The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a contract for the procurement of eight Piaggio Aerospace P.1HH HammerHead unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), it was announced on 8 March. The UAVs will be delivered from the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investment (ADASI) in a deal worth AED1,327 million (USD361 million), which was signed by UAE Armed Forces General Headquarters (GHQ). The contract includes integrated logistics support and training. The P.1HH is based on the Piaggio Aerospace P.180 Avanti II business aircraft, and the first prototype flew in late 2014. The P.1HH has a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet, and an endurance of up to 16 hours with a loiter speed of 135 kt (250 km/h; 155 mph). Maximum level speed is 395 kt, with the platform powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turbine engines equipped with five-bladed scimitar propellers.
The P.1HH HammerHead’s mission suite is derived from Selex ES’s skyISTAR architecture that can accommodate radar, electro-optical, hyperspectral, communications, and electronic intelligence sensors. Devices specifically identified with the P.1HH include Selex ES sourced radar (the Seaspray 7300E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) equipment) communications and datalink solutions together with the FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE 380-HD EO imaging system.
The contract makes the UAE the second customer of the P.1HH HammerHead, with the Italian Air Force ordering three systems of two aircraft each in early 2015. Deliveries of the Italian Air Force’s aircraft are expected to take place this year.
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A new Chinese shipping index that tracks freight movements among the countries on the route of one of President Xi Jinping s key trade initiatives has fallen to the lowest level since it was established. The Maritime Silk Road Freight Index was launched on a trial basis by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange last July. The index takes January 2015 as its base point, and at that time it had a value of 100. The latest update, released on February 29, shows that the index has declined to 65.11 after falling 10.3 percent over the previous month alone.
The index is divided into four subindexes container imports, container exports, dry bulk imports and tanker imports each of which began with a value of 100. The dry bulk figure has declined to 56.14, down 7.3 percent since the end of January. The index is based on the freight volume and rate, and the data is taken from other indices published by the SSE
In August, the state-owned China Daily newspaper reported SSE President Zhang Ye as saying the index was intended to enhance the transparency and influence of the market. China s economic slowdown has triggered a drastic decline in worldwide shipping activity. China s exports fell 25.4 percent year on year in February, and imports were down 13.8 percent. The Baltic Dry Index, the global measure of the cost of shipping coal, iron ore, grain and other non-oil commodities, fell to a record low in February. At 9 a.m. on Friday it stood at $384, down from a peak of $1,222 in August.
Xi proposed the creation of the Maritime Silk Road, a trade route linking China with countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe, in 2013. The following year he said China would provide $40 billion to support infrastructure development and other projects in countries along the route and that of another trade channel, the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Brussels Airport has revealed that it is hoping to lure back Ethiopian Cargo s freighter services after the airline was was forced to move to Dutch hub Maastricht-Aachen in November because of traffic rights.
In its monthly traffic update, the Belgian airport revealed that thanks to the amendment of a bilateral agreement with Ethiopia, the federal government has created the possibility of Ethiopian Cargo moving services back to Brussels.
The airport is consulting with the company about a return, it said in a statement. Last year, Ethiopian Cargo s volumes helped the airport to record an increase in cargo demand. Brussels was one of the fastest growing European Airports as it recorded a demand increase of 7.8% on 2014 levels to 489,000 tonnes.
However, towards the end of the year, the airline was forced to switch services to Maastricht-Aachen after it was not able to obtain the necessary traffic rights to enable it to continue its activities at Brussels Airport. This resulted in full-freighter volumes dropping by 25% in the last two months of the year compared with 2014
The switch had an almost immediate effect on Brussels cargo volumes and in January the Belgian hub saw cargo demand decline by 2.4% year on year in January to 36,964 tons. This was followed by a 1.8% decline in demand to 37,771 tons in February, although it was helped by the extra day during the month.
Thanks primarily to the leap day, belly cargo rose by 4.3% and the volume of integrator cargo rose by 2.9% in comparison with February last year, it said.