Textron Unveils Scorpion Fighter Jet

By: Mike Fossum - September 17, 2013

In a joint effort between Textron and AirLand, a prototype of a new, low-cost light attack and ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) jet, called the Scorpion, is being developed. Textron Airland, which is comprised of Textron, builders of Cessna business planes, as well as E-Z Go golfcarts, and AirLand Enterprises, a new company formed by former defense and aerospace executives, unveiled the Scorpion Monday at a trade show in Maryland, and hope to market the new fighter to the U.S. Military.

Below is a neat Scorpion construction timelapse movie:

The U.S. Air Force mostly used A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15E Strike Eagle planes during wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in uncontested airspace. Basically, it was never like Top Gun. These planes were designed during the Cold War, and eventually proved to be highly expensive to operate, and their capability for high speed and high-G maneuvers wasn’t even necessary. An F-16, which these days is mostly used to drop bombs and do recon, costs about $25,000 an hour to operate. The new Scorpion is said to cost about $3,000 an hour.

The Scorpion prototype is a tandem-seat twin engine jet, that can also be flown by a single pilot. Not only is it cheap to operate, but production costs have been kept low, as Textron was able to modify existing systems used in making Cessnas. Here are some stats:

General characteristics

Crew: 2
Length: 43 ft 6 in (13.26 m)
Wingspan: 47 ft 4 in (14.43 m)
Empty weight: 11,800 lb (5,352 kg)
Performance

Maximum speed: 517 mph (832 km/h; 449 kn)
Ferry range: 2,762 mi; 4,445 km (2,400 nmi)

Textron Airland’s website explains, “The aircraft’s design is well matched to the Air National Guard’s missions such as irregular warfare, border patrol, maritime surveillance, emergency relief, counter narcotics and air defense operations.” Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly adds, “we began development of the Scorpion in January 2012 with the objective to design, build and fly the world’s most affordable tactical jet aircraft capable of performing lower-threat battlefield and homeland security missions.”

Image courtesy of YouTube.

About the Author

Mike FossumMike is a writer and videographer based in Lexington, KY. Follow Mike on Twitter and Google+.

View all posts by Mike Fossum
  • esmoore5

    “Maximum speed: 517 mph (832 km/h; 449 kn)

    Minimum control speed: 518 mph; 833 km/h (450 kn)”

    ??????????

  • bigtoad45 .

    Thank God! The F-35 looks to be an expensive flop. We need inexpensive attack aircraft in large numbers and then focus on a dedicated air superiority fighter aircraft. Enough of these dual purpose jets that are a master at nothing.

    • Mick

      The F-35 is an excallent fighter that will revolutionize air warfare
      and why would a country like Israel, Japan and the rest of our
      western allies want this plane if its a flop?

  • Mick

    Would have been better if this plane had supersonice capabilities
    could have been a good replacement for the USAF F-5 trainers.
    Would have made forign sales easier if the USAF was purcasing
    them also.

    • Tad

      Yeah the trainers are base on the F 5, but if you ask the AF what trainers they use they will tell you there the T 38 Talon. Basically the B/F fuselage, shorter nose, slight change in the wings. Supposedly slated for replacement by 2020. I just hope we don’t choose some foreign manufactured trainer. I’m tried of hearing how we are helping some other countries economy and not our own.

  • Tad

    Great, I’m sure enemy aircraft would love the target practice. The market the article points out is mostly for patrol, recon, but air defense. Most combat aircraft are mach 2 or plus. It would be like the navy sending dauntless dive bombers against the A6M zero and history shows what happen to those guys. Also pilots have to have a minimum amount of flight time thru the year. I’m not sure if they still do it, but air guard and sometime the military would do border flights to kind of justify the fight costs. Why would we want to waste money on an aircraft that our pilots would never fly in a combat role and have to train pilots and still provide flight time for two types of aircraft, if they did by some. As for security agencies, they can barely afford their helicopters let alone a jet. The F 16 would blow this thing away, and has become the major combat aircraft in many countries. Also a number of aircraft being built, marketed or in development have been based on the F 16, so that has a lot to say about the value of that plane. Also why would the Guard want them, their aircraft are usually older models of what the AF are using so they can go straight into combat mode with out having to retrain. Maybe there hoping to get the trainer contract, but again our trainer have been mach plus jets for decades. I don’t think the AF would like to down grade.

  • Mick

    Those countries that still operate the A-37 Dragonfly should take an interest

  • Mick

    Those countries that still operate the A-37 Dragonfly jets should take an interest in this low cost Scorpion jet for ground support.