The Italian state-controlled group, originally named Finmeccanica, announced in March it would rename itself Leonardo, but decided to call itself Leonardo-Finmeccanica until the end of 2016 to give the market, particularly export customers, time to get used to the new name.
Following a big billboard advertising campaign across Italy in the holiday season, the firm will now switch to Leonardo on the first day of 2017.
The new name is inspired by the 15th century artist and engineer Leonardo da Vinci, who painted the "Mona Lisa," but also made plans for a prototype helicopter and siege machines.
CEO Mauro Moretti ordered the name change to coincide with Finmeccanica's switch from a holding company overseeing units including AgustaWestland and Alenia Aeronautica to a single company in which the nits have been turned into divisions, promoting synergies and a unified company strategy.
The prefix "Fin-" in Finmeccanica was used by Italian governments to denote state controlled financial companies.
"Finmeccanica is an obsolete name, we will truly change it," Moretti said earlier this year.
Leonardo ended the year with a rare acquisition, taking full control of Sistemi Dinamici S.p.A, a Pisa, Italy-based unmanned flight specialist launched in 2006, which is developing the unmanned lightweight helicopter SD-150 Hero program.
On Dec. 30, the company also announced that the prototype of its new M-345 jet trainer had made its first 30-minute flight in Italy.
The aircraft's development has been funded by the Italian government, and it is set to be acquired by the Italian Air Force to prepare trainee pilots to move up to the firm's advanced M-346 trainer, which is already in service in Italy and is now being offered to the US in the T-X program.
The M-345 is based on the firm’s planned, but never produced M-311 trainer, albeit with new engines, avionics and some structural aerodynamic changes, and it will replace the MB-339.
The company said the test-flight program would be completed during 2017. "The next tests will check the advanced avionics systems, the engine and the flight envelope expansion, including altitude, speed and
manoeuvrability," the firm said.
Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.