History Construction Tally

PZL I-22 Iryda. Part 4. 1985.

Kraków 2008-08-01

271b Section 1985-03-05

PZL I-22 Iryda


Combat training aircraft.

History PZL I-22 Iryda. Part 4.

PZL I-22 Iryda nr 1 AN 001-05 nb 105. 2017. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
PZL I-22 Iryda nr 1 AN 001-05 nb 105. 2017. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Alternative drive for I-22. 1992 year.

At that time, OBR SK Mielec considered the problem of using other engines on the I-22 aircraft. Theoretically, at that time there was a great opportunity to obtain drives from Western countries. The most serious candidate was the 2-flow SNECMA Larzac 04-C 20 engine with 2 x 1,419 kg. Two foreign turbines have joined this proposal. Also two-flow Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5C, with 2 x 1,420 kG thrust, and one-flow Rolls-Royce Viper 535 with 2 x 1,499 kG thrust. Of course, the main candidate is the Polish K-15 engine and only the designed two-flow D-18.

That is why, in Mielec, jointly with IL, designs for building these engines in a modified airframe were developed. Therefore, the aircraft received appropriate markings; M-93 V (Viper), M-93 F (Larzac), M-93 K (K-15). In such a situation, it was logical to compare individual power units for the I-22 and organized comparisons. The Ministry of National Defense appointed a commission that compared the parameters as well as the issues of purchasing, operating, servicing and gaining access to new technologies. The decision was made at the end of January 1993; The Commission considered the best solution for the I-22 aircraft was the K-15 engine or, alternatively, the Viper 535. At that time, aircraft no. AN 001-05 nb 105 with K-15 engines was already flying.

The aircraft with Viper engines, which were mounted on the M-93 V, made its first flight on April 25, 1994.

How was the result argued? The installation of all engines, except for the JT15D-5C engine, did not require major changes in the airframe. Not only that, the air grips remained unchanged. The American engine required new grips and air ducts and major changes in installations. Two-flow engines were much more economical in terms of fuel and significantly increased the range of the aircraft. According to later studies of some specialists, two-flow engines had to be selected for the I-22. But there were as many studies defending and proving the right choice of the Commission. Fifteen years after this competition, it can be said that for opponents of the I-22 aircraft, the wing and engine were the arguments for throwing the plane to the trash.

1993 year.

During this time (May 1993), the Ministry of National Defense confirmed the order for two more aircraft of the trial series (including 4 machines) with simple original equipment and Kaszub-3 W 22 (PZL-5) engines. Three aircraft from this batch were already completed in 1993, and were given board numbers 201, 202, 203 (no. AN 002-01 to 03).

Modern avionics. 1993 year.

I-22's modern avionics were obvious to everyone. The standard of the M-91 aircraft with analogue Polish-Soviet potash and navigation equipment was not a satisfactory solution. Target requirements for avionics were included in the requirements of WTT-92 from 1992. At OBR SK Mielec, work was underway on another modernization of the aircraft. One of the directions was to continue the topic of LSS (light attack aircraft). Following this path, it was proposed to increase the load capacity of armament to 2,000 kg and to use 0-0 class thrown chairs. In avionics, it was planned to use HUD and HDD (monitors) and an automatic pilot. Installed systems were to be dependent on the needs of the customer. A two-seat reconnaissance version M-95, one-seat assault version M-97 S and its fighter-assault version M-97 MS were proposed. In 1993, it was also proposed to build a two-seater combat and reconnaissance variety that would replace the TS-11 R Iskra aircraft used for reconnaissance purposes, from the reconnaissance squadron of the 7th Special Aviation Regiment and also the MiG-21 bis z 34 aircraft Fighter Regiment, in the task of combating surface targets. The version received the designation M-93 RM and was based on the M-93 airframe with K-15 engines, and avionics elements adapted to the tasks of maritime reconnaissance (radar station, navigation system, reconnaissance and communication devices, light armament). For MW aviation, the M-99 Orkan variant was also proposed. All the above works were carried out by OBR SK Mielec.

Because Polish companies and institutions did not cope with advanced avionics, that's why in April 1993, IL and WSK PZL-Mielec announced an open avionics competition for the I-22 aircraft. The French company Sagem won the competition. What's positive, the aircraft marked M-93 S was flown on May 26, 1994. The results of the tests were encouraging, and what is important, the avionics met WTT requirements. The aircraft became a 100% training and training machine, and in some tasks also a combat machine.

I-22 with Sagem avionics. 1994 year.

I-22 M-93 with K-15 engines and Sagem avionics. 1994 year. Photo of LAC
I-22 M-93 with K-15 engines and Sagem avionics. 1994 year. Photo of LAC

I-22 M-93 with K-15 engines and Sagem avionics after the first flight in 1994. Experimental pilots: Tadeusz Lechowicz and Grzegorz Warkocki.

I-22 M-93 with K-15 engines and Sagem avionics. 1994 year. Photo of LAC
I-22 M-93 with K-15 engines and Sagem avionics. 1994 year. Photo of LAC

On 26.05.1994, the rebuilt aircraft No. 1 ANP 01-05 was registered, SP-PWD registration, with the extensive avionics of the French company Sagem. It was also the beginning of flight tests of the most modern finder-navigation system ever installed on a military aircraft in Poland. Thanks to this system, opportunities have arisen, not only for long operation of the aircraft in the Polish Army, but also opportunities for export abroad.

The avionics competition was announced at the beginning of 1993, and ten companies entered. Polish industry chose Sagem avionics.

At that time, the French already had extensive experience in upgrading various military aircraft around the world. There were about 400 of them, from the Pakistani Mirage III aircraft to the Belgian Mirage 5 MR-SIP aircraft. The company has also modernized Chinese Trident passenger aircraft. The company has undertaken to integrate the proposed devices with Polish aircraft systems free of charge. An integration stand was built in the Sagem center near Paris, which was also a training station for Polish engineers and pilots. Before the first flights, in February 1994, they had undergone two weeks of training in France; Grzegorz Warkocki, Bogusław Mrozek and Krzysztof Sala. In April 1994, the stall was transported to Poland. Young, but very competent French engineers also came. Cooperation with them was good and the work went quickly.

New avionics included; Hrant Ferranti indicator, two universal EFIS TV screens from Bendix / King and the Uliss navigation system, which consists of; navigation computer, gyro platform and aerodynamic data center. The gyroscopic platform is spring-loaded. At that time the laser platform was too expensive.

The navigation system, although not visible at first glance, has become the most important new element by abruptly increasing the capabilities of the aircraft. Now the navigation is so accurate that for one hour of flight the deviation of the course is only 200 meters. It was the first navigation system in Poland independent of terrestrial transmitters, which cannot be compared with the Soviet RSBN near navigation system. Such high accuracy of the tested system is possible thanks to cooperation with the GPS system, which corrects the drift of the gyroscopic platform. The GPS card has been built into the navigation computer. In 1994, Poland did not have access to all GPS system codes, which would be changed during the war. But even in the absence of GPS, the platform itself provides an accuracy of 1,800 meters per hour of flight. Not only that, the system allows you to correct the position of the aircraft relative to landmarks with known coordinates. You can enter up to 60 points, e.g. alternate airports, planned destinations, etc. Points can be entered before or during a flight.

An important element of the new avionics is CDU - Computer Display Unit. It acts as a computer terminal. It consists of a screen and a set of switches. In the demonstration plane, the CDU was placed only in the first cabin, on the left side of the board. On the screen you can configure image compositions, a set of information, e.g. the order of actions in emergency situations (there are about 50 of them on the Su-22). Until now, the pilot had to know them by heart, and it varies in flight and under stress. Coordinates are entered via the CDU. The CDU automatically provides all information about the three nearest airports.

CDU works with HUD. The pilot can recognize the target visible in the HUD with a special marker and after pressing a button obtain information about its geographical coordinates and its elevation. You can store up to 15 such information and even transfer it to e.g. another attack group.

The rear cabin has RHUD, i.e. the rear HUD presented on the screen. This is of paramount importance in the training process. The instructor occupying the rear seat constantly monitors and corrects possible errors of the trained pilot. Until now, the instructor only tracks the general conditions of the flight and ensures safety. Having RHUD, he can see the effects of piloting and aiming.

The HUD is equipped with a small camera and all images shown by the head-up indicator are filmed on a standard VHS cassette. After the flight, you can watch positive and negative behaviors together by watching a movie.

EFIS are two identical screen devices that are interchangeable. In case of failure of one of them, the other can take over his tasks. One screen acts as an electronic compass, the other is a repetition of the HUD view. The compass acts as a radio compass. Only a full-scale slice can be displayed. It can present wind direction and strength, distance from waypoints and more. It should be emphasized that all measuring units are in Anglo-Saxon units, because such a standard prevails in NATO, but there would be no problem in scaling to metric units in the SI system. (At that time, Poland was not yet a NATO member).

The system is protected against failures in the form of a self-monitoring system. Information on the failure is given on the HUD, and information on the consequences of this failure can be obtained on the CDU. The pilot has full insight into the status of individual components of the aircraft, knows the consequences of failure and can make optimal decisions. In the event of a significant drop in power supply, e.g. generator failure, the system will display only the most important information enabling return to the airport.

The logic of the cabin is so well thought out that several basic mechanical-analogue instruments were retained as an emergency solution.

A standard SARPP recorder, an electronic engine recorder for operation of the Warsaw ATM engine and a complete novelty in Poland, the MBM device, or the bubble memory module, were mounted on the aircraft. It is similar to those used in NATO combat units. Using a cassette, it is inserted into the on-board system, and then read the mission process. This is nothing more than an operational recorder.

The entire Iryda aircraft test program included 35 flights. The flights were performed by experimental pilots Grzegorz Warkocki (former pilot Su-20) and Tadeusz Lechowicz (former pilot MiG-21 MF). The first three flights were to check whether the new devices did not change the characteristics of volatile machines.

The first flight with the Sagem avionics launched was made on June 1, 1994, and was to calibrate the instruments and check the angle of attack indicator. The first navigational flight was made on June 15, 1994, and it was the tenth test flight. From the eleventh flight, tests began on the training ground using various types of weapons; on-board cannon, bombs, unguided missiles. Tests were also made in navigation using GPS systems and the inertial platform. These systems allowed to lead Iryda as if on a string, with an accuracy of single meters. At that time, no military aircraft operated in our aviation could.

It should be noted that with the use of the new avionics it became real to use I-22 guided air-to-air missiles on the aircraft, e.g. R-60 MK. In the long run, it would be possible to build the recognition and response system manufactured by Radwar under Thomson's license, a laser rangefinder and infrared image observation and recording devices.

If the system was introduced into serial production, some further changes were to be made to make the pilot's working environment more readable. A CDU would also be installed in the second cabin. The joystick and engine controls should be changed according to the HOTAS system, transferring some of the switches to them.

Measurable effects from the new avionics are undoubtedly the possibility of performing attacks previously impossible or ineffective. Exit to a point target at a specific time. Exit to a given point in "all" (difficult) atmospheric conditions. Despite the use of unguided armament, the aircraft proved to be more effective than the Su-22 M 4 combat aircraft. The conclusions of the research are clearly defined: combat missions - fire support and reconnaissance. During this period, the Ministry of National Defense (Ministry of National Defense) declared the purchase of three machines in the training and training version in 1994, another four in the following year (in total, it was planned to achieve the state of about 40 aircraft).

On December 31, 1994, the M-93 aircraft obtained a certificate of operation capability in Polish military units. Unfortunately, not much resulted from this.

K-15 engine. 1994 year.

In June 1994, the prototype of the M-92 / M-93 K version with K-15 engines, no. AN 002-04, registration SP-PWG, made the first flight. The aircraft was recognized as a benchmark for series production. In June 1994, the aircraft was passed for qualification tests.

I-22 M-93 K aircraft no. AN 002-04 nb 0204 SP-PWG registration with K-15 engines. Photo of LAC
I-22 M-93 K aircraft no. AN 002-04 nb 0204 SP-PWG registration with K-15 engines. Photo of LAC

The plane was photographed after returning from Dęblin to Mielec. It has Dęblin's emblem and chessboard painted over. The peak tip was painted orange and the SP-PWG registration was painted. NB 0204 remained. Mielec 1996.

During this time, the Iryda aircraft became the subject of the first conflict disclosed by the press between the Ministry of National Defense (machine recipient) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (manufacturer). The conflict was quickly resolved, but it was realized that the military wanted an Iryda plane about the capabilities of the American General Dynamics F-16, which was impossible.

The K-15 engine caused one of the biggest conflicts in the Polish Aviation Industry. The conflict still arouses emotions after many years. At this point we will try to write objectively about him.

K-15 engines. 2017 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
K-15 engines. 2017 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Contrary to appearances, the requirements for the power train for training aircraft are stricter than those for combat aircraft. This is due to the specifics of flying. Incomparably higher number of starts, starts and accelerations. You have to take into account the inevitable errors in steering made by the training pilots. The K-15 engine was designed for a specific aircraft. Dimensions, mass and durability were imposed on him in advance.

The analysis of requirements led to the following design assumptions;

  • Compressor with first subsonic stage, thanks to which only 6 stages can be used, at the optimum compression for a given temperature.
  • Compact combustion chamber with fuel evaporation.
  • Single-stage turbine operating at a moderate temperature.
  • The rotor is supported only on two bearings. This was the main threat to the failure of the structure.

Using the experience of using SO-3 engines, it was decided to use a modified starting system, aggregate system, oil system, ignition system and a number of accessories. The power and control system has been completely redesigned, providing for two variants; hydromechanical with electronic limiters and electronic, made in analogue technique. Started in 1985, prototype testing was preceded by the construction of component testing stands. For example, a combustion chamber was built, which was placed in the SO-3 engine and on the Spark plane. Turbines, rear propeller bearing cooling system were built, with air collector, which was also placed in the SO-3 engine and on the Iskra aircraft. They built; dynamic engine model, anti-icing system, oil system, aggregate drives. Trials have been carried out; cyclic and non-cyclic endurance of the compressor rotor and turbine disk. Engine tests for foreign bodies were carried out. Current starters, spark plugs and control and measuring equipment have been developed and tested. The tests were carried out on ground positions and on a flying dynamometer on an adopted Yak-40 aircraft.

K-15 engine mounted on Yak-40 aircraft. 1992 year. Photo of LAC
K-15 engine mounted on Yak-40 aircraft. 1992 year. Photo of LAC

K-15 engine built in place of the right engine on the Jak-40 aircraft. The inscription on the SDF engine is the designation of the synthetic oil used. 1992 year.

14 prototypes of K-15 engines were built, which were tested on the ground and in flight, and qualification tests were completed with full success at the end of 1993, which allowed the K-15 engine to be put into serial production. Further research was carried out on the engine to extend its service life and bring it into service according to its technical condition.

The main engine contractors were;

  • Institute of Aviation (calculations, preliminary design, technical design of cold engine assemblies, stand tests, tests on ground and flying dynamometers).
  • PZL Rzeszów (technical design of hot assemblies, technologies and technical requirements, stands, prototype testing teams, strength tests, dynamometer tests).
  • PZL Hydral (technical design of the hydromechanical power supply and control system, stand construction, system construction and testing).

Companies also participated in the program; PZL Warszawa II, PZL Kalisz, ITWL, WAT, WZL-3 Dęblin, KOMEL, Mikrohuta Strzemieszyce, Huta Stalowa Wola and others, and CIAM in Moscow. The whole work was managed by doc. Dr. Eng. Andrzej Wierzba, and from November 1979, mgr inż. Julian Falęcki.

The design of the single-flow, single-shaft K-15 engine is as follows. 6-stage axial compressor, annular combustion chamber, 1-stage turbine. Shaft supported on two bearings. The blades of the first three stages of the compressor are made of titanium. The other three stainless steel. Two air vents are located behind the third stage. The combustion chamber received 6 starter and 18 working injectors and 2 spark plugs. The turbine wheel is made of austenitic steel and the blades are made of heat-resistant alloy.

The power supply and control system for the start-up, acceleration and deceleration processes maintains the rotational speed set by the control lever regardless of flight conditions. Limits the maximum temperature after the turbine and the maximum speed. Controls the fuel flow rate. Controls the idle speed in flight. Opens and closes compressor air releases. Indicates incorrect operation. The individual elements are; fuel pump, controller, vent control valves, sensors, transmitters and fuel filters as well as electronic limiters block. The engine is started by means of electric starters, controlled by a software controller working with the block of electronic limiters. It is possible to start the engine in flight by using rotor autorotation.

The work control system measures the rotational speed of the shaft, gas temperature behind the turbine, oil temperature and pressure, signals the minimum oil level, low oil and fuel pressure, engine icing, exceeding the vibration level, the appearance of filings in oil, opening of bleeds, malfunctioning of electronic limiters .

The oil system has a mixed circuit. In a closed system, gears and transmission bearings as well as the front bearing of the transmission (rotor) are lubricated. In an open system with oil loss, the rear propeller is lubricated with a micro-pump. The oil system is unrestricted. It can work continuously when the airplane is flying in an inverted flight. Synthetic SDF-32 oil was used.

The anti-icing system draws in air from the engine compressor and heats; face of the starter fairing, leading edges of the inlet ducts, its internal walls, air grip and temperature sensor cover.

For engine diagnostics is used;

  • For gas tract evaluation; measurement of rotational speed, temperature behind the turbine, fuel flow, fuel pressure, air pressure after the compressor, angle position of the control lever.
  • To assess the mechanical condition; vibration measurement, coast down time, oil temperature and pressure, oil content.

Technical data of the K-15 engine;

  • Starting string 1 472 daN.
  • Specific fuel consumption 1.02 kg / daN h.
  • Air flow rate 23.5 kg / s.
  • Compress 5.4.
  • Temperature before turbine 1,143 K (869.85 degrees C).
  • Turbine rotation speed 15,900 rpm.
  • Length 1 560 mm.
  • Wide 725 mm.
  • High 892 mm.
  • Dry engine weight 320 kg.
  • Built-in mass with hydraulic pump, firewall and 350 kg fire installation.
  • Work ceiling 13,000 m above sea level
  • Acceleration time from idle on the ground 8 s.
  • Acceleration time from idle in air 4 s.

Works on I-22 M-93 V. 1994.

On April 25, 1994, a rebuilt sixth prototype 1 ANP 01-06 was flown, registration SP-PWE, designated I-22 M-93 V, with English Rolls-Royce Viper 545 engines. By the way, the aircraft number was changed for the second time 1 ANBP 1-01. This aircraft was shown in September 1994 at the Farnborough exhibition in Great Britain met with interest, which manifested itself in observing the implementation of the aircraft in Poland.

I-22 M-93 V No. 1 ANPB 1-01 (previously 1 ANP 01-06) registration of SP-PWE with Rolls-Royce Viper 545 engines. Mielec 1996. Photo of LAC
I-22 M-93 V No. 1 ANPB 1-01 (previously 1 ANP 01-06) registration of SP-PWE with Rolls-Royce Viper 545 engines. Mielec 1996. Photo of LAC

The aircraft underwent a whole series of tests of the power unit. British engines did not show a stunning advantage over the Polish K-15. They had an almost identical string; 2 x 1 499 kg compared to 2 x 1 472 daN (2 x 1 501 kg). However, they had minuses in the form of a much higher purchase price and the need for servicing (at least in the first years) abroad.

Further work on I-22. 1994 year.

Regardless of the production for domestic needs, marketing activities were undertaken related to the new Polish aircraft, but after a few months it turned out that nobody wanted to buy an aircraft that is not used in the manufacturer's army.

Parallel to the construction work on the aircraft, transformations of entities implementing the Program were underway. In mid-1994, WSK PZL-Mielec was transformed into a state-owned company (holding) under the new name WSK PZL Mielec S.A. and Zakład Lotniczy Mielec sp.z o.o. responsible for aviation production.

It is necessary to mention information emerging at that time about significant discrepancies between the constructors / producers and the army as to the future of the Program. At that time, the army no longer treated the Program as a priority. They decided that the latest TS-11 Iskra would serve in the army for several years, and the withdrawn Lim no longer needed a successor (?). Only the future WSB (multi-purpose combat aircraft) was the apple of the Ministry of Defense's eye, and Program I-22 "only dissipates funds". After 10 years, it turned out that at that time (1994) the Ministry of National Defense and some politicians had deleted Program I-22.

Meanwhile, operational tests were carried out on airframes in the army's state - first in Mielec and then in Dęblin. As for the full range of M-93 airframe trials, according to some sources, it has been limited due to lack of money. Not studied, among others structural strength and resistance to flutter, which caused restrictions in the operation of existing units, especially when it comes to the maximum speed and the allowed number of Ma.

The fact is that on December 31, 1994, the I-22 Iryda M-93 K aircraft obtained a certificate of operational capacity in Polish military aviation units. However, the army's attitude was ambiguous. It was found that the machine did not meet the requirements of the army (?), But these requirements were not specified. All interested parties emphasized that the aircraft had sufficient modernization potential and that the target version could meet the requirements. But they were not there. The Ministry of Defense was still unofficially interested in 40-70 machines.  

What's next? 1994 year.

At the end of 1994, the demand for 40-60 machines of all varieties of I-22 aircraft was still estimated. At that time, however, the country's budget difficulties were more and more clearly visible. It was said not to distract funds before buying a WSB (multi-purpose combat aircraft). Even worse, the Iryda Program has become the subject of political struggle. Despite a positive decision for I-22, Iryda M-93 MON issued a negative overall rating of the machine (?), Because the aircraft did not meet the requirements of the army, which were not fully specified. However, all interested parties, including the Ministry of National Defense, stated that the aircraft had sufficient modernization potential and its final version would meet the army's requirements, which were also not precisely defined.

From the perspective of several years, it can be seen that 1994 was a breakthrough year for the Program and was its hidden agony. Everything that was then created was just a sham operation.

1995 year.

In 1995, further copies no. AN 003-01 to AN 003-06 (301-306) were produced with K-15 engines and new 0-0 class ejection seats manufactured in France. The machines were equipped with old avionics. The first two copies (number 301, 302) were forwarded in March 1995 to the 58th LPSzk. At that time, seven I-22 aircraft flew in Dęblin.

As for avionics, there should be a small addition. The Ministry of National Defense has never been interested in the competition conducted by the industry or its results. Indeed, they did not even speak officially on this subject. As a result, no orders for Sagem's avionics or relevant funds were received.

PZL I-22 No. AN 003-01 nb 301 registration SP-PWI. 1998. Photo of LAC
PZL I-22 No. AN 003-01 nb 301 registration SP-PWI. 1998. Photo of LAC

AN 003-01 nb 301 aircraft SP-PWI registration. The machine has K-15 engines, 0-0 class seats, but old avionics. He was transferred in March 1995 to Dęblin. In 1996, the plane returned to Mielec. Chessboards and numbers were painted over Dęblin's emblem, and registration was placed. The picture was taken in 1998.

At that time (1995), aircraft No. 1 ANP 01-04 (former SP-PWC) was entered into the school records in Dęblin - as stationary study assistance. Airplanes with K-5 engines, used in the 58th Air School Regiment, showed that during operation the Iryda aircraft is a relatively modern machine and after replacing engines and piloting and navigating equipment, according to military pilots, it would meet the requirements for a training and training aircraft. It is worth adding that according to emerging opinions, the Ministry of National Defense considered that the aircraft meets the assumptions, and only the engines and avionics need to be replaced.

In October 1995, the scope of aerodynamic changes on the airframe was presented in IL, resulting from experiments and conclusions from flight tests. It included installing triangular band elements in front of the wing's leading edge at the fuselage, creating vortices increasing lift force and delaying detachment of airflow streams, slots on the leading edge and flaps at the trailing edge, raising the vertical stabilizer and installing a larger horizontal tail for improved longitudinal stability or alternatively use for this purpose, vertical fins on horizontal ballasts. According to the opinions of the designers, all these modifications were the result of choosing the wrong profile of the aircraft wing in the first stage of the development of the aircraft, back in the 70s, and now they were aimed at improving the characteristics of volatile machines.

In accordance with the decision of the Council of Ministers of December 1995, a consultative group was established on the purchase of aircraft for the Polish Military Aviation, including I-22 aircraft. The group was composed of representatives of the Ministry of National Defense, MPiH, IL and WSK PZL-Mielec. Ultimately, it was decided that WSK PZL-Mielec would modernize the operated Iryda aircraft and the next three units of this aircraft in production with the simultaneous unification and change of avionics, and provide aircraft service at their homing points. The Ministry of National Defense in 1996 will order a minimum of three more aircraft of this type, while the Ministry of Industry and Trade will support the WSK PZL-Mielec with funds.

In 1995, IL developed the new modification mentioned above, ultimately called M-96, and suggested introducing changes on subsequent aircraft, as well as bringing the previously purchased aircraft to the target standard. At the turn of 1995 and 1996, the Ministry of National Defense finally specified the terms of the WTT for the training and combat aircraft, which appeared in January 1996. The requirements assumed that the aircraft in the basic version, training and training, should have, in addition to engines with the required thrust and modern avionics enabling training in higher pilotage and the use of weapons, better flight characteristics, in particular in terms of minimum speed, allowable angle of attack and stall.

In response, IL presented the final configuration of the M-96 version, on which it was planned to mount the previously mentioned elements (bands, flaps, new tail). According to preliminary assumptions for the M-96 variant, it was intended to rebuild all aircraft that were to remain in service. For this purpose, eleven already built aircraft (including seven aircraft owned by the Ministry of National Defense) were withdrawn and the WSK PZL-Mielec machines were transferred. It is worth noting that opinions have also appeared suggesting that the designers and label made changes without taking into account the position of the Ministry of National Defense, which is probably not true. Not only that, let us remind you that the M-93 aircraft did not pass all the necessary tests (due to lack of funds) and, as a matter of fact, its true value was not known, and therefore in Dęblin planes flew with restrictions.

Threat to the Program from the West. 1995.

In the second half of 1995, an unexpectedly serious threat appeared in Program I-22 in the form of aircraft from Germany, in the form of used Alpha Jet aircraft. A similar case comes from 1979, in the form of the Su-25 aircraft. In October 1995, the German side asked the Ministry of National Defense to buy back 40 aircraft of this type, withdrawn in 1992, and preserved. The machines were worn out in about 50%, this value would allow them to be used for another 15-20 years. At the same time, in the opinion of the Ministry of National Defense, the operation of the TS-11 Iskra aircraft should be gradually abandoned and the program for the further development of the I-22 aircraft should be abandoned.

In December 1995, the Ministry of National Defense presented a draft approval of the German proposal to the Council of Ministers. But the violent protests of the Polish Aviation Industry forced the Ministry of National Defense to withdraw from the offer, and the Polish government in 1995 decided to continue the I-22 Program. Interestingly, the German proposal reappeared in 1998, and the German lobby tried to introduce 15-45 Alpha Jet aircraft into the Navy. Fortunately, the offer was considered negative at the governmental level.

What's next? 1995.

At that time, the Polish Army already had 10 (11) planes in the M-93 version (of which 7 machines were already owned by the army), which differed significantly from each other as well as the power unit and equipment. Therefore, in December 1995, a decision was made to unify them and install Sagem avionics. They would be planes version M-93 S. Disaster. 1996 year.

On January 24, 1996, there was the second in the history of Program I-22 plane crash of Iryda. Machine No. ANA 02-03 during a flight near Radom is completely broken, burying two pilots. The death of the aviator died; major T. Chudzik and captain J. Mieszkowski - Honor to their memory! The disaster is extensively described in a separate article. The crash was caused by a pilot error.

I-22 nb 0203. 1994. Photo of LAC
I-22 nb 0203. 1994. Photo of LAC

I-22 nb 0203 aircraft already with K-15 engines, which crashed on January 24, 1996. The school emblem in Dęblin and the chessboard are clearly visible. Photo of the second half of 1994.

This disaster caused the suspension of flights, which is normal practice. Flights shall be suspended until the causes of the accident are determined, so that if defects are found, they shall be removed on all other aircraft.

Unfortunately, this disaster was used for the games. The Ministry of National Defense announced that it wants to terminate the Program. The reasons were considered; "Program delay" (?) And financial problems of the state. The publicity given to this decision and the close of forces interested in continuing the Program led to the fact that work on the M-93 was not yet interrupted at that time. Not only that, once again the entire Program I-22 was analyzed and it was determined that faster work on the development version of M-93, under the designation M-96, will be undertaken. In 1996, in the 58th School Regiment in Dęblin there were a total of 8 I-22 aircraft, but in the second half of the year all aircraft were transferred to Mielec and since (17) 16 machines were at the disposal of the factory.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman