The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Force will purchase eight Piaggio P.1HH Hammerhead unmanned drones.
The UAE military announced the deal on Tuesday and according to a Piaggio statement the purchase will cost around €316 million. The Italian made drones, will be equipped with EO/IR (Electro-Optical Infra-Red) cameras, radar and communications systems while part of the contract is also the integrated logistic support, including training.
According to Piaggio, the Hammerhead is fitted with ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) equipment based on the SkyISTAR from Selex ES, and the company says that it makes it ideal for responding to a range of threats, including terrorist attacks, illegal immigration, and protection of infrastructure and critical sites.
The UAE is a member of the Saudi Arabia-led Arab Coalition which performs a series of airstrikes in Yemen, in support of the exiled Yemeni government. Moreover, the oil-rich country is member of the anti-Islamic State coalition, led by the United States.
The purchase of the Italian drones by UAE was expected as Piaggio Aero is controlled by Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi-based strategic investment firm. The Abu Dhabi investment fund raised its stake in Piaggio Aero in November 2013, because it wanted to invest in the production of the P.1HH Hammerhead.
Before the UAE purchase the first country which showed interest in purchasing the unarmed drones, was Italy. At the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2015 in Abu Dhabi, Piaggio announced the first sales of the HammerHead, with three UAS systems, consisting of six aircraft and three ground stations and complete with ISR configuration, to be delivered to the Italian Air Force in early 2016.