Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Textron bowing out of USAF T-X trainer competition

WASHINGTON — Textron Airland has officially decided against offering its Scorpion jet for the Air Force’s T-X trainer competition, ending speculation about whether the aircraft would emerge as a dark horse candidate.

“We certainly believe the Scorpion can fit a good training role, not only for the U.S. Air Force but around the world, but with the requirements that had been put out there for the T-X, we don’t believe the Scorpion fits all the requirements,” said Bill Harris, the company’s vice president of Scorpion jet sales.

Textron told Defense News in early 2016 that it would probably not pursue the T-X contract unless the Air Force changed its requirements to be less demanding. However, earlier this winter, company officials stated that they had not ruled out a T-X bid and were assessing the final request for proposals.

Harris explained Textron wanted to take a second look at the requirements to evaluate whether Scorpion could fit the service’s needs, but the jet had trouble meeting some of the Air Force’s more aggressive performance characteristics, including a high G threshold of 6.5 — the Scorpion can achieve 6 Gs.

“It basically was very close to what you would see in an F-16 Block 50 aircraft,” he said. “We went over it and over it, and it became clear that we weren’t going to meet these aggressive performance standards.”


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