Italy special: Piaggio opens second front

Piaggio Aero makes one aircraft type, the unmistakable P180 Avanti II twin-pusher. Its high performance and distinctive looks have won it loyal fans around the world, although its commercial performance in the business aviation world could perhaps be best described as niche.

But now the Italian manufacturer is opening a second front in its marketing efforts. Although it has dabbled in the special mission market with versions of the Avanti, it launched at Paris an unmanned variant called the P.1HH HammerHead and we have been to Genoa to find out how Piaggio intends this aircraft to spearhead an attack on the intelligence, reconnaisance and surveillance sector.

The Piaggio piece is just one of a selection of features in our special on Italian aerospace in our 5 November issue. We also speak to AgustaWestland’s new CEO about the rotorcraft manufacturer’s product strategy and to Alenia Aermacchi about how it wants to be a world leader in aerostructures as well as military training and transport aircraft. Meanwhile, Finmeccanica’s chief executive explains how the parent company of both these units is on the road to recovery after being rocked by financial scandals and the divestment of one of its non-aerospace businesses. Finally, we look at Italy’s involvement in the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme. Despite political opposition in the cash-strapped nation over the aircraft’s cost, it is having a positive effect on its industry.

In news: why the US Navy has pulled a U-turn on its Super Hornet deal, and Canada’s Cyclone maritime helicopter programme is still stuck in limbo. Also: second test Bombardier CSeries aircraft approaches first flight and Airbus and Boeing tussle over economy seat widths.



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