The Italian Air Force Is Buying 10 Of These Strange-Looking Drones

piaggio aero p.1HH hammerhead drone uasThe Piaggio Aero P.1HH HammerHead UAS.

Tuesday morning at the Paris Air Show, Italian aerospace company Piaggio Aero unveiled the P.1HH HammerHead, Europe’s largest unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The HammerHead is based on the P.180 Avanti II, Piaggio’s unusually shaped turboprop plane, generally used for business travel.

That aircraft has an oddly rotund, low drag fuselage, made even stranger by what Piaggio calls a “forward wing,” just before the nose.

For the HammerHead, the Italians increased the wingspan and range.

Instead of executives, the fuselage will be full of the equipment, sensors, and communication equipment needed in an unmanned aircraft. The windows, naturally, are gone.

The HammerHead is designed to carry a small weapons payload (1,100 pounds), and is expected to fly reconnaissance and surveillance missions. The Italian Air Force plans to buy 10, Secretary General of defence Lt. Gen. Claudio Debertolis confirmed in Paris.

The prototype unveiled at the show was successfully flown by remote control on June 12, Piaggio says, and now the HammerHead will enter an extensive demonstration and validation period. The HammerHead could go into service in 2016 or 2017, according to Aviation Week.

Here’s the P.180 Avanti II:

Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II ferrari

And the Italian delegation with the HammerHead in Paris:

piaggio aero p.1HH hammerhead drone uas

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