The Textron AirLand Scorpion could be the answer to over-budget planes from major suppliers. Textron writes:
In an era when defence aeronautics is dominated by a handful of major fighter jet companies, Textron AirLand’s SCORPION finds a niche to squeeze into and establish a new market for itself. The SCORPION barely reached 100 flying hours when it few across the Atlantic to be presented at this year’s Farnborough Air Show. Unlike its contemporaries, this innovative jet fighter is “organically-grown” – that is fully-developed through private funding and using OTS parts instead of being a response to a government requirement, unique specifications or with development subsidized by a procurement contract.
The plane is built with a variety of features at a low price. Textron-AirLand thinks it could appeal to U.S. allies with less military funding capability.
The Scorpion is being pitched as a bargain at an estimated $20 million each compared to the competition – F-16, F-18, or F-22 planes – that Sylvestre says can cost between $60 million and $100 million each. The lower price tag is because it was designed without the constraints of military-contract specifications and was able to incorporate cheaper commercial aviation technology.
“Economic constraints in [Washington, D.C.] in some ways play to our advantage,” Sylvestre said.
So far, though, most of the interest in the new jet, expected to go into production next year, has been from outside the U.S.
The aircraft is a “big deal to a lot of countries that aren’t as wealthy as the U.S.” because of its relatively cheap price tag, according to Sylvestre. He said Textron, through a subsidiary and its partner, AirLand Enterprises LLC, are in discussions with several U.S.-partner countries.
Here you see the Scorpion being built with off-the-shelf parts that don’t cost as much as the custom designs currently employed.