05:24 GMT +327 July 2017
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    The Piaggio Aerospace Hammerhead UAV.

    Piaggio Aerospace Resumes Test Flights of Hammerhead UAV

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    Piaggio Aerospace restarted test flights of its Hammerhead drone July 5, just over a year after an initial prototype crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

    The company also announced in a press release that completed systems will be delivered next year. A company source told Defense News that the United Arab Emirates would receive the first deliveries of the Hammerhead.

    In March 2016, the UAE agreed to buy eight of the UAV systems for a total of $346 million euros.

    Italy, though it has not officially placed an order for the system, has expressed "great interest" in the aircraft and is supporting its development by providing military facilities for testing, Flight Global points out.

    The Hammerhead is designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, according to the manufacturer's website, and has a flight endurance time of up to 16 hours, can soar up to 45,000 feet, and can meander as slowly as 135 knots true airspeed (KTAS) or sprint as fast as 395 KTAS. The ability to help wage "electronic warfare" is one of its capabilities, the company says.

    The drone is an unmanned version of Piaggio's P180 twin-turboprop business aircraft, and is a UAV system Piaggio calls Europe's only medium altitude long endurance (MALE) program.

    Test flights of a new prototype of the P.1HH Hammerhead are now underway at Birgi Military Airport in Trapani, Italy. They were halted after the crash last May, which was reportedly due to problems with the integration of the flight control system.

    Since 2015, Piaggio Aerospace has been 100 percent owned by the Mubadala Investment Company of Abu Dhabi.

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    Tags:
    electronic warfare, UAV, MALE, drone, UAE, Italy
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