Once NATO got wind of the type, it was assigned the flattering codename of "Fencer", though it was initially thought to be the "Sukhoi Su-19" - a designation which persisted through at least 1980. The first flight of the T-6-2I was held January 17, 1970. Tests of this aircraft continued 6 years, but the decision to launch a new bomber in a series under the symbol Su-24 was made in the first year of trial when it became obvious it had advantages over the T-6-1. In December 1971 Novosibirsk aviation plant flew the first production Su-24 (seventh prototype). The next year, the plant launched large-scale production of a new bomber. Since 1973 combat units started operating the Su-24, and in 1975 the aircraft was adopted by the Soviet Air Force.
In early 1974 U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer made a sensational statement a new generation aircraft had appeared in the USSR in the F-111 class that NATO experts had identified as the Su-19. An article in Air University Review, May-June 1980 mentiolned "the introduction of new Soviet tactical aircraft (e.g., MiG-23/27 Flogger, Su-17/20 Fitter, and Su-19 Fencer)." Another article in Air University Review, January-February 1981, mentioned "... advances in technology are incorporated in the Su-19 Fencer, MiG-23/27 Flogger, and the Su-17 Fitter." An article in Air University Review, May-June 1981, noted that "The Soviets, in the Su-19 Fencer, have deployed an F-111/Tornado equivalent. It is a two-seat, multirole, terrain-following radar (TFR)-equipped, third-generation aircraft..."
The monograph "Defending the West: The United States Air Force and European Security 1946-1998", an official US Air Force history written in 2003, states that "The Soviets and their allies vigorously improved their capacity for close-air support by equipping air regiments with new Su-19 and MiG-27 fighter-bombers... The Soviet Sukhoi Su-19, subsequently designated the Su-24, was roughly equivalent to the F-111."
Airplanes under the symbol Su-19 was really developed in the Sukhoi Design Bureau, but work was stopped at the stage of the project. The Su-19 (T-58PS) was a proposed a deep modernization in the late 1960s/early 1970s to modernise the Su-15TM. The Su-19 would receive a new wing of ogival shape and two R-25-300 turbojet engines, as on the Su-15bis. The new wing and fuel system, would increase aircraft range and endurance. The Su-19M was to be a Su-19 with more advanced Tumanskiy R-67-300 turbofans, each producing 78.44 kN (17,637 lb) thrust, which would improve acceleration.
Another [unrelated] "Su-19" was the design Sparky (working title Su-19U, 52U-S code). Design work on the creation of training and combat aircraft based on the Su-17 were carried out in the bureau since 1971. Work intensified in 1973, when it became clear that the line of development of the Su-17 has led to the creation of aircraft that are significantly different from the original Su-7B. Sparky was carried out in parallel with the bureau work on the new version of combat aircraft (Su-19, code S-52), implying that the basic design solutions for both aircraft will be maximally unified. In terms of a constructive major innovation was to change the layout head of the fuselage (FNS) with the cockpit due to the downward deviation of the FNS axis. This innovation provided a significant improvement in the pilot survey in the direction of forward and down as links to poor visibility from the cockpit was one of the major limitations of the Su-17. In 1974 Sparky Su-17 was officially named Su-17U(UM).
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