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Satellites, aircraft and helicopters at the forefront of fire safety

In full summer, the fire season is at its peak. The flames are also raging this year, in Italy and throughout the world, creating a real emergency adding to the global pandemic of Covid-19 which has gripped the world since the end of last year. Fires, natural or arson, in Italy alone tripled in 2019, as reported by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and the estimates for 2020 show a similar view.


In emergencies, as is happening with Covid-19, organisations such as Leonardo prove to be an increasingly important solution in support of institutions which are committed to ensuring the protection of the environment, communities, and resources that may be affected by disaster relief. In fact, Leonardo has a spectrum of solutions available for fire-fighting which include aircraft and helicopters designed and specially configured for fire-fighting, communication systems for emergency management, sensors and space and satellite technologies for environmental monitoring.


An environment protected from space, the skies and on Earth Environment that is therefore monitored, warded and protected by space, the skies and the earth. From satellites within the Copernicus programme, coordinated by ESA and with the contribution of ASI aimed at environmental monitoring in its various forms, Leonardo is a leader in the emergency domain through e-GEOS (Telespazio / ASI), with its Earth observation technologies. e-GEOS leads the Consortium which provides the EMS Rapid Mapping service. The service focuses on rapid response to events and from 2020 the new Risk and Recovery Mapping service.


Among the various Copernicus sentries dedicated to Earth observation, Sentinel-3, which has onboard innovative SLSTR radio-metres built at Leonardo plants in Campi Bisenzio (FI), and ASI's PRISMA (Hyperspectral Hyper-Spectral Predecessor of the Application Mission) satellite which looks at the Earth on a global scale with innovative electro-optical instrumentation.

Furthermore, COSMO-SkyMed, the Earth observation satellite programme of the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence, with its satellites looks with "eyes" which are capable of scanning the Earth from space metre by metre, day and night, in all weather conditions.

Leonardo puts out fires and flies with the C-27J fire-fighting aircraft, it is suitable for the most extreme environmental conditions and the most challenging tactical scenarios; the aircraft is able to land and take-off from unprepared runways. To date, this solution has been adopted by the Air Forces of Peru and Romania.

The Romanian Air Force was able to successfully intervene with its C-27Js against the fires that hit Greece in 2018, while the Peruvian FAP has recently acquired full operational capacity in the use of the Caylym "Guardian" system and is ready to intervene in case of an emergency within its jurisdiction.

Romanian Air-force C-27J

From the fixed-wing to the rotary-wing. Out of a worldwide fleet of almost 600 fire and environmental protection helicopters, there are almost 120 Leonardo helicopters, most of the new generation spread throughout the world 60% in Europe, more than 20% in Asia and more than 10% in Latin America.


From one continent to another they fly to intervene with key features that are essential in tackling the most challenging scenarios with flexibility and multi-role versatility and providing various configurable models for fire-fighting missions such as the AW119, AW109 Trekker and the new generation AW169, AW139 and AW189 family of helicopters. In addition to these, the unmanned AWHero 200 kg class remote control helicopter can be used for environmental monitoring and damage assessment.

AW-109 Trekker

In addition to prevention, monitoring and intervention, the construction of the infrastructure of the radio communication networks currently in compliance with the DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) standard of Vigili del Fuoco that Leonardo has guaranteed since early 1990 contribute to fire protection.




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