Italy's border patrol agency has added two P.180 Avanti II to its fleet. Lt. Gen. Roberto Speciale, general commander of the 'Guardia di Finanza,' says the aircraft offer the flexibility and advanced technology needed for "timely intervention" and technical coordination.
The agency says it will use the Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) television camera system for surveillance including observation to counter illegal immigration and smuggling. It adds: "The P.180s will provide fast and safe transport of patients in specialised hospital structures, enabling their condition to be monitored during the transfer, as well as giving first aid assistance."
The Avanti II is equipped with an ambulance kit, that, through a quick reconfiguration, allows the aircraft to become an efficient air ambulance unit.
The Italian Border Patrol's fleet now consists of two multi-use Avanti IIs and 12 Piaggio Aero P.166s.
The Avanti II has a range of over 1,800 miles at a speed of 400 kts (450 mph) when equipped with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A-66B engines, and a maximum cruising altitude of 41,000 ft.
Piaggio Aero chairman Piero Ferrari says: "Its overall performance is similar to that of a jet but with 30 per cent less fuel and operating costs." It has a cabin height of 69" and width of 73". It is licensed to operate with a single pilot and can carry up to nine passengers.