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Textron AirLand Scorpion

Light attack and reconnaissance aircraft

Scorpion

The Scorpion is referred as the most affordable tactical jet aircraft

 
 
Entered service ?
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 13.2 m
Wing span 14.4 m
Height 4.27 m
Weight (empty) 5.35 t
Weight (maximum take off) 9.64 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Honeywell TFE730 turbofans
Traction 2 x 18 kN
Maximum speed 833 km/h
Service ceiling 13.7 km
Ferry range 4 445 km
Combat radius ?
Armament
Cannon ?
Missiles ?
Bombs ?

 

   The Scorpion ground attack aircraft was developed by Textron AirLand as a private venture. It is a joint venture between Textron and Airland Enterprises. Development commenced in 2012. A prototype was constructed by Cessna, that is a subsidiary of Textron. The Scorpion made its first flight in 2013. This aircraft was specially developed to meet possible requirements of the US National Guard and export customers. This light attack aircraft is cheap to buy and to operate. It is a budget alternative to small foreign militaries. Many countries require tactical aircraft, but can not afford high-end types. The Scorpion fills the gap between light turboprop aircraft and expensive jet land attack aircraft. If the customer is found production of the Scorpion might begin in 2015. Deliveries can begin in 15-18 months after production order is received.

   The Scorpion can do light attack, reconnaissance, domestic interdiction, air patrol and training. This aircraft is limited to low threat battlefield missions. However it outperforms turboprop aircraft in terms of range, endurance and sensors. It is claimed that aircraft is rugged enough to sustain minimal damage. Unlike most ground attack aircraft the Scorpion uses many commercially available off-the-shelf components for the business jets, mostly form the Cessna inventory.

   Demonstrator of the Scorpion is powered by commercially available Honeywell TFE731 turbofans. These engines are widely used on commercial business jets. Also these cost significantly less than purpose-designed military engines and are much easier to service. Although later versions of the Scorpion could have different engines. During test flights pilots reported that the Scorpion was agile, nimble, and powerful even when flown on one engine. The aircraft lacks fly-by-wire to simplify the design and keep the costs down.

   Developers claim that flight hour of the Scorpion costs only $3 000. None of the Western purpose-designed turbojet attack aircraft can get even close to this figure. For example flight hour of the F-16 costs $25 000.

   The aircraft has retractable nose mount for electro-optical and infra-red sensor. It is retracted into the nose when not in use to minimize drag.

   The aircraft has internal weapon bay. For reconnaissance role this bay can be reconfigured to carry sensors. It can be also used to carry extra fuel. Furthermore depending on mission requirements the internal bay can be configured to carry a mix of weapons, sensors and fuel. Also there are six external hardpoints for various weapons such as gun pods, missiles, rockets and bombs. This aircraft can carry precision guided munitions with laser or GPS guidance. This aircraft has internal payload capacity of 1 360 kg. Additional 1 400 kg of ordnance can be carried externally.

   The Scorpion is a two-seat aircraft. However it can be flown by a single pilot.

   The Scorpion unit costs is expected to be less than $20 mln. It is less than upgrade of the A-10 or F-16.

 

Video of the Scorpion light attack and reconnaissance aircraft

 

 
Scorpion

Scorpion

Scorpion

Scorpion

Scorpion

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