Sep 9, 2014

Textron Developing Scorpion Trainer Variant

Textron plans to enter a modified version of its Scorpion aircraft into the US Air Force’s T-X trainer replacement competition.
The company is also eyeing the international training market as an area of growth for its jet, which is still working on signing its first customer.
Textron executives have largely danced around the question of whether the Scorpion would enter the T-X competition, hinting it was under consideration but not giving confirmation.
Scorpion is designed to be an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance plane (ISR) with strike capabilities. Since the plane’s unveiling in September, Textron have highlighted the modular nature of the jet, that would come into play with a trainer variant.

Because of the modularity of that platform we Textron is able to change certain air performance characteristics relatively easily and be able to compete for the higher air performance requirements of the T-X program using the same basic platform with small modifications.
The major change would involve shortening the wings from 47 feet to something smaller and more aerodynamic, as well as increasing the thrust in the engine.
The Air Force plans to issue a request for proposals in the third quarter of fiscal 2016 for the T-X program. Before that request comes out, Textron intends to have a model of its trainer variant up and flying to prove that it can meet Air Force requirements.
The winner of the T-X competition will replace the service’s T-38 trainers with 350 new aircraft.
Three existing trainers are being offered for the T-X in the Hawk Advanced Jet Training System, a joint program of BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Link Simulation & Training and Rolls-Royce; Lockheed Martin’s offering of the Korean Aerospace Industries T-50; and the T-100, a collaboration between General Dynamics and Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi.
Boeing and Saab have announced plans to create a “clean-sheet” design as well. Although details are scant, the companies claim it will not be based on Saab’s Gripen fighter.

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