The P.1HH HammerHead is a full-sized, medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed by Piaggio Aero Industries. The HammerHead UAS was derived from the P.180 Avanti II commercial aircraft.
The P.1HH HammerHead UAS made its first flight in February 2013, from an Italian Air Force base. The UAS was first announced at International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) held in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The UAS was unveiled in June 2013 at the Paris Air Show.
The UAS is designed primarily to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. It is also capable of performing several other missions by using a combination of payloads.
Some of its mission capabilities include communications intelligence (COMINT), electronics intelligence (ELINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT).
The mission management system (MMS) installed aboard the P.1HH HammerHead helps it to perform patrol and ISR missions for preventing terrorist activities.
P.1HH HammerHead design
The P.1HH HammerHead is designed to comply with STANAG USAR 4671 standards. The UAS integrates a large fuselage housing several combinations of payloads.
The aircraft is designed with three lifting surfaces configuration (3 LSC) and high aspect ratio laminar wings, along with increased wing span, to make it more flexible and carry greater weight.
The UAS has a span of 15.6m, length of 14.4m and overall height of 3.98m. The maximum take-off weight of the UAS is 6,146kg.
The wing area of the UAS is 18m² (193.75ft²), horizontal tail area is 3.83m² (41.27ft²), vertical tail area is 4.73m² (50.92ft²) and forward wing area is 1.3m² (13.99ft²).
The P.1HH is installed with a large fuselage tank for long range endurance. The fuel tank is specially designed to provide better stability and operational flexibility to the UAS.
The aircraft is installed with several instruments controlled by vehicle control management system (VCMS) for better control and flexibility during missions. The aircraft has provision for hot air on main wing for stopping ice formation, a new electrical forward wing and a fire extinguishing for the engine nacelle area. It is equipped with a hydraulic dual pressure system for landing gear operations and brake system.
Sensors on Piaggio Aero Industries’ aircraft
The advanced VCMS in combination with the advanced mission management system (MMS) controls the aircraft and other mission specific equipments.
The VCMS receives commands from the ground control station (GCS) through an airborne datalink system. The VCMS regulates aerodynamic control surfaces and manages on-board equipment with the help of a triple redundant flight control computer (FCC) system and multiple remote multilane servo interface units (SIU).
The VCMS includes triple redundant inertial navigation system (INS) and air data probes (ADS), which manage position, attitude and air data of the UAS. The VCMS also features an automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) system with dual redundant external sensors for consistency and security.
The onboard mission management system (MMS) of the P.1HH HammerHead controls sensors, video and data, communications and ISR functions of the UAS. The MMS includes FLIR EO/IR StarSafire 380HD and Seaspray 7300 E radar supplied by Selex ES.
Engine on the Italian MALE UAS
The power plant of the P.1HH HammerHead includes two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turbine engines coupled to two low noise five blade scimitar propellers. Each engine can generate a maximum power of 850SHP.
The flight control computer (FCC) of the P.1HH HammerHead controls the engine interface units regulating the entire power plant of the aircraft.
The FCC provides commands by utilising data from the engine and propeller to drive the turbine and the propeller governors.
P.1HH HammerHead performance
The P.1HH HammerHead UAS can cruise at a maximum speed of 395KTAS and has a minimum speed (loiter speed) of 135KTAS. It has a maximum range of 4,400nm and an endurance of 16 hours. The UAS can climb to an altitude of 45,000ft.
P.1HH HammerHead UAS ground control system (GCS)
The GCS of HammerHead is placed in an independent shelter which can accommodate flight control crew, payloads and other related equipment to control up to three unmanned aircraft systems.
The GCS provides Line Of Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) links for vehicle as well as payload control with the help of multiple ground data terminals (GDT) when coupled to associated air data terminals (ADT) on the vehicles.
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