Textron and AirLand Enterprises joint venture Textron AirLand has successfully completed the additional test flights of the Scorpion intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)/strike aircraft in January and February.
In 2014, additional flight tests involving several hundred hours will also be conducted by the team, aimed to demonstrate specific objectives such as the aircraft’s airspeed, altitude and performance envelope at each flight.
The Scorpion team chief test pilot Dan Hinson said that the Scorpion is a very agile platform and is expected to demonstrate its airframe capability through the test and evaluation phase.
"In these early flights, we have evaluated the aircraft performance and tested a wide range of mechanical and electronic systems, " Hinson said.
The test flights will be conducted at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, US, and outside of the area.
Designed to meet the increasingly stringent budget constraints of the US Department of Defense and US partner nations, the Scorpion can be used to conduct missions including irregular warfare, border patrol, maritime surveillance, emergency relief, counter-narcotics and air defence operations.
Featuring ease of maintenance and globally-available commercial components, the aircraft is powered by twin turbofan engines and has a cruising speed of up to 517mph with a ferry range of 2,400nm.
The Scorpion aircraft can transition easily between low speed and high-subsonic speed and can carry an internal payload of up to 3,000lbs, in addition to wing-mounted precision munitions.
Image: Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.