Cessna’s Low Cost Scorpion Tactical Jet performs low speed interception of a Cessna 182

Scorpion aircraft performed a low speed interception of a Cessna 182.

Cessna’s parent company Textron Scorpion is a low cost Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Strike aircraft with a cruising speed of up to 450 knots.

Developed in about 2 years, the aircraft has a ferry range of 2,400 NM (nautical miles) and a payload of 3,000 lbs internal stores as well as underwing PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), is pitched for ISR and homeland security mission set.

Indeed, the “affordable warplane for low-threat missions” has shown its impressive stability and responsiveness by intercepting a Cessna 182 flying at extremely low speed: 120 KCAS (Knots Calibrated Air Speed).

The two-seater with twin tails, a two 8,000 lb turbofan engines, straight wings and all-composite fuselage seems be a perfect match for the “low-cost combat plane to contain the cost of prolonged operations,” whose need emerged during Libya Air War 2011.

Even if it is unclear whether such platform has real chances to see active service within the U.S. or any other country’s air arm, for sure the image of the mock interception on the C182 shows that the Scorpion would be capable to perform, if needed, even the SMI (Slow Mover Interceptor) role.

Image credit: Textron




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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Godspeed little Scorpion! I admire Cessna for going against the grain with a low-cost, low tech warplane in an era of billion dollar warplanes with no clear defined enemy..It would be interesting to find out if its capable of CAS missions…i’m sure it would still beat the F-35 in this role.

    • Because drones are dumb, not very high tech over there. they are way overrated.
      the big problem is that signal from the air to the station. It’s a HUGE weak point

      • Oh and by the way drones CAN be hacked even when not connected to any networks.

    • This is cheaper, you don’t need a satellite uplink, or a control station or much else really.
      Basically everything about this aircraft is designed to be cheap, and just capable enough. I’m guessing they’re planning to sell to air forces that have otherwise been looking at buying things like F-5’s or older cast-off machines.

  2. May be cheap, but how fast can you get it into the air? Future interceptors will be kept unattended in their hangars for days, to be airborne in seconds at the push of a button.

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