Leonardo has been selected by ENAV, the company that manages civilian air traffic in Italy, as its industrial partner for the development of an air traffic control system for unmanned aircraft and for the provision of related services. Leonardo will lead the industrial team that includes subsidiary Telespazio and IDS - Ingegneria Dei Sistemi.
In detail, ENAV will set up a new company for the development of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management (UTM) system and the provision of related services, including technical maintenance. ENAV will have 60% of the share capital of the new company while the remaining 40% will be held by the industrial team led by Leonardo.
The UTM system will integrate multiple technologies for the safe handling, in civil airspace, of cooperating remotely controlled aircraft – i.e. registered, authenticated and identified. The system will also support pre-flight planning, flight surveillance, emergency management and flight data recording.
The ability to provide the UTM service is a prerequisite to guarantee the security of unmanned aerial vehicle flights beyond line of sight and represents a turning point for the opening up of new markets based on their use. The sector is destined to grow rapidly in the coming years, with estimates that there will be seven million drones in use for recreational purposes and another four hundred thousand for commercial purposes by 2035 in Europe.
Leonardo is a key player both in Air Traffic Management, with a large number of radar systems and air traffic control centres installed all over the world and in the development of remotely piloted aircraft capabilities.
In this latter sector, the company has developed drone-based capabilities, proprietary technologies and services, and is currently participating in the main national and European programmes. In this project with ENAV, Leonardo will be responsible for coordinating the industrial team, for the system design as a System Integrator and for the development of most of the software, while ensuring adequate levels of cyber protection.
The role of Telespazio (a joint venture between Leonardo 67% and Thales 33%) will be to integrate the system with value-added solutions based on EGNOS and Galileo European satellite navigation systems, on Earth observation systems (georeferencing) and satellite telecommunications.
Telespazio will also coordinate the maintenance of the UTM system.
The role of IDS will be to design and realise the UTM-Box component, a key element of the UTM system, and to contribute to the development of software services of the ground element.