PZL TS-16 Grot
The TS-16 Grot (Arrowhead or Spear) next generation, supersonic trainer was designed a replacement for the TS-11. Of course TS means Tadeusz Soltyk. This ambitious project remains relatively unknown in the west. The TS-16 was a twin-engine, high-wing plane oriented towards ground attack. The plane was to have twin engines, however the planned SO-2 turbojet was not ready in time so a single RD-9B taken from the MiG-19 “Farmer” was used on the prototype instead. Internal armament was two 23mm guns. Four (or six) planned pylons would have been compatible with FAB- and BETAB- series bombs, UV- series rocket pods, or AA-2 "Atoll" air-to-air missiles.
The aircraft was fitted with a delta wing and all mowing horizontal tail unit, was to be driven by two new generation Polish-design jet engines. The new aircraft was to be equipped with modern navigation system and a radar for the air to air operation. One novelty was the so called damage and failure simulator, quite new of concept of its time. Single-seat combat and two-seat trainer versions were envisioned.
Design work began in 1958, and the composite was completed in December 1959. The TS-16 was designed to operate from grass-covered airfield, and to carry out combat operation including the CAS (Close Air Support operations). The mock-up of the single-engined version of the TS-16RD for evaluation by the state-commission was ready in 1963, and that year it was presented at Paris Air Show where attracted attention of many visitors. The plane was successful but cancelled nonetheless in 1964. Unfortunately, due to the reluctance of the Polish authorities, that ambitious project was unexpectedly halted and later canceled, and the prototype of a new TS “Grot” training plane and jet engine were never built, what is more the Soltyk design-bureau was disolved out.
During the 1950s flight at supersonic speeds was considered extremely difficult and dangerous. Pilots therefore required specific training, and learned this art only in the operational unit. Pilots at training schools graduated without executing a single flight at supersonic speed. In the US by 1955 the Northrop T-38 Talon supersonic trainer aircraft performed the first flight, and was built starting in 1959 in about 900 copies.About 1958 the command of the Polish Air Forces called for a supersonic trainer. The tactical-technical requirements were preliminary and not definitive, because only two years previously (in 1956) the requirements for the TS-11 Iskra had been developed.
As for the new construction, the decisive requirement was the maximum speed, of Mach 1.3, and that was designated TS-11-0,8. The type of propulsion was decided to be of Polish construction. A valid application was developed for the engine from the TS-11 aircraft. But in order to achieve adequate power two engines were needed, which had to be equipped with an afterburner. The engine for the new aircraft was redesignated SO-2. The aircraft takes off without afetr-burner, and only used them for the implementation of a short flight at high speed. This lowered maximum fuel consumption while meeting basic requirements. For the new construction of the specified upper limit to the mass total of 5,000 kg, as a heavier aircraft would require stronger engines.
The only Office able to afford this the task was that of engineer Tadeusz Soltyk. With his team in 1958, a group of builders began work on the design of the aircraft, which was marked AS TS-16 Grot. Because the aircraft was to carry out certain tasks of combat, from the the beginning of the logical elaboration of two versions. The lack of a second crew member released additional space and weight, which can be used for example. to prevent a larger cargo of weapons. The combat version received the designation TS-11 A, while the trainer version was TS-11 B. The combat tasks included the ability to attack moving and fixed ground targets with missiles and bombs. The tasks of the trainer included training pilots in the last year of school and training in pilot crews of supersonic combat aircraft. Because the version A and B have small differences, they provided for placing the radio (and other) equipment in the rear cabin, and in the nose mounting stronger armament. Otherwise, the glazing of both versions would be identical.
To minimize the risk of the program the design had to be completed with proven solutions. Therefore, the aircraft had to be developed in classic layout. Angular wings, with leading edge beveled edges around 40 degrees, to obtain the small resistance while at the same time, sufficient strength of the superstructure. The classic layout also featured angular and horizontal panels. The area rule fuselage was of crucial importance for achieving supersonic speed with a relatively small powerplant. Work proceed quickly, and the study was completed in December 1959, and the TS-16 mockup would be ready to be built. Because the work on the engine SO-1 and the engine SO-2 proceeded slowly, another solution was sought. During this time the Polish military considered the engines of the MiG-19 fighter, which was powered by two RD-9(B) engines.
At the turn of the year from 1963 to 1964 the work was halted. Officially, the reason were economic. Documentation of the aircraft and its models were destroyed. The team of Professor Tadeusz Soltyk was disolved, and he himself was moved to building ships and automation devices. There is no doubt that the primary cause was the reluctance of the Soviet authorities and some of the Polish. The interruption of the work on the aircraft was extremely and surprisingly quick. The Polish authorities concluded that thep roduction of the Jet in Poland would be unprofitable. This idea agreed with the views on the development of the Polish aviation industry, presented by the Soviets. It’s likely the USSR applied political pressure to kill the project. The Soviet warplane industry used PZL as a “dumping ground” to license-build trainers and transports freeing up factory space at home, and the USSR likely was not thrilled at having this resource replaced by a competitor to MiG and Sukhoi. Some believe that the head of the coalition against the Polish construction was probably General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who in 1962 had been appointed Deputy Minister of National Defence.
In 1967, as a result of the overall atmosphere created around his person Tadeusz Soltyk to work in the industrial Institute of automation and measurements. He worked here in the field of automation for ships and ships and industrial plants. From 1981 to 1992, he was also a consultant for WSK-Okecie and Advisor to the ILot (aircraft Iryda). In 1992, he retired.
|Data||TS-16 A||TS-16 B||TS-16 RD-A||TS-16 RD-B||units|
|Total||4 945||4 946||Kg|
|Speed Max 0 m||1 210||1 210||Km/h|
|Limit 0 m||1 260||1 260||Km/h|
|Max 9 000 m||Ma-1, 3||Ma-1, 3||1 460||1 460||Km/h|
|Permissible on 5 900 m||1 710||1 710||Km/h|
|Rate of Climb||92||92||M/s|
|Range Max||2 200||2 200||Km|
|Ceiling||14 000||14 000||M.|
|Engine Type||SO-2||SO-2||RD-9 B||RD-9 B|
2 x 9.8 kN |
2 x 14.7 kN
2 x 9.8 kN |
2 x 14.7 kN
1 x 25,48 kN |
1 x 32,4 kN
1 x 25,48 kN |
1 x 32,4 kN
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