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Friday, December 13, 2013

Textron AirLand Scorpion Jet Performs First Flight

Woodrow Bellamy III 

The Scorpion, an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tactical jet, completed its first flight Thursday Dec. 12. 
Scorpion jet. Photo, courtesy of Textron AirLand.
Textron AirLand, a joint venture between Textron and AirLand Enterprises announced the first flight, which took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., for a 1.4-hour flight. The twin-turbofan engine powered Scorpion was first unveiled in September as a demonstration aircraft to meet budget constraints and shifting mission requirements for the U.S. and partner nations, according to Textron. 
“Having flown many tactical aircraft throughout my 23-year career with the U.S. Navy and with other aircraft manufacturers, I can say that the Scorpion compares very favorably to more costly aircraft currently used for low-threat missions. It showed impressive stability and responsiveness closely matching all of the predicted parameters for today’s maneuvers — it’s going to be a highly capable aircraft for the ISR and homeland security mission set," said Dan Hinson, the engineering test pilot who controlled the aircraft's first flight. 

According to a statement from Textron AirLand, the aircraft has a range of 2,400 nautical miles with an internal payload of up to 3,000 pounds and can perform maritime surveillance, air defense and irregular warfare operations. 

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