Italy’s aerospace industry is the third most prominent in Western Europe after France and Germany and the seventh largest in the world. With the exception of Leonardo-Finmeccanica, which controls a vast share of the market, the Italian aerospace industry is characterized by a plethora of small- to medium-sized companies, spread around the country in distinct clusters.
In regions across Italy can be found academics, scientists, designers, engineers of every hue, and manufacturers whose combined competence can not only build satellites and space rovers, but also transport them to space. Boeing, NASA, Airbus and many other industry giants regularly look to Italian groups for solutions. Italian companies are also at the forefront of civil aviation on its quest for fuel efficiency and the Clean Sky program, while also designing and producing a formidable range of military aircraft and their associated systems.
We have begun our research in the Piedmont region in the North-West of the country, whose capital, Turin, has long been famed as a hub for the automotive industry, consistently designing and producing vehicles from the most performant to the most practical. This experience of excelling in the development and production of cars that have consistently been popular in all world markets has engendered the skills and competences that have allowed the Piedmont region to develop as Italy’s largest aeronautical hub. Piedmont is host to around 400 companies, mostly small- to medium-sized, that together form a complete supply chain and which are defined by their propensity for cooperation, not only with each other, but in a triple helix with institutions both governmental and academic. Together they represent almost half of the overall turnover of the aeronautical industry in Italy and can be found collaborating in projects all over the world.