Textron Scorpion Unveiled: Budget-Priced Jet Could Fly Low-Risk Military Missions

By Josh Lieberman on September 17, 2013 5:51 PM EDT

scorpion
With the Scorpion, Textron aims to market far cheaper jets to the U.S. military and partner nations. The first Scorpion test flight is scheduled to take place at the end of 2013. (Photo: Textron)

Textron Inc. unveiled the Scorpion on Monday, a low-cost fighter jet that they hope to market to the U.S. military. Created in conjunction with AirLand Enterprises, a small company of former aerospace and defense executives, the Scorpion's two-seat, twin engine jet is designed for low-vulnerability missions. Those missions, currently performed by extremely expensive military jets, can be performed far more cheaply with the Scorpion.

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"We began development of the Scorpion in January 2012 with the objective to design, build and fly the world's most affordable tactical jet aircraft capable of performing lower-threat battlefield and homeland security missions," said Scott Donnelly, Textron Chairman and CEO. While Textron hasn't unveiled the purchase price of the Scorpion, Donnelly said that his company "relied on commercial best practices to develop a tactical jet platform with flexibility and capabilities found only in far more costly aircraft."  

The Pentagon says that the cost of flying an F-16 is $24,899 an hour. The Scorpion, which aims to take over low-risk missions currently performed by an F-16, is targeted to cost under $3,000 an hour to operate. Textron said that the U.S. Department of Defense's "increasingly stringent budget," along with the tightened budgets of the U.S.'s partner nations, led them to design the Scorpion.  

Textron, the company behind Cessna airplanes and E-Z Go golf carts, cited emergency relief, maritime surveillance and border patrol as possible uses for the Scorpion. Despite only starting development of the Scorpion last year, Textron says it will be have its first test flight before the end of 2013.

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