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PZL I-22 Iryda Trainer, Light Attack

When the first-generation indigenous TS-11 Iskra needed replacing in the 1970s, Polands PZL organisation came up with another new design, the Iskra-22, or I-22 Iryda. Launched in 1977 as a replacement for the TS-11 and Lim-6 (MiG-17) tactical and advanced trainers, the I-22 responded to a 1980 Polish Ministry of National Defence Iskra-22 requirement for combat-capable two-seat jet trainer.

PZL designed the Iryda to cover the full spectrum of pilot training, operating in all weathers from unprepared airstrips and carrying a variety of ordnance types. The airframe is able to withstand battle damage and is quick and inexpensive to repair. The I-22 has an all-metal light alloy stressed skin structure and a two-spar wing with integral fuel tanks. The engine bays have titanium heatshields.

The I-22's elevators and rudder are manually (rod) actuated. The flaps are hydraulic, although they can be pneumatically operated in emergencies. Hydraulic airbrakes are fitted in The upper fuselage. Two underwing pylons are fitted on either side of the aircraft. They may contain camera pods, fuel tanks or, for advanced training flights, an offensive load. In combat, air-to-air missiles can be carried for self-defence.

Development was protracted, and the prototype did not fly until March 1985. The prototype crashed in 1987, and four more aircraft flew between 1988 and 1991. The first production order (for nine aircraft, only five of which were completed in I-22 configuration) was announced September 1991. The first of these (serial number 103) made first flight 5 May 1992, handed over to Polish Air Force (with second aircraft 105) 24 October 1992; next three (201, 202 and 203) delivered February 1994 (203 since lost).

The Polish Air Force considered buying used Alpha Jet trainers (which the I-22 strongly resembles) from the German Luftwaffe, but this plan came to nothing. The proposal to suspend Iryda development and buy 36 ex-German Alpha Jets was reversed in December 1995. Funding concentrated instead on M-93K improvements and evaluation of the M-96 variant.

Reappraisal in 1995 indicated that I-22 with PZL-5s was underpowered. Five had been delivered by 1994, at which time it was decided to improve what was judged to be an underpowered design by fitting new engines, ejection seats and avionics. The I-22's 10.76-kN (2,420-lb.-thrust) PZL-5 engines were replaced by two new 14.71-KN (3,300-lb.-thrust) IL K-15 turbojets to produce the M-93K. Among the changes made to the I-22 to bring it up to M-93K standard were the installation of Western systems, including avionics, an inertial navigation system (INS) and Martin-Baker PL10LR zero/zero ejection seats. A re-engined example flew in 1994, becoming the main production variant. The four surviving prototype aircraft were due to be upgraded to M-96 standard during 1996-97. Twelve were ordered by the Polish air force and the surviving I-22s will be brought up to the new standard.

With the end of the Cold War, Poland has high export hopes for its new trainer. In an effort to secure foreign sales, the fifth I-22 was fitted with two Rolls-Royce Vipers, as the M-93V. A number of other variants have also been discussed.

MODEL I-22 "Iryda"
DIMENSIONS
Wingspan 9.6 m / 32 ft 6 in / 31.5 ft
Length 13.2 m / 43 ft 4 in / 43.3 ft
Height 4.3 m / 14 ft 1 in / 14.1 ft
Wing area 19.9 m2 / 214.2 sq ft
WEIGHTS
Take-off weight 6900 kg / 15212 lb
7493 kg / 16522 lbs
Empty weight 4700 kg / 10362 lb
3692 kg / 8140 lbs
Max. weight carried 3531 kg / 7785 lbs
ENGINE 2 x PZL-5 SO-3W22, 10.7kN (2,420-lb.-thrust)
2 x IL K-15 14.71-KN (3,300-lb.-thrust)
PERFORMANCE
Max. speed 840 km/h / 522 mph
980 km/h / 529 kts
Cruise speed 570 km/h / 354 mph
924 km/h / 499 kts
Initial climb rate 37 m/s / 7300 ft/min
Ceiling 11000 m / 36100 ft
12600 m / 41339 ft
Wing load 377 kg/qm / 77.3 lbs/ft2
Range w/max.fuel 4000 km / 2486 miles
Range 1670 km / 902 nm
Range w/max.payload 420 km / 261 miles
ARMAMENT 1 x 23mm GZs-23L cannon,
2000kg weapons on four external hardpoints
CREW 2

PZL I-22 Iryda



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