7 April 2014 by Bartosz Glowacki - FG
Warsaw - Poland will modify 12 of its Sukhoi Su-22M4 strike aircraft and six UM3K-model trainers, with their airframe and engine lives to be extended to allow another 10 years of use.
The nation's defence ministry confirms that the air force will retain those aircraft which are in the best technical condition, with the remainder to be used for spare parts. The service currently operates 32 of the type.
Airframe modification work will be performed by the WZL-2 depot in Bydgoszcz, while engine activities will be conducted by the WZL-4 depot in Warsaw. Each aircraft should take around eight months to complete, with unofficial sources suggesting a unit cost of about Zl6 million ($1.9 million). Details of the upgrade have not been revealed, but are expected to include the addition of a second radio, cockpit instruments with imperial units labelled and a cockpit video recorder.
By retaining the Su-22, the Polish air force will be able to prepare new pilots in tasks such as assisting with training joint terminal attack controllers from the nation's special forces units and also supporting exercises involving air-defence units.