Textron Inc. announced the first flight of a production conforming Scorpion Jet on December 22. The company also recently completed successful initial weapons testing on the Scorpion which included launching rockets, firing AGM-114F Hellfire missiles and BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).
“The success of the first weapons capability exercise is a major milestone for the Scorpion program as we continue to demonstrate its mission flexibility and multi-role capabilities,” said Tom Hammoor, senior vice president of Defense at Textron Aviation. “We could not be more pleased with the results of this exercise, thanks to the collaboration between our Scorpion team, the NAVSEA organization and the Holloman Air Force Base.” – Textron
Last week the twin engine production conforming jet took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas and flew for over an hour and half performing various maneuvers. Test pilots Don Parker and Dave Sitz said the aircraft performed ‘extremely well’.
The latest version of the Scorpion incorporates a number of improvements based on target customer feedback as well as results from the extensive flight test program. The program has accumulated more than 800 flight hours in both test and real-world operational settings.
The first production conforming Scorpion will start a robust flight test program, working closely with the United States Air Force on the first of its kind airworthiness assessment of a Non-DoD military aircraft design. – Textron
Textron has not formally announced entering the Scorpion jet in the US Air Force’s T-X fighter trainer replacement competition but it is still possible they will.
Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman (the contractor who built the T-38 Talon trainer that the T-X program will replace) all have aircraft competing to win the approximately $8 billion dollar contract with the Air Force.
Featured Image Courtesy of Textron