[Video] Cessna’s new, unlikely, low cost warplane’s taxi test

Dec 03 2013 - 14 Comments

Let’s be honest: had it been the latest Iranian fighter jet we would have laughed at it. But it was designed by Cessna so we believe it has at least a few chances to succeed.

We are talking about Scorpion, the new tactical strike aircraft secretely developed by Cessna parent company Textron and unveiled to the public in September.

The aircraft aims to replace current, expensive warplanes in irregular warfare, border and maritime patrol, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, counter-narcotics, air defense operations and any other task that could be fulfilled by a light aircraft capable to reach a maximum speed of about 450 kts and accomodate some precision guided munitions.

Its shape is at least weird but with a planned hourly cost of only 3,000 USD, the Scorpion could fill the gap between choppers and hi-tech, costly combat planes in homeland security missions and low lethality scenarios.

Provided the U.S. Air Force will venture on a new plane for missions that are being gradually transferred to UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles).

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  • mzungu

    The least they could of done to this airframe is too make it look
    stealthy, I don’t mean actually need to be stealthy, just looked it, so
    you can market the “American Stealth” to the wannabe 3rd world

    This way you can distinguish yourself from the Yak-130,
    the M-346, the KAI T-50, and the ultimate low cost alternative: Guizhou JL-9, and
    the Hongdu L-15, which is prob around $15M and they all can be
    supersonic, and serve dual function as trainers.

    This product really, really need to standout in a crowed field, and you can’t beat the 沃尔玛 prices, Textron really needs a new marketing team.

    • Xpand

      That’s useless. It’s a trainer jet, it probably won’t ever see any combat action.

      • Domingo

        You clearly missed his point. A lot of third world countries use their trainers as dual purpose aircraft. The L-39 and super tucano are excellent examples of this.

  • R.Lopaka
  • Dr. Douglas Fargo

    Reason why it is not mocked.

    1. It moved on the taxiway with its own power and not a tow truck with cables strapped on it.

    2. It is big enough for the pilot and provide safety to him, especially because his knee will not be visible :P

    3. It doesn’t claim to be anything else than what it says, a simple plane, low cost, for simple workloads.

    4. Its looks , if looking at certain angles, seems to be the love child between a Tomcat and Dragonfly with probably some sneaky Freeeedduuuummm Fighter genes in there. Lots of giggitys were done to make this one :P

  • Jon

    Definite market for it in Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras would probably be extremely interested. These scorpions will without a doubt be cheaper then all the modern trainers available. They are probably priced close to what the super toucans are.

  • Chiefy707

    I’m willing to bet there are politicians and Lockheed suits trying to argue this plane is not needed, the JSF can fulfill this very mission.

    i am so in love with the Rutan 151 though!

  • Auroranexus

    The surprising thing is that it’s actually a tough-looking little fella– reminds me of a jet-powered Super Tucano, in its own way.

    It’d be interesting if it became an actual combat jet, but I feel like drones are making that mission implausible for a manned aircraft. Still, it’d be neat that our “low-end” fighter is just a mini-jet fighter.

  • BernardP

    Cessna is trying to fill an unoccupied segment in the market.
    It’s not a military program, but Bombardier is doing the same thing with the CSeries.

  • Comrade Misfit

    I don’t see the AF buying this thing. With the winding up of the current wars, they don’t need it. And without sales to the AF, nobody else is going to buy it. Not when they can buy a Super Tucano or an AT-6 or a KT-1. If a warplane has been made by a country and it wasn’t even adopted by the home air force, good luck in selling it.

    Just like nobody bought the F-20.

    • Halo

      Northrop only sold a handful of F-5’s (I was a crew chief on them in the USAF) yet sold boatloads of them to other countries.

      • Roland

        Have to say F5 one of my fave aircraft of all time. Easy maintenance, low aircraft service hours, high availability, great price performance ratio. No wonder they sold over 2000 of them! I wish they would have done an F16XL wing type version though. That wing added 50% range and doubled the load capacity and would have been amazing on the little F5!

        • Halo

          I was a crew chief on T-38A&B’s prior to F-5E’s. I was initially sent to RAF Alconbury to work on RF-4C’s but when the First Sergeant found out I had T-38 experience he immediately changed my assignment to the 527th Aggressor Squadron on the other side of the base from the RF-4C’s. I spent 2 years pretty much solid TDY’s deployed to US & NATO fighter bases for DACT (dissimilar air combat training). Basically, we taught Soviet fighter tactics to US & NATO pilots.When I was working on T-38’s it was at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, and we trained Iranian and Saudi, as well as US pilots fresh from pilot training to be fighter jocks. I worked on Minuteman II missile sites before that. It was good times, and I miss it terribly.

  • Guest

    If Textron is aggressive with the pricing they could potentially sell a stripped down, very basic version in the civilian market. The current L-39s and AlphaJets are definitely getting long in the tooth, so a modern jet with comparable operating costs may be an attractive alternative for buyers seeking a more modern jet.