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New Scorpion light attack jet debuts at Farnborough air show

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The Scorpion multi-role jet. Photo: Textron AirLand

FARNBOROUGH (BNS): Even as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has failed to land at Farnborough to take part in the ongoing international air show, another light attack jet, built by a private US company, is making its debut at the event to attract customers.

The Scorpion multi-role aircraft, built by Textron AirLand -- a joint venture between Textron and AirLand Enterprises, has flown from the McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas to take part in the international air show.

The two-seat, twin-engine light attack aircraft, also with ISR capability (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), is built from off-the-shelf components.

Each plane costs about $20m and it has gone from the drawing board to first flight test in less than 24 months.

The aircraft was unveiled in September 2013 and undertook its maiden flight test in December that year.

Interestingly, Textron AirLand has borne all the expenses in building the new fighter aircraft without any financial support from the US Government.

Scorpion's six weapons stations are designed to carry a range of precision munitions such as Hellfire, JDAM and air-to-air missiles. The aircraft can be configured to accommodate various infrared air-to-air missiles and wing-mounted gun pods.

At the Farnborough air show, it is being displayed with several weapons models including the Griffin and Hellfire missiles, enhanced Paveway 4 guided bombs, and Textron Systems Weapon & Sensor Systems G-CLAWs among others.

The aircraft can be used as a jet trainer, surveillance platform or light strike aircraft, according to the manufacturer which hopes to find customers for the new, low-cost military jet both in the national as well as international market.

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