The path not taken.
- Oct 9, 2009
- Reaction score
[IMAGE CREDIT: Gizmodo/ Piaggio Aero Industries]
Dubbed the P.1HH HammerHead, this UAV is the result of a collaboration between Piaggio Aero and Selex ES based on the P-180 Avanti II, a twin-engine turboprop. The Avanti II is primarily utilized as a business jet with a 1400 NM range, though a "Special Mission" piloted derivative is also available for both emergency response and military operations. In the latter case, the Avanti II can perform in a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, security surveillance roles.
The HammerHead UAV, while maintaining the Avanti II's 47-foot fuselage length and 13 foot height, does incorporate slightly-larger reinforced wings measuring 51 feet across. It also replaces the cockpit and cabin with an oversized fuel tank, sensor suite, and avionics bay. The HammerHead will also carry an external radome. In all, the UAV will be able to take off with a maximum payload of about 4,000 pounds worth of sensors and equipment. A pair of 950 SHP Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66B turboprop engines will propel the aircraft to its 45,000 foot operational ceiling and keep it there for up to 16 hours.
While it is capable of autonomously taking off and landing, the P.1HH can be controlled remotely through both Line of Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS), a satellite-based communication system, ground control stations. What's more, the HammerHead is equipped with the Selex ES-developed skyISTAR system. The skyISTAR integrates and analyzes data from the on-board sensor suite before transmitting the synthesized image to the UAV operator.