New Serbian Light Attacker Revealed
Serbian company UTVA is developing a light attack aircraft, known as the Kobac (Sparrowhawk). It is based on the Lasta-95 piston-powered trainer that has been sold to the Iraqi air force, and was formerly known as the Lasta-TP. Designed by UTVA in conjunction with the military technical institute and Yugoimport-SDPR, the turboprop-powered Kobac is being offered for weapons training and counter-insurgency roles. Serbian defense minister Dragan Sutanovac revealed the existence of the project on April 2 during a ceremony at UTVA’s Pancevo factory, and AIN obtained further details at last week’s Sofex special forces show in Amman, Jordan.
Although the Kobac is based on the Lasta airframe, there are numerous modifications to suit its new roles. The most obvious is the 1,000-shp turboprop engine in a lengthened nose. No details of engine type have been given, but it is likely to be a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A. The rear fuselage is lengthened and a new fin has been designed to handle the increased power. Tip tanks add 420 pounds of fuel to the internal load of 344 pounds, raising endurance to approximately five hours.
While the Lasta-95 has basic armament capability for weapons training, with two hardpoints for gun pods or light bombs, the Kobac is designed for full combat operations. It has five hardpoints for the carriage of more than 1,100 pounds of stores. All four underwing pylons can carry freefall bombs, seven- or 16-tube rocket launchers and gun pods for 0.5-inch or 20-mm weapons. The outer wing pylons can mount air-to-air or air-to-surface missiles, or racks for practice bombs. The centerline hardpoint can carry an electronic warfare pod.
UTVA has redesigned the Kobac’s cockpit area with a new canopy offering better visibility than the Lasta-95. It has been designed ergonomically to be fully compatible with 90 percent of the pilot population and safe-compatible with 99 percent. The rear seat is raised by approximately four inches to give the back-seater good forward vision. Both positions are fitted with Martin-Baker Mk 15B lightweight ejection seats. A modern three-screen cockpit is installed, with a large central multifunction display for tactical displays and sensor imagery. Control of the system is by Hotas (hands on throttle and stick). An attack and navigation system has been devised with sensors mounted in a low-profile pallet under the center fuselage.
Following the unveiling of the Kobac technology demonstrator last month, the aircraft requires further completion work before it can fly. Yugoimport-SDPR says it expects to fly the airplane “within some months.”