Enzo Benigni Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of Elettronica to : «Al Jundi».. We are proud of the cooperative relationship with the UAE & GCC

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Italy’s Elettronica is one of the most prominent companies working on the development of solutions‭, ‬technologies‭, ‬and systems for electronic warfare‭ (‬EW‭). ‬Many armies around the world have benefited from its long experience‭, ‬and it has become a milestone in the world of defense and security‭.‬

To shine a spotlight on the Italian company and its fields of work and products‭, ‬Al Jundi interviewed Mr‭. ‬Enzo Benigni‭, ‬Chairman‭ ‬of the Board and Managing Director of Elettronica‭, ‬and had the following conversation with him‭:‬

Talk to us about Elettronica and its fields of work in general‭, ‬and about the most prominent products that the company offers to‭ ‬its customers‭, ‬and what is the extent of satisfaction and demand for them‭?‬

Elettronica was founded 70‭ ‬years ago‭, ‬with the mission of developing advanced technologies and effective solutions in the field‭ ‬of EW‭, ‬addressing all domains and applications from the Self Protection of airborne and naval platforms to ground and airborne Electronic intelligence‭ (‬ELINT‭) ‬applications‭. ‬Key in-house technologies have been developed that distinguish Elettronica solutions from the competition‭. ‬along with these aspects‭, ‬Elettronica has always been able to develop a high level of confidence with its Customers‭. ‬Traditionally‭, ‬Elettronica has been known as an Electronic Warfare‭ (‬EW‭) ‬house‭. ‬In fact‭, ‬nowadays we are much more than that‭! ‬We started in the EW field seven decades ago‭, ‬but the intervening years have seen us move into new areas‭. ‬These include the cyber security and homeland security markets‭. ‬The former is the responsibility of our CY4GATE subsidiary‭, ‬the latter our Elettronica GmbH company in Germany‭. ‬

Our business is not confined to‭ ‬‘black boxes’‭. ‬We enjoy working closely with our partners to provide them with overarching solutions to challenges they face in the electromagnetic spectrum‭. ‬Do not just take our word for it‭. ‬We have supplied over 3,000‭ ‬systems to 30‭ ‬countries on five continents‭. ‬

Our products and services are trusted by navies‭, ‬armies‭, ‬air forces‭, ‬first responders‭, ‬and governments around the world‭. ‬The fact that we have supplied these to our core customers for decades while winning new customers underlines their trust in our solutions‭.‬

How important is the UAE and GCC market to Elettronica‭?‬

Hugely important‭. ‬We began our involvement with the UAE and GCC markets back in the 1980’s 1990s‭. ‬Our commitment since then has been steadfast and unwavering‭. ‬Elettronica is proud to have worked closely with our partners in the region‭. ‬We have seen first-hand the complex security challenges they face‭. ‬We have worked hard to ensure our solutions in the airborne‭, ‬naval‭, ‬and ground domains not only protect their personnel‭, ‬assets‭, ‬and critical national infrastructure against today’s threats but also against those they may face tomorrow‭. ‬Looking at our future presence in the Gulf market‭, ‬we strive to become‭ ‬a transnational group with fully operational and self-sufficient subsidiaries in the next three years along with a strong collaboration with the local government‭.‬

What are your most prominent projects for the next stage‭?‬

Elettronica has been very fortunate to participate in many leading defence programs during our long history‭. ‬In recent times we‭ ‬have been an honored and trusted partner in prestigious programs like the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft‭, ‬the NH-90‭ ‬helicopter‭, ‬and the Franco-Italian FREMM frigate program‭, ‬which saw the consolidation of Elettronica Technologies‭, ‬open the way to new‭ ‬advanced developments‭. ‬Several exciting projects are on the horizon‭. ‬These include our participation in the pan-European Project‭ ‬Tempest sixth-generation combat aircraft‭, ‬and the Italian Navy’s new‭ ‬‘PPA’‭ ‬class patrol vessels and‭ ‬‘U212’‭ ‬class submarines‭.‬

New Customers and updated solutions have seen successful developments in the Marketing and technical areas‭.‬

What are your company’s plans for the future‭? ‬How do you see the company changing in two years‭?‬

The electromagnetic spectrum is becoming ever-more important not only for militaries but also for the civilian world‭. ‬The latter‭ ‬must face the reality that its use of the spectrum may be interrupted or denied by an adversary‭. ‬This could have far-reaching commercial and societal implications‭. ‬We invest heavily in research and development activities for both these communities‭. ‬It is‭ ‬vital that we can leverage where possible expertise we develop for our military customers and vice versa‭. ‬This is especially evident in the work we do in the cybersecurity domain‭. ‬We are also very involved in emerging areas like space EW‭. ‬This will become‭ ‬yet more important in the coming years as our world becomes more dependent on space for an array of activities‭. ‬These range from‭ ‬communications and navigation to agriculture and environmental protection to name a few‭.‬

The world may be changing but our core business‭, ‬protecting people and assets from electromagnetic threats to the best of our ability‭, ‬remains the same‭. ‬

How do you assess the cooperation between your company and GCC countries‭, ‬particularly the United Arab Emirates‭?‬

We feel very privileged to have enjoyed a long and fruitful cooperation with the UAE and the GCC members more generally‭. ‬This has been founded on a solid foundation of mutual respect and appreciation and the successful completion of challenging programs‭. ‬Listening and understanding is a core philosophy at Elettronica‭. ‬It informs everything we do from designing new products and services to supporting our customers over the long term‭. ‬We look forward to expanding and deepening these relationships in the future‭. ‬

In the last decades‭, ‬Elettronica has contributed to the UAE’s technological and skills growth in the field of EW‭. ‬Today this is reflected in the comprehensive understanding of complex systems by the end-user‭. ‬Growth‭, ‬as well as the development of technologies and capabilities‭, ‬are key requirements for Emirati industries‭.‬

Elettronica strongly believes in industrial partnerships with the UAE and is ready to participate in co-development projects throughout the country‭. ‬Several proposals are under discussion with major Emirati government organizations and industry groups‭.‬

What are your most recent biggest accomplishments in the defense sector‭?‬

This is an excellent question‭! ‬I am very lucky to be able to reflect and see our company’s many achievements‭. ‬Above all‭, ‬there is one achievement that myself and the company are immensely proud of‭. ‬Quite simply‭, ‬our solutions‭, ‬services‭, ‬and expertise have kept people safe‭. ‬That the work we have done has enabled sailors‭, ‬soldiers‭, ‬aircrew and many other people to return safely from their missions is paramount‭. ‬That is the thing we are most proud of‭. ‬To be more specific‭,‬‭ ‬we have developed and deployed advanced anti-drone ground systems‭, ‬successfully addressed the submarine segment of naval EW‭, ‬and implemented a serious and so far very promising approach to the Cyber EW Security domain‭.‬

What is Elettronica’s investment in the UAE and who do you primarily work with‭?‬

As I said Elettronica’s presence in the Country is large in EW due to the several programs and solutions addressed and supplied‭, ‬we are now ready to follow and support the localization of activities in the UAE and GCC‭. ‬Elettronica is discussing several collaborative EW projects‭ ‬in the UAE‭. ‬This will see investments in terms of know-how and new business models‭. ‬

We are also working on establishing an Emirati subsidiary‭, ‬based in Abu Dhabi‭. ‬Its core business will be the first provision of‭ ‬in-country logistical support to the UAE Armed Forces served by Elettronica systems‭. ‬“Elettronica UAE”‭, ‬however‭, ‬will also constitute the initial phase of a more ambitious industrialization strategy for Elettronica‭. ‬This will be centered on the creation of local capabilities‭, ‬recruiting local talent‭, ‬and partnering with the highly capable Emirati industrial sector‭.    

‭ ‬Tell us about your recent experience and participation in Dubai Airshow 2021‭, ‬and did it meet your expectations‭?‬

The Dubai Airshow is always a very important event for us‭. ‬2021‭ ‬was no different‭. ‬Obviously‭, ‬it was held in unique circumstances‭. ‬The global pandemic continues to provide a challenging business environment‭, ‬not least as far as exhibitions are concerned‭. ‬Nonetheless‭, ‬the event was superbly organised‭, ‬was run very professionally‭, ‬and kept participants‭, ‬visitors‭, ‬and staff safe at all‭ ‬times‭. ‬It is important for us to meet our partners in the region‭, ‬as well as meet new friends and future collaborators‭. ‬It is also a pleasure to be in beautiful Dubai and enjoy some sunshine while it can be quite cold in Europe at that time of year‭!‬

What new products is Elettronica offering the UAE and Gulf region‭?‬

We have several new solutions that we are offering to the UAE and to the region more generally‭. ‬These include our ADRIAN counter‭-‬drone system‭. ‬We know that illegal drone use is a serious security concern in the Gulf‭. ‬ADRIAN is already in operation and we believe that it offers the solution our friends in the region need‭. ‬Likewise‭, ‬sophisticated air defence systems pose a threat to‭ ‬the region’s military aircraft‭. ‬Our EDGE jamming pod is designed to protect individual platforms or groups of combat aircraft against these‭ ‬dangers‭. ‬EDGE uses state-of-the-art technology‭. ‬Not only does it jam threats‭, ‬but it can also gather signals intelligence‭. ‬Regarding the naval domain‭, ‬Elettronica was recently awarded a contract for the supply of its state-of-the-art Integrated Radar and‭ ‬Communication EW Suite‭. ‬The naval anti-drone platform is an evolution of the ADRIAN land-based system‭. ‬It is designed specifically to protect vessels from these dangerous threats‭. 

Would you like to send any message through Al Jundi Journal to the defense community in general‭, ‬or in the UAE in particular‭?‬

Elettronica is strongly committed to helping the UAE and GCC members protect their personnel‭, ‬assets‭, ‬and critical national infrastructure‭. ‬Our track record is a testament to this‭. ‬We are ready to assist our friends and partners in the UAE and the wider region however we can‭. ‬We look forward to deeper and stronger partnerships‭!‬

» ‬Interviewed by‭:  «Al Jundi»

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