Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP): Advanced Electronics Partners Zero in on Joint Project Delivery Set-Up

13.09.2023 Europe
Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP): Advanced Electronics Partners Zero in on Joint Project Delivery Set-Up

Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP): Advanced Electronics Partners Zero in on Joint Project Delivery Set-Up

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At the DSEI exhibition in London, the industry partners for defence electronics from the UK, Italy and Japan have announced that they are working towards agreeing a joint project delivery set-up for GCAP’s ISANKE & ICS domain (Integrated Sensing and Non-Kinetic Effects & Integrated Communications Systems).

The companies, Leonardo UK representing the UK, Mitsubishi Electric representing Japan and both Leonardo and ELT Group representing Italy, are assessing a number of alternative operational and commercial models. The partners have identified that a joint project delivery set-up will be the most efficient and effective way of delivering the programme at pace, as well as ensuring freedom of action and modification for all three nations.

This latest development follows the signing of an ISANKE & ICS domain collaboration agreement, announced in March, and moves the partners closer to the creation of a permanent industrial construct. To meet GCAP’s 2035 target, the partners agree that new ways of working will be required and have held intensive discussions to reevaluate legacy programme structures, infrastructure and performance metrics.

The objective is to create a transformative new model of international business and technical collaboration that allows for progress at pace.

ISANKE & ICS is the advanced electronics on-board the GCAP combat aircraft, providing the aircrew with mission-critical information and advanced self-protection capabilities. A core reason why the new GCAP combat aircraft is considered next generation, the new concept transitions from the traditional combat air model of separate airborne sensors to instead provide a fully integrated sensing, fusion and self-protection capability. At the same time, the integrated communications system will allow ISANKE to operate as a network across formations of crewed and uncrewed aircraft, as part of each nations’ wider, multi-domain system-of-systems.

In addition to commercial discussions, over the last few months the domain partners have also made significant progress on the technical side of the programme, with the ISANKE & ICS subsystem passing a three nation systems review. As well as virtual working, engineers from Leonardo, Mitsubishi Electric and ELT Group have come together in-person on multiple occasions as the domain has progressed towards the systems review stage. This key gate in the ongoing joint concept activity means that the partners have agreed on the high-level design of the ISANKE & ICS sub-system: what will the key blocks of the system be, where will they sit in the aircraft and what will they do.

Passing this gate has provided more certainty for the direction of research and development work and supports the new combat aircraft going into service in 2035. At the same time, all of the partners have progressed the development of a number of critical underlying technologies, including in the fields of radar, electro-optics and electronic warfare. The collaboration has also laid the groundwork for aligning the firm’s journeys of digital transformation as they prepare for more intensive joint engineering on across national borders in a secure manner.

The ISANKE & ICS domain partners represent some of the most skilled and cutting-edge engineering work in their three respective countries. Together, the partners expect to inspire and train a new generation of engineers and businesspeople who will be able to meet the challenging requirements of the next 50 years and beyond in the defence sensing and communications domain.

Leonardo is a leading global Aerospace, Defence and Security (AD&S) company. With 51,000 employees worldwide, it operates in the fields of Helicopters, Electronics, Aircraft, Cyber & Security and Space, and is a key partner in major international programmes including Eurofighter, NH-90, FREMM, GCAP and Eurodrone. Leonardo has significant industrial capabilities in Italy, the UK, Poland, the US and Israel and also operates through subsidiaries, joint ventures and stakes, including Leonardo DRS (80.9%), MBDA (25%), ATR (50%), Hensoldt (25.1%), Telespazio (67%), Thales Alenia Space (33%) and Avio (29.6%).

Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), Leonardo reported new orders of €17.3 billion in 2022, with an order backlog of €37.5 billion and consolidated revenues of €14.7 billion. The company is included in the MIB ESG index and has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) since 2010.

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation is a recognized world leader in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. Mitsubishi Electric enriches society with technology in the spirit of its “Changes for the Better.” The company recorded a revenue of 5,003.6 billion yen (U.S.$ 37.3 billion*) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2023.

ELT Group For more than 70 years, it has been a world leader in Electronic Defense systems. Thanks to innovative management of the electromagnetic spectrum, achieved through proprietary and integrated technologies, today the brand is an international Group with a multi- domain approach that also covers Cyber, Space and Biodefense.

By the experience gained through participation in major European Defense programs including Eurofighter Typhoon, FREMM, PPA today ELT Group is present in more than 30 countries in the World with more than 3000 systems supplied, and also participates in the project for the sixth generation avionics platform GCAP (Global Combat Air Programme) ELT Group is headquartered in Italy, but has a presence in 11 countries located on 3 continents through sales offices and companies of strategic importance and local law in Germany and Saudi Arabia. Also part of the ELT Group are CY4GATE, which specializes in Cyber security and Cyber Intelligence, and E4Life, Italy's first Biodefense company.



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