SAAB Integrates Surveillance Systems for Piaggio Aero MPA

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The MPA is based on Piaggio P180 Avanti-II Thri-Plane design.
A concept view of the new Piaggio Aero MPA - maiden flight of the first prototype is planned for 2014.
A concept view of the new Piaggio Aero MPA – maiden flight of the first prototype is planned for 2014.

The SAAB group has signed a framework agreement with Italian Piaggio Aero Industries for the integration of surveillance systems in the Multirole Patrol Aircraft – a new surveillance aircraft based on Piaggio Aero’s business plane. The order is valued at Euro 15.5 million. Within the framework agreement SAAB receives an initial order for the delivery and integration of the surveillance system MPA Mission System.

The order comprises two MPA aircraft and requires SAAB to integrate a package of advanced surveillance equipment comprising of sensors, radar, infra-red cameras and a mission system. Deliveries are scheduled for the period 2012 to 2015.

The aircraft will be able to perform surveillance of broad areas for more than 6 hours at low altitude in coastal or offshore waters. The aircraft offers large, stand up cabin allowing spacious installation of mission equipment while providing maximum crew comfort for enhanced missions. It will be able to fly up to 41,000 feet, with endurance of 10 plus flight hours, cruise at a speed of 350 knots and fly at a maximum range of 3,300 nautical miles.

The MPA is an evolution of the Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II platform, modified to meet land, coastal, maritime and offshore security requirements. The MPA’s main features are an enhanced airframe, increased maximum take-off weight, additional fuel tanks and a new aerodynamic configuration with a reinforced wing providing an increased surface and higher aspect ratio.

An evolution of the P.180 Avanti’s patented Three-Lifting-Surface Configuration (3LSC), the modified aerodynamic configuration designed for special mission applications underwent extensive Reynolds low speed/high speed wind tunnel testing at ONERA, to validate design and performance. ‘During testing it demonstrated an 30% reduction of required power, in comparison to its nearest competitor’ – Piaggio communique said.

Piaggio Aero launched the Piaggio Aero MPA at the Farnborough 2012 airshow, with the signature of a contract with Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments (ADASI). The contract covered the complete development of the MPA aircraft, including the roll out of two prototypes with first flight scheduled for 2014. “The newly designed Piaggio Aero MPA aircraft will allow us to enter the surveillance sector and diversify our business profile with the development of this new state of the art multirole platform” said Alberto Galassi, Piaggio Aero CEO.

The MPA is based on the P.180 Avanti's patented Three-Lifting-Surface Configuration (3LSC)
The MPA is based on the P.180 Avanti’s patented Three-Lifting-Surface Configuration (3LSC). Photo: Piaggio Aero