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Thread: Future Light Attack - Textron Scorpion

  1. #31
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    It actually seems like a decent counter-narcotics bird indeed!

    The only problem is that I can't see a healthy market for it as the most likely users are all generally broke.


    And I like the look of thing too!

    everything that shoots weapons does not have to be a fighter
    Totally agree. After all one of the most useful bits of shooty kit in the US arsenal is the AC-130 gunship.



    And the Mi-17 and Mi-35 are superb multi-role birds that pack meaty punches.
    Last edited by thobbes; 18th September 2013 at 01:23.
    "It will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die".
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  2. #32
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    According to Textron's CEO, Scorpion will be serviced by Cessna's worldwide network. That opens up some interesting cost reduction possibilities, since there are Cessna maintenance centers in half-a-dozen South American and a couple of Asian countries...

    Even more so if the claim about 70% of Scorpion's components being off-the-shelf is true.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by H_K View Post
    No, in fact the turboprop is only marginaly cheaper. A military operator won't even notice the cost difference.

    Let's compare two very similar civilian platforms: the PC-12 (6,500lb light turboprop) versus the Citation Jet 4 (10,000lb twin turbofan). Critics will complain that the CJ4 guzzles fuel and has two engines. And indeed, it at first blush it costs twice as much per flight hour: $1,800 vs. $750. BUT, the CJ4 flies 50% faster and 30% farther than the PC-12. Once you adjust for the jet's much shorter block times, the cost difference is reduced to only $500 per hour.

    Now $500/hr may be a big deal in the civilian world, but it's peanuts for a military operator. The overall mission cost will be dominated by all the other factors like pilot training, avionics maintenance and weapons costs. Not to mention that the jet's extra speed, payload, range and survivability makes it much more useful.

    IMHO that's why this annoucnement is a big deal. We have a potential Super Tucano killer.
    The EMB-314 at MTOW is lighter than a completely clean Textron Scorpion, we are looking at a twin engined AMX/A4 sized combat jet against a 50% smaller (area) single engine Turboprop, the diference in costs is not "peanuts", its massive. The only chance that this "Scorpion" has is the Congress to force it down the USAF throat, no one else is going to buy it without the Pentagon ordering it, and the chances of that happening are slightly better (but just) than North Korea being invited to be part of the JSF team.
    It will end up like the Scaled Composites ARES, unfortunately because its a pretty neat concept.

    Cheers

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sintra View Post
    The EMB-314 at MTOW is lighter than a completely clean Textron Scorpion, we are looking at a twin engined AMX/A4 sized combat jet against a 50% smaller (area) single engine Turboprop, the diference in costs is not "peanuts", its massive. The only chance that this "Scorpion" has is the Congress to force it down the USAF throat, no one else is going to buy it without the Pentagon ordering it, and the chances of that happening are slightly better (but just) than North Korea being invited to be part of the JSF team.
    It will end up like the Scaled Composites ARES, unfortunately because its a pretty neat concept.

    Cheers
    Three key points that could lead to success for this plane.

    One US buys some.
    Two US foreign military aid is used to support sales to other countries.
    Three plane has a low cost global maintenance system in place and also plane has a reasonable purchase cost.

    If the above three items fall in place then there is no reason this plane can't find a market.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siddar View Post
    Three key points that could lead to success for this plane.

    One US buys some.
    Two US foreign military aid is used to support sales to other countries.
    Three plane has a low cost global maintenance system in place and also plane has a reasonable purchase cost.

    If the above three items fall in place then there is no reason this plane can't find a market.
    Completely agree, if those three items fall in place it could find an interesting market. The dam problem (IMO) is the chances of that happening "are slightly better (but just) than North Korea being invited to be part of the JSF team". Unless a miracle happens the Pentagon is not going to order it, end of story for the Scorpion (unfortunately).

    Cheers

  6. #36
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    US government has bought far weirder things then Scorpion in the past.

  7. #37
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    The USAF needs an aircraft like the Scorpion to replace the A-10C. Anyone know how much a single wing of Scorpion's would cost to operate?

  8. #38
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    Well, it looks like even the pros are overwhelmingly skeptical about the market for Scorpion.

    Bill Sweetman: Can This Scorpion Fly?
    http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.as...0-224377278ded

    Flying Magazine: Scorpion - The Light Attack Jet Nobody Asked For
    http://www.flyingmag.com/aircraft/je...t-nobody-asked

    Defense Aerospace: It is not certain that the Scorpion is what the market wants
    http://www.defense-aerospace.com/art...-unveiled.html

    IMHO, it all hinges on whether they can make those "bizjet economics" work (my term, not Textron's)... If so, then THAT is a big novelty and game changer. As I said before, the economics of a twin turbofan Citation Jet 4 versus a PC-12 turboprop aren't more than $500/hour apart. The platform just isn't the main cost driver - it's the weapons, sensors, and comms outfit. Just look at a Predator: $3,500 per flight hour for a dinky 950hp turboprop platform!
    Last edited by H_K; 18th September 2013 at 19:59.

  9. #39
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    Scorpion is a complete nonstarter as far as the usaf is concerned.

  10. #40
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    igla sez hi!

  11. #41
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    Just buy a few Saab integrated countermeasures pods or DIRCM turrets to share as needed across the fleet, and Igla will say "Bye"!

    That's the advantage of modern modular payloads... Scorpion seems to be the first manned aircraft designed with modularity in mind. (UAVs are already there)

  12. #42
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    With the Budget sequestration ongoing and the DOD/USAF agonizing over retiring a number of types including the A-10, B-1B and KC-10 the idea that funding could be found for a twin light attack jet is wishful thinking at best and a pitiful joke at worst.

    Textron knows this full well! Yet there is a prototype so they clearly want to do something with it, there is pretty much no chance we shall ever see this aircraft being purchased by the US in this role so the question is "what is Textron's game here"?

    I wonder is this a sideways step at T-X?
    Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

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  13. #43
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    Very good post Fedaykin.

    This isn't the 1960s/70s where America has enough case for thousands of jet fighters, transports and bombers and enough change to buy smaller mission specific aircraft ala OV-1, OV-10, AU-23, A-37 etc etc.
    "It will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die".
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  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    Textron knows this full well! Yet there is a prototype so they clearly want to do something with it, there is pretty much no chance we shall ever see this aircraft being purchased by the US in this role so the question is "what is Textron's game here"?

    I wonder is this a sideways step at T-X?
    One of my first thoughts was in that regard. Could this be also used for advanced training? Maybe this project is itself the result of an attempt to compete on the T-X contract but weren't able to get a better partner?

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see how it develops. As you wrote, Textron must be expecting something to even spend money on something like this.

    It would actually have been more interesting to see them partner with AeroSud to offer a more advanced AHRLAC. That could probably compete better against the Super Tucano and AT-6, or at least in the same category.

    Best regards,

  15. #45
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    I think the idea in regards to trainers is to be lower cost compared to other more expensive options.

  16. #46
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    Depends on the types of training. Remember Swiss are doing advanced training with PC-21.
    "It will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die".
    Lemmy on Motorhead

  17. #47
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    True there are both higher and lower cost trainers.

    What aircraft still in production compete with it in the same weight class?

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    There is pretty much no chance we shall ever see this aircraft being purchased by the US in this role so the question is "what is Textron's game here"?
    One word: ISR. Textron have pretty much said so. I think they're betting that ISR budgets will be preserved, especially with the US turning inwards, since that's going to lead to a renewed focus on domestic & foreign security missions (border protection, drug interdiction, special forces support etc).

    So I think Textron are offering the USAF the following short-term political play: "you can't avoid sequestration, so why not capture some of the homeland security budget to cushion the fall". The USAF may want to play along, to at least preserve some of its squadron numbers, since nothing can save its front-line fleet.

    Anyway, this pitch isn't about light attack... not yet, at least. Long term, I do think that Textron's play is to push Scorpion as a dedicated FAC(A) / CAS platform. So in effect an A-10 replacement for the USAF, and an A-37 replacement or Super Tucano alternative for export.

    This dual ISR/light-attack role opens up some interesting possibilities, since theoretically small airforces could replace 3-4 micro-fleets with a single jack-of-all-trades Scorpion buy (COIN turboprop + maritime patrol turboprop + jet trainer + legacy Cold War attack aircraft). The economics might be interesting, even if the Scorpion doesn't excel at anything.
    Last edited by H_K; 19th September 2013 at 06:47.

  19. #49
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    The US already has numerous ISR systems - a myriads of UAVs and a large variety of manned aircraft ranging from MC-12s to E-8s.

    As for A-10 replacement, that is the F-35. The USAF doesn't want another CAS platform to replace A-10. They want to replace A-10 with a multirole type.

    In fact they've been trying to get rid of A-10s for decades now and are pushing to do it again. And they're actually looking at getting rid of these squadrons by the looks of things.

    And they've got rid of all the lighter FAC(A)/Observation types years ago (A-37, OV-10, OV-1).

    This is the confusing thing about the Scorpion - it's a type that fits 1980s market niches when budgets were big and not 2010s when US military is reemphasising high end peer level conflict.
    "It will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die".
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  20. #50
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    Apparently UAVs aren't allowed to perform domestic ISR (airspace restructions), which leaves the 35-odd single-mission MC-12s as the only useful "homeland" fleet. The USAF is definitely done buying single-mission aircraft, so a dual-use ISR aircraft that has a useful secondary military capability might *just* pass the bar.

    Regarding an A_10 replacement for FAC / CAS / COIN, the USAF might not care, but the US Army and SOCOM probably do. Might help with lobbying or even releasing joint funds (despite the C-27J debacle)... but probably only down the road.

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by H_K View Post
    Apparently UAVs aren't allowed to perform domestic ISR (airspace restructions),
    That's a very good point!

    Regarding an A_10 replacement for FAC / CAS / COIN, the USAF might not care, but the US Army and SOCOM probably do. Might help with lobbying or even releasing joint funds (despite the C-27J debacle)... but probably only down the road.
    US Army will never be allowed to operate anything even resembling tactical combat aircraft.

    As for SOCOM, they don't operate combat aircraft - it's helos, utility aircraft and airliners all the way.
    "It will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die".
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  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    With the Budget sequestration ongoing and the DOD/USAF agonizing over retiring a number of types including the A-10, B-1B and KC-10 the idea that funding could be found for a twin light attack jet is wishful thinking at best and a pitiful joke at worst.

    Textron knows this full well! Yet there is a prototype so they clearly want to do something with it, there is pretty much no chance we shall ever see this aircraft being purchased by the US in this role so the question is "what is Textron's game here"?

    I wonder is this a sideways step at T-X?
    Didn't the services set up something like a Venture capital fund for small sector projects looking to break into the defense establishments. It may have been an Army only effort but with the current environment and the acknowledged need to protect aerospace and defense sector companies (and to create some growth) this may be something that the DOD could look at.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  23. #53
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    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  24. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClanWarrior View Post
    The USAF needs an aircraft like the Scorpion to replace the A-10C. Anyone know how much a single wing of Scorpion's would cost to operate?
    It could not replace the A-10. The A-10 is tough. It is meant to survive trashfire & manpads, to fly low in dangerous places & get away with it.

    This Textron design is liightly built. It could not survive anywhere there is heavy fire from the ground, except by flying high enough to be out of the trashfire. F-16s, F-15s, F-18s etc already do ground attack from up there.
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  25. #55
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    Had the USN been looking to replace its Goshawks, then I could see where a navalised version of the Scorpion, where the internal bay could be loaded with black boxes relating to different mission profiles.

    But with the T-45As being upgraded to T-45C, that doesn't really make sense of this aircraft either.

  26. #56
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    Structurally it's a beauty. Where was made the fuselage ?

    Country like Israel cld see an interest in it (persistent manned ISR over congestioned airspace with light strike cap). But definitively, this thing is riding on the A/T37 legacy.
    Last edited by TomcatViP; 19th September 2013 at 15:29.

  27. #57
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    Israel is currently slashing it's defence force, so any money left is going to go to maintain high end capability.
    "It will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die".
    Lemmy on Motorhead

  28. #58
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    After a bit of web news searching it looks like I am not the only person thinking T-X when it comes to editorial.

    As for Israel they are already purchasing a type very similar to the Scorpion (actually better performing in many respects) the M346 Lavi. If they needed to press an aircraft into the role why purchase another type when they already have m346 Lavi?
    Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

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  29. #59
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    The gap between the intake and wing.. um... is odd to say the least. Drag comes to mind.
    We are 100% SNAFU

  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by H_K View Post
    Very interesting announcement today, the Textron (Cessna) Scorpion light attack aircraft: www.scorpionjet.com

    Aviation Week: Textron Unveils Scorpion Light Attack, Recce Jet
    The Scorpion demonstrator is intended to whet the U.S. Air Force's appetite with the promise of a low procurement and operating cost. The pitch is for this aircraft, which is optimized for 5-hr. endurance with onboard intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) collectors and weapons, to handle the Air Force's low-end missions such as U.S.-based interdiction, quick-reaction natural disaster support and air sovereignty patrols.
    http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....p22-615375.xml


    2 seat, twin engine light attack jet
    Max speed: 450 knots
    Air sovereignty in a 450 knot plane? Yeah... I'm sure the ANG is just itching to be outrun by terrorists in a chartered Airbus.

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