Leonardo: Digitizing Land Forces of the Future

Leonardo Group, based in Italy is a global player in the high-tech sectors and a major operator worldwide in the Aerospace, Defence and Security Sector. A media tour was organized in order to provide a comprehensive and qualified view of the overall capabilities of the Group Companies in the land domain [focusing on land systems products and solutions such as; C4I Systems, Radar Systems, Optronic Systems, Cyber Secure Communication Systems, Weapon Systems and Ammunitions]. Defence and aerospace correspondents from international media organizations were invited to attend as well as selected journalists from potential partner/export countries

Tarih: Issue 90 - February 2019

Defence Turkey, as one of the leading defence and aerospace magazines in Turkey was invited to take part in the tour.  Leonardo Group companies have actually been doing business with Turkey for more than 40 years. The event was yet another opportunity to get a firsthand and up-close look at Leonardo’s continued achievements and initiatives, on site. The first day of the tour included a visit to Leonardo’s site in Campi Bisenzio near Florence province, where the company develops and manufactures electro-optical systems for land applications, followed by a briefing on the digitization of the Land Forces. The second day of the tour included a visit to the Italian Armed Forces’ shooting range site of Monte Romano near Viterbo to attend the second Session of Operational Integration (SIO) 2018, led by the “Aosta” Brigade as part of the Forza NEC (Network Enabled Capability) trial sessions.

During the two-day event participating international media organizations received briefings given by Angelo PANSINI, Competitive Analysis & Strategy Director- Land and Naval Defence Electronics Division and Andrea GAGGELLI, Head of Sales – Optronics Systems Lob- Land and Naval Defence Electronics Division on the most recent technological innovations in the sector, as well as on Leonardo’s market prospects and international campaigns. Press members also had a tour of the Optical Manufacturing department, Mechanical Manufacturing Department, Assembly Integration and Testing Departments and clean rooms on site and were given an informational briefing by Giovanni Scimia, Head of Optical and Mechanical C.o.E- Optronics sytems lob. and Pietro MARIGLIANI, Head of Assembly Integration and Test Campi Bisenzio.

The Campi Bisenzio site is dedicated to the design and production of electro-optical systems for land and space applications, naval radar and equipment for safe professional communications. It employs about 1,000 people (of which more than half are graduates degree) and covers an area of 54,000 square meters. In the defence sector, the Campi Bisenzio plant is involved in various programs for the supply of sensors and optronic systems to the Italian Army; among these, the night-time and multi-function vision systems of the Soldato Futuro program, as well as sensors for military vehicles (including VBM Freccia and Centauro, which are already used in operating scenarios). The site has designed and built optronic systems for the new frigates of the Italian Navy, including those used in the Mare Nostrum operation, as well as optronic sensors for various foreign customers in the terrestrial and naval sectors.

Campi Bisenzio is one of the three production sites that Leonardo operates in the Tuscany region with a total of about 1,800 employees. For the Group, the Tuscany region represents an area of excellence where some of the Company’s top activities coexist and technologies dedicated to the defence, security and space sectors are developed. The other two production facilities are; Montevarchi, in the province of Arezzo and Livorno. As a center of excellence in the aeronautical equipment sector the Montevarchisite is dedicated to the creation of human-machine interface systems, control panels, electronic units and cockpit screens together with lighting systems for military and commercial aircraft. As the plant of the Defence Systems Division of Leonardo, the Liverno site is dedicated to the development, production and marketing of all the major advanced underwater products, including heavy and light torpedoes, control and launch systems of torpedoes, anti-torpedo defence systems, artificial targets for torpedoes, and anti-mine sonars. It is also specialized in underwater surveillance systems for harbors, coastal areas and strategic sites and in countermeasures by ship and submarine with its launchers, underwater technologies for coastal protection and offshore platforms and unmanned systems, dealing with all aspects related to product marketing, including design, development, adaptation, production, sales and after-sales.

Leonardo’s Capabilities in Land Systems

Current worldwide scenarios are ever-changing and conventional threats are combining with new asymmetric ones. In the face of these constantly evolving challenges, Leonardo Group can provide all Armed Forces with secure communications, information superiority, situational awareness, agile command capability and full control of its own sensors, assets and weapons.

Leonardo Group provides and integrates sensors, platforms, weapons and complete C4I solutions, from strategic to tactical levels, into fully fledged systems for Armies, Air Forces and Navies. Exploiting state-of-the-art technologies, their solutions guarantee real-time sharing of tactical information between platforms and command posts and include advanced applications that increase automated support to military commanders at all operational levels. Their interoperable C4ISTAR systems maximize the value of all manned and unmanned sensors deployed on and above the battlefield.

As a market leader in Battlefield Digitization Programs, Leonardo provides all deployed Land Forces, from the single soldier to combat vehicles and to the entire Brigade/Division, with the equipment necessary for successful military operation performance, also in joint or multinational environments.

The Group owns a complete portfolio of advanced and battle-proven products, which includes ground-based radars, fire control systems, guns, optronic systems, persistent surveillance networks, mission planning systems and interoperable, high data rate communication solutions.

They deliver highly effective turnkey and stand-alone solutions that meet even the most challenging Air Surveillance and Defence requirements. Leonardo provides effective protection against all air and missile threats, including ballistic missiles, for both homeland defence and expeditionary environments, leveraging a number of in-house produced high-tech sub-systems and components.

The Leonardo Group’s long-range radars (such as RAT-31DL/M, RAT-31DL, KRONOS Land, KRONOS Grand and KRONOS Dome), both in fixed and deployable versions, well-proven and robust, have been integrated with the most modern command and control systems, providing all the early warning air surveillance and tracking functionalities necessary for national airspace control and for management of air operations.

Leonardo’s turnkey systems guarantee effective surveillance and defence of national borders and territory, coastal areas and waters. Their solutions enable net-centric operations of Border Guards, Patrol Units, Special Forces and of all Armed Forces involved in the protection of the homeland. The offer is complemented by integrated Logistic Support solutions that include full training, also using realistic simulation of the operating environment, and in-service system support, so to ensure a long product lifecycle and to maximize the customer investment value.

Battlefield: Turnkey integrated systems for Battlespace Digitization, for full-scale integration of fixed, mobile and dismounted units. C4I solutions for the digital battlefield (Coalition and Multinational, Joint Operations, Single Service, Tactical and Battlefield Systems). Tracked and wheeled land armored vehicles (Centauro, Freccia), equipped with turrets (HITROLE, HITFIST, HITFACT), guided and unguided ammunitions (Vulcano, DART).

Optronic Systems: infra-red detectors and cameras, for soldiers or vehicles, tactical ISTAR and battlefield systems (Janus), fully fledged Vehicular Systems.

Tactical command, control & communication systems for ground platforms and dismounted soldiers: software-defined radios (SDR), Electronic Countermeasures, HF radios and networks, tactical IP-based land networks (Sentinel), radio relays, satellite communications, data compression technology and RF antenna modelling and simulation.

Force Protection Solutions for multi-layer protection of Forward Operating Bases (FOB) integrate a wide range of detection, tracking and identification devices: surface radars and CRAM systems, electro-optical sensors, acoustic-based sensors and unmanned systems, with highly modular and automated Command & Control systems.

Air Surveillance & Defence: Solid state phased array 3D surveillance radars RAT-31DL (for fixed defence) and RAT 31DL/M (for deployable tactical long-range operations). KRONOS multi-mission AESA radar family provides superior detection and tracking accuracy to counter all threats, including cruise missiles or UAVs, flying at low altitude, or tactical ballistic missiles. Available in both fixed and mobile configurations and integrated with top class medium and short-range missiles, KRONOS radars can support both air surveillance and fire control at the same time, with each radar capable to drive multiple missiles against multiple targets.

Radar integration and command & control systems, tactical & strategic communication networks, fire control systems, secondary radar for Identification Friend or Foe (SIR-M), Precision Approach Radar (PAR2090C), deployable ATC systems and weather radars.

Coastal Surveillance & Border Control Systems: Systems that integrate specific sensors: air and surface surveillance radars (ARGOS, Lyra), passive radars (Aulos), short to long range thermal imaging day/night cameras and multi-sensor systems (Janus, Horizon, Nerio, Observer), acoustic systems (HALO, Hydra) and unmanned systems, with tailored Command and Control systems for fixed or mobile situational awareness and fire control.

Italian Smart Soldier System

Leonardo is a global high-tech company, one of the key actors worldwide in Aerospace, Defence and Security, and the Leading Company in Italy, partner of reference for all Italian Armed Forces. 

As such, the Company is presently providing to the Italian Ministry of Defence an integrated set of systems and services for the “Digitization of the Battlefield”. The Program, mostly oriented to the needs of the Land Based Forces, aims to enable them to operate with state-of-the-art sensors, weapons, vehicles and communications, exploiting all the benefits deriving from digital and distributed Command and Control systems.

From the Soldier point of view, the project is providing a set of modern equipment that facilitate the operations of the fighter on foot, at the same time maximizing the offence/defence capacity and increasing the safety. The Smart Soldier Project is aimed at the transformation of the single soldier in a “human hosted platform” able to operate in teams, whether embarked on infantry vehicles or on foot, and always in continuous and full connection, through the vehicles operating in the battlefield, with the command chain. 

The Smart Soldiers are so enabled to operate using the same and the most updated “digitized” information, made available via the armored vehicles in their proximity, from the functional point of view becoming nodes of a digital network that links without distinction all the different platforms (Soldiers, Armored Vehicles, Command Posts) present on the tactical scenario. 

It is not just about ensuring voice connectivity but above all about providing an additional data connection that relentlessly feeds Leonardo applications designed to generate, in real time, the appropriate level of “cognitive superiority” of each single soldier, a fundamental element for the successful outcome of military maneuvers in the operational theaters.

The equipment portfolio of the Smart Soldier enhances his capability in five areas: 

Lethality, as the ability to detect, recognize and attack targets 

The ability to use information and communication services to improve perception of the surrounding environment, to receive orders from the chain of command and to provide the Commanders with real time operational information and reconnaissance data

Survival capability, with integration of bulletproof vests and Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) protection

Mobility, indoor and outdoor, in all weather conditions, 24-hours-per-day, with night and computer assisted vision systems and equipment for autonomous navigation

Sustainability, i.e. the ability to conduct autonomous and prolonged operations, for up to 24 hours, reflecting the total available quantity of power for the C4I electronic systems, ammunition, food, beverages and other consumables

The Smart Soldier capability is fully scalable, modular and configurable. The system can be provided in many incremental configurations, covering a wide range of operational and technical requirements. The solution includes the following sub-systems: 

Command & Control



Support & Autonomy  

Thanks to its modular architecture, the SMART SOLDIER Solution satisfies a wide variety of end-user needs, including, if required, the tailored integration of GFE (Government Furnished Equipment) components and sensors.

Command & Control Sub-system includes the following key components: 

Command & Control (C2) software application

Wearable Rugged Computer 

Command & Control Software Application: The Tactical Command and Control (TC2) Software provides services such as Navigation and Situational Awareness (where I am, where you are, where are the enemy) using digital raster maps overlaid with all mission relevant entities. These are enriched with navigation features (zoom, pan, routes and way-points management). An efficient dissemination mechanism based on Standard Interoperability Protocols allows data exchange among soldiers in real time in a timely and optimized way. TC2 helps the operator to prepare and exchange orders, and report, sends text messages and facilitates the graphical management of orders, image processing. 

TC2 also provides an Augmented Reality capability by the integration with TM-NVG sensor devices. With this capability the SMART SOLDIER can operate directly having the information needed for the operation superimposed on the optical display. Functionalities like Situation Awareness and Navigation are also provided.

The Situation Awareness provided by the TC2 software is displayed on the TM-NVG in two synthetic modes: 

The geo-registered icons with the distance for the Entities in the field of view

The Situation Awareness Ring that reports all the Entities around the SMART SOLDIER (inside and outside the field of view)

The Navigation is provided by specific geo-registered icons with their distance, if in the field of view, or with direction and distance, if outside of the Situation Awareness Ring

The software architecture is open and may be customized, modifying existing functionalities of the man-machine interface or adding new ones to meet emerging end-user needs

Communications Sub-system provides the soldier with specific communication means to interconnect with the other members of the squad. It includes the following components: 

Software Defined Radio SDR for the Soldier

Headset / Microphone

Software Defined Radio (SDR) for the Soldier: The Software Defined Radio (SDR) Hand-Held Evolution(HHE) is an individual VHF and UHF multi-band pocket radio to provide high speed communications at Platoon and Squad level with full IP support. It also gives the soldier enhanced capability thanks to automatic data and voice relay, significantly extending the coverage over the area of the operation. In order to increase its combat effectiveness, the radio includes an integrated GPS, and, for voice communications, it can be operated via a wired press-to-talk (PTT) unit or through a wireless PTT integrated into the soldier’s rifle. Operating in the 30MHz to 512MHz range, the SDR HH allows independent voice and data transmission.

The selectable waveforms include the VHF narrowband waveform for rural open environments, guaranteeing a range of up to 5km with an effective data rate of up to 50Kbps in Fixed/Fast Frequency Hopping mode to cope with spectrum constrained and hostile electromagnetic environments (Friendly or Hostile). The UHF MANET Wideband Soldier Broadband Waveform (SBW) for urban environment offers an up to 2km range with an effective data rate of up to 470Kbps. 

Once delivered the SDR, thanks to standard Software Architecture (SCA and ESSOR), it can be upgraded with existing or new MIL-STD, STANAG, NATO or legacy waveforms as they are made available or developed, thus protecting customer’s investment. It meets the most stringent military standards for electrical, mechanical and environmental conditions.

Headset/Microphone audio accessory provides connectivity to radio devices. A wide range of audio ancillaries are available to satisfy specific operational needs, including headsets with noise blanking capabilities and In-The-Ear devices with hearing protection.

The electro-optical equipment includes the day and night observation and pointing systems Mini Sight, the SCORPIO grenade launcher fire control system; LINX multi-functional binoculars for observation and locating objectives, the TM-NVG night mobility system fitted into the helmet.

MINI SIGHT 640 AC is an advanced new generation Miniature Thermal Weapon Sight with Situational Awareness Capability and C4I Interface. It can be integrated with NIMOS system or with other C2/C4i systems to provide snapshots or video stream. It is designed to be used by the “Future/Digital Dismounted Soldier” as a Hand-Held or Helmet mounted Mono-Scope or light TWS on rifles’ standard “Picatinny” rails.

Mini Sight 640 AC provides an outstanding image quality within a small Size, Weight And low Power (SWAP), with special features and extended operating time and performance system.

SCORPIO is a lightweight, compact, high hit-probability, Fire Control System (FCS) for grenade launcher tubes that provides fast and accurate aiming and firing (LOS/LOF) capabilities.

A ballistic computer reconfigurable by means of uploaded firing tables for selected ammunition (HE frags, HEDP, Smoke, etc.) provides enhanced hit probability against standing and moving ground targets.

LINX & Cooled LINX: LINX is a multi-functional hand-held target acquisition system which includes a thermal imager for all-weather observation and detection, an eye-safe Laser Range Finder, a Digital Magnetic Compass, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, BT and Wi-Fi housed in a compact lightweight unit used by dismounted soldiers and Special Forces.

It is designed to be “NET-centric”, i.e. integrated in a network via a wireless (but also wired) connection allowing the user to be in his center with the possibility to exchange information (images and data) with the rest of the system.

LINX is a fully integrated device for a real “Target Locator” and performs target acquisition through a target data record that provides target marker, azimuth, elevation, distance, global positioning and a target snapshot of the scene in InfraRed (IR).

ALICE HH is an uncooled thermal imager based on a state-of-the-art, high-resolution focal plane. The advantages of uncooled IR technology mean that there is no need for cryo-cooling devices. This results in a significant reduction in weight, size and power consumption, together with an overall improvement in reliability, operational readiness and portability.

ALICE HH is the ideal solution for applications where small size and low weight are required (reconnaissance forces and special units; security and perimeter defence forces, etc.)

ALICE HH can also be fitted with a laser range finder by means of a Picatinny rail (optional) to be mounted on the upper part of the equipment’s body.

TM-NVG (Tactical Mobility Night Vision) is multi-purpose night vision products connecting the battlefield user with various applications, as well as command headquarters, to enhance situational awareness. 

TM-NVG increases operational effectiveness in both nighttime and daytime missions and provides the soldier with real-time video access to critical tactical intelligence. TM-NVG it is fitted into the helmet.

ARC4 Module is a heads-up situational awareness (SA) device that supports military/tactical and industrial/commercial operations. The product mounts to a helmet rail and renders geo-registered symbology on the operator’s real-world view through a night vision goggle or daytime heads-up display. 

In a heads-up and eyes-out posture, the operator can navigate to points of interest, track team elements, designate marks in the environment and share with networked users and send messages and commands.

Support & Autonomy sub-system provides the soldier with a Centralized Power Supply system with the following main capabilities: 

Centralized power supply source for the C4I electronic equipment of the Future Soldier System that considerably extends the time duration of the soldier s mission

The ability to regenerate the system using an external power source

The Centralized Power Supply system is based on the following components:

Power distribution

Rechargeable Battery

The system architecture is modular in order to allow both a better ergonomics and distribution of the components on the soldier body. The Power Distribution unit distributes the energy of the battery to the Smart Soldier System device and controls the consumption and status of the connected battery. 

The Rechargeable Battery made with rechargeable Lithium- Ion cells, is able to power the SMART SOLDIER System and guarantees an estimated operability of up to 8 hours; Additional battery packages, carried in the rucksack, can be used for longer missions. 

Vehicle Integration Capabilities: Leonardo experience in the Soldier System domain also includes the management of all aspects related to the integration of the soldier system with vehicular platforms.

Vehicular integration is supported at communication level (between Soldier Radio and intercom), C2 level (soldier C2 - vehicle BMS data exchange) and power level.

The “Digital Battlefield” Concept

Leonardo is supporting the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the development and implementation of the Network Enable Capabilities (NEC), with the aim to pursue and maximize the operational effectiveness thanks to the sharing of digitized information.

Key objective of the FORZA NEC Program is the deployment of a state-of-the-art Land Force at Divisional level, based on three Land Brigades, a Landing Force and relevant enablers, all equipped with platforms, systems and stand-alone products fully integrated in a digitized and networked infrastructure. 

Key characteristic of the FORZA NEC Program is the initial Concept, Development & Experimentation Phase (CD&E), finalized to verify, validate and test the capabilities to be following intended to the series production/spin-off phases.