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Three Su-9 aircraft
Role Interceptor
Manufacturer Sukhoi
First flight 10 October 1957 (T-43-1), 25 December 1958 (T-47-3)[1]
Introduced 1959
Retired 1970s
Primary user PVO (Protivovozdushnaya Oborona – air defence forces) , [Soviet Air Defence Forces]]
Number built ca 1,100 Su-9 and 108 Su-11[1]

The Sukhoi Su-9 (NATO reporting name: Fishpot) was a single-engine, all-weather, missile-armed interceptor aircraft developed by the Soviet Union.



The Su-9 emerged from aerodynamic studies by TsAGI, the Soviet aerodynamic center, during the early 1950's, for Tactical fighters and interceptors using highly swept and delta wing planforms. The tactical fighters emerged, as the S-1 (Strelovidnoye [krylo] – swept wings) with swept wings and the T-1(Treugol'noye [krylo] - triangular wing) with a delta wing. The interceptors emerged as the S-3 and T-3, with swept and delta wings respectively.[1] Both S-2 and T-3 were first seen by the West at the Tushino Aviation Day on 24 June 1956, where the S-2 was given the NATO codename Fitter-A and the T-3 was dubbed Fitter-B.

The tactical fighter enterred production as the Sukhoi Su-7, with swept wings, and the interceptor eventually enterred production as the Sukhoi Su-9, via a circuitous route through several experimental prototypes, starting with the T-3, progressing through the PT-7, PT-8 and T-39 before the definitive prototype T-43 emerged in the late summer of 1957.[1]

What was to become the Su-9 first flew on 10 October 1957 as the T-43-1 prototype, which caried no mission avionics or armament, further prototypes followed designated T-43-,2 T-43-3, T-43-4, T-43-5, etc. etc.. The first production standard Su-9 was construction number 0215310 which emerged from the factory in 1958 and total production of the Su-9 was about 1,100 aircraft. None were exported to any of the USSR's client states nor to the Warsaw Pact nations with the last remaining Su-9s and Su-11s retiring during the 1970s. It was replaced by the upgraded Su-11 and the much-superior Su-15 'Flagon' and MiG-25 'Foxbat'. Most were scrapped but it is believed that at least some Su-9s were upgraded to Su-11 'Fishpot-C' form, whilst a few others were retained as test vehicles, converted to remote-piloted vehicles for use as unmanned aerial vehicles, or used as ground instructional aircraft.[1]

Technical design

The Su-9's fuselage and tail surfaces resembled those of the Su-7, but unlike the swept wing of that aircraft, the 'Fishpot' used a 53° delta wing with conventional slab tailplanes. It shared Sukhoi features like the rear-fuselage air brakes as well as the Su-7's Lyulka AL-7 turbojet engine and nose intake. The translating shock cone contains the radar set.[1]

The Su-9 was developed from earlier work on a developmental aircraft designated T-3, to which the Su-9 was very nearly identical. Internally at Sukhoi, the Su-9 was known as the T-43. The delta wing of the Su-9 was adopted because of its lower drag in the supersonic flight regimen. Its greater volume also allowed a very modest increase in fuel capacity compared to the Su-7. The Su-9 was capable of Mach 1.8 at altitude, or about Mach 1.14 with missiles. Its fuel fraction remained minimal, however, and operational radius was limited. Furthermore, rotation speeds were even higher than the Su-7, which was already high at 360 km/h (225 mph). Unlike the Su-7, which had very heavy controls but docile handling characteristics, the 'Fishpot' had light and responsive controls, but was very unforgiving of pilot error.[1]

The Su-9 had primitive R1L (NATO reporting name 'High Fix') radar in the shock cone and was armed with four K-5 (AA-1 'Alkali') beam-riding air-to-air missiles. Like all beam-riders, the K-5 was so limited as to be nearly useless for air-to-air combat. Unlike the Su-7 and later Su-15, no Su-9 carried cannon armament, although two fuselage pylons were reserved for the carriage of drop tanks.[1]

A two-seat trainer version, designated Su-9U, was also produced in limited numbers (about 50 aircraft). It received the NATO reporting name 'Maiden.' It had a full armament and radar system with displays in both cockpits, allowing trainees to practice all aspects of the interception mission, but because the second seat further reduced the already meager fuel fraction, it was not truly combat-capable.[1]

Record breaking

The high performance of the T-43/Su-9 encouraged the Sukhoi OKB to attempt world record flights, so a programme was designed and M.I.Zooyev was put in charge. The modified Su-9 prototype, T-43-1, piloted by Vladimir Sergeievitch Ilyushin, was assigned and after a few training flights the absolute world record altitude was attained at 28,852m(94,658ft), in a zoom climb, on 14 July 1959. Record attempts with the T-43-1 were postponed to release the aircraft for development of the TsD-30 radar but resumed in 1962 with the T-43-1 sporting a new more powerful Lyulka AL-7F-2 engine, some cooling scoops removed to reduce drag and redundant equipment removed to reduce weight. On 7 September 1962 The T-43-1, again pilotted by Vladimir Sergeievitch Ilyushin, attained 21,170m in sustained level flight over a 15km/25km (9.3/15.5mile) course. On 25 September 1962 A.A. Koznov flew the T-43-1 at an average speed of 2,337km/h(1,451.5mph) in level flight over a 500km(310.5mile) closed circuit. In all the paerwork presented to the FAI the T-43-1 was referred to as the T-431, and the engine as 'Type31', (as the engine OKB designation was Izdeliye31).[1]

A second aircraft was prepared from Su-9 production aircraft c/n 405 in 1960. On 28 May 1960, this aircraft, with B.M. Amndrianov at the controls, established a world speed record over a 100km(62mile) distance of 2,092km/h(1,299.3mph), with the aircraft referred to as the 'T-405 and the engine as the 'Type13' in paperwork presented to the FAI.[1]



Sukhoi Su-11.png

Design and development

The Su-11 was an upgraded version of the Sukhoi Su-9 interceptor, which had been developed in parallel with the OKB's swept wing Su-7 fighter bomber. Recognizing the Su-9's fundamental limitations, Sukhoi began work on the Su-11, which first flew in 1961 as the T-47 prototype.[1]

The Su-11 shared the Su-9's delta wing, swept tailplanes and cigar-shaped fuselage, as well as the circular nose intake, but had a longer nose to accommodate the more powerful 'Oryol' (Eagle; NATO reporting name 'Skip Spin') radar set. A more powerful Lyulka AL-7F-1 turbojet was installed, providing 9.8 kN (2,210 lbf) more afterburning thrust for improved climb rate and high-altitude performance (and to compensate for increased weight). The Su-11 can be distinguished from the Su-9 by the external fuel pipes atop the fuselage, aft of the cockpit.[1]

The Su-9's beam-riding K-5 missiles were replaced by a pair of R-98 (AA-3 'Anab') weapons, usually one R-98MR semi-active radar homing and one R-98MT infrared guided. Like many interceptors of the period, it had no cannon.[1]

Production of the definitive Su-11-8M began in 1962, ended in 1965, after about 108 aircraft had been delivered, although it is believed that at least some Su-9s were upgraded to Su-11 form.[1]

Operational history

The combat record of the Su-9/Su-11 series is unknown. It is possible that it was involved in the interception (or even shoot-down) of reconnaissance missions whose details remain classified, but nothing is publicly admitted.[2]

It was reported that a Su-9 was involved in the interception of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 on Soviet territory on 1 May 1960. A newly manufactured Su-9 which was in transit flight happened to be near Powers' U-2. The Su-9 was unarmed and was directed to ram the U-2. One ramming attempt was made and the Su-9 missed the U-2, primarily due to large difference in the speed of the two planes. No further ramming attempt was made due to the Su-9's lack of fuel.[2]

Development problems and accidents delayed squadron introduction with the Soviet Air Force / Soviet Anti-Air Defense until 1964 and only small number of aircraft were delivered.[2]

Even with the superior radar, the Su-11 remained heavily dependent on ground control interception (GCI) to vector its pilot onto targets. It had no capability against low-flying aircraft either, and Sukhoi OKB considered the Su-11 to be a misfire, much inferior to the far more formidable Su-15 ('Flagon'). Nevertheless a few examples remained operational until early 1980s. The last Su-11s left front-line service around 1983.[2]


(OKB-51 - Izdeliye 81) Pre-cursor prototype delta-winged interceptor fighter developed in parallel with the S-1 and S-2 swept-winged tactical fighter prototypes, flying for the first time on 26 April 1956.
Swept-winged interceptor fighter, cancelled when almost complete, in favour of the T-3.
The second T-3 prototype was adapted to carry the K-7L or K-6V AAM's(Air to Air Missile) and a new radar with distinctive radome/shock cones on the upper and lower lips of the air intake which was angled back at 16O. This aircraft was re-designated PT-7 (PT probably stood for Perkhvatchik Treugol'nym [krylom] – delta-winged interceptor).
(Factory No.153 - Izdeliye 27) Intended as the production version of the T-3/PT-7, the PT-8 was ordered in small quantities from Factory No.153 before a new directive from the Council of Ministers specified new performance parameters for the new interceptor. Three aircraft were completed and delivered to OKB-51 by rail where only one flew.
To investigate thrust augmentation by injecting water into the afterburner, the third pre-production T-3, 'PT8-3', was modified as the T-39, with the rear fuselage fuel tank replaced by a water tank. The T-39 never flew due to the water injection programme being transferred to the TsIAM (Tsentrahl'nyy Institoot Aviatsionnovo Motorostroyeniya - central institute of aviation motors). The T-39 was later modified as the T-49.
The first real prototype of the Su-9 with the distinctive round intake with conical shock body/radome in the centre was the T-43-1. The Sukhoi 9, its prototypes and immediate derivatives, were designated in-house, at OKB-51, as T-43's with a numerical suffix such as T-43-1 (first prototype) and T-43-7, a prototype used for autopilot development.
The T-47 was an experimental interceptor fitted with the 'Almaz' radar in an enlarged radome and di-electric panels either side of the nose. Converted from the second PT8 airframe the T-47-1 first flew on 6 January 1958, but its test programme was curtailed to allow the engine to be fitted to the PT8-4. The T-47 prototypes paved the way for the Su-11 production interceptor.
A powerplant test-bed converted from the T-3 prototype with two Tumansky R11F afterburning turbojets side by side a new rear fuselage from frame 28 rearwards. A new T-43 style nose with axi-symmetric air intake and shock body was also fitted. The T-5 flew for the first time, after conversion, on 18 July 1958.
The second pre-production T-3 (PT-8-2) never flew as a PT-8 but was immediately converted as a powerplant test-bed with specially instrumented engine and test equipment, as well as a T-43 nose.
A U-43 prototype was converted to become an ejection seat trials platform as the L-43 (a.k.a. Izdeliye 94).
The prototypes for the two seat Su-9U trainer were designated U-43.
CCV / L.02.10
A Su-9 (93 Blue c/n 1215393) was converted as a control configured vehicle using a pair of all-moving vertical foretails mounted forward of the cockpit. Flight trials were carried out with the upper fore-tail removed as it restricted vision unacceptably. After an intensive set of trials with LII (Lyotno-Issledovatel'skiy Institoot - flight research institute) between 1968 and 1975 the CCV was modified with a direct side force control system and re-named L.02.10 (probably indicating that the resarch was in support of the T-10 programme (Su-27), flying until 1984.
An Su-9U (c/n 112001301) was also modified to help with research for the T-10 programme. This aircraft was fitted with modified wings resembling those of the T-10-1 with ogival planform and sharp leading edges, to investigate the T-10's aerodynamics. The L.07.10 first flew in 1977 but crashed after a birdstrike in 1982, killing the test-pilot.
Main production version, about 1,100 built. (a.k.a. Izdeliye 27, 34 or 10 depending on the factory where they were built).
Training version, armed and equipped with all operational systems but not fully combat ready, about 50 built (a.k.a. Izdeliye 11). Only fifty Su-9U's were built and they were given the NATO reporting name of Maiden.
The T-43-1 modified for world record attempts in 1959 and 1962.
A production Su-9 (c/n405, i.e. the fifth aircraft of the fourth production batch ) used for a world speed record in 1960.
Sukhoi Su-11
The Su-11 was the final iteration of the single-engined Sukhoi interceptor line, evolving from the Su-9 through the T-47 prototype aircraft. The Su-11 incorporated a more powerful engine with improved radar housed in an extended nose of greater diameter, with the radar housed in an enlarged shock-cone/radome. Production was carried out from 1961 till 1965 at a low rate, with a total of 108 built.


 Soviet Union
PVO (Protivovozdushnaya Oborona – air defence forces) , Soviet Air Defence Forces

Specifications (Su-9)

Data from Gordon, Yefim. Sukhoi Interceptors”. Hinkley, Midland. 2004. ISBN 1 85780 180 6

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 18.055 m (59 ft 2⅞ in)
  • Wingspan: 8.536 m (28 ft)
  • Height: 4.82 m (15 ft 9¾ in)
  • Wing area: 34 m² (365.5 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 7,675 kg (16,920 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 11,412kg (25,225 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 12,512kg (37,583 lb)
  • Powerplant:Lyulka AL-7F1-100U turbojet
    • Dry thrust: 66.7 kN (14,990 lbst)
    • Thrust with afterburner: 94.2 kN (21,160 lbst)



T-3-51 aerial intercept weapons system including the RP-9U (TsD-30) radar, Ap-28Zh autopliot etc.

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Gordon, Yefim. Sukhoi Interceptors”. Hinkley, Midland. 2004. ISBN 1 85780 180 6
  2. ^ a b c d Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopaedia of Russian Aircraft 1875 – 1995”. London, Osprey. 1995. ISBN 1 85532 405 9
  • Gordon, Yefim. Sukhoi Interceptors”. Hinkley, Midland. 2004. ISBN 1 85780 180 6
  • Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopaedia of Russian Aircraft 1875 – 1995”. London, Osprey. 1995. ISBN 1 85532 405 9

External links


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