LONDON – Piaggio Aerospace has won two contracts from the Italian Ministry of Defence. The value of the new orders is approximately 46 million euros.
Full flight simulator
The first order is worth approximately 31 million euros and was signed by the Secretariat General of Defence and National Armament. It includes the realization and installation of a technologically advanced P.180-based full flight simulator to be placed at the Pratica di Mare military airport, near Rome. The device will be used mainly for the training of the crews flying the P.180s operated by the Italian Air Force.
The ground-based training system will encompass a “level D” full flight simulator based on a P.180 platform and a computer-based training suite for pilots.
It’s the most advanced flight training device that accurately reproduces the aircraft’s performance and forces when flying. The order also includes the building of the facility aimed at hosting the device, which will also become the new headquarters of the Centro Addestramento Equipaggi Multi Crew dell’Aeronautica Militare the training centre of the Italian Air Force crews.
The Italian manufacturer will lead the project in cooperation with CAE, the Canadian world leader in simulation equipment. The entire process will take about three years to build, prepare and implement an operational simulator. The final aim is to make other crews of the Armed Forces, as well as State Corps and eventually other subjects, access the system, with terms to be defined.
Vincenzo Nicastro, Extraordinary Commissioner of Piaggio Aerospace said: “The flight simulator that Piaggio is going to build for the Italian Air Force will be the first specimen of that kind in Europe and the second worldwide. This is a long-term investment that proves once again the great value of the P.180, an aircraft which has not expressed its full business potential yet, that will surely be exploited by the new owner of the Company”
Maintenance of the RR engines
The second contract is an extension of a 2019 agreement providing for the maintenance of Rolls-Royce V632-43 engines, better known as “Viper.” These engines are the equipment of the Italian Aermacchi MB-339 training aircraft flown by, among others, the famous Italian aerobatic team “Frecce Tricolori.”
This contract is worth about 15 million euros and is expected to be signed within a few weeks by the Italian Air Force.
The extension of the agreement on Viper engines, went on Mr Nicastro, “represents the real acknowledgement of Piaggio Aerospace’s proven maintenance skills. Indeed, our Company is the only one certified and licensed by Rolls-Royce worldwide to carry out these activities”.
These new contracts bring Piaggio Aerospace’s order portfolio to approximately 490 million euros.
Six EVOs for the Italian Air Force
Piaggio will also provide the Italian Armed Forces with six new P.180 Avanti EVOs, which will add to the nine sold in December 2019 and currently under production.
The agreement is worth approximately 55 million euros and requires the company to deliver six aircraft within the next two years. The new Avanti Evo’s will be provided with those technical upgrades that had already been outlined in the previous contract and that are now in their very last stage of development or have already been fine-tuned by the Italian company’s engineers.
The purchase of these new Avanti Evo’s partially replaces the retrofitting of the 18 P.180s currently in use by the Italian Carabinieri, Army, Navy and Air Force.
Looking for a new owner
Meanwhile, the company’s sale process is proceeding, with the Extraordinary Commissioner working to choose a new owner able to guarantee Piaggio Aerospace’s long-term future.
The Piaggio Group’s industrial performance remains positive: at the end of 2021, after revenues exceeding 154 million euros, the order backlog amounts to 490 million euros, with a further approximately 60 million more expected to arrive in 2022 from orders close to being signed.