Poland’s Cold War era Sukhoi Su-22 Fitter bombers to fly for 10 more years. At least.

The Polish Ministry of National Defense has eventually decided that the Polish Air Force Su-22 Fitters will remain active for at least 10 more years. The Cold War era fighter bomber has been in service in the Polish Air Force for nearly 30 years now.

As reported earlier this year, Poland was considering to get rid of its fleet of Su-22 attack planes, possibly replacing them with UCAVs (unmanned combat air vehicles).

eighteen of the Fitterss in best shape are to remain active, including 12 Su-22M4 single seaters and 6 UM3K trainers.

The Military Aviation Works no. 2 in Bydgoszcz is going to refurbish the aircraft’s equipment. It is the same facility that takes care of the more modern Polish F-16s.

The main aim of the refurbishment is to make the old fighter-bombers more interoperable with other NATO aircraft.

Additionally the Su-22 engines are going to be refurbished by Military Aviation Works No. 4. This facility is located in Warsaw.

The Su-22s are going to be used then in accordance with their technical status. The planned modifications are quite interesting, even though the scope of works is not so wide.

According to dziennikzbrojny.pl website the changes would include installation of an ICAO and Eurocontrol compliant communications suite (8, 33 kHz channel spacing).

There are also rumors that the Polish Fitters are to get new instruments, scaled in the imperial units. This would also make cooperation with the NATO aircraft easier for the pilots.

When it comes to application of the old fighter-bombers, they will be an  important asset within the special forces and anti-aircraft gunners training programs, taking over the duties already done by the Polish F-16.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image Credit: Wiki


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About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.


  1. If US A-10’s are truly being pulled out of service (which I don’t want to see happen) let’s get some of them over to Poland to augment or replace the SU-22 force!

    • Sooo, I am not alone in my opinions. A-10 is the best way to combat the Soviet made tin-junk.

      • You are far from alone. Only the “you know what” brass in the Pentagon and over at 1600 are for this idea. The A-10 is the best aircraft we have for close air support, hands down. It has the loiter time our boys need and it has the firepower our boys need. Back in Vietnam, when they axed the A-1 Skyraiders they were faced with a crisis. The faster A-7s and other jet aircraft had no loiter time over the battlefield so they came in, dropped their load, and vanished. When they escorted helicopters and other slow-flying aircraft they had to fly in circles, constantly refueling. That lesson helped play a part in the A-10. Unfortunately now, history is being forgotten yet again.

        • I don’t think I have the same sources as you do. With its simplicity A-10 survives almost everything. The basic principle for using the A-10 is air superiority – let’s make it clear. But either way, GAU-8 is the best way to get rid of the Soviet made tanks. After all this is what it was designed for.


  2. I saw them some 5 or 6 years ago during their deployment in northern Italy..they were flying low level in loose formation with 2 AMX 20km north of Modena…unique sound and some smoke as befits an ex soviet plane…

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