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The Aerospace firm Piaggio announced that it will shortly roll out the second prototype of its P.1HH HammerHead Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), to speed up the flight test process which took a hit when one of the flight test aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in last May. The HammerHead flight test program involved two aircrafts, the first prototype which completed maiden flight in December 2014, and a configured Avanti II which was used for the initial demonstration phase of the program.

The crash had delayed delivery to launch customer Italian Air Force, who have ordered 6 aircrafts. UAE also ordered ordered 8 samples as the Italian firm is controlled by UAE based strategic investor Mubadala.

The UAV, that’s being assembled at Piaggio Aero’s new plant in Genoa,  features automatic take-off and landing capabilities and able to fly at up to 45,000 feet, with an outstanding endurance of 16 flight hours – specific mission equipment and systems and a remote Ground Control Station (GCS). Based on Piaggio’s Avanti II executive turboprop, the HammerHead is designed for Intelligence and surveillance.

According to avaiationanalysis.net, the HammerHead can be equipped with EO/IR (Electro-Optical/ Infra-Red) cameras, radar and advanced communications systems to carry out intelligance and surveillance missions.

A high aspect ratio laminar wing design has been used to increase the wing span to support increased mass and allocating a quickly detachable joint to the outer wings for rapid aerial deployment of the UAS in remote areas. The new device is powered by two highly reliable Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turbine engines integrated with low noise 5-blade scimitar propellers.

In the company’s announcement was also quoted the Chief Executive Officer, Renato Vaghi: ”With our new production centre of Villanova, we are now able to compete as a main actor in the production of both commercial and defence systems”.