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Is that the next trend in unmanned air systems? Aircraft manufacturers are evaluating to convert manned aircraft into UAS that will perform among other missions maritime ptrol flights.
Israeli company Aeronautics has been offering its Dominator XP to different clients.
The Dominator is based on the Diamond DA-42 twin engine aircraft
The Dominator XP can achieve an endurance of 28 hours and is capable of carrying a 300 kgs payload. Its max takeoff weight is 2000 kgs.
Max altitude is 30.000 feet and max speed is 190 kts .The Dominator is aimed at the high end of the MALE uas market.
Now Italian business aircraft manufacturer Piaggio and Selex Electronic Systems are working together to produce an unmanned variant of the P-180 Avanti executive turboprop aircraft.
Named P.1HH Hammerhead, the new variant of the Avanti has been extensively modified for its UAS role. According to Piaggio the new version will be capable of 16 hours of operation carrying a range of payloads including Sigint and Elint packages as well as being able to conduct border and maritime surveillance and electronic warfare. Weapons and other external stores could also be fitted to pylons attached to the forward fuselage. The aircraft has been developed to capture part of the medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) market against aircraft such as the MQ-9 Reaper or BAE Systems Mantis.
The two companies have been quietly working on the self-funded program for more than two years. They unveiled a model of the aircraft at the IDEX defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 18 following the rollout and first taxi-tests at an airbase in Italy on Feb. 14.