Textron AirLand’s Scorpion light attack,
intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance aircraft has completed 50 flight
hours since flight testing began in December 2013, states a release
from the firm. Recent tests garnered a raft of data on the airframe’s
performance at various speeds, altitudes, and climb rates, as well as the
responsiveness of the jet’s avionics and flight controls. The jet topped out at
.72 Mach, and pilots report the aircraft is agile and features plenty of power
and good low speed characteristics. “The
aircraft systems have performed well within the expected parameters, with very
few issues,” said Scorpion’s chief engineer Dale Tutt. “This is a
significant benefit of using mature, non-developmental systems.” The
flight control systems are powered by dual hydraulic systems based on the
Citation X business jet, and also have performed well to-date, states the
release. The Scorpion testing program is on track to complete 300-400 test hours
this year, or about 150 flights. The program also is expected to include
international test flights, pending approvals. (See also Scorpion’s
Airmen from the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing run the
final stretch of a 4-mile ruck march during Spartan Warrior on May 12,
2015, at Avon Park Air Force Range, Fla.
Army Chief of Staff Gen.
Ray Odierno acknowledged the Air Force had “no choice” but to reduce the number
of remotely piloted aircraft combat air patrols in order to normalize its
training pipeline, saying the decision shows how sequestration-related cuts are
driving very hard tradeoffs across the services.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Thursday
he is “pleased with the conversation” the Army and Air Force are having on the
evolution of the close air support mission.
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