Sukhoi and Polish military aviation works WZL-2 at Bydgoszcz have signed an agreement covering the overhaul and upgrade ofSu-22M4/UM3K Fitter fighter bombers in Polish air force and air defence service.

Poland operates80 single- and two-seat Su-22s, of which 60 are due to remain in frontline service for at least another 10 years. These aircraft will form the backbone of the Polish strike force, with the air force assuming responsibility from the navy air arm for strike missions over the Baltic (Flight International 28 January-3 February).

As part of the deal, Sukhoi will supply spares and technical information directly to Poland, which has previously used unreliable suppliers in Belarus and Ukraine, says Col Jan Zuk of WZL-2.

Sukhoi commercial manager Alexander Klementev says the deal will improve industrial relations between Poland and Russia.

Two months ago a similar agreement was signed by the RSK MiG design bureau and Poland covering service life extension, upgrades and spares for Polish MiG-29s. This work will also be managed by WZL-2, while engines for the MiG-29s and Su-22s will be overhauled in Warsaw by WZL-4.

Poland is also negotiating with Mil for data required for a Mi-24 attack helicopter modernisation.

The country plans to retain its Russian-built aircraft until at least the middle of the next decade and a direct source of spares for maintenance should reduce support costs.

Meanwhile, Poland has begun to retire its Mikoyan MiG-21s. All older variants have been grounded, leaving just the MiG-21b is operational. In some units the MiG-21s have been replaced by elderly, subsonic PZL TS-11 Iskras that will be used to maintain crew currency until recently ordered Lockheed Martin F-16s are delivered.

Source: Flight International