PZL TS-11 Iskra

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TS-11 Iskra
PZL TS-11 Iskra of Polish Air Force (reg. 1406), static display, Radom AirShow 2005, Poland.jpg
TS-11 Iskra bis DF at Radom Air Show 2005
Role Trainer aircraft
Manufacturer PZL-Mielec
First flight 5 February 1960
Introduction 1964
Status Limited Service
Primary users Polish Air Force
Polish Navy
Indian Air Force
Produced 19631987
Number built 424

The PZL 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 Air Force, and as the oldest jet aircraft still in service in Poland.


TS-11 Iskra bis B - front view

The aircraft was designed in response to a Polish Air Force requirement for a jet trainer. The main designer was Tadeusz Sołtyk - 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).


TS-11 Iskra bis B

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[edit]

HUD mounted in PZL TS-11F Iskra (MSPO 2008).
TS-11 Iskra MR of Biało-Czerwone Iskry aerobatic team

In 1964, the TS-11 prototype beat four world records in its class, among others the speed record of 839 km/h (524 mph). The Iskra competed as the standard jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact, but lost out to the Czechoslovak plane Aero L-29 Delfín. Poland became the only Warsaw pact country to use the Iskra. A total of 424 aircraft were built by 1987, when production ceased. A total of 50 aircraft Iskra bis D were exported to India in 1975, then further 26 in the 1990s.

In 2002, Poland still had 110 TS-11s, including 5 TS-11Rs. The Iskra became Polish first and only jet trainer so far - the programme for a successor, the PZL I-22 Iryda (later designated M-93 Iryda), failed for several reasons and few were built. In Indian service, Iskra was withdrawn by 16 December 2004. During service, seven were lost, killing four crew.

In 2013, Poland had 30 (total number of school aircraft: TS-11, PZL-130) operational Iskras'[1]

From 1969 TS-11s have been used by the Polish aerobatics team, initially called "Rombik", and currently "Biało-Czerwone Iskry" ("White-and-Red Sparks").

The UK has one fully operational ground running TS-11 Iskra (1018) which is part of the Cold War Jets Collection a museum based at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leicestershire.


Polish TS-11 Iskra R
Variants of the TS-11
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 Biało-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 United States, Australia and others countries as a warbird valued for its double seats and easy handling.
TS-11F Iskra
Proposition of modernisation of TS-11 made by Instytut Techniczny Wojsk Lotniczych, as training jet preparing pilots to operate on F-16 C/D Block 52+[2]


TS-11 Iskra MR of Biało-Czerwone Iskry team

Former Operators[edit]


Specifications (Iskra bis D)[edit]

Unguided rocket pod on external pylon of TS-11 Iskra R
Nose of TS-11 Iskra R, barrel of 23mm cannon is visible

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77 [4]

General characteristics



  • 1x 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 (8 rockets) or Zeus-1 (12,7mm) gun packs.

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. ^ "Wysłużone samoloty szkoleniowe trafiają do muzeów i szkół" (in Polish). Onet Wiadomości Retrieved: 16 February 2013.
  2. ^ "The upgrading of the TS-11F Iskra to provide training to pilots for the F-16." ITWL. Retrieved: 12 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Indian Iskras Phased Out." bharat-rakshak.com. Retrieved: 12 September 2012.
  4. ^ Taylor 1976, pp. 143–144.
  5. ^ Air International March 1979, p. 130.


  • "Poland's Veteran Spark." Air International, Vol. 16 No. 3, March 1979, pp. 126–131. Bromley, UK:Fine Scroll Publishing.
  • Taylor, John W.R., ed. Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1976. ISBN 0-354-00538-3.

External links[edit]