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Textron’s Scorpion jet draws attention at Paris Air Show

Source: Defense News

For a plane without any known buyers, Textron AirLand’s light strike/ISR jet Scorpion generated quite a lot of buzz in its debut appearance at the Paris Air Show.

In part, that’s because onlookers know they are looking at a one-of-a-kind aircraft, but also because some may suspect they’re looking at the next big jet platform.

Big may be overstating it: At 44-feet-3-inches long with a 47-foot-10-inch wingspan, the Scorpion has a smaller silhouette than most of the fighter jets on the tarmac in Le Bourget.

But if orders come in from the Pentagon and foreign governments, the Scorpion, which went from the drawing board to a prototype in 24 months, could be providing ground support and reconnaissance to several militaries in short order.

The prototype has now crossed the Atlantic three times, first to make its debut in England at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough International Air Show in 2014. Then it was back to the US, including its first fly-in in Washington, D.C. The Scorpion recently flew back to Europe from South America, where it was tested by pilots in a country interested in buying multiple jets, but Textron AirLand officials declined to say which country.

“The interest in the airplane remains very high,” Textron AirLand president Bill Anderson told Defense News.

The six pilots who flew the Scorpion included a high-ranking officer, he said.

“All the comments were exceptionally positive,” he said.

In addition to Latin America, there is “significant interest” in the Middle East and on the Pacific Rim, he said. Textron AirLand expects to submit its first formal proposal to a Pacific Rim nation at the end of the month, Anderson said.

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