Textron AirLand, a joint venture between Textron and AirLand Enterprises, has successfully completed 50 hours of flight time of the Scorpion intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)/strike aircraft.
During the recent testing, which started in December 2013, Textron AirLand gathered data about the aircraft’s performance at various speeds, altitudes and climb rates. Avionics, flight controls and landing systems were also assessed.
Scorpion chief engineer Dale Tutt said that the aircraft systems had performed well within the expected parameters.
"This is a significant benefit of using mature, non-developmental systems. In addition to reducing the overall development time of the prototype aircraft, the systems have proven to be very reliable," Tutt said.
The Scorpion is scheduled to undergo a further 150 flights this year, including a number of international flights, cumulating in about 300-400 test hours.
Test pilot Dan Hinson said: "The flight control systems are powered by dual-hydraulic systems based on the Citation X business jet, and have performed flawlessly. In the event of a loss of both hydraulic systems, the aircraft can be flown in manual reversion."
Designed to accommodate the increasingly stringent budget constraints of the US Department of Defense and US partner nations, the Scorpion can conduct missions such as irregular warfare, border patrol, maritime surveillance, emergency relief, counter-narcotics and air-defence operations.
It can switch easily between low speed and high-subsonic speed, and can carry an internal payload of up to 3,000lbs, as well as wing-mounted precision munitions.