Survival of the Fitter

Poland still operates quite a number of Sukhoi Su-22 Fitters. This one is seen in June 2001 at Swidwin Airbase in central Poland. Nice artistic touch there to the fuel tanks. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Poland still operates quite a number of Sukhoi Su-22 Fitters. This one is seen in June 2001 at Swidwin Airbase in central Poland. Nice artistic touch there to the fuel tanks. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Sukhoi Fitter family has always been a favourite with the AIRheads↑FLY editorial team. Why? Well, just take a look at the pics below. It doesn’t really look like a flying machine at all. It more resembles a dinosaur, one that survived extinction, one that will be around for some time to come, one that makes T-Rex look a tame animal. This is survival of the Fitter.

When you're talking dinosaurs, you're talking Su-7 Fitters. This is a Su-7U Fitter, with the extra U pointing at it being a twoseater aircraft. The aircraft is pictured in Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw, were it survives. What else. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
When you’re talking dinosaurs, you’re talking Su-7 Fitter. This is a Su-7U Fitter, with the extra U pointing at it being a twoseater aircraft. The aircraft is pictured in Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw, were it survives. What else. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another twoseater, this time a Su22UM-3K form 8.ELT at Mirosławiec. This Fitter was captured however at Lechfeld airbase in Germany in May 2006. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another twoseater, this time a Su-22UM-3K form 8.ELT at Mirosławiec. This Fitter was captured however at Lechfeld airbase in Germany in May 2006. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Germany
German Fitters weren’t around for too long. The East German NVA operated quite a number of aircraft, but after the reunification with West Germany only a few were kept in service for test purposes. Most aircraft were disposed of. They generaly had very few hours on the clock.

Gerany operated some Su-22s for a number of years. They were used for test purposes and were flying out of Ingolstadt Manching with test unit WTD61. This one is seen in may 1998 at Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
In the nineties, a number of German Fitters were used for test purposes. They were flying out of Ingolstadt Manching with test unit WTD61. This one is seen in may 1998 at Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Surviving, but barely. This German Fitter earned its place in the Luftwaffenmuseum in Gatow near Berlin. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Surviving, but barely. This German Fitter earned its place in the Luftwaffenmuseum in Gatow near Berlin. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Slovakia
Slovakia had its share of Fitters also and operated them well into the nineties. Some aircraft were eventually sold to other countries, Angola being one of them.

Slovak Fitter were a bit of a rare sight, but they paid a very welcome visit to the Netherlands in October 1997. Volkel airbase was the place to be. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Slovak Fitters were a bit of a rare sight, but they paid a very welcome visit to the Netherlands in October 1997. Volkel airbase was the place to be. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Czech Republic
When the Czech Republic and Slovakia split up into seperate countries in 1993, both of them continued flying the Su-22 Fitters that were before flying under the flag of Czechoslovakia. The Czech even had a display team flying the Fitters. Flying Fitters would actually have been a perfect name for them.

Czech_Su22
This is a Czech Su-22M-4 Fitter seen at RAF Fairford in 1995…. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
..... and this is the exact same aircraft, seen ten years later in Letecke Muzeum in Kbely near Prague. Fitters survive, it being in active service around the world or in well earned places in aviation museums. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
….. and this is the exact same aircraft, seen ten years later in Letecke Muzeum in Kbely near Prague. Either in active service around the world or in well earned places in aviation museums, Fitters survive. (Image © Elmer van Hest)