Textron AirLand's, a Textron company, SCORPION jet has successfully completed its first weapons exercise at White Sands Missile Range, while operating from Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) in New Mexico, USA. This exercise effectively demonstrated the SCORPION’s close air support (CAS) mission capability through the successful deployment of three widely used weapon systems.
The weapons system design, integration and flight test coordination for all three weapon types were achieved in an impressive time span of less than three months. The weapons testing programme occurred 10-14 October in coordination with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and the 586th Flight Test Squadron from HAFB. All weapon types performed flawlessly and included HYDRA-70 unguided 2.75-inch rockets (BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System - APKWS) and Lockheed Martin's AGM-114F HELLFIRE missiles. The weapons were guided to their targets using first a ground-based laser designator system and then an airborne laser on the SCORPION’s L-3 WESCAM’s MX-15Di sensor suite.
“The success of the first weapons capability exercise is a major milestone for the Scorpion programme as we continue to demonstrate its mission flexibility and multi-role capabilities,” Tom Hammoor, Senior Vice President of Defense at Textron Aviation, said. “We could not be more pleased with the results of this exercise, thanks to the collaboration between our Scorpion team, the NAVSEA organisation and the HAFB.”
The first SCORPION prototype continues its robust flight test programme, while the first flight of the first production conforming SCORPION is expected soon.
Designed and built with leading-edge technologies, Textron AirLand’s SCORPION jet is a bold new direction for tactical aircraft. In two years of flight operations, the SCORPION has deployed to 10 countries, participated in military training exercises and operations, flown numerous US and international military pilots and amassed more than 750 flight hours. The aircraft is very versatile in terms of mission flexibility with its centre payload bay, six hard points, high dash speeds, and extended endurance and loiter time at cruise speeds. The SCORPION is built to excel in many roles, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), CAS, armed reconnaissance, maritime and border patrol, and jet training missions.