Leonardo has renewed for another five years its strategic partnership with UK company 2Excel Aviation related to flight test services, following the conclusion of the previous contract (2017-2021). The latter agreement included joint work to test and validate the in-flight performance of Leonardo’s radars and electronic warfare systems, in support of development activities and customer demonstrations.
Over the years, the relationship between Leonardo and 2Excel has been strengthened, thanks to Leonardo’s use of 2Excel’s ability to quickly transform concepts into capabilities to accelerate the development of its advanced electronic equipment, allowing the company the competitive advantage of bringing new capabilities to market faster.
One example of this approach is the test cycle done for the Osprey 50 electronically scanned surveillance radar. 2Excel was able to install the new radar in a B200 King Air, used as a test bed, and certify it for flight extremely quickly, allowing Leonardo to accelerate its development and demonstrate the radar’s in-flight performance to potential customers. At the conclusion of this process, Leonardo sold the Osprey 50 to several international clients.
The contract provides for a dedicated 2Excel project support and test planning team, which will work together with a Leonardo team providing support for a rapid transition of the concept into capability through design, production, installation, certification and operations.
The partnership with 2Excel is representative of Leonardo’s UK supply chain of 2,100 companies, two-thirds of which are small and medium-sized businesses. More than a quarter (28%) of Leonardo’s entire supply chain investment is spent directly with these companies, generating economic activity that supports 26,600 jobs in the country.
In addition to this flight test collaboration, Leonardo recently signed a series of contracts with 2Excel to prepare for the Tempest test program. The FTA (flight test aircraft) program will see the partners completely overhaul a commercial aircraft to make it a flying laboratory called “Excalibur” where they will test air combat technologies. Excalibur will provide the real-world environment needed for the final stages of development of integrated sensors, non-kinetic effectors and communications systems. Leonardo is a leader for Tempest, the Future Combat Air System that the UK and its international partners are developing for entry into service in 2035.
Source: Leonardo S.p.A.