The Tadeusz Soltyk-11 (TS-11) Iskra is a two-seat primary jet trainer designed and developed by Poland-based Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL)-Mielec for the Polish Air Force (PoAF) and the Indian Air Force (IAF). PZL-Mielec produced approximately 424 TS-11s between 1963 and 1987, of which 79 are still in service with the PoAF as of 2011.
A new tender worth 1.45bn zloty ($467m) was released in 2012 for the purchase of 16 Lead-In-Fighter Trainer (LIFT) jets, which will supersede its existing TS-11 Iskras fleet.
The TS-11 has ten variants: TS-11 Iskra bis A; TS-11 Iskra bis B/TS-11 Iskra 100; TS-11 Iskra bis C/TS-11 Iskra 200 Art; TS-11 Iskra bis D/TS-11 Iskra 200 SB; TS-11 Iskra bis DF; TS-11 Iskra R; TS-11 Iskra BR 200; TS-11 Iskra MR; TS-11 Iskra Jet/TS-11 Spark; and TS-11F Iskra.
The TS-11 Iskra bis A is the maiden production model fitted with two cockpit seats. The TS-11 Iskra 100 boasts four underwing hardpoints to carry weapons. The TS-11 Iskra 200 Art is a single-seater reconnaissance aircraft fitted with a camera beneath the fuselage section. Five aircraft were built between 1972 and 1983 that were later transformed to trainers.
The TS-11 Iskra 200 SB is two-seater trainer aircraft built in 1973 for the IAF. The TS-11 Iskra bis DF is an upgraded reconnaissance model built in 1974 and can carry three cameras and armaments. The TS-11 Iskra R is a naval reconnaissance variant equipped with two cockpit seats and RDS-81 surveillance radar.
The TS-11 Iskra BR 200 is a light attack and reconnaissance prototype built in single-seat configuration in 1972, but it did not enter the production phase. The TS-11 Iskra MR is an advance version fitted with overhauled avionics and was in service with the Biało-Czerwone Iskry aerobatics team. The TS-11F Iskra is built to train the pilots of F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft.
The IAF procured 50 Iskras in 1975 and 26 more in 1990. All 76 aircraft were withdrawn from service in December 2004.
The development of the TS-11 Iskra began in 1957 with the requirement of the PoAF to supersede the obsolete fleet of TS-8 Bies trainers. A total of four TS-11 prototypes were built. The maiden flight of the first prototype powered by the British Armstrong Siddeley Viper 8 engine took place in February 1960. The aircraft was unveiled to the public in September 1960 during an air show at the Lodz-Lublinek Airfield.
The prototypes that followed were replaced in 1961 with aircraft featuring the WSK HO-10 engine. Mass production of the Iskras commenced in 1962. The TS-11 entered service with the PoAF in 1964. The HO-10 engines in the Iskras were supplanted with the WSK SO-1 in 1966, followed by meliorated WSK SO-3 engines in 1969. The Iskras entered service with the IAF in 1975.
TS-11 Iskras were purchased by Cavanaugh Flight Museum in 1993.
The Iskra is of cantilever, mid-wing monoplane design with an all-metal construction. It is fitted with retractable tricycle-type landing gear, trapezoid-shaped wings and cameras for reconnaissance missions.
The all-digital glass cockpit of the TS-11 is enclosed by a bubble-shaped canopy that opens upward. It is fitted with two ejection seats in tandem seat configuration to accommodate the pilot trainee and flight instructor.
The cockpit is equipped with head-up display, King KT 76A Mode C transponder, SL-60 GPS with intercom (instrument flight rules (IFR)-certified), King distance measuring equipment, King KX-155 navigation and communication systems, and King KI 209 voice over recorder.
The TS-11 is armed with a 23mm NS-23 cannon in the nose section to fire munitions at the rate of 550 rounds per minute. The aircraft has four underwing hardpoints and can carry a 400kg weapons payload.
Other attached armaments include unguided S-5 rocket pods, Mars-4 (4 rockets) or Zeus-1 gun packs.
The TS-11 is powered by a single SO-3 turbojet engine rated at 9.8kN of maximum thrust. The engine is built by Polish engine manufacturer WSK PZL Rzeszow. It is fitted with annular combustor, seven-stage compressors and a single-stage axial flow turbine.
The length and diameter of the engine are 2.1m and 0.7m respectively. The dry weight is 321kg.
The TS-11 Iskra can climb at the rate of 14.8m/s. The never-exceed and maximum speeds of the aircraft are 750km/h and 720km/h respectively, the cruise speed is 600km/h, and the stall speed is 140km/h. The range and service ceiling of the aircraft are 1,250km and 11,000m respectively.
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