NATO’S Last Fitters

While the Su-22 swing-wing strike aircraft may be obsolescent by today’s standards, 35 years ago it provided Poland with a technological leap comparable only with its subsequent purchase of F-16 fighters. Piotr Butowski assesses the current status of NATO’s last surviving Fitters.

A tight three-ship of Polish Air Force Su- 22s up from Swidwin in July. Today, Su-22 crews continue to perform mostly strike tasks, usually exercising with both the army and navy. All photos Katsuhiko Tokunaga/DACT

The impressive Su-22M4 Fitter-K brought the Polish air arm – today’s Siły Powietrzne (SP, Polish Air Force) – into the era of flight computers, a variety of modern air-to-ground missiles – including its first antiradiation missiles – as well as self-defence equipment such as pod-mounted jammers and infrared and radar decoy dispensers. The purchase of the Su-22 strike aircraft (or fighter-bomber, in Soviet terminology) has its origins in the first half of the 1960s, when Poland acquired 44 of the Mach-2- capable Su-7BM/BKL/U jets (six Su-7BMs,

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