The Scorpion armed reconnaissance jet developed by Textron Aviation is not your usual aircraft. There’s no other tactical plane that’s currently in existence today. Here are some interesting details about this US secret jet that made everyone go crazy after its release:
AirLand Enterprises LLC planned to create the “world’s most affordable tactical jet fighter aircraft.” In just six months, the covert development of the jet commenced under the guise of the top-secret project SCV12-1 simply known as “the project.”
The jet was explicitly designed to fill the gap between light turboprop aircraft and expensive jet land attack aircraft.
It was designed to be a lightweight, all-composite aircraft for light attack. It can also be used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.
Keeping it Low
One of its significant advantages is its low cost. Developers claim that the flight hour cost is only 3,000 dollars, which is significantly less than any Western-purpose design turbojet attack aircraft.
It’s also cheaper than other ground attack planes, each unit costing less than $20 million.
A Strike Aircraft
The plane made its debut at the Farnborough Airshow on June 1, 2014. It had simplified landing gears, increased wing sweep, and new avionics. It also had a modular design, allowing its wings to be removed and replaced with different designs.
The manufacturer also considers it as an ISR/strike aircraft instead of a light attack aircraft. Thus, it’s tailored to handle non-traditional ISR flights similar to those done by US fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On December 22, 2016, the first production-standard aircraft took to the skies. The Scorpion’s unique capabilities and cost-effectiveness make it an attractive option for many countries that need a reliable, tactical aircraft.