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.