Sukhoi Su-7

Sukhoi Su-7BKL, Poland - Air Force AN2202869.jpg
A Polish Su-7BKL photographed in 1991. This particular aircraft belonged to the 3rd Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment before being retired in December 1989 after 18 years of service.
RoleFighter and fighter-bomber / ground-attack aircraft
National originSoviet Union
First flight7 September 1955
StatusIn limited service with the Korean People's Army Air Force
Primary usersSoviet Air Forces (historical)
Number built1,847 (mainly Su-7B series)
Developed intoSukhoi Su-17

The Sukhoi Su-7 (NATO designation name: Fitter-A) is a swept wing, supersonic fighter aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in 1955. Originally, it was designed as a tactical, low-level dogfighter, but was not successful in this role. On the other hand, the soon-introduced Su-7B series became the main Soviet fighter-bomber and ground-attack aircraft of the 1960s. The Su-7 was rugged in its simplicity but its shortcomings included short range and light weapon load.[1]

Design and development

Original Su-7 fighters

On 14 May 1953, after Joseph Stalin's death, the Sukhoi OKB was reopened[2] and by the summer, it began work on a swept-wing front-line[N 1] fighter. The first prototype, designated S-1, was designed to use the new Lyulka AL-7 turbojet engine. It was the first Soviet aircraft to utilize the all-moving tailplane and a translating centerbody, a movable inlet cone in the air intake for managing airflow to the engine at supersonic speeds.[3] The aircraft also had a dramatic wing sweep of 60°, irreversible hydraulically boosted controls, and an ejection seat of OKB's own design.[2]

The S-1 first flew on 7 September 1955 with A. G. Kochetkov at the controls. Fitted with an afterburning version of the AL-7 engine after the first eleven flights, the prototype set a Soviet speed record of 2,170 km/h (1,170 kn, 1,350 mph, Mach 2.04) in April 1956.[3] The prototype was intended to be armed with three 37 mm Nudelman N-37 cannon and 32 spin-stabilized 57 mm (2.25 in) unguided rockets in a ventral tray.[3] The second prototype, S-2, introduced some aerodynamic refinements. Testing was complicated by the unreliable engine, and S-1 was lost in a crash on 23 November 1956, killing its pilot I. N. Sokolov.[2] Only 132 had been produced between 1957 and 1960, and the aircraft entered service as Su-7 in 1959.

Su-7B fighter-bomber

On 31 July 1958, Soviet tactical aviation (Frontovaya Aviatsiya,[N 1] фронтовая авиация) tasked Sukhoi with developing a ground-attack variant of the Su-7, which could replace the scrapped Ilyushin Il-10. The resulting prototype, S-22, incorporated structural refinements for high-speed, low-altitude operations. It first flew in March 1959, and entered service in 1961 as the Su-7B.[3]

Operationally, Su-7s were hampered by a high landing speed of 340–360 km/h,[4] as dictated by the thin, highly-swept wing. Combined with poor visibility from the cockpit, and lack of an instrument landing system, it made operations very difficult, especially in poor weather or on poor airfields.[5] In 1961–1962, Sukhoi experimented with blown flaps on S-25 but the benefit was too small to warrant implementation. JATO rockets tested on S-22-4 proved more useful and were incorporated into Su-7BKL. Attempts to improve takeoff and landing performance eventually resulted in the Sukhoi Su-17.

Su-7A fighter

The front-line[N 1] fighter version saw limited operational use in the Far East from 1958, but by 1959, a decision was made to proceed with production of the MiG-21, and less than 200 units were deployed. The Su-7A was retired in 1965.[2] They never saw combat.

Su-7B fighter-bomber

Su-7s of the Polish Air Force.

Su-7B and its variants became the main Soviet ground-attack aircraft of the 1960s. They were also widely exported (691 planes,[2] including also some trainers). However, the very short combat radius and need for long runways limited its operational usefulness. On the other hand, despite its notoriously heavy controls, the Su-7 was popular with pilots for its docile flight characteristics, simple controls and considerable speed even at low altitudes. It also had a reputation for easy maintenance.

In 1977–1986 the Su-7s remaining in Soviet service were replaced by Su-17 and MiG-27.

Other Languages
العربية: سوخوي سو-7
azərbaycanca: Suxoy Su-7
català: Sukhoi Su-7
čeština: Suchoj Su-7
Deutsch: Suchoi Su-7
español: Sukhoi Su-7
فارسی: سوخو-۷
français: Soukhoï Su-7
हिन्दी: सुखोई एसयू-7
hrvatski: Suhoj Su-7
Bahasa Indonesia: Sukhoi Su-7
italiano: Sukhoi Su-7
עברית: סוחוי-7
ქართული: სუ-7
magyar: Szu–7
Bahasa Melayu: Sukhoi Su-7
Nederlands: Soechoj Soe-7
日本語: Su-7 (航空機)
polski: Su-7
português: Sukhoi Su-7
română: Suhoi Su-7
русский: Су-7
slovenčina: Suchoj Su-7
slovenščina: Suhoj Su-7
српски / srpski: Сухој Су-7
suomi: Suhoi Su-7
svenska: Suchoj Su-7
Türkçe: Suhoy Su-7
українська: Су-7
Tiếng Việt: Sukhoi Su-7