The Textron AirLand Scorpion is an American jet aircraft proposed for sale to perform light attack and Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) duties. It is being developed by Textron AirLand, a joint venture between Textron and AirLand Enterprises. A prototype was secretly constructed by Cessna at their Wichita, Kansas facility between April 2012 and September 2013 and first flown on 12 December 2013.
The Scorpion is a tandem-seat twinjet aircraft with an all-composite material fuselage designed for light attack and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. Production costs were minimized by using common commercial off the shelf technology, manufacturing resources and components developed for Cessna’s business jets; such as the flap drive mechanism is from the Cessna Citation XLS and Cessna Citation Mustang. Textron AirLand calls the Scorpion an ISR/strike aircraft, instead of a “light attack” aircraft. The joint venture also states the Scorpion is intended to handle “non-traditional ISR” flights such as those performed by U.S. fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Scorpion is designed to cheaply perform armed reconnaissance using sensors to cruise above 15,000 ft, higher than most ground fire can reach, and still be rugged enough to sustain minimal damage.
The Scorpion is designed to be affordable, costing US$3,000 per flight hour, with a unit cost expected to be below US$20 million. Although it is a two-seat aircraft, it can be flown by a single pilot. Textron AirLand selected Cobham plc to design the cockpit, which will feature modern flat-panel displays. The aircraft will not have fly-by-wire to keep costs down and simplify the design. The demonstrator, as well as production versions, are powered by two Honeywell TFE731 turbofans producing 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) of thrust total. According to Textron AirLand, endurance is optimized for spending 5 hours carrying out a loiter up to 150 miles from base. Kaman Composites, a subsidiary of Kaman Aerosystems, provided several components for the Scorpion prototype, including the wing assembly, vertical and horizontal stabilizers, wing fuel access panels, main landing gear doors, and several closeout panels.
Except for the landing gear and engine fittings and mounts, the airframe is all-composite with an anticipated service life of 20,000 hours. The Scorpion is to have a 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) payload of precision and non-precision munitions or intelligence-collecting equipment in a simplified and reconfigurable internal bay. The 14.4 m (47 ft) wings are largely unswept and have six hardpoints. A modular design allows for the wings to be removed and replaced by different wing designs.The internal payload bay has a payload capacity of 3,000 lb (1,400 kg). The external hardpoints have a payload capacity of 6,200 lb (2,800 kg).