The Power of Teamwork

13 May 2024

The defence sector has seen greater collaboration in recent times; a trend that Leonardo has been at the heart of, being a critical member of several teaming agreements on major UK military programmes. Here we look at the value of such an approach, with industry and government aligned at the earliest stages.

Cross-domain knowledge and technology transfer

During the past decade, Leonardo has been an integral part of multiple teams, partnerships and consortiums – either as a lead or member – working on milestone programmes for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to support existing operational requirements and future strategic objectives.

Currently, the company is part of Team Pellonia, Team Minerva, Team Endure and Team Protect (CRENIC), and part of the Complex Weapons Innovation & Technology Partnership (CWITP).

Additionally, Leonardo is one of the founding partners of Team Tempest and the international Global Combat Air Programme, as well as leading the EuroDASS and Eurofirst consortiums responsible for developing the Eurofighter Typhoon sensors.

These engagements see Leonardo apply our vast expertise – including developing air platform protection during the past century – into the land domain for armoured vehicles in the British Army, and into the CEMA domain where achieving information advantage is paramount.

“This includes technology pull-through from our experience across multiple domains to deliver benefits for Land Forces,” says Leonardo UK Campaign Manager for Land CEMA, Mike Brown.

Early stage requirement definition

Having teams involved from the earliest stages of a programme has been a key behavioural shift in collaboration between the civil Defence and Security sector and industry, as Leonardo UK Multi-Domain Key Account Manager, Paul Taylor, explains.

“It is critical to have an early understanding of the customer’s user requirements, not just the output. It ensures you understand what problem you’re trying to solve and what R&D is already being conducted by industry in that area.

“Involvement from the get-go aligns with Defence’s intention to partner more closely with industry in a whole-force approach. Understanding what industry has to offer can help shape the requirement earlier in the process and lead to better and more integrated spiral solutions. Moreover, it can save significant time and cost. The DragonFire Laser Directed-Energy Weapon programme is an example of such a collaborative approach.

“You don’t need to wait until you’ve got a final system requirement; you can partner earlier and for longer. By the Defence customer exposing what the problem is – rather than suggesting what the answer is – industry can expose the art of the possible and help to develop an integrated solution that aligns with other capabilities under development. Furthermore, having industry involved earlier in partnership with the MOD helps all parties to navigate successfully through the complex commercial and procurement rules,” he adds.

Trusted by the ecosystem

As a systems integrator, Leonardo has developed a strong reputation among customer stakeholders, partners and the supply chain, to become a trusted team lead or member.

“Building on our knowledge, skill and experience as a systems integrator, we are also trusted by partners and the ecosystem of suppliers,” explains Mike Brown.

“The likes of Team Protect and Team Endure are examples of the emphasis on expanding the ecosystem and involving SMEs within the team. As a large company, Leonardo offers smaller suppliers the opportunity to provide their expertise, bringing best-of-breed technology together. Ultimately, on a programme like CRENIC, you’re not just partnering with Leonardo, PA Consulting, Leidos, and Marshall Land Systems; you’ve got the opportunity to collaborate with over 100 companies across the ecosystem.”

Twinning with academia

Collaborations also extend outside of industry, with Leonardo working closely with several academic institutions. Most recently, we launched a partnership with the University of Lincoln to provide a new Military Electronic Mission Protection (MEMP) course. This will provide selected international students with the accredited skills in mission data analytics to protect aircraft and their crews from ground-based and airborne threats.

Jamie Garbutt, Head of Leonardo’s Lincoln Training Academy, highlights the importance of the partnership: “We have a long heritage of working alongside our armed forces to transform military capability and investing in the future of related skills, so we are excited to now be able to offer accredited training through this new partnership with the University of Lincoln. Graduates from the MEMP course will have gained UK Postgraduate Awards to enhance their in-country capability, but also support future allied operations.”

Flexing people across programmes

With more than 8,500 highly skilled technical and operationally experienced people employed across Leonardo’s eight main sites in the UK, we have a vast skills and knowledge base across multiple programmes and in all operating domains.

“Our size and depth of talent allows us to flex staff from one programme to another, transferring and applying knowledge, insight and expertise, and sharing the value of their experience for wider benefit,” says Paul Taylor.

“There are plenty of opportunities in the company for those looking for an exciting future in technology and innovation, and in the development of cutting-edge solutions,” he adds.