FARNBOROUGH AIRSHOW: Senior representatives from the Italian Ministry of Defense and Leonardo have revealed new details about a program being developed for the UK-led Future Combat Air System (FCAS), which includes Japan’s collaboration on sensor and communications capabilities. Contains details about.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday at the Farnborough Air Show, Lieutenant Colonel David Dentamaro of the Italian Air Force FCAS Program Office and the executive team of Leonardo confirmed that they are still in the unilateral and multilateral evaluation stage.
“We are in discussions with our government counterparts to assess any overlap of related national requirements,” Dantamaro confirmed, before adding: “This is an important step in defining the requirements.”
He also suggested that the ongoing FCAS efforts are “very different” from legacy efforts in European fighter air, which often saw national industries battling each other ineffectively. Instead, “there is total synergy between industry partners,” he said.
FCAS is a multilateral program to design the sixth generation fighter air capability. Established in 2018 by the UK Ministry of Defence, the program now includes a team with Italy and most recently Japan; Sweden is also watching the process closely, according to program officials this week.
However, Andrew Howard, director of Major Air Programs for Leonardo UK, said he expects differences in national requirements to emerge over time.
“There will be common elements to increase efficiency, but there is a need for freedom of maneuver and freedom of action, which can be accommodated through an open architecture. Affordable for a single country to undertake this program on its own Not there.”
On 18 July, the UK FCAS team – which includes the UK Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK and MBDA – announced that the Tempest Combat Air Platform Demonstrator, an important part of the FCAS programme, would be flying the Demonstrator. next five years.
According to Howard, the next two years will advance the alignment in terms of national requirements, giving the tripartite FCAS team 10 years to provide capacity.
For his part, Leonardo’s director of FCAS, Guglielmo Maviglia, confirmed that Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan would benefit from “new defense assets” from 2035, but added that the union would try to “take advantage” of the defence. . Market. Export already in 2040.
Maviglia also explained how the tactical and operational experience generated by the Italian and British fifth generation F-35s would be crucial for the development of the sixth generation fighter air platform.
“The leap of the fourth generation fighter jet [Typhoon] For one of the sixth it could be a real challenge”, he warned.
Maviglia also pointed out how Japan has “fitted effortlessly into discussions” so far, sharing similar ambitions for the program in terms of timelines.
“The Japanese requirement is similar to that of Italy and the UK. Preliminary talks are very encouraging,” Howard added, before describing how Leonardo, FCAS’s Integrated Communication System (ISANKE) and Integrated Communication System (ICS) in the UK and Italy, integrated systems for detection and non-kinetic effects with industry partners including ELT.
“We are working together with Eletronica in Italy on several projects, including a joint evaluation of a common ISANKE and potential architecture of ICS. The work complements the ongoing collaboration with Japan on sixth generation sensor capabilities, a An area that Italy will soon be involved in.”
According to Leonardo, ISANKE is a “spider web” of capabilities that sits on the fuselage of FCAS.
“SANKE is a fully integrated network of multifunctional radio frequency and electro-optical sensing and non-kinetic effect nodes. Collectively, these nodes collect information from the electromagnetic spectrum, which is then combined using sophisticated fusion algorithms. The result is a complete situational awareness picture, providing aircrew with an enhanced view of the battlefield and a real information advantage in combat,” a Leonardo spokesman said after the incident.
The ICS has a number of strategic communication and secure data link systems that take advantage of ISANKE’s fusion capabilities to allow for a quick exchange of information between FCAS formations.
“ICS enables FCAS to share information with a broader force set, providing informational advantages in multi-domain operations. It is a key component of FCAS’s sixth generation capability. Pilots are able to access their surroundings and other entities in the battlefield. will be more aware of, faster and farther than ever before. This will translate into better combat effectiveness and survivability,” the spokesperson said.
Integration may be the most important element of ISANKE and ICS, so Howard also explained how Leonardo is still in the process of creating a digital backbone for FCAS. There are also plans for the delivery of a fighter cloud.
“We are looking at specific areas for deeper collaboration,” Howard said. “For example, ICS is an important area for Italian expertise and multidimensional processing should be the subject of future collaborations following the UK Defense Technology Demonstration Programme.”
Howard also highlighted the letter of agreement between the UK and Japan signed in February to conduct cooperative research into sensor technology for fighter aircraft.
The “Jaguar” initiative will include the development of a universal frequency sensor technology that will enable the aircraft to “better detect future threats from the air, land and sea, locate targets quickly and accurately, and deny surveillance technology”. Will do According to a statement from Leonardo at the time. (Japan’s intended role in the FCAS has since expanded.)
Leonardo’s sources suggested that the work could include miniaturization of future radars, something the company is doing at a “deeper level”, company officials concluded.