Textron AirLand Scorpion
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.
In August 2014, the Scorpion participated in a scenario which involved a mock large chemical spill, requiring cleanup and search-and-rescue operations. A Textron test pilot flew the Scorpion, which circled the area for a few hours while transmitting full motion video to U.S. Air National Guard members. The purpose was to demonstrate the aircraft's intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities to fill a niche for Air National Guard missions, and be a promotional exercise. The Scorpion achieved 100 percent mission availability, providing color HD full motion video and communications with other aircraft and ground stations.
The target market is the U.S. Air National Guard and foreign nations that cannot afford the F-35, but want an aircraft to perform ISR and light attack missions better than turboprop planes. Buying and sustaining the Scorpion would cost less than A-10 or F-16 upgrades. For air patrol, the Scorpion requires radar and the capability of supersonic flight, similar to the unsuccessful 1980s-era Northrop F-20 Tigershark. The market for light fixed-wing attack jets had declined in the 1980s as richer countries opted for more capable aircraft and poorer countries pursued turboprops and attack helicopters. It is uncertain if the Scorpion will be cheaper or outperform turboprops or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in terms of range, endurance, low-altitude performance, and sensors.