Textron AirLand, a joint venture between Cessna parent company Textron and partner AirLand Enterprises, unveiled its Scorpion prototype--a tactical jet designed for lower-threat battlefield missions--at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in National Harbor, Md., on Monday.
The Scorpion is a multi-mission Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Strike aircraft that the joint venture developed as a low-cost option for the budget-burdened Department of Defense (DoD) and partner nations. In developing the aircraft, the company is looking to field a military jet with a much lower cost of flying per hour than the F-16, which the Pentagon cited in June as costing $24,899 per hour to operate the Air Force's low-end missions.
Powered by two turbofan engines capable of up to 8,000 pounds of thrust, the Scorpion has an all-composite airframe and a modular mission system.
Currently in its testing phase, Textron AirLand expects to conduct the Scorpion's first flight before the end of the year. The joint venture began development of the aircraft in January 2012.
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