Su-7B. A Soviet first supersonic fighter-bomber from 1959 in a series. Exported to eight countries. Flight range – 1380 km, max. speed – 2120 km/h, ceiling – 19500 m 

The Sukhoi Su-7 (NATO designation name: Fitter-A) is a swept wing, supersonic fighter aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in 1955. Originally, it was designed as a tactical, low-level dogfighter, but was not successful in this role. On the other hand, the soon-introduced Su-7B series became the main Soviet fighter-bomber and ground-attack aircraft of the 1960s. The Su-7 was rugged in its simplicity, but its Lyulka AL-7 engine had such high fuel consumption that it seriously limited the aircraft’s payload, as even short-range missions required that at least two hardpoints be used to carry drop tanks rather than ordnance.

On 14 May 1953, after Joseph Stalin’s death, the Sukhoi OKB was reopened and by the summer, it began work on a swept-wing front-line fighter. The first prototype, designated S-1, was designed to use the new Lyulka AL-7 turbojet engine. It was the first Soviet aircraft to utilize the all-moving tailplane and a translating centerbody, a movable inlet cone in the air intake for managing airflow to the engine at supersonic speeds. The aircraft also had a wing sweep of 60°, irreversible hydraulically boosted controls, and an ejection seat of Sukhoi’s own design.

The S-1 first flew on 7 September 1955 with A. G. Kochetkov at the controls. Fitted with an afterburning version of the AL-7 engine after the first eleven flights, the prototype set a Soviet speed record of 2,170 km/h (1,170 kn, 1,350 mph, Mach 2.04) in April 1956.

The prototype was intended to be armed with three 37 mm Nudelman N-37 cannons and 32 spin-stabilized 57 mm (2.25 in) unguided rockets in a ventral tray. The second prototype, S-2, introduced some aerodynamic refinements. Testing was complicated by the unreliable engine, and S-1 was lost in a crash on 23 November 1956, killing its pilot I. N. Sokolov. Only 132 have been produced between 1957 and 1960, and the aircraft entered service as Su-7 in 1959.

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