Luton firm wins award for innovation for keeping airforce safe

Ministry of Defence accolade for Leonardo

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 4:04 pm

Luton engineers have created a system of sensors and a 'brain' to help keep UK armed services pilots and crew safe in hazardous situations.

The group, based at Leonardo in Capability Green, are part of a team awarded a commendation from the Ministry of Defence for their work.

The system makes decisions on the best course of action based on the information that is coming through the sensors and brain. It is able to detect then act on threats, protecting the lives of pilots, crews and passengers.

The innovation protects crew and aircraft

The award, from the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) was presented to the Strategic Partnering Agreement Team, led by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and working collaboratively across Ministry of Defence (MoD), Air Command, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and industry partners Leonardo.

Ian Edwards, Head of Campaigns EW and John Curtis, Leonardo Contracts Manager, were personally recognised by the VCDS as part of the award.

The team was selected to reward a trailblazing example of a transformational, proactive approach, which has enabled the MoD to embark on a new way to develop, deliver and support aircraft under fire.

Norman Bone, Chair and CEO of Leonardo in the UK, said: “I’m extremely proud of everyone on the Strategic Partnering Agreement team who worked so hard to create a transformational and collaborative approach to how we improve the safety of our service personnel. Congratulations in particular to Ian Edwards, David Gourlay, and John Curtis on their commendation.”

Ian Edwards

In September 2021, Leonardo announced a Strategic Partnering Arrangement (SPA) with the Royal Air Force, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop common protective systems for the Nation’s military aircraft. Under the arrangement, Leonardo works with other onshore providers to bring together best-of-UK defensive technology, boosting export opportunities and generating prosperity around the UK.

Leonardo already provides protective electronics for many UK Armed Forces aircraft from its research and manufacturing sites in Edinburgh and Luton, which employ thousands of highly skilled scientists and engineers.