Piaggio Aero Unveils Hammerhead P-11HH Unmanned MALE Aircraft

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Piaggio Aero P-11HH Hammerhead unmanned aircraft. Artist concept: Piaggio Aero
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Piaggio Aero claims its new drone will offer an unmatched combination of range, wide operative speeds, fast climb gradient, high operational ceiling and the capability to carry a variety of payloads, providing end users with a powerful yet flexible defense system that outperforms other MALE Systems.

Piaggio Aero Industries unveiled at the 2013 Paris Air Show today, the Piaggio Aero P.1HH “HammerHead”- Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The P.1HH HammerHead technological demonstrator was designed and built in less than one year and it has already successfully completed low speed taxi tests. Defense-Update reports.

paris13-125x125Piaggio Aero claims its new drone will offer an unmatched combination of range, wide operative speeds, fast climb gradient, high operational ceiling and the capability to carry a variety of payloads, providing end users with a powerful yet flexible defense system that outperforms other MALE Systems.

The unmanned variant is longer tan the Avanti II and is using a modified airframe, longer wings with high aspect ratio, and various installations of mission payloads, satellite links and line-of-site payloads. The Hammerhead is bound to become the largest UAS in Europe.

The design of the P.1HH HammerHead aims to be a unique ISR platform, able to climb up to 45.000 feet, loitering quietly at low speed (135 KTAS) with an endurance of up to 16 flight hours and capable of deploying at very high speed – up to 395 KTAS – to targets. Its capabilities include being able to host several payload combinations and to perform multiple missions: aerial, land, coastal, maritime and offshore security, COMINT/ELINT, electronic warfare as well as other roles.

[nonmember]A larger version is available to members[/nonmember] [ismember]By being based on a certified Mach 0.70 aircraft, the P.1HH HammerHead is the fastest Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) ever designed and the Piaggio Aero UAV is powered by two highly reliable Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turbine engines integrated with low noise 5-blade scimitar propellers. The P.1HH UAV platform has an aerodynamic configuration largely similar to P.180 Avanti II ; the large but, low drag aircraft fuselage provides capability for aerodynamically effective payload arrangements, with plenty of available volume from the variety of LRU’s equipment, sensors and communication equipment comfortably located inside the expansive aircraft fuselage.

“The P.1HH HammeHead and the MPA Multirole Patrol aircraft are the most challenging and technologically advanced aviation programme that Piaggio Aero has ever conceived.” Alberto Galassi Chief Executive Officer of Piaggio Aero said. “They support Piaggio Aero in its newly declared vision of becoming a prominent player in the surveillance and security sector producing leading edge Unmanned Aerial Systems and Multirole Patrol Aircraft together with our world recognized state of the art business aviation aircraft”. Galassi added.

The P.1HH “HammerHead” development program proceeds with the demonstration / validation phase through an extensive campaign of laboratory and ground tests aimed at supporting the first flight. After the first engine start and the runway taxi that took place on February 14 2013 at an Italian Air Force base, the programme has now entered the final phase of test where, the aircraft systems in flight configuration will be tested at all levels in accordance with the build-up approach taken on the UAS.

In parallel, the VCMS – which commands the aerodynamic control surfaces and manages the on-board equipment with a triple redundancy Flight Control Computer system and multiple remote Servo Interface Units – has been extensively tested in an Iron Bird environment. Last week (on June 12th 2013) the VCMS was successfully tested on board the aircraft through remote control for the first time. The test demonstrated the UAV’s fully autonomous engine control capability, normal and auto brake features as well as complete control of all ground handling.

The ground test campaign has been supported by a dedicated engine test rig, while the integration and verification of the servo actuation system and its protective features have been performed in a closed loop to demonstrate the robustness of the adopted technical solution. The test campaign will proceed with both ground and flight envelope expansion to achieve flight readiness status of the P.1HH HammerHead prototype.

[/ismember]Selex ES was assigned the responsibility for the P.1HH’s Mission System, delivering effective and flexible scenario planning, simulation and concepts of operations (CONOPS). Selex ES also provides the datalink and ground control system.

The drone will support 16 hours mission on station, with a payload weight of 500 lbs. with less fuel, the aircraft will be able to carry 200 pound payloads and fly up to a ceiling of 45,000 ft. The aircraft is developed in partnership between Avatnti and Selex ES was first announced during the IDEX 2013 show in Au Dhabi this year. Since then the first aircraft has performed taxi tests, in preparation for flight testing.

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