Textron AirLand has started making preliminary decisions ahead of launching the production phase of the light attack and reconnaissance Scorpion jet.

A formal production launch depends on signing the first order, but Textron AirLand is already selecting suppliers for the production phase, a spokesman says.

Honeywell has been selected to deliver a turbofan engine – the TFE731-40AR-3S – for the twinjet. It is the same engine currently powering the developmental prototype.

In September, Textron Aviation chief executive Scott Ernest said a launch order for the Scorpion could be announced by the end of this year.

“I feel pretty good that we’re in a position to definitely get something done this year,” Ernest says. “There are several interested parties albeit outside the United States. This is a product that has the ability to be a very economical operating product.”

Textron AirLand developed the product in secret for two years before unveiling the prototype in September 2013. It has flown more than 200h and appeared at the Farnborough air show and the US Air Force Association’s annual convention near Washington DC.

Source: FlightGlobal.com