Textron AirLand’s Scorpion Shows Off ISR Options in DC

The Textron Scorpion taxis at National Airport, just outside Washington, ahead of the Air Force Association's national conference. (Textron)

The Textron AirLand Scorpion taxis at National Airport, just outside Washington, ahead of the Air Force Association’s national conference. (Textron)

The show floor at last week’s Air Force Association Air & Space Conference, held just outside Washington, was chock full of representatives from industry both big and small. Almost every defense contractor looking to do business with the Air Force had officials circling the floor, ready to ambush anyone wearing stars on their shoulders with a business pitch.

Like other firms, Textron AirLand had folks on and around the show floor. But they also set up a mini-convention at National Airport, located mere minutes outside of Washington, in order to showcase their Scorpion aircraft. Buses were set up to take conference attendees out to the airport and back, while Scorpion executives waited to show off their plane, which was unveiled one year ago at the last AFA conference.

(If you’re interested in seeing the jet come in and land at the National, well… click here.)

It’s not the first time the Scorpion test aircraft has shown off at a conference, with its big international debut coming during the Farnborough International Airshow in July of this year. What was different about this time was the loadout. While the Farnborough showcase featured an assortment of weaponry mounted on the wings, this time the company was showing off a variety of ISR sensors that could be attached.

Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, Intercepts couldn’t make it out to the airport hanger to check the loadout in person. A Textron spokesperson sent the following picture:

An example of what an ISR package could look like on Textron's Scorpion jet. (Textron)

An example of what an ISR package could look like on Textron’s Scorpion jet. (Textron)

You can see a couple different ISR assets on there. One thing Textron has pushed is the open-architecture of its wing mounts — they are designed to work with as many systems as possible, in order to create individual packages for the customer.

The spokesman noted the following companies were exhibiting their ISR wares at the Scorpion event

  • MBDA
  • Raytheon
  • Lockheed Martin
  • BAE Systems
  • FLIR
  • L3 Wescam
  • Artemis
  • Thales
  • Textron Systems
  • Boeing Systems
  • Boeing Defense
  • Moog
  • United Technologies Aerospace

The jet has been billed as an ISR aircraft with light strike capabilities. The company recently confirmed it plans to offer a trainer variant for the Air Force’s T-X competition, and it has developed a bit of a cult following among National Guard leadership. But as of now, the company continues its hunt for a first customer.

In other Textron news, the company recently announced a successful completion of a live-fire demonstration for its new G-CLAW precision guided weapon.

The weapon detonated within four meters of the designated target during a test at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, the company said in a press release. G-CLAW is one of two precision-guided munitions Textron has developed for unmanned systems and light aircraft. The other weapon is known as the BattleHawk.

The company believes both systems will find markets, with executive Ian Walsh telling Defense News in July “We are bringing this small precision weapon to meet what we see as future and emerging requirements across a range of platforms and armed services.”

The G-CLAW, unsurprisingly, is also capable of being fitted on the Scorpion.

Aaron Mehta

Aaron Mehta

Air Warfare Correspondent at Defense News
Aaron covers the Air Force for Defense News. In his spare time, he tweets about the Air Force for Defense News. Follow him @AaronMehta
Aaron Mehta