Scorpion jet is going to be one of the highlights of the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough International Airshow.
Whilst it is still unclear whether any F-35 Lightning II aircraft will eventually make it to the UK, Textron Scorpion multi-mission jet has just successfully completed its first flight outside the U.S.
The low-cost ISR (intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance) platform/light tactical strike aircraft for “irregular warfare,” border and maritime patrol, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, counter-narcotics and air defense operations, covered about 4,700 nautical miles from Wichita to RAF Fairford, UK, where it arrived on Jul. 9 to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo from Jul. 11 to 13. After taking part in RIAT, the aircraft will move to Farnborough for FIA 2014 from Jul. 14 to 20.
Sporting the brand new two-tone dark gray over light gray paint scheme, that has replaced the original flat light gray livery, the aircraft will be on display with several weapons models including Raytheon Griffin Missiles, Boeing JDAM and SDBs, Textron Systems Weapon & Sensor Systems G-CLAWs, Raytheon Enhanced Paveway 4, and Lockheed Martin Hellfire and DAGR.
Although it will not accommodate any air-to-air or air-to-surface radar, the Scorpion will be able to carry various infrared air-to-air missiles and wing-mounted gun pods that could be useful, among the others, for SMI (Slow Mover Interception) missions.
Indeed, at 3,000 USD per flight hour and with stall speeds of less than 100 knots, Scorpion jet could really represent a cost-effective solution to enforce Temporary Flight Restrictions and NFZs (No Fly Zones) to protect chunks of the U.S. airspace.
The journey to the UK included stopovers in Montréal (Canada), Keflavik (Iceland), Edinburgh (UK) and Chalgrove (UK).
Image credit: Textron