Polish Air Force withdraws TS-11 Iskra to focus advanced training in M-346 Bielik

Polish Air Force withdraws TS11 Iskra
Polish Air Force TS-11 Iskra flies for the last time.

On December 9, 2020, the Polish Air Force organized a solemn ceremony at the 41st Air Base in Deblin, home to the military pilot training school, to say goodbye to the old TS-11 Iskra jet and hand over its task to the modern M-346 Bielik.

The ceremony was linked to the last operational flight of the TS-11 Iskra, with serial 2001, in the so-called "gray" color. It took part in a unique air-to-air session together with an M-346 Bielik and a PLZ-130 Orlik.

After the solemn flight, the Commander of the 4th Aviation School Wing, Colonel pil. Doctor Engineer. Grzegorz Ślusz made a symbolic transfer of the TS-11 Iskra to the Deblin aviation museum.

The ceremony marked a generational leap for the Polish Air Force. Not forgetting the excellent work done by Iskra, the armed force said the introduction of the M-346 Bielik will offer great new opportunities for the training of its future pilots for fifth generation aircraft, such as the F-35.

Called the "Lady of the Polish Aviation", the iconic TS-11 Iskra celebrated its 60th birthday this year. She took to the sky for the first time on February 5, 1960.

Her retirement comes a few weeks after the delivery of the twelfth Bielik to Poland by the Italian aerospace company Leonardo. This delivery completed the first two batches of aircraft ordered from Poland.

Polish Air Force withdraws TS11 Iskra

Polish Air Force withdraws TS11 Iskra

Polish Air Force withdraws TS11 Iskra

Polish Air Force withdraws TS11 Iskra


Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source: Polish Air Force
Photo Credits: Miroslaw Cyril W ójjtowicz; Air Force Museum