UAE To Beef Up Stake In New Italian UAV Development
Bindiya Thomas Exclusive from Dubai Airshow
08:30 AM, November 19, 2013
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The UAE will increase its stake in the development of the Hammerhead unmanned Aerial System (UAS) after Mubadala, a Abu Dhabi-based company, revealed that it has increased its stake in Piaggio Aero from 33 to 41 percent on November 12.

The announcement only days after Selex ES and partner Piaggio Aero announced at the Dubai Air Show that the HammerHead Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) completed its first demonstration and validation phase of the programme with its maiden flight.

“We believe there is a huge potential in the market. This is a sector that is growing very, very fast. The unmanned vehicle sector that is becoming of paramount importance for modern operations,” Dr. Caio Mussolini, VP Global Market Development, Head of Middle East Region told Defenseworld.net at the Dubai Air Show 2013.

Mussolini says that local collaborations are “an important part of Finmeccanica's activities in the country (UAE)” and they have have started different activities with the local players, some JVs like the one with Abu Dhabi shipbuilding and commercial activities with Mubada.

“The challenge here is to transform an aircraft that was in service as a small aircraft. So you take advantage of what you have already. And you modify it into a new system. So you cut cost, save money and you have a proven system that gives you more confidence,” he added.

The Hammerhead features two pusher propellers and canards on the nose. It offers a 15.5-meter wing span, maximum takeoff weight of 6,146 kilograms and will fly to 45,000 feet with 16 hours endurance.

The UAE, to meet its current UAV needs has purchased the export version of the General Atomics Predator A, the XP, which has been marketed to non-NATO countries.

The P.1HH DEMO UAV has taken off at a rotation speed of 110 kts and performed a flight over the Mediterranean sea for approximately 12 minutes, while being remotely piloted from the Ground Control Station, which allowed for testing of the navigation system and verification of maneuvering capabilities in both manual and automatic flight modes, the company said in a statement.

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