Cessna Scorpion ISR/Strike Jet
Textron announced the Textron AirLand LLC and Cessna Scorpion ISR/Strike Jet aircraft in September 2013 during the Air Force Association conference.
The Scorpion is a twin-engine, low-cost jet designed for particularly areas of border and maritime security where long missions and sustained sortie rates can place a burden on dedicated tactical aircraft which were never designed for that role. The Scorpion benefits from many commercially off-the-shelf components better suited for sustained Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Strike operations.
The two-seat jet is powered by twin-turbo fan engines and will be able to carry 3,000 pounds of internal payload. The all composite airframe will have an initial service life of 20,000 hours.
Textron AirLand LLC and Cessna Aircraft completed the first flight of their Scorpion jet prototype and demonstrator on December 12, 2013 from Wichita, Kansas. Textron CEO Scott Donnelly saying “When the design phase began less than two years ago, we were confident that we would deliver a uniquely affordable, versatile tactical aircraft by taking advantage of commercial aviation technologies and best practices.
The Scorpion is powered by two turbofan engines that together produce approximately 8,000 pounds of thrust. The engines are directed by a Digital Electronic Engine Control and supply conditioned bleed air to the pneumatic system. Accessories mounted on the engine gearbox power electrical and hydraulic systems. The engines can operate on Jet-A, JP-5, and JP-8 jet fuels.
The first production conforming version of the Textron AirLand Scorpion light reconnaissance/strike/training aircraft has made a successful maiden flight at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, in December 2016. Experimental test pilots Don Parker and Dave Sitz carried out a series of tests on the multi-mission, twin-seater, twin-engine jet during the one hour and 42 minute flight to verify the avionics and flight performance of the aircraft as well as other flight systems.
The Textron Scorpion beginning its maiden flight
Textron says the new production version of the Scorpion has been improved based on customer feedback and 800 hours of flight testing, including military training exercises and operations in 10 countries. These upgrades include new avionics, a modified airframe, four degrees of sweep added to the wings, simplified landing gear, a next-generation Heads Up Display (HUD) and Hands-On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) controls.
In addition, Garmin is now providing the Scorpion with the advanced G3000 integrated flight deck featuring a high-definition display and two high-definition touch-screen controllers, as well as improved navigation systems in the rear cockpit position.
The tandem-seat, twin-engine aircraft was first conceived and developed in secret in 2011 in a project to create the "world's most affordable tactical jet aircraft." The modular wing design allows for the wings to be replaced by different designs.
The Scorpion relies on advanced sensors and the ability to operate about 15,000 ft (4,500 m) to avoid ground fire. To keep weight and costs down, the Scorpion has an all-composite fuselage with only the undercarriage, engine fittings and mounts made of metal. Inside, there's a 3,000-lb (1,400-kg) payload section to carry various munitions and recon gear. To simplify the design, the airframe does not include fly-by-wire systems.
Engines: 2 x Honeywell TFE731 turbo fan, 8000 lb thrust
Length: 43 ft 6 in
Wingspan: 47 ft 4 in / 14.4 m
Height: 14 ft 0 in
Empty weight: 11,800 lb
MTOW: 21,250 lb
Max internal fuel: 6000 lb
Max internal payload bay: 3000 lb
Max speed: 450 kt / 518 mph / 833 km/h
Service ceiling: 45,000 ft / 13,700 m
Ferry range: 2400 nm
Endurance: 5 hr loiter 150 mi / 241 km from base
Hardpoint capacity: 6,200 lb / 2,800 kg