Sukhoi Su-7 (Fitter-A) Fighter-Bomber / Ground Attack Aircraft
The Sukhoi Su-7 Fitter-A was produced in nearly 1,850 examples with over a quarter of these made available for export.
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The Sukhoi Su-7 (NATO codename of "Fitter-A") was a single-seat, single engine jet-powered fighter in service with the Soviet Air Force (Frontal Aviation) throughout the 1960s. It was a nuclear-capable aircraft that went on to be a successful ground-attack fighter (noted for its ability to withstand large amounts of combat damage and still fly), seeing extensive combat actions particularly in the Middle East and in Southern Asia. The type was delivered to Warsaw Pact nations as well as trusted Third World allies and, today, few are in service with any air force. Despite its speed, bombing accuracy and battlefield robustness, the Su-7's powerplant proved exceedingly thirsty, limiting its tactical usefulness to its meager combat radius of several hundred miles. The aircraft went on to be produced in at least ten known major variants that also included a two-seat trainer and appeared in approximately 1,847 total production examples from 1957 to 1972.
The Su-7 began life as early as 1953 (the final year of the Korean War), to which the Sukhoi OKB firm was reestablished and charged with finding an answer to the North American F-86 Sabre jet fighter. The American jet effectively "stole" the Korean War away from the North Korean/Chinese/Soviet conglomerate, matching wits with the highly-prized Soviet-made Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 "Fagot" single-seat, single engine, swept-wing jet fighter.