A P.1HH Hammerhead unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype has been lost in a crash at sea according to Piaggio Aerospace.
The aircraft was lost five miles north of Levanzo Island off the Sicilian coast on 31 May, the company stated.
Speaking to IHS Jane's on 2 June a spokesperson for Piaggio was unable to confirm the cause of the crash of the UAV, which is based on a Piaggio P.180 Avanti II executive transport aircraft. Piaggio noted that it has set up a unit to investigate the cause of the crash together with the authorities.
Levanzo Island is located about 15 km off the western end of Sicily, adjacent to Trapani Bigri Air Base where the only known example of the Hammerhead (aircraft AV 001) has been conducting trials since making its maiden flight at the base in December 2014. The spokesperson was unable to confirm that it was prototype aircraft AV 001 that crashed, simply noting it was "a P.1HH".
The Hammerhead has been selected by both the Italian Air Force, which was announced as the launch customer for six aircraft in February 2015, and the United Arab Emirates Armed Force (announced in March 2016 to be buying eight aircraft).
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