On December 22, 2016, Textron AirLand announced the successful first flight of the first production conforming Scorpion jet. This program milestone closely follows the recent successful weapons capability exercise on the prototype Scorpion completed in early October. The Scorpion jet is a bold new direction for tactical aircraft designed to excel in roles ranging from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to close air support and armed reconnaissance.
The aircraft took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and conducted a range of maneuvers during the one hour 42-minute flight. 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 latest version of the Scorpion incorporates several improvements from target customers’ feedback, as well as results from the extensive flight test program. The program has accumulated more than 800 flight hours in both test and real-world operational settings.
The first production conforming Scorpion will start a robust flight test program, working closely with the US Air Force on the first-of-its-kind airworthiness assessment of a non-Department of Defense military aircraft design.