LONDON --- Leonardo is hopeful that Italy can join the UK's Tempest sixth-generation fighter programme, building on the involvement of its defence electronics division in the effort.
Although the company is headquartered in Rome, it has a large presence in the UK, including the former Selex operation.
Norman Bone, managing director of Leonardo's electronics division, said during a financial results briefing on 14 March: "We are very clear as a company that it would be our preference for a collaboration that included Italy in the long term on Tempest."
The Rome-based group's senior executive team is making efforts "to help position [Leonardo] so that Italy could become a partner" in the project, which is intended to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon in the long term, Bone says – adding: "That’s a strong preference."
Leonardo is a partner in the Eurofighter consortium, producing around 20% of each aircraft – principally the port-side wing – and performing final assembly on those for the Italian air force and some export customers.
At the 2018 Farnborough air show, the UK government revealed plans for the Tempest project as part of the country's future combat air strategy. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Leonardo’s UK subsidiary is a partner in the British Ministry of Defence’s Tempest project, but the Italian parent company has its hands tied because the Italian government, which has not budgeted any funds for the project, has not made any move as to it next-generation fighter.
Asked what Leonardo will do in the field of next-generation fighters, Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo told Italy’s Il Sole24 Ore business daily March 14 that “We are working with the British on the Tempest program, which will be open to participation by other countries. I hope for convergence with the French and the Germans” who are developing FCAS.
“Visions vary from country to country but, at the end of the day, the common interest is to build a common strategy. In defense, this is necessary to get the best results, and to be competitive world-wide.”)