WICHITA, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Textron AirLand, LLC, a joint venture between Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) and AirLand Enterprises, LLC, today announced that the Scorpion Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Strike aircraft completed its first flight at 10:30 AM Central Time.
The aircraft took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas and conducted a range of handling maneuvers for approximately 1.4 hours of flight. Today’s flight marks one of the fastest developments of a U.S.-built tactical jet, progressing from initial design to first flight in less than 24 months.
"Today's first flight is a major milestone for the Scorpion as the program transitions into the flight test phase," commented Textron CEO Scott Donnelly. “When the design phase began less than two years ago, we were confident that we would deliver a uniquely affordable, versatile tactical aircraft by taking advantage of commercial aviation technologies and best practices. Today’s flight met all expectations, and keeps us on track towards certification and production,” he added.
Scorpion’s first flight was crewed by pilot Dan Hinson, an engineering test pilot with over 5,000 flight hours in 79 different types of aircraft, and co-pilot David Sitz. “The flight was completed according to plan,” said Hinson. “Having flown many tactical aircraft throughout my 23-year career with the US 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.”
The Scorpion was announced in September 2013 as a demonstration aircraft designed to accommodate the budget constraints and shifting mission requirements of the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. partner nations. Powered by twin turbofan engines generating 8,000 lbs. of thrust, the Scorpion transitions easily between low speed and high-subsonic speed, as needed for diverse missions such as irregular warfare, border patrol, maritime surveillance, emergency relief, counter-narcotics and air defense operations.
The Scorpion has a cruising speed of up to 450 ktas (517 mph), with a ferry range of 2,400 nautical miles. The aircraft carries an internal payload of up to 3,000 lbs., as well as wing-mounted precision munitions.
For a closer look at the Scorpion and its mission capabilities, please visit www.ScorpionJet.com. Downloadable images of the aircraft are available in the Scorpion Media Gallery. The first flight video will be available on the site starting December 13.
Textron is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee and Textron Systems. More information is available at www.textron.com.
About Textron AirLand, LLC
Textron AirLand, LLC is a joint venture between Textron Inc. and AirLand Enterprises, LLC with the purpose of designing and manufacturing an affordable, capable jet platform based on commercially available technologies and processes for the tactical military jet aviation market. More information about our initial aircraft is available at www.ScorpionJet.com.
About AirLand Enterprises, LLC
AirLand Enterprises, LLC was formed by a group of experienced aerospace and defense executives dedicated to bringing an effective, low-cost, ISR/Strike jet to domestic and international military markets, replacing aging aircraft and complimenting high-end multi-role fighters.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products or unanticipated expenses in connection with the launching of significant new products or programs; the timing of our new product launches or certifications of our new aircraft products; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changing priorities or reductions in the U.S. Government defense budget, including those related to military operations in foreign countries; changes in foreign military funding priorities or budget constraints and determinations, or changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of military and commercial products; and volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; performance issues with key suppliers or subcontractors.