WASHINGTON, DC – In a push to take military aircraft from drawing board to operation on a shorter time table, Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet fighter was designed using pre-existing, off the shelf commercial parts from Textron’s Cessna, Honeywell, and Cobham among other suppliers.
The 2,000-aircraft estimate is ambitious but reasonable…The competition is going to be tough, but [air forces] will have to take a look because of the price and capabilities.” —Kristin White
On April 1, the Wall Street Journal reported that Scott Donnelly, CEO of Textron is confident that “a global market exists” for this product. The jet is capable of military missions involving intelligence, security and reconnaissance, as well as national security operations including border patrol and monitoring criminal networks i.e. drug smugglers. Given that Textron is aiming for a price tag of less than $20 million, it estimates the market at 2,000. The aircraft has lower operating costs than direct, if more expensive, competitors with similar capabilities.
Although the plane was designed in the absence of a specific contract with the U.S. Defense Department, Pentagon acquisitions chief Frank Kendall has emphasized the need for companies to be more agile. “Mr. Donnelly told potential partners to view Scorpion as a commercial project with military applications, and he urged them to be more flexible.” In addition, the international market for this cost-effective aircraft will likely include the Middle East as well as several other U.S. partner nations.
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