Archive digitization



Aviation and Diplomacy

Frank Piasecki

NATO 1949-2009 Projekt ekspozycji w Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego w Krakowie



Polish Aviation Museum

31-864 Kraków,
al. Jana Pawła II 39
phone: (12) 640 99 60,
(12) 642 40 70
e-mail: info@muzeumlotnictwa.pl

a cultural institution of the Malopolska Region

Małopolska – Kraków Region


Patronage

Kraków Airport







Aeroplane: Sukhoi Su-7BM (NATO: Fitter-A)

Sukhoi Su-7BM (NATO: Fitter-A)
USSR
fighter-bomber
1964



  • Technical data


Span 9.30 m
Length 16.6 m (without air pressure receiver)
Take-off weight 11,730 kg
Maximum speed 2,150 kph (1,187 kt)
Ceiling 18,500 m (60,680 ft)
Range 1,450 km (783 NM)
Armament two 30 mm NR-30 cannons, 4,405 lb of attached weapons (bombs, rocket launchers)
Powerplant :
AL-7F1-150 turbojet, thrust with afterburner: 9600kG of thrust

 

In the second half of the 1950's there came a change of future war doctrines. It was caused by the development in the field of nuclear weapons. Thanks to scientific progress nuclear weapons of different yields became available, including variants with limited mass and dimensions. They could be used tactically on the battlefield. This created a need for combat aircraft suitable for the delivery of such weapons to the target, able to overcome enemy anti-aircraft defence through high speed. Such aircraft would also be required to carry heavy conventional armament to be capable of successful attacks against ground and aerial targets.

The design of such an aircraft was commissioned in 1958 to the Experimental and Construction Bureau of Pavel Ossipovich Sukhoi. The significant load reserves in the construction of the Su-7 frontal fighter allowed to treat its airframe as the base of the new fighter-bomber. The Su-7 was a result of the Soviet Board of Ministers resolution of July 1953, commissioning the design of a supersonic fighter. Its competitor was the MiG-21. The Su-7 despite many advantages was a troublesome machine, troubled by numerous technical problems and breakdowns. By the end of the 1950's, military authorities judged the MiG-21 more useful and promising.

The new fighter-bomber was designated the Su-7B. It was first flown in 1959 and in the second half of the 1960s preparations for serial production started. In January 1961, the Su-7B officially entered service with the Soviet Air Force. During the entire production time the aircraft was constantly improved due to continuing technical problems. Its armament consisted of two 30 mm cannons buried at the wing roots. Bombs and unguided missiles of up to 2000 kg could be attached to four hardpoints (two under the wings, two on the fuselage). The aircraft was also capable to carry a nuclear bomb, for which two drop methods were invented. A radio range finder was placed in the inlet cone, coupled with an optical sight in pilot's cockpit.

In January 1961, the designers of the Sukhoi construction bureau received an order to increase the flight range, which could be obtained only by increasing the fuel load. In 1961–1962, tests of new communication and navigation systems were carried out. An ingenious safety system was introduced protecting the air intake from sucking in small objects to the engine. It was a pipe fitted to the nose ventral part of the fuselage, blowing a stream of compressed air against the main air stream, shielding the air intake. The nose wheel was equipped with a brake. An extra fuel load could be carried in drop tanks, attached under the wings and the fuselage (depending on the carried armament derivatives). An improved engine powered the aircraft.

All these changes were applied to the new Su-7BM (the S-22M), which production started in 1962. In 1963, the first air regiments received the aeroplane. In 1964, Poland bought six nuclear weapon carriers, the Su-7BMs. It was a beginning of the realisation of new Warsaw Pact plans, aiming at the reinforcement of its offensive power in case of war. The Su-7 was operated by Polish military aviation untill 1990.

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