Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments (ADASI) signed a contract with Piaggio Aero today at the Farnborough Airshow for the Piaggio Aero MPA (multi-role patrol aircraft), a new special-missions surveillance aircraft based on the P.180 Avanti II. The agreement calls for aircraft launch customer ADASI to provide financing for Piaggio to build two prototypes. First flight is scheduled for 2014.
Saab’s defense and security division has been tapped as the MPA’s systems supplier and will develop and integrate a full suite of airborne sensors and surveillance systems for various special missions. This encompasses land, coastal, maritime and offshore security roles.
The company called the MPA an “evolution” of the Avanti II platform. It will have a larger, reinforced wing that allows for a higher maximum takeoff weight and additional fuel capacity. The MPA will retain the same Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 engines found on the Avanti II.
According to Piaggio, the special-missions aircraft will have an endurance of more than 10 hours, a maximum range of 3,300 nm and a ceiling of 41,000 feet. Top cruise speed is projected to be 350 knots.
Piaggo would not say if the beefed-up wing, and its resulting improvements, will eventually be offered in a civil version.