Leonardo signs deal worth around €180M to upgrade NATO's electronic warfare training equipment

2019-02-05
Leonardo will deliver a range of new equipment to NATO JEWCS, the Alliance agency which supports armed forces training to face hostile electro-magnetic conditions.

Leonardo has signed a contract worth approximately €180M to provide new electronic warfare training equipment for the NATO Joint Electronic Warfare Core Staff (JEWCS). Leonardo was selected in an international competition and will incorporate technology from partners Cobham and Elettronica.

The contract was placed by the UK Ministry of Defence as the host nation for NATO JEWCS, which is based at the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) in Yeovilton. Equipment will be delivered in tranches over the next 4 years from Leonardo’s Electronic Warfare (EW) centre of excellence in Luton, UK.

NATO JEWCS is the Alliance agency responsible for the high-tech world of electronic warfare. When NATO forces go on operations, they can expect the enemy to try and disrupt their radars, GPS and communications. Therefore, to train realistically, it is important that NATO Forces experience these effects and practice how to counter them.

Part of NATO JEWCS’s remit is to improve armed forces training by simulating the effects of an enemy’s latest electronic warfare equipment during exercises, creating a ‘hostile environment’ in which to train. To deliver the service, NATO JEWCS deploys high-tech EW equipment at training sites around Europe, allowing armed forces to practice their skills in areas such as electronic surveillance and electronic countermeasures while facing true-to-life attempts to disrupt their activity.

In delivering this support, it is important that the EW effects being simulated are state of the art, keeping pace with opposing forces’ latest tech developments. Leonardo is Europe’s leading provider of electronic warfare technology and training and will be providing representative equipment across three domains: air, land and maritime.

In the air, highly capable and flexible pod-based EW systems will be supplied for deployment on aircraft, alongside a NATO Anti-Ship Missile Defence Evaluation Facility (NASMDEF). NASMDEF comprises a set of pods that can be installed on aircraft to simulate anti-ship missiles.

They allow forces to train in the use of ‘soft-kill countermeasures’ which are used to protect ships from incoming threats. Cobham will be Leonardo’s principle sub-contractor for these elements. For land and maritime applications, fully ruggedised shelters and vehicles will be provided, equipped with modular and flexible EW simulators, stimulators and jamming equipment. Elettronica will act as Leonardo’s principal sub-contractor for these elements.

Leonardo’s electronic warfare expertise includes designing and manufacturing protective and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Recconaisance) equipment for UK and allied aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and AW159 helicopters, delivering specialist EW training at its Academy in Lincoln and investing in the development of the latest generation of countermeasures such as the anti-IED ‘Guardian’ system for troops on the ground and the ‘BriteCloud’ decoy for fighter jet pilots.

This contract to upgrade electronic warfare equipment is just the latest example of Leonardo’s on-going provision of security technology and expertise to NATO. Leonardo is the Alliance’s cyber security mission partner, working with the NATO Communications and Information Agency to protect more than 70,000 Alliance users around the world from cyber-attacks.

The Company has also provided a significant amount of equipment and support for the NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS). In October 2018, Leonardo received the NATO Science and Technology Organization’s (STO) Scientific Achievement Award for its contributions to the development of a promising new approach to modelling, simulation and training.

Leonardo has also provided over 50 air defence radars to multiple Alliance member countries under the NATO Security Investment Programme (NSIP) and has delivered its ‘Guardian’ counter-IED (improvised explosive device) systems to protect NATO vehicles operating in Afghanistan.

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