various actors (Russia and Turkey, and to a much lesser extent, Qatar, Egypt and the UAE) who, in the midst of a pandemic, intervene with UCAV, anti-aircraft support and electronic warfare, demonstrating high operational capabilities and going to influence, albeit alternately, in a decisive way on the conflict ".


The defense and security sector is fundamental for a country that continues to have industrial ambitions to decline even in the coming decades. But for Guido Crosetto, president of Aiad, the association that brings together and represents 121 defense, security and aerospace companies, it is equally important for Italy to understand how much we want to continue investing and in which sectors. "It is impossible to guarantee the presence of a country of 60 million inhabitants in all sectors of defense but it is necessary to make an industrial choice on the basis of the excellence we have", stressed Crosetto, relaunching: "It can be a sector on which to rely on next 18-20 months, it may contain the employment impact which will be extremely violent from September onwards. Increasing defense investments now is what will make the difference, because this is the moment in which we face the challenges of international competitiveness and competition ".


The country cannot invest everywhere. Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, is also convinced of this. According to the number one of the shipbuilding giant of Trieste, we must focus on where there is a solid industrial base. “So far many resources have been distributed in a rain, on programs that have involved 13-20 years of development phases. The products have a long life but the advancement of technologies risks making them obsolete "said Bono," we must shorten development ".

"If we have lost the train in some sectors, let's put a stone on it and go to invest in sectors where we have important technologies and where we have the opportunity to count from a geopolitical point of view". The CEO of Fincantieri therefore recalled the tender awarded with the Doha Ministry of Defense. “In Qatar we won a race of which few underlined the geopolitical importance. Qatar was a French fiefdom that eventually turned to us. "


To understand how much defense represents a pivot for the national economy it would be enough to look at the overseas ally. In the US, the defense industry is in fact a driving force for development. As Rid reports, "Boeing, which has a more balanced business and a more solid military, is holding up better to the crisis than its competitor Airbus, while a" pure defense "like Lockheed Martin has confirmed the outlook for 2020 and the Pentagon is anticipating orders and orders as, for example, also happened for the new frigates of the FFGX program: a way to protect the industrial base with important long-term investments ". "Just as the Pentagon does in the United States" also in Italy for Giuseppe Bono "it is not the industry that dictates the agenda, but the defense that imposes the programs".


Speaking of investments, Leonardo's CEO, Alessandro Profumo, recalled that the former Finmeccanica "invests around 1.5 billion euros a year out of the 2 invested in total by the various companies in the sector" and that, in terms of competitiveness and presence on international markets, "Leonardo allocates 86% of its production to exports, with the reference market being the United States". The civil sector affects only 18% of turnover, all the rest is defense or government. Despite the Covid-19 emergency, "the medium-long term prospects do not change for Leonardo".


However, the aerospace and defense sector needs concrete support from Europe. This was confirmed by Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, Managing Director of MBDA Italy who recalled that "the sustainability of investments in the missile sector in the UK (1 billion per year on plans that are made by law in 6-10 years), France, Germany is still too much higher than those envisaged in Italy and this has consequences for the entire supply chain of the many companies that support the production of MBDA Italia ".

"This is the time when the industry with the administration must be agile – continued Di Bartolomeo – it cannot take 12 months to finalize a contract".

“Italy must have more say in Europe. As in the case of the future system of protection against Twister hypersonic missile threats and the need for "Italy's presence at the European decision-making table, where others are already carving out capacitive and industrial roles for their companies". We are talking about 2040 but Italy must also commit itself "otherwise we risk having to make the quantum investment to reach other countries".


"The Italian defense industry has shown good resilience to the Covid-19 effect" remarked also the president and CEO of Elettronica Enzo Benigni. But now "we should do what we do worse, coordinate with a table between the ministry of defense, industry" said Benigni. “For the first time in European history, in fact, there are many financial resources that need to be guided at government level. The operation of these loans involves the priority presentation of executive projects. I hope the establishment of an "Emergency Group" which before the summer will formulate a structured intervention plan, sharing the appropriate hierarchy of priorities among the aforementioned projects ".


Finally, the Undersecretary of Defense Angelo Tofalo confirmed the project concerning "the elaboration of a normative device for a five-year plan for defense financing". The undersecretary then moved on to the changed global geopolitical scenario. “Our alliances have been clear for decades (NATO) but we are heading in a direction that not everyone has taken: the advance of other superpowers such as China. The overseas allies (United States) are therefore engaged in other challenges to maintain superpower status. So for obvious dynamics the NATO umbrella becomes shorter and shorter so we must pursue the strategy of strengthening the European tables ".

Although investments for the European Defense Fund have been reduced from 13 to 8 billion by the European Commission, in 2020 there has been a turnaround in Italy regarding the defense budget. "The reflection that must be made as Italy and as the department of defense is the need that we must defend ourselves from, therefore increase the solid foundations" stressed Tofalo.


Tofalo also spoke of the possibility of organizing in the future "a large itinerant Italian show, characterized by domains, to bring friends and allies from abroad to Italy, to also spread the culture of security and defense". It would be a salon divided by domains (air, cyber, sea, space and land), with development in various national locations representative of the many Italian excellences in the sector. A real showcase for the Italian defense industry. The project is in the start-up phase and has the full support of Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini, as well as Segredifesa and General Niccolò Falsaperna who are already preparing a series of proposals ".


Finally for the undersecretary “we must strengthen Europe starting from the defense industry. Important projects such as the submarine of the future, ship of the future, European tank of the future, sixth generation fighter ".

Fincantieri's Bono also agrees on the consolidation of European industry. "We have worked with the French for years on surface ships, the alliance can evolve," said Bono with reference to Navaris . Regarding the talks with the German group Thyssenkrupp, the CEO of Fincantieri recalled: “With the Germans we have a collaboration on the submarines, now we have reached a project collaboration in the new submarine. We hope that, besides Germany, this time Italy will be a partner ".

Regarding the cooperation in the Peach field, Fincantieri recalled how, together with France, Spain and Germany, he has already presented a program for the study of the new European corvette.


As for the sixth generation hunting, for the undersecretary Tofalo the future is the convergence of the programs started so far. "We need to understand how many countries will join this idea." At the moment there are two aces in Europe, on one side the British-led Tempest to which Italy and Sweden have joined and on the other the FCAS of Germany, France and Spain. For Tofalo the two programs will absolutely have to converge if "we want to make a real sixth generation product".

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/innovazione/leonardo-convergenze-fra-tempest-e-fcas/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leonardo-convergenze-fra-tempest-e-fcas on Tue, 09 Jun 2020 14:15:07 +0000.