Taking off from Leonardo’s plant in Caselle (Turin), the final and most advanced Eurofighter Typhoon of the Italian Air Force was handed over during a ceremony becoming one of the defence aircraft assigned daily to the protection of the Italian skies. The ceremony was attended by the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Gen. Alberto Rosso, the CEO of Leonardo, Alessandro Profumo and the Aircraft Division Managing Director, Marco Zoff. The Eurofighter was designed as an open architecture, with a well-defined programme of technological updating and improvement that guarantees its competitiveness throughout its life cycle. Constantly evolving technologies, both on board the aircraft and in the context of logistical support, increase its operational effectiveness, survivability, and efficient management.
“The collaboration path we are celebrating today, embodied by an aircraft with extraordinary capabilities, is the result of a long-term supranational strategic, political, and industrial vision, which has allowed Europe to have its own security asset, and benefit from a programme that has been able to represent a technological accelerator and a unique engine of development in the history of our continent”, declared Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo. “The Eurofighter Typhoon will be a pivotal element in the path of innovation which is aimed at fully safeguarding European technological sovereignty in the coming years”, he added.
The Eurofighter programme is a cornerstone in the development of European aerospace and defence technologies and provides the industries involved with technological leadership that will guarantee competitiveness for many next generation programmes. Leonardo represents with its activities about 36% of the value of the entire programme, with its key role in the aeronautical components and in the on-board electronics, which sees the Company responsible for two primary sensors (radar and IRST) as well as other fundamental avionic technologies. Leonardo also plays a key role in the evolution of the Eurofighter thanks to the new AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, which increases the aircraft’s performance and competitiveness, which, in turn, will enhance the targeting of a significant proportion of the international market over the next decade.
“The aircraft has proven to be a reliable, flexible, and versatile asset, and is ready to face new technological challenges to continue to guarantee the highest level of safety across the Italian skies and protection of national interest. This is thanks to a wide range of operational capabilities which complement air defence duties such as Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) and attack (swing role). Today’s aircraft capabilities are the result of a long-term close and effective cooperation between the national defence industry and the Italian Air Force; a synergy that, further supports and empowers the country system, and allows us effectively to carry out our daily mission, the protection of people,” Italian Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Alberto Rosso said at the hand-over ceremony of the aircraft, which is destined to the Italian Air Force’s 51st Wing Istrana Air Base.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard–delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter and is manufactured by a consortium of Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo that conducts the majority of the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH. NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency manages the project and is the prime customer.The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments and equipment, including Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles.
The Eurofighter programme is managed by the Eurofighter GmbH consortium, a company based in Munich (Germany) owned by Leonardo, BAE Systems and Airbus Defense & Space for Germany and Spain. On the government side, it is managed by the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), set up to meet the procurement needs of the air forces of the four participating countries: Italy, United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. In addition to the four partner countries, which have already ordered 472 Typhoons, international customers now include: Saudi Arabia (72 aircraft), Austria (15), Oman (12), Kuwait (28) and Qatar (24), a total of 623 ordered planes. In terms of workforce, the Eurofighter programme involves more than 100,000 people in Europe, over 20,000 people are based in Italy (including direct, indirect and induced employment). More than 400 suppliers work for the Typhoon, including 200 in Italy.