Piaggio Rolls Out MPA

Italian aircraft manufacturer Piaggio rolled out its Multirole Patrol Aircraft (MPA) today at the company's headquarters in Genoa. The MPA was developed with Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments (ADASI) and is compatible with the unmanned HammerHead system.

A modified version of the P.180 Avanti twin-pusher turboprop, the MPA has a 50-percent wider wingspan, 35-percent larger tail section, 20-percent larger forward wing surfaces and an increase in the fuel capacity of 50 percent. In addition, the MPA will be powered by the more powerful 950 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B engines and counter-rotating Hartzell five-blade scimitar propellers.

Piaggio claims the MPA will become the fastest special mission turboprop on the market, reaching speeds as fast as Mach 0.65. At the same time, the airplane will be capable of loitering at around 125 knots, providing a wide speed envelope. With a targeted maximum range of more than 3,300 nm, the MPA is designed to operate at low altitudes for up to seven hours and a higher altitudes for as much as 10 hours.

Piaggio conceived the MPA for a variety of military missions, including maritime patrol, ground surveillance, tactical ISR and more. SAAB is working with the MPA program to integrate airborne sensors and surveillance systems and the Aquila Mission Management System (MMS). Rockwell Collins' Pro Line Fusion integrated glass avionics suite has been selected and the airplane will be equipped with wideband datalink and Satcom systems.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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