Sukhoi Su-22M4 Fitter, Poland
The SU22M-4 is the final export version of the type and represents the pinnacle in the evolution of the design. It is still widely used in Europe and the Middle East, being broadly compatible to a Tornado GR1 although lacking the latter’s all-weather capability. Like the Tornado it is equipped with a laser range finder designator and terrain following radar and could be equipped with bombs, guided missiles & rockets in addition to the installed twin 30mm canon for the air to surface attack role. Air-to-air threats were countered via rockets, guided missiles and canon in addition to the extensive ECM and chaff / flare systems.
The Su-22 design exemplifies two key traits synonymous with Russian military equipment; the twin virtues of Simplicity & Robustness, both in the physical construction of the aircraft as well as its operation. The intent was to have trouble free use under the most demanding operating and environmental conditions combined with ease of maintenance. Both the airframe and the Lyulka AL-21 F-3 engine more than met this challenge!