A fantastic looking Polish Air Force Sukhoi Su-22UM3K Fitter G variable geometry sweep wing two seat combat trainer, sporting a mean looking NATO Tiger Meet exercise livery at Radom Air Show 2017. I made the journey there to see the last operational Fitters in Europe and was not disappointed with this great air show!
In 2017 the Polish continued to operate 32 Su-22’s (of an original 110 aircraft delivered in the 1980’s, during the old Warsaw Pact days) – a mix of mostly single seat Su-22M4 Fitter K fighter bomber aircraft and a smaller number of Su-22UM3K Fitter G combat trainers. They are operated by the 40th Tactical Squadron based at the 21st Tactical Air Base in Świdwin in north east Poland.
In 2014 it was decided that 12 M4 and 6 UM models would be refitted by the WZL-2 plant at Bydgoszcz in Poland to keep them flying until at least 2025. The refit was reasonably basic with only new cockpit avionics, radio and flight recorder – these old Soviet era Cold War warriors were built to last!
The Lyulka AL-21F3 afterburning turbojet engine of the 18 aircraft were also overhauled by the WZL-4 plant in Warsaw. Apparently, despite their age, the Su-22’s are easier to maintain (and presumably cheaper) than more modern types such as the MiG-29 and F-16C/D also operated by the Polish Air Force!