Home » Air » Italians Unveil HammerHead Drone

Italians Unveil HammerHead Drone

by Mike Hoffman on June 18, 2013

HammerheadPARIS – Italian aviation firm Piaggio Aero unveiled Tuesday the HammerHead unmanned aircraft system along with Selex ES here at the Paris Air Show marking the first time an Italian company has developed a large scale UAS.

The international market continues to demand medium to large sized unmanned aircraft. It’s a market that U.S. and Israeli defense firms have dominated. 

The P1HH Hammerhead is a sign that growth is coming outside the two leaders. China and Russian defense companies are also looking to expand the number of larger scale drones they produce.

The Hammerhead can climb to 35,000 feet in 20 minutes and operate with a 45,000 foot ceiling. The UAS is designed as a surveillance aircraft with an endurance of 16 hours carrying 500 pounds of payload and a range of up to 4,400 nautical miles.

Piaggio Aero was the prime contractor and built the aircraft while Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, integrated the sensors and the operating system.

The aircraft was first announced in February at the IDEX defense show in Abu Dhabi. The drone is yet to fly, but officials said it’s in the final stages of preflight clearance trials. Selex ES leaders said they expect the first flight to occur within a year.

With defense budgets shrinking across the world, Piaggio Aero and Selex ES expect the HammerHead to receive plenty of attention because they plan to price it well below similar U.S. and Israeli models, said Norman Bone, managing director for Selex ES’ Airborne and Space Systems Division.

Bone said it would be hard to compare the HammerHead to a U.S. drone, but said it is similar to the Hermes produced by Elbit Systems in Israel.

The companies don’t have near term plans to arm the aircraft, but Bone said it could be part of the future development.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

theyknowwho June 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Pandora's box has been opened and everyone is fair game. All those thought this a good idea that now other nations are rushing to get their owns for the very same reason the originators invented theirs? Nobody is safe.


Russell Romick June 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm

That did not start with drones arriving on the scene. Easy to blame technology. Surveillance was already pushing the limits of legality before drones, they just make it easier to do and give operators more flexibility in the field if a target of opportunity arises. Drones do not need to land to eat or get some sack time.


Blue June 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Did you think that unmanned aerial vehicles wouldn't someday become commonly used?


Ricky June 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Its pretty.


Menzie June 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm

More like a modified turboprop gulfstream. Not pretty just functional. I think the US contractors try to make things look pretty because it is people that approve acquisitions.


FormerDirtDart June 19, 2013 at 12:32 am

It's a modified P.180 Avanti II


Restore Palestine June 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

Yes it's prettier than US-made drones and planes.


USS ENTERPRISE June 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Pretty equals better (no wait, hang on)


Rob C. June 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Looks like their using existing airframe designs to make UAS, which would be the cheaper route to do. Question is what kind of quality and performance this will be delievering.


FormerDirtDart June 19, 2013 at 12:44 am

Specs on the P.180 Avanti, which this is a development from.
With all the crew and passenger features stripped, should provide a decent increase in useful load.

General characteristics
Crew: one or two pilots
Capacity: up to nine passengers
Cabin dimensions: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) high, 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) wide, 4.45 m (14 ft 7 in) long
Payload: 907 kg (2,000 lb)
Length: 14.41 m (47 ft 3½ in)
Wingspan: 14.03 m (46 ft 0½ in)
Height: 3.97 m (13 ft 0¾ in)
Wing area: 16 m² (172.2 ft²)
Foreplane area: 2.19 m² (23.59 ft²)
Horizontal stabilizer area: 3.83 m² (41.27 ft²)
Empty weight: 3,400 kg (7,500 lb)
Useful load: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,239 kg (11,550 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 turboprop, 634 kW (850 shp) each
Maximum speed: 737 km/h (398 kn, 458 mph)
Cruise speed: 732 km/h (395 kn, 455 mph) cruise at 30,000 ft, 660 km/h (356 kn, 410 mph) economy cruise at 39,000 ft
Stall speed: 172 km/h (93 kn, 107 mph)
Range: 2,795 km (1,509 NM, 1,737 mi) at 11,900 m (39,000 ft) IFR
Service ceiling: 12,500 m (41,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 15 m/s (2,950 ft/min)
Wing loading: 327 kg/m² (67.1 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.24 kW/kg (6.79 lb/hp
Fuel economy: 0.84 NM/Lbs @FL410 and 316 KTAS)


Mystick June 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I concur. It look like a mod on a civilian light transport.


Papi1960R June 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Made a few flights in IAF Avantis from Sigonella to Aviano and back. They are deluxe! We could learn a lot about quality from smaller countries and companies that aren't real familiar to Americans. Most Americans,those who have even heard of Piaggio) assume they just made Vespa Scooters.


hibeam June 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

We have drones. Just not the will to use them. When we see Taliban stacked up like cordwood at a funeral we hold our fire.


blight_ June 19, 2013 at 11:16 am

If you can tell a funeral of "Taliban" from a few pixels up high vs a funeral for a village elder, then fire a Hellfire on a gut feeling…hmm, maybe that's why they hate us.

That said, tailing the funeral goers and abducting them in snatch and grab in dispersed houses at night is probably more "profitable" than killing them outright.

The best roach baits work when the roach takes it home to the family…and kills them all.


hibeam June 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

The funeral was for one of those wild eyed bearded lunatics. Pretty obvious who attended… Still breathing wild eyed bearded lunatics. We could have addressed that problem.


shawn1999 June 20, 2013 at 7:53 am

What difference does it make? Both Taliban and Village Elders are ordered by the Quran to destroy Jews, Christians (by name) and all others who don't believe in Islam, and they even go after themselves depending on which successor to Mohammed they believe is right. That means for a Muslim, everyone else is your enemy. That means they are all valid targets.


shawn1999 June 20, 2013 at 7:53 am

And your wrong- that isn't why they hate us. They hate us because we aren't their flavor of Islam.

tiger June 20, 2013 at 10:41 am

THE power to kill, does not give you the right to so. Taliban do not wear name tags. You have no clue. Chill out dim bulb.


David June 19, 2013 at 8:03 am

Reminds me a bit of the old Beech Starship – cool looking design!


Scott June 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

good timing, with eurohawk gone, NATO and EU, will need a cheaper alternative, does not perform as well as a global hawk, but certainly cheaper,,, good way to monitor the med for illegals from african who are bleeding europe from its southern boarders


hibeam June 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

Illegals make economies boom. Get with the PC view not reality.


tiger June 19, 2013 at 11:11 am

Dim bulb, Stop with the delusional posts…


hibeam June 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

My posts are lusional.


blight_ June 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

Incorrect, human capital that costs little but can be worked to death makes economies boom (Foxconn, blood-diamond mine in Africa, Leopold's Belgian Congo, sugar plantations of the Caribbean, cotton in the Deep South post-cotton gin, tobacco plantations in early colonial Virginia, Roman slave-factories and latifundia factory farms…)


USS ENTERPRISE June 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm

You could've just said China, but you know.


blight_ June 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Foxconn is Taiwanese using Chinese slaves.


hibeam June 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

We have the Dunderhead drone. Works fine. The Commander in Golf won't use it.


Edger June 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Looks like a Predator drone with a pusher engine.


FormerDirtDart June 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

A Predator drone has a pusher engine.


Restore Palestine June 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm

So, are we going to start have defense thread about a Predator, or X-47B, pitted against foreign machines in vicious dog fights?


tiger June 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

In my lifetime, yes.


hibeam June 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I am surprised anyone would build a drone. According to our Pakistani allies they only kill small children and puppies. Goats have been wounded. No enemy combatants have been hurt.


USN-Fan June 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm

This is based on their existing design for a commuter aircraft for short to medium ranged regional market routes. All they've done is automate the cockpit, omit all the windows, expanded the fuel capacity, and added the capability for a modular ELINT/Comms/surveilance payload. Seems a relatively safe route to go and a new potential market for the airframe. Smart idea.


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blight_ June 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

Don't forget ethnic motivations.

Hazaras are evil, not just because they are Sufi, but because they aren't Pashtun. Tajiks and Uzbeks also aren't Pashtun, even if they are also Sunni. Then there's the Balochis who aren't Pashtun, and the Pakistani Urdu-speakers who aren't Pashto-speaking Pashtuns.


tiger June 20, 2013 at 11:00 am

So because somebody does not share your View of God, it's ok to blow them up? Who died & made you judge & executioner? Easy off the hyperbole.


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