Scorpion in maritime surveillance demo flights with UK Royal Navy. Source: Textron AirLand
Two years after its surprise unveiling, the Textron-Air Land Scorpion has found its first prospective customer, as Thales and QinetiQ have selected it for their bid for a Royal Air Force training contract.
QinetiQ, Thales and Textron AirLand have announced a collaboration that will bid for the UK Ministry of Defense’s upcoming Air Support to Defense Operational Training (ASDOT) programme.
The three companies’ CEOs met at Farnborough International Airshow on July 12th to announce the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting the foundation for the bid.
The operational training activities that will comprise the ASDOT programme are currently fulfilled by a number of providers, both military and civilian. This team will propose an innovative, cost effective, technologically advanced reliable managed service using the Textron AirLand Scorpion jet, equipped with Thales and QinetiQ sensors to provide a broad spectrum of training for all three armed services.
The competitive contract, expected to be awarded in September 2018 with a service delivery start in January 2020, is anticipated to be worth up to £1.2bn over 15 years.
What will each company offer?
QinetiQ will offer the safe operation of a highly capable and flexible mixed fleet of Scorpion and other platforms – including maintenance and provision of pilots. Its proposal will include integration of sensors and jamming pods into the aerial fleet and certification of the aircraft to ensure compliance with military air worthiness regulations. The solution will include provision for the introduction of synthetic operational training and airborne aerial target capabilities.
Thales’s breadth of training service provision for air platforms spans from jet fighters, tactical transporters, helicopters to refueling aircraft. Thales brings extensive experience in delivering fully managed training services and engineering bespoke high fidelity training equipment such as full mission simulators for leading air platforms such as A400M, Voyager, Tornado, Rafale, Mirage 2000, Hawk and Eurofighter. Thales has an international footprint providing training and simulation products and services to a global customer network. Thales will also offer a range of sensors optimized for situational awareness, threat replication and targeting training, as well as Electronic Warfare capability.
Textron AirLand will offer its Scorpion jet, selected by QinetiQ and Thales after a comprehensive analysis of over 50 aircraft. This selection was based on the aircraft’s multi-mission capability, combined with unparalleled acquisition and operating costs and a dispatch reliability rating exceeding 98 percent.
Designed and built with leading-edge technologies, the Scorpion is a bold new direction for tactical aircraft. The aircraft is very versatile in terms of mission flexibility with a center payload bay, six hard points, high dash speeds and extended endurance and loiter time at cruise speeds. The Scorpion is built to excel in many roles, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support, armed reconnaissance, maritime and border patrol and jet training missions.
Source: Danish Department of Defence
Written by Patricia Ruiz
Patricia Ruiz is Environmental and Forestry Engineer and a Supply Chain Management Expert