|Role||Multi Mission Aircraft|
|National origin||Italy / Austria|
|Manufacturer||Tecnam / Airborne Technologies|
The Tecnam MMA (Multi Mission Aircraft) is a cost and fuel efficient twin-engine aircraft for surveillance, law enforcement and remote sensing missions developed by Airborne Technologies in Austria. The MMA is based on Tecnam’s high-wing P2006T aircraft and adapted to carry various sensor equipment for aerial work.
After Tecnam’s launch of the P2006T serial production in the year 2009, Airborne Technologies started developing the P2006T to obtain a smart and efficient special mission aircraft. The light aluminum P2006T was chosen because it’s characterized by the independency of Avgas fuel, an endurance of more than 8 hours and the enormous cabin space. The general trend in the commercial world to miniaturize electronic components and consequently the sensors itself made the deployment of a small and light aircraft for a sensor carrier platform possible. In the past, observation and sensing missions have been limited to bigger FAR Part 23 and Part 25 aircraft due to the dimensions and weights of the electronic sensor equipment. But nowadays by using state of the art technology small aircraft like this one are an affordable alternative for limited budgets of private organizations, governments and intra-governments.
In October 2009 was the roll out of the first MMA.
Design and Development
The MMA is equipped with an autonomous alternator supporting the mission equipment separately and independently from the electrical bus of the aircraft with 28 volts and 60 amps. The separate mission bus is backed up with an extra battery and external power unit for ground support. This enables the sensor operator to set up the sensor equipment even on ground without starting the aircraft systems.
The sensitive technical equipment is housed within the sensor bay in the body of the aircraft. Therefore a hatch with dimensions of 430mm width and 660mm length and electronically hatch flaps are installed in the fuselage. The construction of the aircraft and the crashworthiness is not influenced because of the metal airframe where load paths are keeping via ribs and stringers and the shell of the aircraft only acts supporting. Covert ISR mission can be carried out very discreetly because the sensors and gimbals are not visible externally when transiting to/from the operational areas. On entering an operation the flaps of the hatch are opened and the sensors are lowered down by a sensor lift. After mission completion the sensors are brought back into the interior by the lift and flaps are closed again.
The sensors are operated directly from the second row of seats where a sensor operator station is integrated. It consists of a console for up to three screens, a keyboard, a joystick and recording devices. Hard drives and technical equipment (for the flight management system, data recording/processing and data down linking) are stored in the systems compartment, where an airborne server room is integrated. Additional antennas for mission GPS data, data down linking to ground stations or up linking to satellites are installed.
In opposite to civil aircraft where it’s often an advantage when flying fast, the majority of surveillance and sensing missions require low mission speeds (e.g. from 80 to 100 KIAS). The minimum mission speed of the MMA is 64 KIAS. Thus enables the aircraft to operate also in areas which have been reserved for helicopters so far (e.g. power line monitoring).
The aircraft is powered by two ROTAX 912 engines of each 100 hp (75 kW) with overhaul times of 2000 hours. The water-cooled cylinder heads and the gearbox of the ROTAX engines make the aircraft to emit very low noise. Refueling with standard automotive gasoline (95-octane) and/or aviation gasoline (AVGAS 100 LL) in any blend enables keeping direct operating cost very low and to operate even in areas where AVGAS is not available or prohibitively expensive. The fuel consumption during sensing/surveying missions is 15 liters per hour per engine. This moderate fuel consumption and the low infrared emissions of the engines effect that infrared search heads cannot find the aircraft in typical operating altitudes. In conjunction with a non reflecting camouflage painting the basic conditions to be undetected for passive surveillance systems are fulfilled when operating for hours over same targets.
These modifications and integrations of sensors up to 115 kg are certified on STC-base.
Worldwide distribution, maintenance and service are ensured by Tecnam’s dealer network, maintenance facilities and service centers.
Typical Surveillance Mission Configuration
|385 kg||Max Payload|
|- 170 kg||Crew (Pilot + Operator each 85 kg)|
|- 21 kg||Sensor Equipment (L3-MX10 or FLIR UltraForce 350)|
|- 16 kg||Sensor Lift|
|- 18 kg||Uplink System (SCOTTY Satcom Rack)|
|- 6 kg||Downlink System (BMS)|
|- 10 kg||Operator Workstation + Moving Map (EUROAVIONICS)|
|- 5 kg||Tactical Communication HF-Radio|
|- 139 kg||Fuel for 5 h|
Source for typical surveillance mission configuration
|Empty weight||841.5 kg
|Max take-off weight
|Fuel capacity||200 litres
(53 US gal)
|Powerplant||2x Rotax 912S3|
|Propellers||2-bladed MT Propeller
|Max. cruise speed||145 KTAS|
(75%, 7.000 ft)
(65%, 9.000 ft)
|Stalling speed with flaps||53 KTAS|
|Min. mission speed||64 KIAS|
|Climb rate, s.l.||1.140 ft/min|
|Climb rate, s.l.
|Take-off distance, s.l.
over 15 m (50 ft) obstacle
|Landing distance, s.l.
over 15 m (50 ft) obstacle
Source: Aircraft Spec Sheet
- Photogrammetry (large format camera on a gyro stabilized platform)
- 3D laser scanning (3D laser scanners in combination with a midsize digital camera)
- Hyperspectral mapping (hyperspectral sensors in combination with a 3D laser scanner and a digital camera)
- High definition video recording (daylight and thermal recording and live downlink)
Further applications are easy to accomplish due to the size and the flexibility of the aircraft cabin.
- Official Company Website of Airborne Technologies in Austria
- Airborne Technologies (2009-10-20). "TECNAM MMA - a new star is born".
- Tecnam Website "MMA".
- Sundermeier, Bill (2010-04-08) "Smaller, lighter designs expand UAS sensor capabilities".
- Airborne Technologies Website, Preferred Platforms "MMA".
- Airborne Technologies (January 2011). "TECNAM MMA Features". Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- Airborne Technologies (January 2011). "TECNAM MMA Specifications". Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- Kadatskiy, Vladimir and Licari, Peter (2011 March) "Power Line Mapping with LiDAR"
- Airborne Technologies (2010-07-15). Max. Take-off rate for TECNAM MMA increased.
- Airborne Technologies (January 2011). "Airborne Special Services Brochure" Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- Official Company Website of Airborne Technologies, Austria: www.airbornetechnologies.at
- Official Company Website of Tecnam, Italy www.tecnam.com