Piaggio Aero Industries has received certification for its life-extension package for the P166 twin turboprop surveillance aircraft as the Italian military begins acceptance testing.

The P166 DP1 is an upgrade of the DL3 version incorporating upgraded engines. The original 700shp (520kW) Avco Lycoming LTP 101-700A-1 pusher turboprops have been replaced with two 750shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-121 engines. A fleet of 32 P166s is flown by the Italian air force, the border patrol and the coastguard and all are set to be upgraded. The first DP1 left Piaggio’s facilities in Genoa earlier this month and is undergoing acceptance tests, says Massimo Isidori, Piaggio senior vice-president commercial.

The mid-life upgrade extends the aircraft’s operational life up to 15,000h and extends range to 1,950km (1,050nm) at a 24,000ft (7,300m) cruise altitude.

Source: Flight International