August 13, 2014
By Jim Moore
Textron AirLand is not just sitting back and waiting for buyers to come looking at its two-seat twinjet made for military use: The Scorpion was flown during a National Guard training exercise held in Kansas in early August, part of an international demonstration tour that the company hopes will start the orders coming.
Air Force Times reported Aug. 7 that the Scorpion orbited above Vigilant Guard 2014 (a large-scale disaster response exercise), providing a live video feed of the proceedings. Textron picked up the tab (about $2,700 an hour) for the Scorpion’s participation, including more than seven hours of flying in the first two days of the exercise, Air Force Times reported.
Textron AirLand will continue pitching the Scorpion for National Guard duty during the National Guard Association of the U.S. General Conference and Exhibition later in August, and then at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference which draws top service officials in September. Textron AirLand also pitched the Scorpion’s virtues during the Farnborough International Air Show and Royal International Air Tattoo.
“While in the U.K., we briefed numerous international militaries on Scorpion’s multi-mission capabilities, as air forces see a growing need to execute sustained ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) in an affordable way,” said Bill Anderson, president of Textron AirLand, in a news release Aug. 5. “We see Vigilant Guard and other upcoming events as opportunities to prove how Scorpion delivers high capability at a relatively low cost.”
Textron reported that Scorpion has logged more than half of the 300 flight test hours planned for 2014; future tests will include live weapons drops (subject to government approval). Textron officials did not immediately respond to a request for more details about Scorpion's performance and missions flown during the National Guard exercise in Kansas.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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