|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.|
|National origin||Soviet Union|
|First flight||7 September 1955|
|Status||In limited service with the |
|Number built||1,847 (mainly Su-7B series)|
The Sukhoi Su-7 (
On 14 May 1953, after
The S-1 first flew on 7 September 1955 with A. G. Kochetkov at the controls. Fitted with an
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
Operationally, Su-7s were hampered by a high landing speed of 340–360 km/h, as dictated by the thin, highly-swept wing. Combined with poor visibility from the cockpit, and lack of an
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. They never saw combat.
Su-7B and its variants became the main Soviet ground-attack aircraft of the 1960s. They were also widely exported (691 planes, 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.