Cheap to buy, cheap to fly could be the motto for the Textron Scorpion.
Making its international debut at the Farnborough Airshow, it is a “budget” jet aimed at the lower end of the military market.
The price tag is around $20 million, just under 15 million euros, making it more affordable its makers say, and if the same for the running costs.
Bill Anderson, President of Textron Airland, told euronews: “Extremely great value. If you look at a modern fighter of $18,000 to $20,000 a flight hour and you have a highly reliable machine at $3,000 a flight hour, we think we have entered a really great market space.”
Textron, which makes Bell Helicopters and Cessna and Beechcraft business jets, adapted technology from its civilian planes to keep the cost down.
The plane on show is a prototype and there are no orders for the plane yet, making Farnborough vital to the company’s aspirations.
So can it find buyers? Colin Clark, the editor of Breaking Defense, isn’t sure: “It’s a very, very difficult market these days. Most European governments are spending two percent or less of their funding on defence and that is not a large pie.”
In a crowded market,Textron hopes to take advantage of the fact that governments are strapped for cash and would be attracted to a cheaper multi-purpose workhorse that could be used for things like surveillance, reconnaissance and pilot training.
The Scorpion should be ready for production in 2016; that’s if they have any buyers.