The Strategic Decision - Su-22 Will Remain In Service
(Source: Dziennik Zbrojny; published Feb 13, 2014)
The Polish air force will keep its two squadrons of Su-22 attack fighters in service for several more years; a final decision on the length of the extension will be taken in March. (Polish MoD photo)
During to the visit in the 21st Tactical Air Base in Swidwin, Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak announced that the aircraft Su 22 will remain in the service. Earlier there were plans to withdrawn these machines.

In Swidwin there are two tactical aviation squadrons equipped with a total of 32 Su-22M4K attack aircrafts and Su-22UM3K two-seat operational conversion trainers. All delivered even in the eighties of the last century, have never been upgraded, despite such plans in the 90's.

For several years the Polish factory supporting the service of Su-22 (called Military Aviation Plant No. 2 in Bydgoszcz) also ceased to conduct repairs of Sukhoi aircraft. The reason was a current in the fall of 2013 plan for the withdrawal of all Su-22 until 2015.

UAVs (UCAV) were considered to be the successors of the Sukhoi aircrafts. However, the conclusion was that with the use of today's technologies, UAV (UCAV) may not be the effective successors of the manned aircrafts.

In Swidwin Minister Siemoniak announced that the Su-22 fighters will remain in the service of the Polish Air Force for another three to 10 years. The actual decision will be taken by mid-March 2014. General Command (joint command in the peacetime) foresees that, at 10 years of additional service, the air force will be down to a single squadron with 16 Su-22s.

The desire to maintain manned combat aircraft in service probably means that the Polish Ministry of Defence plans to purchase another fighter planes. Probably, if Su-22 will in service for three years, that points to the purchase of second-hand aircrafts; if the Su-22s are kept for 10 years, that will probably mean the purchase of new machines.

It is possible that this acquisition would be combined with the modernization of 48 F-16C/D Block 52+ used today. What is apparent, however, is the desire to have a larger combat aviation.

The infrastructure of the airport in Swidwin will be modernized, also in terms of its use by the aircraft of NATO's allies.

Today Polish combat aviation is equipped with three squadrons of F-16C/D (bases in Krzesiny and Lask), two squadrons equipped with MiG-29 fighters (bases in Malbork and Minsk Mazowiecki, some part is in the process of modernization - so far the airmen from Minsk were given five modernized MiGs) and two squadrons of Su-22 (both in Świdwin). The total is seven squadrons of fighter aircraft.

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