Limited edition of Su-7 T-shirts, which were created based on maitanance plans of the original technical documentation of the airplane.
The Sukhoi Su-7 (Fitter-A) was a swept wing, supersonic fighter aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in 1955. Originally, it was designed as tactical, low-level dogfighter, but was not successful in this role
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The Sukhoi Su-7 (NATO designation name: Fitter-A) was a swept wing, supersonic fighter aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in 1955. Originally, it was designed as tactical, low-level dogfighter, but was not successful in this role. On the other hand, 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 low weapon load.
On 14 May 1953, after Joseph Stalin's death, the Sukhoi OKB was reopened 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. The aircraft also had a dramatic wing sweep of 60°, irreversible hydraulically boosted controls, and an ejection seat of OKB's own design.
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 11 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. 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. 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. Only 132 had been produced between 1957–1960, and the aircraft entered service as Su-7 in 1959.
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.
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 instrument landing system, it made operations very difficult, especially in poor weather or on poor airfields. 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.
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. From 1977-1986 the Su-7s remaining in Soviet service have been replaced by Su-17 and MiG-27.
Su-7First production version. The only production version that was a tactical air superiority fighter. Factory designation S-2. Manufactured 1957-1960 with 132 built. Remained in operational service until 1965.Su-7BThe first ground-attack version, factory designation S-22. Manufactured 1960-1962 with 431 built.Su-7BMUpgraded AL-7F-1 engine, upgraded fuel system with external piping on either side of the fuselage spine, fuel tanks installed in the wings, "wet" underwing hardpoints for carrying external fuel tanks, capable of carrying tactical nuclear bombs. Manufactured 1963-1965 with 290 built.Su-7BKLRough-field capable variant with skids affixed to the sides of the main landing gear, provision for two SPRD-110 JATO rockets of 29.4 kN (13,300 lbf) thrust, and twin brake parachutes. Introduced in 1965, factory designation S-22KL. Manufactured 1965-1972 with 267 built.Su-7BMKA simplified export version of Su-7BM. Manufactured 1967-1971 with 441 built.Su-7U (NATO Moujik)Two-seat trainer version of the Su-7B with reduced fuel capacity. First flight 25 October 1965. Manufactured 1966-1972 in parallel with the export version, designated Su-7UMK.Su-7UM (NATO Moujik)Two-seat training version of the Su-7BM.Su-7UMK (NATO Moujik)Two-seat training version of the Su-7BMK. All Su-7 trainers amounted to 411 built.Su-7IGExperimental variable geometry wing aircraft which was developed into Sukhoi Su-17.100LDU Control Configured VehicleA Su-7U modified with canards and a longitudinal stability augmentation system. It was designed as a testbed for a fly-by-wire system for the Sukhoi T-4. It was later used in 1973–1974 during the development of the Su-27's fly-by-wire system.
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