|FIGHTER-BOMBER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USSR / Russia / Sukhoi|
The Su-17 (S-32) single-seat ground attack fighter was the product of an extraordinary process of incremental redesign of the Su-7B (S-22). Under the leadership of Nikolai Zyrin, the Sukhoi OKB adapted an Su-7BMK as a low risk, low cost variable wing geometry demonstrator. Mid-span pivot points were introduced so that the outer wing panels could be sweptback from 28° to 45° and 62° positions. As the Su-7IG (Izmenyaemaya Geometriya, or variable geometry), or S-22I, the demonstrator flew on 8 August 1966, proving the efficacy of the variable-geometry arrangement and providing the basis for a production aircraft, the Su-17. This entered the VVS-FA inventory in 1970. The Su-17 was powered by the Lyulka AL-21F-3 turbojet with a military power of 7800kg and 11200kg with afterburning. Maximum external stores load was 4000kg distributed between nine external stations, and built-in armament comprised two 30mm cannon. An upgraded version, the Su-17M (S-32M), entered production in 1974, this having a drooped and lengthened - by 38cm -fuselage nose with ventral Doppler navaid pod. This, like the preceding Su-17, was exported as the Su-20 (S-32MK), recipients including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, North Korea, Vietnam and Poland. A further export derivative using the basic Su-17M airframe, but re-engined with a Tumansky R-29BS-300 augmented turbojet with a max thrust of 11500kg, received the designation Su-22 and was supplied to Angola, Libya and Peru. Featuring a deeper forward fuselage and enlarged spine, and a redesigned tail to restore yawing stability, yet a further single-seat version, the Su-17M-1, appeared in mid-1979. The Su-17M-2, which appeared almost simultaneously, differed in equipment fit, with the export version, the Su-22M-2, supplied to both Libya and Peru, having the Tumansky engine. The definitive single-seat production versions were the Su-17M-3 and M-4, the former supplied to Hungary as the Su-22M-3 and the latter to Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Poland as the Su-22M-4. These AL-21F-powered models embodied much improved avionics and introduced extra stations for R-60 or R-73 close range AAMs. With more than 3,000 built, including two-seat training variants, production of the Su-17 terminated in 1984.