PZL.38 Wilk

The PZL.38 Wilk ("wolf") (PZL-38) was a Polish fighter-bomber developed and manufactured by PZL state factory in 1937.

PZL.38 Wilk
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer PZL
Origin Poland
Country Name Origin Year
Poland 1938
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Poland View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
PZL 2 View

In 1934 the Polish Air Force ordered a new multi-role heavy fighter-bomber. It was initially supposed to replace fighters in both pursuit and escort duties and light bombers (at that time, such idea was popular in the world, what resulted in aircraft, like Bf 110). In an internal PZL competition a design of the engineer Franciszek Misztal won and was given the designation PZL.38 Wilk. In this construction was used diminished aerodynamic profile and configuration from medium bomber PZL.37 Los. The powerplant was to be 490-hp lightweight V-engine PZL Foka (seal), designed by Stanislaw Nowkunski of Polish Skoda Works (then PZL WS-1). Unfortunately, Nowkunski died in Tatry mountains on 30 July 1936 and work on the engine slowed down. Due to technical problems, overheating and vibration, it was decided to use a foreign engine.

In 1937 two prototypes of PZL.38 were built. The second one (PZl.38/II) received the American Ranger SGV-770B engines (420-450 hp), which were less powerful than the PZL "Foka" engine. As a result the prototype didn't meet expected performance. The second prototype flew first in April or May 1936. The first prototype PZl.38/I, received the PZL Foka engine. The airplane was shown in 1938 at the Paris Air Show. It was flown only in February or March 1939 and also did not meet expected performance (estimated maximum speed was 465 km/h, while it hardly reached 400 km/h). It was also too heavy (2155 kg instead of 1715 kg) and had too small useful load. Because of these facts, further development of PZL.38 "Wilk" aircraft and "Foka" engine was abandoned in the Spring of 1939, in a favour of the new construction PZL.48 "Lampart" - which was a modification of "Wilk" with radial engines.

After the German invasion of Poland, both prototypes were not able to fly and remained in factory at Okecie in Warsaw. They were captured by the Germans in a damaged state, their further fate is not known.

Role Fighter-bomber aircraft
Manufacturer Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze
First flight 1938
Number built 2
Variants PZL.48 Lampart

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2, pilot, rear gunner/bombardier
  • Length: 8.35 m (27 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 11.05 m (36 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 20.4 m2 (220 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 2,155 kg (4,751 lb)
  • Gross weight: 2,800 kg (6,173 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × PZL Foka air-cooled 8-cylinder V-engine, 370 kW (490 hp) each
  • Propellers: 2-bladed


  • Maximum speed: 400 km/h (249 mph; 216 kn) estimated 465 km/h
  • Stall speed: 120 km/h (75 mph; 65 kn)
  • Range: 850 km (528 mi; 459 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 9,000 m (29,528 ft) estimated
  • Rate of climb: 8 m/s (1,600 ft/min) estimated
  • Wing loading: 137 kg/m2 (28 lb/sq ft)


  • 1 x 20 mm FK-A cannon fixed in nose
  • 2 x 7.92 mm PWU wz.36 machine guns fixed in nose
  • 2 x 7.92 mm PWU wz.37 machine guns movable at the upper rear
  • 300 kg bombs

End notes