Bombardier CA-200 Scorpion
The Bombardier CA-200 Scorpion (also known as the Bombardier-Bell Textron TR-2 Scorpion) was a Canadian designed attack tiltrotor based on the Canadair CL-84 Dynavert.
The Scorpion is powered by a pair of Pratt and Whitney Canada PT127G turboprop engines (which had eight bladed carbon composite propellers) each delivering 3,058 hp which were interconnected so that if one failed the other could take over driving the aircraft. The aircraft included a monster 30mm three-barreled Gatling gun (developed by Western Electric, Diemaco, and Dalsa Technologies) mounted underneath the pilot, with the pilot mounted above and behind the gunner as on most attack helicopters. The aircraft had an internal weapons bay capable of carrying four Hellfire anti-tank missiles, while also carrying 250-lb bombs, rocket pods, more anti-tank missiles, Penguin anti-ship missiles, extra fuel tanks or machine gun pods. The tail all moved, too, with the rear rotor being able to rotate 90 degrees to get better stability. The proposed production aircraft would have armor underneath it and all around the cockpit and engines, IR suppressors, all the latest electronics (including the AN/APG-78 Longbow radar) and self-sealing fuel tanks, giving it durability to take fire and keep on fighting. The Scorpion was also designed with aerial refueling capability.
On August 24th, 2011, a mockup of the Scorpion was introduced to the world at the Canadian National Exhibition. The Scorpion's existence caused many to ask how the hell Bombardier managed to build and engineer something that had given the Americans fits for decades - at least until somebody looked up the Canadair CL-84 Dynavert and saw many of the differences in design and ideas.
In 2018, the first units were delivered to the newly-formed 476 Squadron, where they were almost immediately sent out for operational tours, first on Vimy Ridge and then on Warrior. The CA-200, to the surprise of no one, flew flawlessly. The CA-200 was first shown off at war games at the US' National Training Academy, supporting a CF Armored Regiment. The CA-200 was a genuine shock to US troops, who found the huge beast could be flown and maneuvered just like one of their Apache attack choppers, only a lot faster. The pilots of 476 Squadron rapidly showed off a tactic called the "brakeslam" where they yanked on the brakes and jammed the wing up, dramatically reducing speed, and allowing the Scorpion to slow, turn and shoot in a matter seconds. The Scorpion's fire control system was also equipped for the AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missile, which proved to be a bit of a shock for the Americans in war games - the HARM blasted SAM radars, and the Scorpion was fast enough to do SEAD duties, which stunned the Americans. One variant of the CA-200 was equipped with rings around the propellers, which protected them from impacts from flying debris, power lines and other things.
The aircraft was so good that the US Army and Marine Corps immediately proposed replacing their aging fleet of AH-1J, AH-1Z and AH-64D attack helicopters with the Scorpion. The debate raged through 2018, with Bombardier and the contractors quite openly hoping for a order from the US military. The CF ordered 66 units, which equipped 476, 477 and 478 Squadrons, and were built between 2018 and 2021. By the end of 2018, the Australian Army, British Army, Royal Australian Navy, and Royal Marines had also ordered the CA-200.
Users[edit | edit source]
- Canadian Forces Air Command
- 476 Attack Tiltrotor Squadron
- 477 Attack Tiltrotor Squadron
- 478 Attack Tiltrotor Squadron
- Canadian Forces Maritime Command
- ATMA-940 "Strikers"
- ATMA-941 "Sabres"
- ATMA-942 "Gunrunners"
- ATMA-943 "Warlords"
- Canadian Forces Air Command
- United Kingdom