Sukhoi Su-17

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Su-17M4 R Fopma.jpg
RoleGround attack fighter
First FlightAugust 2, 1966
Entered Service1972
Number builtabout 1200
S32, S52, S54
Length19.02 mft in
Wingspan swept10.00 mft in
Wingspan unswept13.80 mft in
Height5.13 mft in
Wing area swept37 m²398.28 ft²
Wing area unswept40.1 m²430.57ft²
Empty10.640 kg23.455 lb
Loaded16.400 kg36.155 lb
Maximum takeoff weight19.500 kg42.990 lb
Enginesone Saturn/Lyulka AL-21F-3 turbojet
-Military power76.5 kN17200 lbf
-Afterburner110 kN24700 lbf
Maximum speed;
-At high alt.1.880 km/h1.170 mph
-At sea level1.350 km/h840 mph
-Combat1.370 km740 m
-Ferry2.550 km1.375 m
Climb rate13.800 m/min45.275 ft/min
Service ceiling15.200 m49.870 ft


ASCC/NATO reporting name

Fitter-C, -D, -E, -F, -G, -H, -J and -K

Russian Air Force popular name is "Strizh"

Basic operational task

Single-seat variable geometry ground attack fighter, reconnaissance aircraft and two-seat combat trainer.


The prototype S-22I or Su-7IG (изменяемой геометрии - Izmenyaemoi Geometrii: variable geometry) was a minimal conversion of the fixed-wing Su-7 ("Fitter-A"). Only 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in) of each wing pivoted, outboard of the large fence and deepened inboard glove panel. The prototype first flew on 2 August 1966. It was shown at the Aviation Day display in July 1967 and given NATO reporting name "Fitter-B". Western sources originally believed the Su-17 was nothing more than an experimental aircraft with a crude attempt to test variable geometry wing technology. However, the modified design proved so successful that the Soviet Union proceeded with a production model, with two squadrons of Su-17 "improved Fitter-Bs" operational in the Soviet air forces by 1972. The AL-21F-3 engine then replaced the AL-7 in all major Soviet Air Force production versions, beginning with the "Fitter-C". Production ended 1991.


Su-7IG Fitter-B

(S-22I) Modified Su-7 with variable-geometry wings, prototype for the Su-17.

Su-17 Fitter-B

(S-32) Pre-production model with a longer fuselage. This versions was built in small numbers.

Su-17M Fitter-C

(S-32M) Single-seat attack aircraft with the AL-21F-3 engine. It has eight stores pylons and an additional wing fence on each glove panel, a curved dorsal fin. It has been operational with CIS air forces and Naval Aviation since 1971 in relatively small numbers.


Reconnaissance version of Su-17M.

Su-17UM Fitter-E

(S-52U) Two-seat trainer based on the Su-17M with a drooped nose, revised cockpit canopy for improved visibility, and only one cannon, some fitted with undernose sensor equipment of the Su-17M

Su-17M2/M2D Fitter-D

(S-32M2) Generally the same as the Su-17M, but the forward fuselage is lengthened by 0.38 m (15 in) and drooped 3° to improve the pilot's view while keeping the intake face vertical. Added was an undernose Doppler navigation radar pod and a Klen laser rangefinder in the intake centrebody.

Su-17UM2D Fitter-E

(S-52UM) Improved Su-17UM with a taller tailfin.

Su-17M3 Fitter-H

(S-52) Improved single-seater, with the same deepened spine and tail modifications as the Su-17UM-3. Doppler navigation radar internally in the deepened undersurface of the nose and a gun in each wingroot. There is a launcher for the R-60 (AA-8 “Aphid”) air-to-air missile between each pair of underwing pylons. Approximately 165 “Fitter-H/Ks” equipped for tactical reconnaissance carry, typically, a centreline sensor pod, active ECM pod under the port wing glove and two underwing fuel tanks.

Su-17UM3 Fitter-G

Two-seat trainer version of the Su-17M-3 with combat capability. It has a drooped forward fuselage and deepened spine like the Su-17UM-2D, but has taller vertical tail surfaces and a removable ventral fin. Starboard wingroot gun only. It has a laser rangefinder in the intake centrebody.

Su-17M4 Fitter-K

(S-54) Single-seat version which was first identified in 1984. It has a cooling air intake at the front of the dorsal fin, otherwise externally it is the same as the Su-17M-3. Maximum weapon load 4,250 kg (9,370 lb), including nuclear weapons, bombs, rocket pods, S-25 tube-launched rockets with 325 mm head, 23 mm SPPU-22 gun pods, two R-3 or R-13M (AA-2 "Atoll"), R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid") or R-73A (AA-11 "Archer") air-to-air missiles, Kh-23 (AS-7 "Kerry") or Kh-25ML (AS-10 "Karen") air-to-surface missiles, or a reconnaissance pod. When four SPPU-22 gun pods are fitted, with downward attack capability, the two underfuselage pods can be arranged to fire rearward. Chaff/flare and decoy dispensers standard (these were fitted after "lessons learned" in the Afghanistan war).



Reconnaissance models equipped with the KKR-1 reconnaissance pod on the fuselage centerline station. This pod carries photo-cameras, a flare dispenser, and electronic intelligence gear.

Export versions

Usually the export models of Soviet era fighters were equipped with downgraded avionics and engines.

Su-20 Fitter-C

(S-32MK) Export version of Su-17M.


Reconnaissance version of Su-20.

Su-22U Fitter-E

Tandem two-seat trainer developed from the Su-17M2, with a Tumansky engine. It has no Doppler pod. The deepened dorsal spine is a fairing for additional fuel tankage. The port wingroot gun was deleted.

Su-22 Fitter-F

Export Su-17M2 with a modified undernose electronics pod and a R-29 engine. It has a gun in each wingroot. It’s weapons include R-3 (AA-2 “Atoll”) air-to-air missiles. The aircraft supplied to Peru had the Sirena-2 limited coverage radar warning system and virtually no navigation aids. To overcome this deficit some basic US supplied avionics were retrofitted.

Su-22UM3K Fitter-G

Export Su-17UM3 with either the AL-21F-3 or R-29B engine.

Su-22M3 Fitter-J

As Su-17M3 but with the R-29 engine. The internal fuel tankage is 6,270 litres (1,656 US gallons or 1,379 Imp gallons). It has a more angular dorsal fin. It can carry AA-2 (“Atoll”) air-to-air missiles.

Su-22M4 Fitter-K

As Su-17M4 with the AL-21F-3 engine.



Reconnaissance models equipped with the KKR-1 reconnaissance pod on the fuselage centerline station. This pod carries photo-cameras, a flare dispenser, and electronic intelligence gear.



(S-56) Originally called Su-17M4N (S-54N), this was a proposal for a new model , with the wings replaced by a fixed 45° swept wing, substitution of the engine by that used on the Su-27, and updated weapons carriage capability.

1994 Upgrade

Proposal to upgrade older models with a new nav/attack system, HUD, laser target designator, mission compouter, GPS receiver, inertial navigation system, and cockpit displays; a second stage would include addition of long range air-to-air missiles and an upgraded radar and FLIR system compatible with precision-guided air-to-surface weapons

1997 Upgrade

Series of four separate upgrade packages including (1) GPS receiver and flight data sensors (2) radar warning receiver and jamming gear (3) new cockpit displays and helmet-mounted sight and (4) new radar compatible with the Kh-31A anti-ship missile.


Listed are the known operators, with types and numbers (if known).

  • Afghanistan - Su-20, Su-22 (50)
  • Algeria - Su-22 (32)
  • Angola - Su-20, Su-22 (15)
  • Bulgaria - Su-22 (21)
  • Czechoslovakia - Su-22
  • Czech Republic - Su-22 (41)
  • Slovakia - Su-22 (20)
  • East Germany - Su-22, later to Germany.
  • Egypt - Su-20
  • Hungary - Su-22 (12)
  • Iran - Su-20, Su-22
  • Iraq - Su-20, Su-22
  • Libya - Su-22 (90)
  • Peru - Su-20, Su-22 (35)
  • Poland - Su-20 (27), Su-22UM3K (20), Su-22M4 (90)
  • Syria - Su-22 (60)
  • Vietnam - Su-22 (40)
  • Yemen - Su-22 (50)
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Su-17

After the break up of the USSR the aircraft were handed over to the following countries:

  • Russia - Su-17
  • Uzbekistan - Su-17
  • Azerbaijan - Su-17
  • Belarus - Su-17
  • Kazakhstan - Su-17
  • Ukraine - Su-17 (40)
  • Turkmenistan - Su-17


Listed here are the conflicts in which it is certain the Su-17/20/22 has had a role.

  • Afghanistan War (Soviet Union, 1979-1989)
  • Iran - Iraq War (Iran, Iraq, 1980-1988)
  • Libya, Gulf of Sidra - 2 shot down by US F-14s (Libya, 1981)
  • Lebanon (Syria, 1982)
  • Iraq - Operation Desert Storm (Iraq, 1991)
  • Peru - Ecuador War (1995)
  • Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan, 2001)

Technical information

Design features

A modest amount of variable geometry was added to the original fixed-wing Su-7 and permitted doubled external loads from strips little more than half as long, and a 30 per cent greater combat radius. More progressive refinements led to very effective final versions. Conventional mid-wing all-swept monoplane, except for the variable geometry outer wings with manually selected positions of 28°, 45°, 63° and wide span fixed centre-section glove panels. The aircraft has a basically circular fuselage with a dorsal spine. The ram intake with variable shock-cone is centrebody with a pitot on the port side of the nose and a transducer to provide pitch and yaw data for the fire control computer on the starboard side.

Power plant

One Saturn/Lyulka AL-21F-3 turbojet, rated at 76.5 kN (17,200 lb st) dry and 110 kN (24,700 lb st) with afterburning.


Fuel capacity from the original Su-17 increased to 4,550 litres (1,202 US gallons or 1,000 Imp gallons) by added tankage in the dorsal spine fairing. Provisions for carrying up to four 800 litre (211 US gallon or 176 Imp gallon) drop tanks on the outboard wing pylons and under the fuselage. When underfuselage tanks are carried only the two inboard wing pylons may be used for ordnance, to a total weight of 1,000 kg (2,204 lb). Two solid propellant rocket units can be attached to the rear fuselage to shorten the T-O run.


Pilot only, on a K-36D ejection seat, under a rearward hinged transparent canopy. There is a rearview mirror above the canopy.


Two 30 mm NR-30 guns, each with 80 rounds, in the wingroot leading-edges. A total of nine weapon pylons (one on the centreline, two tandem pairs under the fuselage, one under each centre-section leading-edge, one under each main wing fence) for more than 3,175 kg (7,000 lb) of bombs, including nuclear weapons, rocket pods, 23 mm gun pods and guided missiles such as the air-to-surface AS-7 (NATO “Kerry”), AS-9 (“Kyle”) and AS-10 (“Karen”).


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