Poland unveils Orlik MPT trainer

Warsaw
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Poland's PZL-130 Orlik MPT (multipurpose trainer) was unveiled at Airbus Defence & Space's Warsaw facility on 7 March.

Also involving Polish companies ATM, ETC-PZL, the Institute of Aviation (ILot) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (ITWL), the zlotych 37 million ($12.2 million) MPT project provides an upgrade to the Orlik TC I turboprop operated by the Polish air force since 2011. The service operates 16 of the current model.

The new version incorporates a more efficient wing, a 750hp (560kW) Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25C turboprop engine with a four-bladed Hartzell propeller with blade anti-icing system, and Martin-Baker Mk 11L ejection seats. First flight is scheduled for late March.

asset image

Bartosz Glowacki

Digital avionics include two multifunctional displays and a head-up display (HUD) in the front cockpit, plus two displays and a HUD repeater in the rear cockpit, with lighting compatible for operations using night vision goggles. A third cockpit display is offered as an option.

The Orlik MPT will support tasks including basic tactical training, with its avionics capable of emulating air-to-air and air-to-surface tasks using virtual ammunition and flying air combat training against up to three virtual targets. Airbus is now carrying out feasibility studies for an Orlik air combat support variant, which would be able to carry up to 500kg (1,100lb) of weapons using six under-wing hardpoints.

In February, the defence ministry's inspectorate of armament launched a market analysis for an Orlik TC-II glass cockpit upgrade, seeking 12 new aircraft to be acquired for use from 2018. The type will be used during an introduction to fighter fundamentals course, before pilots progress to the air force's future Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master and the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcon.

Other potential customers for the Orlik MPT are countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, Airbus says. The new design's price will be "significantly lower" than the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, according to vice-president Wladyslaw Skorski.