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PZL-230 NTW 2 93 7

The PZL-230 Skorpion was a design for a Polish Air Force attack aircraft. The project was started in the late 1980s by the PZL (Polish State Aviation Works) and cancelled in 1994 due to a lack of funds. Skorpion would have had twin jet engines, a fuselage afterbody blending into the wing and small canards behind the cockpit.

HistoryEdit

The project was developed by a team under Andrzej Frydrychewicz at PZL Okęcie, analyzing the experiences of modern wars, such as that in Vietnam and the Soviet war in Afghanistan and capitalizing on their experience with other recent Polish designs like the Orlik. Among the desired capabilities were Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) and maneuverability but with armored protection. It had to be cheap, easy to build and modify (due to its modular design). The early variant incorporated a single pilot, twin jet engines mounted on the upper fuselage like the A-10 Thunderbolt II and canard-type construction. It also required an ability to take-off and land on a runway of about 250 m in length, travel at speeds of up to 640 km/h, be armed with a 25 mm cannon and be able to carry up to 2,000 kg of both Warsaw Pact and NATO munitions. Composites, fly-by-wire and other advanced avionics were also to be used in its construction.

In 1990 the design was changed, the Polish Ministry of Defense demanded a top speed of 1,000 km/h and an ability to carry 4,000 kg of equipment. The redesigned Skorpion became a heavier aircraft, the engines were moved into the central body. The changes required that the required runway length be extended to 400 m. The new design was also flatter, thus acquiring some stealth capabilities. This version was known as the 230F. A model of the 'F' version was constructed in 1992.

Later versions were named 'D', and included a 'DT' training aircraft and a 'DB' combat variant. In 1993 the project was accepted by the airforce, but due to budget cuts it was cancelled in 1994.

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