The Piaggio Aero Multirole Patrol Aircraft (MPA) is an advanced special mission aircraft being developed by Piaggio Aero Industries in partnership with Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments (ADASI), a subsidiary of Tawazun.
The MPA will be suitable for maritime, coastal, land and offshore security missions. Its mission capabilities include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, exclusive economic zone patrol and search-and-rescue (SAR).
Piaggio Aero MPA development details
ADASI and Piaggio Aero partnered for the development of the MPA in July 2012. Piaggio Aero will roll out two prototypes of the aircraft as part of the development. The maiden flight of the first Piaggio Aero MPA prototype is expected to take place in Italy in mid-2014.
The aircraft design is based on the Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II aircraft. It has increased fuel capacity, and wing and horizontal tail surfaces and span compared to P.180 Avanti II.
Piaggio Aero MPA design features
The Piaggio Aero MPA features a full stand up operative area that offers best-in-class comfort for two crew members. The crew comfort is enhanced by the low noise and vibration levels and cabin relative pressure altitude feature.
The multirole aircraft measures 14.4m in length, 3.96m in height and 21.37m in span. The maximum takeoff and landing weights of the MPA are 16,100lbs and 14,500lbs respectively.
The aircraft has a zero fuel weight of 11,050lbs and can load up to 5,300lbs of fuel. The maximum fuel loading capacity is 5,100lbs at maximum payload.
The mission payload capacity, including the mission equipment and two operators, is 1,350lbs.
Surveillance equipment onboard the MPA
Saab secured an order worth €15.5m ($20.25m) from Piaggio Aero Industries in December 2012 to deliver and integrate surveillance equipment for the MPA.
The aircraft will be integrated with the latest radar sensors, infra-red cameras and the advanced Aquila mission system. It can be optionally fitted with a self-protection system (SPS).
Rockwell Collins was selected by Piaggio Aero in February 2013 to develop Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system for the MPA.
The avionics system features 35.5cm touch-control primary flight displays that supports natural, head-up and eyes-forward operations. It is equipped with synthetic vision to provide crew with increased situational awareness of terrain. Pro Line Fusion also incorporates advanced communication and navigation systems.
The Pro Line Fusion system also features the Ascend Aircraft Information Manager service to automatically transfer aircraft information.
The aircraft integrates Link 2000+ Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) system with wideband LOS data link and a Ku/Ka BLOS SATCOM system.
The communication system improves the operational efficiency of the aircraft by sending electronic messages. It can be customised to integrate with Link11/16 and IFF Interrogator.
The aircraft safety is enhanced with the Traffic Alert Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) II.
Engine and performance of Piaggio Aero’s MPA
The Piaggio Aero MPA is powered by two PT6A-66B turboprop engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada. Each engine, driving on Hartzell’s five-bladed, low noise and counter rotating propeller, produces 950shp.
The maximum range and service ceiling of the aircraft are 3,300nm and 41,000ft respectively. The maximum cruise speed is 350Ktas. The MPA can climb to 35,000ft in 20 minutes at its maximum weight.
The aircraft can operate at high altitudes for more than ten hours. It can patrol for seven hours continuously at an altitude of 5,000ft in broad areas.
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