Cessna unveiled a twin-engine military interceptor/utility jet that CEO Scott Ernest told his local Rotary Club will diversify the company’s product line and provide a relatively inexpensive alternative to traditional fighter aircraft in some roles. The Scorpion was built in secret over the last 18 months by Cessna engineers at a facility in Wichita. It has a composite airframe and the engines were run for the first time last weekend.Its basically built … and we are hopefully going to fly it here in the next two to three weeks,” Ernest is quoted by the Wichita Journal as telling the Rotarians. “Itll be good. Its just another opportunity for us to invest in the future.
Ernest told the gathering the aircraft will cost about $3,000 an hour to fly, about 10 percent of the cost of an F-35, and it will carry a big payload of military hardware. He did not specify what armament it might carry and instead stressed its potential role carrying sensors for data collection. Besides the Air Force, Ernest said the aircraft might appeal to the National Guard. “It can be very effective within their stable of planes if they allow it to be, and very reliable. … Its a cheap alternative to flying some of the other product, so well see, Ernest was quoted as saying. A purchase price wasn’t mentioned.