The Loss of MH37031 March 2014
Kate is the Top Gun!28 April 2014
Any country around the world will have the objective to cut costs. Even China will go this way and especially when it comes to military expenditures. So what if a company was coming inti the market with a low cost fighter jet, but that still would work like a superbly expensive fighter jet.Which would you take ? In an age of budget-busting weapons programs and tighter defense purse strings, Textron is betting it can sell a cut-rate military jet assembled in part from off-the-shelf components. That would dramatically reduce costs. And Textron know their stuff as they build aircrafts. Indeed, Textron, the world’s largest maker of business aircraft, developed the new Scorpion jet with its partner AirLand Enterprises LLC in less than two years—a turbocharged time frame for a military plane. It borrowed technology developed for its high-end Cessna Citation corporate jets, and it added components like ejector seats from suppliers’ catalogues rather than custom designing them. Textron used its own funds—analysts estimate it spent hundreds of millions of dollars—without a contract, which is rare in an industry where companies generally secure government backing and clear design specifications before starting projects. Some prospective suppliers had so little faith in the project that they declined to take part. But Textron Chief Executive Scott Donnelly says he’s confident a global market exists for small, cheap-to-run jets able to carry out intelligence, security and reconnaissance work for the military as well as functions like patrolling borders and tracking drug smugglers. The jets can also carry weapons under their wings. Textron estimates the size of the global market at more than 2,000 planes and says the company could start to deliver them in 2015 if it wins an order this year. The Scorpion is priced below $20 million, and aims to have lower operating costs than those of pricier jets flying similar missions. That sandwiches it between slower turboprops such as Embraer SA EMBR3.BR +0.31% ‘s $11 million Super Tucano—a big seller to nations in Africa and Latin America—or advanced supersonic combat fighter jets like Saab’s $43 million Gripen, and offerings from Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co. and others costing $50 million or more. Experts on military aircraft are divided on the Scorpion’s prospects. The 2,000-aircraft estimate “is ambitious but reasonable,” says Kristin White, a senior associate at Avascent, a defense-industry consulting firm. “The competition is going to be tough, but [air forces] will have to take a look” because of the price and capabilities.