Aerospace giant Leonardo's pride at Queen's Award

Generations of employees assembled at Leonardo Edinburgh to receive one of the last Queen’s Awards to be bestowed for innovation.

Leonardo’s award relates to the field of infrared countermeasures technology that has protected aircrews and passengers around the globe since the ‘90s.

It was recognised for to the ingenuity of their infrared countermeasure technology (IRCM) that diverts heat-seeking missiles by ‘dazzling’ the threat’s infrared (IR) guidance system with a powerful laser, throwing it off course.

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Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Robert Aldridge made the formal presentation of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation, representing the highest honour that a Monarch can present to a business in the UK.

He said: “The award is a clear recognition and reflection of the value, the efforts and the talents of the staff working at Leonardo that has had a presence here in Edinburgh for around eight decades.”

Over the years, generations of Leonardo employees have received first hand testimonies from crews reunited safely with their families due to the protective performance of the technology at their Crewe Toll base.

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The Lord Provost went on to describe the reassurance the technology provides in challenging times.

He said: “Your work to repackage advanced electro-optical and laser technology previously available for large aircraft into a compact design, means it can be carried on smaller aircraft enabling a broader protection to reach across all platforms. The innovative infrared countermeasures technology, which has been developed and manufactured here at the Leonardo site in Edinburgh, brings great pride to the city and adds to our long held engagement with our armed forces. I am sure there will be many military personnel who will have benefitted from your technological brilliance and all of your work will I know offer much comfort for their families and loved ones. Please keep up your outstanding work, which is so vital to the security of our nation and the armed forces. “

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The Lord Provist with the Queen's Award for Enterprise - Innovation presented to Leonardo UK Radar and Advanced Targeting

Mark Stead, SVP, Radar and Advanced Targeting accepted a crystal vase from the Lord Provost.

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He said: “It is especially poignant I think given that it will be the last of the Queen’s Awards in our lifetime and also the relevance of the Queen’s absolute dedication to our armed forces. Her Majesty’s unending dedication to service forms part of the inspiration for what we do here, and of course how we innovate across Leonardo for our operational users. It certainly echoes our philosophy in terms of our dedication to supporting those in harm’s way, and this is a very special moment for us here in Edinburgh, and is something we are all very proud of. Most of all this is for our people – our teams continue to work tirelessly with those end users in mind, and are regularly achieving technology leaps in the fields of airborne radar, lasers and countermeasures that remain world-beating and a ‘crown-jewel’ of UK industry. That takes expertise, creativity and resilience and it is the brilliance of our people that gives us our edge.”

Leonardo has previously won Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for Innovation in 2011 and International Trade in 2010.