Textron AirLand JV Unveils 'Scorpion' Tactical Jet

Textron AirLand Scorpion
Textron and AirLand Enterprises said their new Scorpion tactical jet will make its first flight by the end of the year. (Photo: Textron)
September 16, 2013, 1:25 PM

Cessna and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron and partner AirLand Enterprises unveiled a prototype intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance/strike aircraft named “Scorpion” at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Monday.

The Scorpion is a clean-sheet, all-composite design with a tandem cockpit, retractable sensor mounts, an internal weapons bay and wing-mounted hard points for external stores. It is powered by twin turbofans producing 8,000 pounds of thrust. Among specifications the companies list are a mtow of 21,250 pounds, maximum speed of 450 ktas and 45,000-foot service ceiling.

The two companies—AirLand Enterprises is a small development firm that includes former Department of Defense executives as investors—have formed a joint venture called Textron AirLand to promote the Scorpion as an “affordable” tactical aircraft capable of performing “lower-threat” and homeland security missions. Its design is “well matched” to Air National Guard missions, including irregular warfare, border patrol, maritime surveillance, emergency relief, and counter-narcotics operations.

Scorpion development started in January 2012. The companies said a demonstration aircraft is in the test phase; a first flight is planned by the end of the year.

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