Piaggio Aero's P.1HH Hammerhead unmanned aircraft system (UAS) demonstrator completed its first flight Thursday, Nov. 14 at Sicily's Trapani air base, the Italian aerospace manufacturer announced at the Dubai Airshow.
Hammerhead UAS. Photo, courtesy of Piaggio Aero.
The Hammerhead, a medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) UAS designed to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions for the Italian Air Force, completed a 12-minute flight over the Mediterranean Sea. Ground control station operators were able to test the navigation system and maneuvering capabilities in both manual and automatic flight modes.
Piaggio conducted the test flight in collaboration with Selex ES, a Finmeccanica subsidiary, controlling the flight operations. Selex developed the mission management system based on its skyISTAR
The Hammerhead UAS is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turboprop engines and has a maximum range of 4,400 nautical miles. Developed as a derivative of the Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II manned aircraft, the Hammerhead has a wingspan of 51.1 feet and is capable to sustaining 16 flight hours at altitudes of up to 45,000 feet.
"The success of the first flight test of the P.1HH DEMO brings us closer to providing the first European developed state of the art MALE UAS, capable of performing at the highest technological level aerial, land, coastal, maritime, offshore, COMINT/ELINT and electronic warfare missions,” said Alberto Galassi, CEO of Piaggio Aero.
Galassi said certification is planned for 2014 with entry into service for the Italian Air Force scheduled for 2015.