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

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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About David Cenciotti 4452 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

7 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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!

        • 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.

  4. 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.

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