The Su-22, being an export variant of the Su-17, based on the design of the Su-7, could, thanks to a variable sweep wing, fly from airfields whose runway was half as large as its predecessor. After 40 years of operation, this brainchild of Soviet designers in a number of countries around the world remains in service with their air force. The Soviet Su-22 fighter-bomber during the Afghan war nicknamed "Swift"),
Su-22 is a development of the preceding Su-7 and Su-17 and its Su-20 version, which first entered operational service in 1966. Variable geometry wings permit higher manoeuvrability and operational range with heavier combat load. Su-22 has been optimised for high-speed flight at low level. Su-22M4 (Fitter-K) is a single-engined, single-seat supersonic fighter/bomber with variable geometry wings designed to destroy ground targets by guided and non-guided weaponry and for air reconnaissance. Within a limited extent, the aircraft can also be used to destroy air targets. Within the Su-22 series of aircraft it is the most accomplished and best equipped version for combat activities at reduced visibility and by night. It is equipped with a K-36D ejection seat (also used in MiG-29 and Su-27). Su-22M3K is designed for advanced training.
The aerodynamic layout of the Su-22 is traditional - it is a monoplane with a middle wing and tail unit consisting of a keel with a rudder and a stabilizer. The wing with variable geometry from 300 to 630 is equipped with slotted flaps installed in the fixed part. Airtight fuel tanks are mounted in the wing consoles, in the pairing of the wing with the fuselage on both sides is placed the gun HP-30.
In the tail section are the stabilizer and the keel, four air brakes and a brake parachute compartment. From above the fuselage from the cabin to the keel goes gargrot. The chassis of the fighter-bomber is three-support, the front post is retracted forward against the stream, and the main supports in the fixed part of the wing are perpendicular to the stream.
In the airtight compartment of the nose is located the cockpit with the frontal part made of bulletproof glass. The tilting part of the canopy opens up and back at an angle of 500. The pilot sits in an ejection seat, the K-36D. The dashboard has analog signs informing the pilot about the spatial position of the aircraft and the operation of the equipment and the engine.
The aircraft is powered by the AL-21F-3 turbo-jet engine made by NPO Saturn (Lyulka) (76.49 kN, or 110.32 kN with afterburning). New avionics includes the CVM20-22 central control computer, PrNK-54 navigation system, a combination of RSDN (an equivalent of Loran) and A-312 (an equivalent of Tacan) devices which substantially increases the accuracy of navigation and bombing and decreases the necessity of manual operations by the pilot. It is also equipped with a DISS-7 Doppler navigation system, KLEN-45 laser range-finder, ASP-178C gun sight, IKV-8 inertial navigation device, ARK-22 automatic radio compass, SRO-2 transponder of the "identification friend-or-foe" system, SO-69 active transponder and SPO-15LE SIRENA radar warning receiver. Su-22M-4 is equipped with a new ARK-15, RSBN-2S is replaced by RSBN-5, a new aiming and navigation complex with a laser rangefinder and a television system is installed.
The Su-22 can be used for tactical air reconnaissance. For this purpose it carries a KKR reconnaissance pod with built-in optical cameras and electronic reconnaissance equipment. The pod is usually used together with SPS electronic reconnaissance equipment. Moreover, a BA-58 VJUGA electronic reconnaissance pod can also be mounted under the fuselage. The pilot has a TV display to control guidance of air-to-surface missiles with a TV guidance system. To protect the aircraft against electronic warfare measures, four sets of ASO passive jammer with 32 cartridge cases each and 2 sets with 6 cases using KDS-23 infrared decoys.
With regard to its priority bombing tasks, the Su-22 can carry a wide range of conventional bombs from 100 to 1000 kg, special bombs with a drag parachute, anti-concrete bombs to destroy runways, anti-tank cluster bombs, rocket launchers (like S-24) with rockets from 57 to 330 mm. It is equipped with 8 armament pylons. For precision strikes against ground targets from the airspace beyond effective reach of anti-air defence it can use several types of air-to-surface radio-guided or laser-guided missiles, including Ch-25 (AS-10 Karen and AS-12 Kegler), Ch-29 and Ch-58E (AS-11 Kilter) anti-radar missiles. For self defence against enemy aircraft, R-60 (AA-8 Aphid), R-73 (AA-11 Archer) or K-13 (AA-2 Atoll) air-to-air infrared-guided short-range missiles are used. Standard equipment is a SPPU-22-01 machine-gun with 260 rounds. Efficient optional weaponry also includes 30 mm NR-30 cannons with 80 rounds, which can be carried in pods under the wings or under the fuselage.
In Afghanistan, 42 combat aircraft and 8 Su-22M3 fleets are in service. In Bulgaria, 18 Su-22M4s and three Su-22M3s came into service in early 1984 , the resource of these aircraft ends. The Slovak armed forces operated 17 Su-22M4 and 3 Su-22UM3 , five of them are used as simulators and are no longer lifted into the air. After the division of Czechoslovakia in the Czech Republic remained 34 Su-22M4 and 5 Su-22UM3 , but these machines are currently not in use.In Libya, there are at least 35 combat Su-22 and 4 training Sparky. On the American continent, the Su-22 is in service only in Peru and the eleven aircraft received are in reserve. The Syrian armed forces in 1984 and after entered into service about 50 Su-22M and Su-22M4 and at least six training Su-22Us.
The fate of the Iranian Su-22 was unknown, but it seemed unlikely that they could make flights. The Iranians obtained 40 Iraqi Su-22s; they lived a shadow existence for two decades, until the Iranians finally decided in 2012 to start refurbishing and updating them, local industry doing the work with Russian and Romanian assistance. The aircraft featured minor avionics improvements, including new radios, and qualification with weapons in the Iranian inventory, notably the C-704 antiship missile. The refurbished aircraft were not going into Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) service; the customer is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has its own air arm. Although details are unsurprisingly murky, some of the refurbished Su-22s have been funneled by the Revolutionary Guards to Iranian client states, with ten or more being donated to Syria in 2015.
In September 2006, Su-22 fighter-bombers were withdrawn from service in the Peruvian Air Force reserve after 30 years of service and two wars. This ended one of the most interesting pages of aviation history of this South American country, which began in 1977, when residents of the coastal city of Talara for the first time in the air saw some strange, desert-colored jet machines. The story of the purchase of Soviet-made weapons began five years earlier, when the “Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces” came to power. The modernization of the army that began soon took place from an "anti-imperialist standpoint."
The tension over the Middle East situation peaked on 18 June 2017, after an F-18 of the U.S. forces downed a Syrian Sukhoi Su-22, which was allegedly bombing targets belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) south of the town of Tabqah, a militia formed mostly by Kurds and backed by Washington. Russia's reaction did not take long and was not a mild one in tone, when Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov announced that the Russian Federation would unilaterally cease its participation to the Coalition and would consider any flying vehicle, manned or unmanned, over the operation theater west of the Euphrates river as a legitimate and possible target.
According to the IDF, on 27 July 2018 two Patriot missiles shot down a Syrian Sukhoi warplane that illegally entered Israeli airspace. Representatives of Russia protested over the fact that Israel shot down a Su-22 aircraft of the Syrian air force, but after they presented evidence of the fighter’s invasion of Israeli territory, the protest was recalled, Israeli media reported. in the course of contacts between Russia and Israel, the Russian side was provided with irrefutable evidence, including data from radars, indicating that the Syrian aircraft had invaded Israel. Moreover, the Israelis proved that the pilot had the opportunity to return. After receiving the explanations, Russia withdrew the protest.
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