MILAVIA > Specials > Polish Air Force Su-22 Fitters at Istrana Last updated: 1 April 2013
MILAVIA Military Aviation Specials

Special Report : Polish Air Force Su-22 Fitters at Istrana


In 2007, Polish Su-22 Fitters deployed once again to Italy as part of a NATO squadron exchange between the two air forces. Giampaolo Tonello reports.

After last year's squadron exchange (see Polish Air Force Su-22 Fitters at Amendola), which was the first between the Areonautica Militare Italiana (AMI - Italian Air Force) and the Sily Powietrzne (Polish Air Force), 2007 saw the Polish Fitters again operating from an Italian air base. This time it was Istrana AB, home of the 51° Stormo hosting the 103° and 132° Gruppo. Both squadrons are equipped with the AMX.

From June 29th until July 12th three Su-22M4 single-seaters and one Su-22UM3K two-seaters from 7 ELT (7 Eskadry Lotnictwa Taktyczego - 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron) operated together with both the 103° and 132° Gruppo flying operational training missions such as DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) and CAS (Close Air Support), in support of integration of NATO standards in the Polish Air Force. Two missions were flown daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

During the squadron exchange one of the Polish pilots reached 1,000 hours flying the Su-22 and a little “shower” awaited him on his return to base.

The 7 ELT is based at Powidz and is equipped with single-seat Su-22M4 'Fitter-K' and two-seat SU-22UM3K 'Fitter-G' conversion trainers. Some of the former 6 ELT Su-22s are still flown by 7 ELT, retaining the old 6 ELT badge on fin as the seen on the two-seater. 6 ELT is currently undergoing conversion to the new F-16C/D Block 52+ having moved to Poznan-Krzesiny AB. The 'Fitters' are scheduled to fly until 2010-2012 and then the unit will become a transport squadron flying the C-130 Hercules.

Italian Air Force AMX c/n 7132 code 51-01
Polish Air Force Su-22M4 single-seater number 7410
Su-22M4 'Fitter-K' number 8205
Su-24M4 rolling out one of the borrowed shelters.
Italian Air Force AMX c/n 7163 code 51-26
Polish Air Force Su-22M3K bort number 707 in tiger scheme and marking of 6 ELT.
Another Su-22M4 of 7 ELT, number 7412
The Su-22M4's analog cockpit.
Polish Air Force pilot is welcomed back on base after reaching his 1,000th hour on the Su-22.
Italian Air Force AMX taxiing past the Su-22UM-3K.
The Su-22M4 is an export version of the Su-17M4, the latest derivative of the Su-17.
Italian and Polish pilots posing for the picture to commemorate the 1,000 hours achievement of their colleague.
Su-22M4 '8205' deploying its brake chute after landing at Istrana.
Good view of the Su-22M4 canopy.
The Su-22/Su-17 was based on the Su-7 design, adding a variable geometry 30-63 degree 'swing-wing'.
Su-22M4 returning to base, noting the dummy R-60 short-range air-to-air missile.
Good view of the aircraft's weapon pylon and wing fences locations, also note the countermeasures dispensers.
Su-22M4 being pushed into one of the shelter at Istrana AB.
Although used as trainer, the Su-22UM3K is combat capable and also fitted with weapon pylons.

Report by Giampaolo Tonello. Photos by Giampaolo Tonello and Daniele Dotto

First Published: 20 Augustus 2007
Last Modified: 1 April 2013