Flight testing of the P.1HH HammerHead unmanned aircraft system resumed on July 5, just over a year after a prototype crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, Italy’s Piaggio Aerospace announced. Plans call for first deliveries of the aircraft next year, the manufacturer said.
The HammerHead is an unmanned derivative of the P.180 Avanti twin-turboprop business aircraft, first revealed at the IDEX defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi in February 2013. A first prototype crashed into the sea off Trapani, Sicily, on May 31, 2016. Two months earlier—in March 2016—the UAE military announced that it had signed a $346 million contract to acquire eight HammerHeads.
In a brief press release, Piaggio said flight tests of a second prototype resumed at Birgi Military Airport in Trapani following the completion of an intensive program of ground testing in recent months. Plans call for completing testing and delivering the first aircraft “in the course of 2018.”
Mubadala Investment Company of Abu Dhabi has owned 100 percent of Piaggio Aerospace since September 2015.