The Italian Air Force will be the launch customer of the P.1HH HammerHead Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The manufacturer, Piaggio Aerospace will deliver three UAS systems – 6 air vehicles and 3 ground control stations – complete with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) configuration to the Italian Air Force in early 2016.
“We are truly delighted about this decision. It confirms the strong partnership we have with the Italian Air Force and showcases the P.1HH as one of the most advanced systems to enter the market.” Carlo Logli, CEO of Piaggio Aerospace said. “We have very concrete reasons to believe that P.1HH will become the first European state-of-the-art MALE UAS, uniquely suited to perform a wide range of surveillance and security missions at the highest technological level”, Logli added. Piaggio Aerospace announced today at the IDEX defense expo in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of the Italian Air Force Chief, Lt. Gen. Pasuquale Preziosa.
The P.1HH Hammerhead is a derivative of the Piaggio Aerospace P.180 twin turboprop aircraft, designed with a variety of operational capabilities that can be tailored to specific customer requirements, enabling the UAS to perform a wide range of ISR missions. The P.180 has a proven service record of over 20 years and more than 800,000 flight hours, providing a proven, reliable platform for the new UAV derivative.
Developed in partnership with Finmeccanica-Selex ES, the P.1HH HammerHead UAS is currently going through a comprehensive development and certification flight test campaign, conducted at the Trapani Birgi Italian Air Force base. The maiden flight was completed last December at Trapani Birgi.
Project Pilot Sergio Paloni, who led the flight crew said, “We are very pleased with the result of the maiden flight. The aerial vehicle was seamlessly operated remotely with no experienced flaws. We were also able to gather significant data which will enable us to forge ahead with our ambitious development roadmap”.
This achievement came after the completion of the P.1HH UAS demo program and represents the starting point of a comprehensive development and certification flight test campaign. It will enable Piaggio Aerospace to soon deliver to the market one of the most advanced MALE UAS.
The Prototype 001 is representative of the final aerodynamic configuration of the aircraft including the new, extended span main wing and the control systems on board. During the first flight, the Prototype 001 performed a shakedown flight over the Mediterranean Sea at a significant range of speed and altitude. The main flight objective was to conduct a first check of all the essential functions of the Air Vehicle and Ground Segment. The aerial vehicle management and control system, data link and ground control station are developed in partnership with Finmeccanica – Selex ES.