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Piaggio HammerHead returns to the air

 

Flight-testing of the P.1HH HammerHead medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has resumed. The second prototype took to the air recently at Trapani-Birgi air base in Sicily.

Piaggio Aerospace announced the development on July 5. The latest flight involved a ‘shakedown’ sortie and was completed without any problems. Company engineers will now examine the data gathered to plan future flight-test missions.

The first prototype aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean Sea near Trapani in 2016, bringing HammerHead flight testing to a halt.

Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Piaggio’s Chief Executive Officer, Renato Vaghi explained that the cause of the 2016 was related to overall system integration. The resumption of flight tests follows the completion of an intensive programme of ground testing in recent months.

Piaggio is unable to flight-test the UAV from its Villanova factory airfield since this lacks suitable air corridors.

The P.1HH is intended for a range of missions including ground and maritime surveillance and reconnaissance. Entirely designed, developed and manufactured in Italy, Piaggio describes the HammerHead as the only remotely piloted MALE system in Europe.

A complete P.1HH system comprises two remotely piloted UAVs, a Ground Control Station and integrated navigation and mission systems.

The Italian company Leonardo is involved in the P.1HH programme and support is being provided by the Italian Ministry of Defense and the Italian Air Force.

The completion of system development and the first deliveries are planned for 2018.

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