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PZL-Mielec TS-11 “Iskra”
two-seat low-wing jet trainer


Archive Photos ¹


PZL-Mielec TS-11 Iskra (s/n H0715) c.2003 on display at the Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino, California (John Shupek copyright © 2003 Skytamer Images)

Overview ²


  • PZL-Mielec TS-11 Iskra
  • Role: Trainer aircraft
  • Manufacturer: PZL-Mielec (Poland)
  • First flight: 5 February 1960
  • Introduction: 1964
  • Status: Limited Service
  • Primary users: Polish Air Force; Indian Air Force
  • Produced: 1963-1987
  • Number built: 424

The PZL-Mielec TS-11 “Iskra” (English: Spark) is a Polish jet trainer aircraft, used by the air forces of Poland and India. It is notable as the main training aircraft of the Polish Army, the oldest jet still in service in Poland - and one of the most reliable.

Development ²


The aircraft was designed in response to a Polish Air Force requirement for a jet trainer. The main designer was Tadeusz Soltyk - hence a designation letters TS. The new aircraft was the first jet aircraft designed in Poland. Work started in 1957, the first prototype powered by an imported British Armstrong Siddeley “Viper 8” of 7.80 kN (1,750 lbf) was flown on 5 February 1960. The next two prototypes, with a Polish copy of the Viper engine named the WSK HO-10 engine were flown in March and July 1961.

The new Aircraft fulfilled requirements and, after tests, was accepted for the Polish Air Force as the TS-11 “Iskra bis A”, produced since 1963. From about 1966, the aircraft were produced with a new Polish-designed engine WSK SO-1 with thrust of 9.80 kN (2,200 lbf). From 1969, WSK SO-3 engines with longer time between overhauls were used and later improved version WSK SO-3W with thrust of 10.80 kN (2,425 lbf).

Design ²


All-metal jet trainer aircraft, conventional in layout, with mid-wings. Wings are trapezoid-shaped, with leading edge swept at small angle. Air intakes in wings. Single jet engine has an exhaust under a boom with tail fin, which gives the aircraft an unusual silhouette. The two crewmen have ejector seats. The aircraft has no radar (apart from the TS-11R). It can be fitted with photo cameras.

Poland is currently developing the new TS-11S “Iskra” (Spark) for future jet trainer. It will be equipped with new avionics, strengthened structures and a more powerful engine.

Operational History ²


In 1964, the TS-11 “Iskra” prototype beat four world records in its class, among others the speed record of 839 km/h (524 mph). The TS-11 “Iskra” competed as the standard jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact, but due to a political decision, the Czechoslovakian Aero L-29 “Delfin” was chosen. Poland became the only Warsaw Pact country using the TS-11 “Iskra”. A total of 424 aircraft were built by 1987, when production ceased. A total of 50 aircraft TS-11 “Iskra bis D” were exported to India in 1975, then further 26 in the 1990s.

In 2002, Poland still had 110 TS-11 “Iskras”, including five TS-11R “Iskras”. The TS-11 “Iskras” became Polish first and only jet trainer so far - the program for a successor, the PZL I-22 “Iryda” (later designated M-93 “Iryda”), failed for several reasons and few were built. In Indian service, the TS-11 “Iskra” was withdrawn by 16 December 2004. During service, seven were lost, killing four crew.

In 2011, Poland had less than 79 (total number of school aircraft: TS-11, PZL-130) operational TS-11 “Iskras” according to official data.

From 1969 TS-11 “Iskras” have been used by the Polish aerobatics team, initially called “Rombik”, and currently “Bialo-Czerwone Iskry” ("White-and-Red Iskras").

The UK has one fully operational ground running “Iskra” (1018) which is part of the Cold War Jets Collection based at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire.

Variants ²


  • TS-11 Iskra bis A: Two-seat jet trainer aircraft. The Iskra bis A was the first production model.
  • TS-11 Iskra bis B / TS-11 Iskra 100: Two-seat jet trainer aircraft, with four underwing pylons to carry weapons.
  • TS-11 Iskra bis C / TS-11 Iskra 200: Art Single-seat reconnaissance aircraft from 1971. It had a camera in the lower fuselage and increased fuel capacity. Only 5 were built in 1972, in 1983 were converted to trainers.
  • TS-11 Iskra bis D / TS-11 Iskra 200 SB: Two-seat jet trainer aircraft from 1973. Fifty of those aircraft were built for the Indian Air Force with bigger payload.
  • TS-11 Iskra bis DF: Two-seat trainer-reconnaissance aircraft from 1974. It can carry armament, plus three cameras.
  • TS-11 Iskra R: Two-seat naval reconnaissance aircraft, equipped with a surveillance radar, RDS-81. Six aircraft converted in 1991.
  • TS-11 Iskra BR 200: Single-seat attack and reconnaissance aircraft prototype from 1972, did not enter production.
  • TS-11 Iskra MR: TS-11 with modernized avionics according to ICAO standards and operated in the Bialo-Czerwone Iskry aerobatics team since 1998.
  • TS-11 Iskra Jet / TS-11 Spark: After being withdrawn from service, it was disarmed and sold to private users in the USA, Australia and others countries as a warbird valued for its double seats and easy handling.
  • TS-11F Iskra: Proposition of modernization of TS-11 made by Instytut Techniczny Wojsk Lotniczych, as training jet preparing pilots to operate on Lockheed F-16 C/D Block 52+

Operator (past and present) ²


  • Poland: Polish Air Force; Polish Navy
  • India: Indian Air Force received 76 aircraft. All were withdrawn with the "Iskra Phasing Out Parade" on 16 December 2004 at Hakimpet.

Specifications (TS-11 “Iskra bis D”) ²


General Characteristics

  • Crew: Two - student and instructor
  • Length: 11.15 m (36 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.06 m (33 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 3.50 m (11 ft 5½ in)
  • Wing area: 17.5 m² (188 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,560 kg (5,644 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,734 kg[5] (8,215 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 3,840 kg (8,470 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × WSK SO-3 turbojet, 9.81 kN (2,205 lbf)

Performance

  • Never exceed speed: 750 km/h (Mach 0.8, 404 knots, 466 mph)
  • Maximum speed: 720 km/h (388 knots, 447 mph) at 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 600 km/h (324 knots, 373 mph)
  • Stall speed: 140 km/h (92 knots, 106 mph) (power off, flaps down)
  • Range: 1,250 km (673 nm, 776 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 14.8 m/s (2,913 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 213 kg/m² (43.6 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.30

Armament

  • 1 × 23 mm NS-23 or NR-23 cannon in the nose
  • 4 underwing pylons, up to 400 kg (880 lb) of bombs or unguided S-5 rocket pods Mars-4 (4 rockets) or Zeus-1 gun packs

References


  1. Photos: John A Shupek, copyright © 2003 Skytamer Images
  2. Wikipedia, PZL TS-11 Iskra

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