Italian unmanned aerial system demonstrator takes flight

Nov. 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A new medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial system by Italy's Piaggio Aero and Selex ES has validated its navigation and maneuvering capabilities.

The P.1HH HammerHead demonstrator aircraft was flown late last week over the Mediterranean Sea for 12 minutes in mid-flap configuration – with landing gear extended – and reached an altitude of 2,000 feet and a speed of 170 knots, Piaggio Aero reported from an international airshow in the United Arab Emirates.

"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, chief executive officer of Piaggio Aero.

"The first flight achievement demonstrates the huge progress made by Piaggio Aero, together with Selex ES and the support of the Italian Air Force, in the development of this new generation of Unmanned Aerial Systems."

The P.1HH HammerHead medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS is expected to become operational in 2015. It will have an operational ceiling of 45,000 feet and a flight endurance of 16 hours.

Piaggio said it will also feature removable wings for ease of transport.

Selex ES is responsible for the aircraft's integrated electronic systems and sensor package.

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