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Textron AirLand's Scorpion in first flight

WICHITA, Kan., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A new jet aircraft for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions by Textron AirLand LLC has successfully completed its first flight.

The aircraft, called the Scorpion, took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., and conducted a range of handling maneuvers for about 1.4 hours, the company said Thursday.

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"Today's first flight is a major milestone for the Scorpion as the program transitions into the flight test phase," said Textron chief executive officer Scott Donnelly. "When the design phase began less than two years ago, we were confident that we would deliver a uniquely affordable, versatile tactical aircraft by taking advantage of commercial aviation technologies and best practices.

"Today's flight met all expectations, and keeps us on track towards certification and production."

Textron AirLand is a joint venture between Textron Inc. and AirLand Enterprises LLC.

The Scorpion, which can also perform combat strike operations, was announced in September as a demonstration aircraft designed to accommodate the budget constraints and shifting mission requirements of the U.S. Department of Defense. It is powered by twin turbofan engines, has a cruising speed of as much as 517 mph, and a ferry range of 2,400 nautical miles.

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The aircraft carries an internal payload of up to 3,000 pounds and wing-mounted munitions.

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