With the P.1HH "Hammerhead" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) set to begin deliveries to launch customer United Arab Emirates in mid-2018, Piaggio of Italy - with input from the UAE - has begun looking towards the future for a more evolved successor in the "P.2HH". The original P.1HH is based on a heavily modified form of the company's P.180 "Avanti" (detailed elsewhere on this site) VIP pusher prop-driven passenger hauler while the P.2HH is set to incorporate the changes instituted in another P.180 derivative - the Multirole Patrol Aircraft (MPA). The venture is being supported locally in Italy by the Italian Air Force which holds a running interest in advanced UAV types like the Hammerhead.
The P.2HH will bring about increased capability by way of key design changes, namely a larger fuselage structure for increased internal volume and all-new, wider-spanning composite wings for increased endurance. All this will allow for greater fuel and equipment loads (up to 1,500lb) as well as loitering/mission times (30 hours is the stated goal). The same pusher prop-driven engine arrangement will be featured as will the canard wing configuration (though with an all-new canard wing design) and tricycle landing gear. Other carry-over qualities of the P.1HH include the Multhopp "T-style" tail unit. The twin pusher propeller (multi-blade) engine arrangement has been shown to provide better performance than competing designs. Winglets added to the mainplanes will promote fuel efficiency.
As the P.180 Avanti is already a European-airspace-certified platform so this, by default, gives any future Piaggio attempts at a UAV based on the design an edge over foreign competitors. The multirole P.2HH will be able to cover the gamut of civil airspace roles including border patrol, humanitarian air, disaster relief, general surveillance and the like while also being very capable of military-level service.
The Italian and UAE air services are envisioning an initial fleet of about ten P.2HH aircraft each providing the program with a perfect starting point in netting other potential foreign orders in the future. Deliveries of the new system are scheduled for early-2020 based on the given timetable.
Performance data presented below are estimates made on the part of the author based on the existing P.1HH design.
February 2019 - Funding originally set aside for the P.2HH program will be used to completed the P.1HH UAV. These are set to be delivered to the Italian Air Force (four examples).
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
50.9 ft (15.50 m)
49.2 ft (15.00 m)
13.1 ft (4.00 m)
20,283 lb (9,200 kg)
33,069 lb (15,000 kg)
+12,787 lb (+5,800 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Piaggio P.2HH Hammerhead production variant)
ASSUMED: 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66B turboprop engines developing 850 shaft horsepower each (estimated) driving multi-bladed propeller units in pusher arrangement.
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