Today, the Polish Air Force is the sole European operator of the Su-22, given the NATO codename 'Fitter'. Very much a veteran of the Cold War, this variable-geometry attack aircraft dates originally from 1966, when the first prototype Su-17 (Su-22 being the type's export designation) took to the air. It served for many years as a mainstay of the Warsaw Pact's much-feared strike forces. In Polish Air Force service today are two squadrons operating the single-seat Su-22M-4K and two-seat Su-22UM3K, both now stationed at Świdwin, the 21st Tactical Air Base. Plans have recently been announced to extend the service lives of the Polish 'Fitters', of which 32 remain in use. Production of later Su-22 variants, such as those flown in Poland, did not cease until 1990 - the other nations reported still to be operating the 'Fitter' are Angola, Syria, Vietnam and Yemen.
Photo credit: David Halford