Leonardo launches a new investment plan of 300 million euros for the relaunch of the sites of the Aerostructures division, starting with that of Grottaglie
News in sight for the Grottaglie site, one of the most impacted by the crisis in Leonardo's Aerostructures division.
Leonardo is working on the relaunch of the Aerostructures division – whose four plants are in Pomigliano D'Arco, Nola, Foggia and Grottaglie – with a new investment plan of 300 million euros that will start in the second half of 2023. The plan is aimed at consolidate the centrality of the business through the technological updating of programs, plants and production processes.
In particular, it will focus on expanding the production base of the Grottaglie (Taranto) site, currently the most impacted by the consequences of the pandemic on civil aviation.
The news is that the Taranto site will deal with the solar-powered drone.
Yesterday morning the top management of Skydweller was in Grottaglie for the second visit, the last three months, revealed the Sole 24 Ore. The Spanish-American startup is committed to the development of the first solar-powered drone capable of carrying a high payload, with almost unlimited persistence in flight, based on the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft that had traveled around the world in 2016.
Furthermore, in addition to Skydweller, the Grottaglie plant will be involved in the Eurodrone program which involves industries from France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
In Grottaglie, in particular, the carbon fiber wings of the remotely piloted aircraft will be produced. And again in Grottaglie, the new MaTeRIA Lab (Materials Technology Research and InnovAtion Lab) took shape for the study of advanced materials as well as the new Joint Lab between Leonardo and the Solvay group.
But in addition to the relaunch plan, Leonardo's top management also confirmed the layoffs for 1,049 employees (out of a total staff of about 1,300 employees) at the Grottaglie plant, Corriere del Mezzogiorno reported.
All the details.
COLLABORATION WITH THE SPANISH SKYDWELLER FOR SOLAR POWER DRONE
The Grottaglie plant will therefore be involved in the Skydweller company program. The initiative will lead to the development and deployment of the Skydweller drone, the world's first remotely piloted solar powered aircraft capable of carrying large payloads with unlimited persistence in flight capability.
In fact, the defense and aerospace group led by Alessandro Profumo has a shareholding in this company as well as being a technological partner of the project since 2019 .
Last September, the Spanish-American company also attracted the interest of Neva Sgr, the venture capital of the Intesa Sanpaolo group focused on high-tech companies, which invested 4 million dollars in Skydweller Aero.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SOLAR ENERGY DRONE
“Skydweller is conceived as an innovative aerial platform: it combines unprecedented persistence and range with the flexibility typical of a remotely piloted aircraft. It will be able to travel at a cruising speed of 25-50 knots and a maximum altitude of 14,000 meters. The wings covered by approximately 270 square meters of photovoltaic cells will generate the power needed to ensure unlimited flight of the aircraft and significant payloads. The possible uses of the drone include land and sea surveillance, environmental and infrastructure monitoring, geo-information services, telecommunications and precision navigation, as well as the provision of communications to support operators in emergency situations "he explained the Sole 24 Ore .
END OF SINGLE COMMITMENT FOR GROTTAGLIE?
Being a single contract, the Grottaglie plant is affected by the significant braking that occurred, both as a result of Covid and for problems that the client Boeing had with a supplier of the production chain, in the construction of the two fuselage sections of the 787.
But the Skydwller project could mark the end of the single commission for Grottaglie.
This will in fact be the first program that could kick-start the production diversification of the plant which, from its start in 2006 to today, has only worked on the carbon fiber fuselage sections of the Boeing 787.
STARTING FROM THE EURODRONE
Furthermore, in addition to Skydweller, the Grottaglie site will be involved in the Eurodrone program, the European UAV Male (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) Rpas. The EU Commission financed the Eurodrone program developed by Germany, Spain, France and Italy. Last July in Rome, the Occar awarded the development contract together with Airbus Defense & Space (the lead company representing Germany and Spain). The main industrial partners of Eurodrone were also present: Leonardo for Italy and Dassault Aviation for France.
In Grottaglie, in particular, the carbon fiber wings of the remotely piloted aircraft will be produced.
LA MATERIA LAB WITH SOLVAY LAUNCHED
Finally, in addition to the remotely piloted aircraft and the production of the two parts of the fuselages of the Boeing 787, Grottaglie will also host a laboratory for the study of advanced materials.
“The new MaTeRIA Lab (Materials Technology Research and InnovAtion Lab) took shape in Grottaglie for the study of advanced materials as well as the new Joint Lab between Leonardo and the Solvay group. The latter is the joint research laboratory for the development of new composite materials and new production processes considered fundamental for the future of the aerospace industry ”underlines the Confindustria newspaper.
THE COMMENT OF EQUITA
Finally, "Equita analysts recalled that the Aerostructures division is experiencing a structural loss and is mainly responsible for the limited Free Cash Flow of the group, expected in 2021 at only 0.1 billion, with the aerostructures absorbing 350-400 million liquid assets. According to experts, "the relaunch of this division is essential for a return of interest in the equity story which continues to deal in particularly cheap multiples". In any case, Il Sole 24 Ore maintains that 2022 will still be a year of crisis for Aerostructures ”.
It should not be forgotten that Leonardo has opened the procedure for the use of layoffs for a total of 3,500 employees in Aerostructures, of which 1,049 in Grottaglie.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/innovazione/leonardo-ecco-tutte-le-novita-per-il-sito-di-grottaglie/ on Fri, 14 Jan 2022 10:30:17 +0000.