First production standard Scorpion jet flies

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Textron AirLand has announced the successful maiden flight of the first production-conforming Scorpion jet after a weapons capability exercise on the prototype in October.

The aircraft took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and conducted a range of manoeuvres during the one hour and 42 minute flight, Textron AirLand announced on 22 December. “The multi-mission, twin-engine jet performed extremely well and was piloted by experimental test pilots Don Parker and Dave Sitz, who verified the avionics and aerodynamic performance as well as a number of aircraft systems,” the company said.

The latest version of the Scorpion incorporates a number of improvements based on target customer feedback as well as results from the flight test programme, which has accumulated more than 800 flight hours in both test and real-world operational settings.

The company also announced Garmin as the avionics provider for the enhanced Scorpion. This avionics platform is based on the advanced G3000 integrated flight deck. The newly configured G3000 avionics system features a large, high-definition display complemented by two high-definition touch-screen controllers and provides more mission capability in the forward cockpit position, additional navigation capability in the rear cockpit position and overall weight savings.

In addition to the new avionics, changes to the airframe include four degrees of sweep to the wings, an enhanced aft horizontal stabilizer for improved high-speed performance, a simplified landing gear design, a next-generation Heads Up Display (HUD) and hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) controls.
“The first production conforming Scorpion will start a robust flight test programme, working closely with the United States Air Force on the first of its kind airworthiness assessment of a Non-DoD military aircraft design,” Textron said.

The company-funded programme progressed from concept to first flight in just 23 months and was designed to capture the synergy between commercial aircraft production practices and advanced mission system technologies.

In over two years of flight operations, the Scorpion has deployed to 10 countries, participated in military training exercises and operations, flown numerous U.S. and international military pilots and amassed more than 800 flight hours.
“The Scorpion is very versatile in terms of mission flexibility with its center payload bay, six hard points, high dash speeds and extended endurance and loiter time at cruise speeds,” Textron said.