New Iryda Variants

FURTHER DETAILS ON the entry into Polish Air Force service of the PZL1-22 Iryda are now available — only four Irydas will be delivered during 1993, not ten as previously planned. No further options for the type are being taken up due to limited availability of the 2,425lb st (10.79kN) PZL-5 SO-3W22 powerplants.

Making its first flight at Deblin on December 22 was the first prototype of the new Model 92 Iryda, fitted with two of the new more powerful l4.7kN PZL K-15 turbojets developed by the Warsaw Institute of Aviation. The I-22M-92 prototype has been converted from the fifth prototype 1-22, SP-PWD and by early March had completed about four hours of lest flying in six nights.

Twelve development K-15 engines have so far been produced — 2,900 hours of ground testing together with over 50 hours in flight have been completed with the engine installed in a Yak-40 frying testbed A further 700 hours of ground tests and 50 hours in the M-92 should complete the trials by the end of 1993. Later this year another 1-22, the sixth prototype, will also be fitted with K-15s.

It was planned to flight-test four types of engines in the Model 93 full production variant of the Iryda — the PZL K-15, Viper 535, Larzoc 04C20 and Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5C, however after an evaluation between February 1 and March 3 by a special committee of industry and Air Force experts, it was decided the K-15 was the best powerplant for the Iryda. The choice was made on the basis of low cost (about $400,000), good performance, ‘modernity’ (particularly in comparison with the elderly Viper), and also because it would be produced locally. About 16-24 K-15 turbojets will be produced annually by the WSK PZL Rzeszow engine factory. The I-22M-93 will also incorporate upgraded avionics and a revised wing is also being designed. It is anticipated that initial deliveries of the first three M-93s to the Polish Air Force will take place in 1994/5.

Up to 40 I-22 variants are expected to be acquired between 1994 and 1997. Deliveries will total only six to ten per year due to lack of funding, followed by a further 40 to 60 of the updated version. Future combat versions are being studied, but none are likely to go ahead unless the Model 93 is bought in larger quantities. Two single-seat versions planned for development by 1997 are the M-97S attack variant and the M-97MS fighter attack aircraft.

Grzegorz Holdanowicz

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