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The Scorpion was built as an experimental platform that has advanced avionics, integrated ISR systems and external stores carrying capability. The next aircraft will be a production aircraft used for the certification process, beginning 2016. Photo: Textron AirLand

Assisting First Responders From The Sky

Last year the aircraft participated in Operation Vigilant Guard 2014, a large-scale military exercise involving a multi-state disaster response sponsored by U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau. During Vigilant Guard the Scorpion provided aerial reconnaissance and the real-time transmission of full motion video and communications in support of other aircraft, ground stations and other emergency responders reacting to mock threat scenarios. In other evaluation flights the Scorpion successfully intercepted a low level, and slow speed (low-slow) flying threat aircraft below 100 KTAS, demonstrating its suitability for the Low Slow Threat Aircraft Intercept Requirement as outlined in the NORAD Operation Noble Eagle Defense of North America mission.

Another application foreseen for the aircraft is training. It deployed for four days to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS) for evaluation as part of Class 14B students’ “Capstone” exercise, to determine its suitability as a T-38 replacement for the TPS curriculum. During the four days, Scorpion completed nearly 20 flight hours, on 12 flights, with 100% mission availability, on time. (For perspective, most U.S. tactical jets fly 20 to 25 hours per month). The average maintenance turnaround time from Scorpion landing to “released for flight” was 38 minutes— the best turn was 15 minutes.

The Scorpion can carry eight G-CLAW weapons are carried in common launcher modules, plus additional guided weapons such as the GBU-12 Paveway laser guided bomb or Light Weight Munitions- Free Flight (seen below). Photos: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The Scorpion can carry eight G-CLAW weapons are carried in common launcher modules, plus additional guided weapons such as the GBU-12 Paveway laser guided bomb or Free-Fall Light Multirole Munition (FFLLM each weighing 6 kg). Photos: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
Another type of weapon that can be carried by the  Scorpion is the Free-Fall Light Multirole Munition (FFLLM) weighing 6kg each, displayed here on the armed AT-6. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defesne-Update
Another type of weapon that can be carried by the Scorpion is the Free-Fall Light Multirole Munition (FFLLM) weighing 6kg each, displayed here on the armed AT-6. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defesne-Update
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