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Textron Scorpion Rejected for Next Phase of OA-X Program

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posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 03:00 PM
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The US Air Force has excluded the Textron Aviation Scorpion light attack aircraft from the next phase of the OA-X experiment, leaving the Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano as the finalists for a potential follow-on acquisition deal.

The news comes as a blow for Textron Aviation’s five-year-old campaign to win the endorsement of the US Air Force for the company-funded Scorpion, a twin-jet designed to perform as a light attack and observation platform.

Instead, the turboprop-powered AT-6 and A-29 are “the two most promising light attack aircraft”, says Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

“This will let us gather the data needed for a rapid procurement,” Wilson says.

Textron Aviation declined to comment on the Air Force’s rejection of the Scorpion.


www.flightglobal.com...


I have to admit: I am surprised. I had thought the Scorpion was a massively ahead for the OA-X since it was one of the few jets and prop driven planes are not a favorite of the Blue Beanies. Also, with all the effort Textron has been putting into the Scorpion, I'd have thought it was pretty mature.

No combat demo is a little...curious. All things considered that is.




posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 03:04 PM
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That's a shame, it's made an appearance at Fairford during the air tattoos on static display. I liked the look of it. I wonder if any other countries would use the Scorpion



posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 04:22 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Durability with a jet engine is going to be an issue. Operating in somewhere like Iraq or Afghanistan has proven to be pretty brutal on jet engines.



posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 07:45 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Some people are unhappy with the AF over their decisions here:

www.thedrive.com...



posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 08:06 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I put about as much stock in their opinion as I do WIB. Possibly less, depending on author.



posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 08:21 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

He's ex WIB, iirc.



posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 08:36 PM
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a reply to: anzha

That explains a lot. He's not the only one that doesn't impress me there, just the latest.



posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 09:14 PM
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Bit of a rundown on the Broncos role..Interesting how they can target individual Cell phones and engage..
Bronco ops..



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 01:27 AM
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An unpleasant blow, but I would expect that this plane still has a promising future: low cost, good subsonic performance, superb payload/endurance coupled with an open systems architecture.

The whole concept of this aircraft started in 2012: the GFC fallout was still in the minds of many, and the iPhone and Android phones were in the pockets of engineers and managers, who were thinking in terms of open/publicly disclosed system architectures. This is a plane built with some very contemporary thinking.

That is the recipe for success in a budget constrained world. It will mean that Textron will need to try harder with exports and there will likely be a very nice game with offsets, technology transfers and local customer participation. But I have no doubt we will be seeing a lot of this plane and the thinking behind it moving forward.



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 04:20 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Yes but remind me what powers the AT-6 and A-29? Pretty sure they have turbine engines as well and lets not forget how many turbofans have operated in that region over the last 20 years, both fixed and rotary wing. Turbofan/turbojet versus turbo prop the ingestion of sand or rock particles does the same thing, it erodes compressors and for that matter props. I'm not buying that, I think there is something else going on that has more of a political bent to it. If I had to put a finger on it I would say that it was a case of product differentiation, i.e. the USAF doesn't want a "jet" being sold over a prop aircraft. They can sell a real jet instead, for example second hand F-16's.



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 05:30 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

AT-6 and A-29 are cheaper, single turboprop vs two turbofans, and good enough for the job.



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 06:15 AM
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Im wondering if its because of speed?



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 09:11 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

A turboprop is a lot more resilient and FOD resistant than a straight jet though.



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 12:19 PM
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This is what happens when you want the program to fail, but you have to go through the motions. They will justify the elimination because the Scorpion brings too much to the table at too much cost. Then they'll eliminate both the STucano and Texans as being not capable enough. "I guess we'll stop moving forward on this program until industry can catch up."
You eliminate the contender that might actually have a chance of succeeding and showing A) the mission is worthwhile or B) that you should expend some of your budget on it. Get ready for the evaluation that shows the turboprops were unable to show a distinct advantage over existing platforms and the program isn't worth spending our money on.

Probably kills the Scorpion, sadly.



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 12:24 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: thebozeian

A turboprop is a lot more resilient and FOD resistant than a straight jet though.


Not a great deal. Look at the problems even the rotary-wing fleet has with turboshafts and rotorblades.



posted on Feb, 3 2018 @ 12:43 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

They are when compared to something like the Scorpion. They'll still have their issues with the environment, but can operate better than a straight jet aircraft could in the same area.



posted on Feb, 4 2018 @ 12:33 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Design-dependant**



posted on Feb, 4 2018 @ 01:00 AM
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Cheaper than choppers.



posted on Feb, 4 2018 @ 05:43 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert
Thats exactly my point, I think this has a massive political bent to it. And this is hardly the first time we have been here. The F-5, Piper Enforcer, F-20 Tiger shark and a whole host of other concepts went through this same "killed at birth" process, the F-5 survived because of a pressing wartime need but was never openly supported by the brass. The fighter Mafia hates competition and will do anything to cement both their position as well as sales of "genuine" fighter or strike type platforms.

Zaph is correct that turboprops generally fair a bit better than straight turbofans/turbojets but its not so great that it would be a deal breaker so early on, how the hell would they know that so early on? Personally I hope Textron perseveres and sells hundred if not thousands.



posted on Feb, 4 2018 @ 06:14 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

You have a limited budget and are trying for a relatively fast acquisition. Do you go for platforms that have been flying for years, that you've bought for allies, or do you go with the new platform, that has zero sales so far, and hasn't been pushed beyond testing.

Politics is involved in everything, but at the same time, if you're looking for an on the cheap solution to a problem, you don't pick a brand new aircraft that has no history behind it, and would require all new fields of training.
edit on 2/4/2018 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)




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