Textron’s Scorpion armed recon jet is unique. There’s no other plane like it in the world — which in a way is why the company developed it. After conducting a market survey at the beginning of the decade, Providence, RI-based Textron concluded there was an unaddressed global market for about 2,000 low-cost, multi-mission jets that could perform both reconnaissance and strike missions. So it set out to develop such an aircraft with its own money, avoiding the use of U.S. military specifications that might impede the export process. What’s really disruptive about Scorpion is that by applying commercial technology and sustainment practices to a military airframe, Textron is able to deliver agile air power to countries that otherwise might not be able to afford it. Scorpion thus is the latest indication of how commercial products and processes are gradually eclipsing the traditional military approach to modernization. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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