It seems that Brazil's Embraer is not the only defense contractor interested in selling cut-rate warplanes to the Pentagon. Textron (NYSE: TXT) likes the idea, too.
Three months ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office gave final approval to the U.S. Air Force's purchase of 20 Super Tucano turboprop ground-support aircraft from Embraer in a deal valued at approximately $1 billion. On Monday, Textron announced the introduction of its own budget warplane, the Scorpion Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Strike aircraft.
Textron calls the Scorpion "the world's most affordable tactical jet aircraft capable of performing lower-threat battlefield and homeland security missions." Such a claim suggests Scorpion might eventually compete not just with Lockheed Martin's F-35 and F-22 stealth fighters, which cost scores of millions of dollars each, or even with cheaper wares from Boeing, but might also target developing nation markets currently dominated by cheap fighters from Russia's RosOboronExport.
Textron said the Scorpion is "designed to accommodate the increasingly stringent budget constraints of the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. partner nations." Currently undergoing testing, the Scorpion prototype is expected to make its first test flight this year.