The US Air Force (USAF) has signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Textron AirLand to perform an airworthiness assessment of the latter's military aircraft.
As per the terms of the agreement, USAF Airworthiness Office will carry out airworthiness test of the Model 530 Scorpion.
USAF Technical Airworthiness Authority member Jorge F. Gonzalez said: “This is the first of its kind, we have not done a CRADA like this before and we have never had a partnership with industry to assess aircraft that are not under a USAF acquisition contract.”
The Textron AirLand Scorpion jet aircraft has been designed to perform a variety of missions such as irregular warfare support, humanitarian assistance / disaster response, border security, counter narcotics, counter insurgency, forward air control-airborne, strike coordination armed reconnaissance and airborne on scene commander.
Powered by twin turbofan engines, the aircraft can be fitted with a variety of weapon sets, including precision guided munitions (PGMs) for precision strike.
The non-DOD military aircraft comes with tandem cockpit, retractable sensor mount, internal payload bay, external stores carriage for precision / non-precision munitions.
The assessment result, which may be used as a verification of the safety of aircraft design, is important when industry seeks to make direct commercial sales to foreign military services.
The Non-DoD Military Aircraft (NDMA) office will help the USAF to better understand the state of aviation development outside of the traditional defence sector, as well as an awareness of Independent Research and Development activities of US aerospace companies.
Image: Textron AirLand signs the first ever collaborative research and development agreement for the NDMA office. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Bill Hancock.