The Scorpion’s wind of change

Well done to Textron AirLand, which has completed the first flight of its (let’s be kind) “unique-looking” Scorpion light strike aircraft.

Stephen Trimble’s report into the design’s 12 December debut reveals an expected unit cost of less than $20 million, discussions with at least two potential military customers, and the possibility of producing the aircraft in an unmanned configuration.

Scorpion fliesDo we think the Scorpion will be a game-changer? Most likely not in the manned counter-insurgency segment: this is a model which could satisfy a niche requirement for most optimistically a small number of users. The prospect of a twin-jet unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform also might appeal to only a handful of buyers.

What’s refreshing though is that the team behind the composite-fuselaged type has gone from concept to first flight in just 23 months. We’ll be keeping an eye on the project over the coming year, with first weapons trials due to occur before the end of 2014.

[No apologies for the German mullet-rock-inspired headline, by the way.]

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8 Responses to The Scorpion’s wind of change

  1. Danno45 15 December, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Wow! How can they make a first flight in just 23 months from concept to first flight? They’re not Lockheed-Martin that’s how.

    • Matthew G. Saroff 16 December, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

      I dunno. The P-80 went from production to first flight in 6 months, and that was Lockheed.

  2. Remarkable Kanoodle 16 December, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    “If it looks right, it will fly right”.

    That doesn’t look right. It’s as if someone grafted the nose of an F-14, clamped the wings of a Rockwell Shrike and bolted two tails from some non discript training jet together for the tail.

  3. Endre 17 December, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    How they can do that? By having virtually no systems on board, I suspect. A straight-winged slow-moving cruising aircraft is not even remotely comparable to a Mach 1.6, multi role fighter.

    • Picard578 4 January, 2014 at 5:40 am #

      No it isn’t. For one, Mach 1.6, multi-role fighter is utterly incapable of doing Close Air Support.

  4. RC20 18 December, 2013 at 4:09 am #

    Its still interesting and they did remarkable time on it. These days it has to be right out of the box or it dies (unlike military projects that they stick with for better or worse, in the case of the F35 worse as its a really slow accelerating dog)

    I think the tails look like an F18.

    Good on them

  5. Dan 19 December, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    I think Air Forces around the world need to look at the real capabilities they need and the realistic funding they can count on. An aircraft like this, the new KAI F/A-50 and other lightweight fighters have much lower operating costs than 4th & 5th generation fighters but can still be employed for many missions that you would normally deploy more expensive fighters on. A high/low mix or even a high/medium/low mix may be needed just to be able to field a credible force in the future. The actual combat situations over the last few decades have often been against defenses where the most advanced aircraft aren’t needed either at all or only for a few days while the enemy’s defenses were dismantled. But Air Forces are typically run by fighter jocks and everyone wants the greatest capability in each individual aircraft regardless of the actual need.

  6. Battar 21 December, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Piper Enforcer, anyone? same concept.

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