Farnborough, UK
Official launch of the new Piaggio Aero MPA aircraft

Piaggio Aero today announced the signature of a contract with ADASI – Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments - a subsidiary of Tawazun – for the development of a new special missions surveillance aircraft, the Piaggio Aero MPA – Multirole Patrol Aircraft.

The comprehensive contract covers the complete development of the MPA aircraft, including the roll out of two prototypes with first flight scheduled for 2014.

The Defense and Security company Saab has been selected as the MPA systems supplier after an extensive international evaluation process. Piaggio Aero and Saab have joined forces to develop and integrate a full suite of sophisticated airborne sensors and surveillance systems. Saab’s proven experience in special mission equipment will allow Piaggio Aero to deliver to ADASI the most advanced, cost effective state of the art aircraft for surveillance missions.

The Piaggio Aero MPA is the evolution of the Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II platform, newly designed to meet the need for a robust and high-tech solution for land, coastal, maritime and offshore security. The MPA’s main features are an enhanced airframe, increased maximum take-off weight, additional fuel tanks and a new aerodynamic configuration with a reinforced wing providing an increased surface and higher aspect ratio.

The new special mission aircraft will be able to fly up to 41,000 feet, with an outstanding endurance of 10 plus flight hours, a maximum range of 3,300 Nm and a best in class cruise speed of 350 Knots.

The range and endurance of the MPA will make it uniquely suited for any surveillance, law enforcement or security mission.

“I am proud that Piaggio Aero has been selected by ADASI, the company that manages many complex programs for the UAE Armed Forces, and is forming joint ventures with internationally recognized companies. The newly designed Piaggio Aero MPA aircraft will allow us to enter the surveillance sector and diversify our business profile with the development of this new state of the art multirole platform” said Alberto Galassi, Piaggio Aero CEO “I’m also pleased to welcome SAAB as our partner in this challenging new aircraft .They provide the global aviation market with world-leading products, services and solutions from military defense to civil security and as such are the best choice for the development of the innovative MPA aircraft which will be a game changer in its sector. It's a very significant moment to see Piaggio Aero moving into its future with the fundamental support of Mubadala Aerospace and Tata, our world class shareholders ” he added.

“We are delighted about our collaboration with Piaggio, and we strongly believe in the MPA product. This collaboration is in line with our strategy and experience of installing surveillance systems to different platforms, both on SAAB aircraft and those of other OEMs. We are convinced that this collaboration will pave the way for success in the future”, says Rickard Hjelmberg, Vice President Marketing and Sales for Airborne Surveillance at SAAB´s Business Area Support and Services.

The Piaggio Aero MPA is a new multirole aircraft conceived to be missionized for many different roles including Maritime Patrol, Ground Surveillance, Tactical ISR and COMINT missions.

The MPA aircraft is an advanced twin turboprop, powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, with a competitive loitering speed both at low and high altitude, coupled with a best in class 350 KTAS cruise speed for maximum mission flexibility. Its operating ceiling of up to 41,000 feet, allows for high altitude operations with a remarkable 10 plus hours endurance.

The aircraft will be able to perform surveillance of broad areas for more than 6 hours at low altitude in coastal or offshore waters, and thanks to its maximum range of more than 3300Nm and fast deployment speed is able to reach distant operative theaters.

The large, stand up cabin allows installation of any kind of console for flexible operation and special missions as well as providing maximum crew comfort enhanced by the lowest cabin noise in its category and a high pressure differential of just 9psi.

The MPA represents the evolution of the P.180 Avanti’s patented Three-Lifting-Surface Configuration (3LSC). The modified aerodynamic configuration designed for special mission applications, underwent extensive Reynolds low speed/high speed wind tunnel testing in the world’s leading facilities (ONERA) to validate design and performance and during testing demonstrated an outstanding 30% reduction of required power in comparison to its nearest competitor.

MPA’s first application, developed with Saab, will be dedicated to Maritime Patrol. Therefore, a high performance Search Radar and EO/IR sensors suite will be integrated into a sophisticated mission management system to conduct a wide variety of missions, making the MPA one of the most functional and advanced aircraft available on the market.