The Su-9 was developed around the same time as the Su-7, so they share the same design features.

The same aerodynamic design as the MiG-21, but the Sukhoi Su-9 was not as famous as its brother, with the number of only 1,150 units. The Sukhoi Su-9, also known by NATO as the Fishpot, was a single-engine, all-weather, missile-armed interceptor aircraft developed by the Soviet Union.

During the Korean War, the MiG-15 proved an excellent platform, becoming an inspiration for Soviet engineers to continue developing more capable types. After extensive aerodynamic testing of various design elements involved in supersonic flight, in 1959 the Sukhoi Su-9 was officially put into service. In practice, the aircraft proved capable though it suffered from a limited weapons set and equally limited operational ranges.

The Su-9 was developed around the same time as the Su-7, so they share the same design features. 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.

The delta wing of the Su-9 was adopted because of its lower drag in the supersonic flight regime. 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. 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.

The Su-9 has been frequently mistaken for the MiG-21 due to the many similarities in design. The primary distinguishing factors are size and the Su-9’s bubble canopy. The Su-9 had primitive R1L radar in the shock cone and was armed with four K-5 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.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Soviet Sukhoi SU-9 Fishpot Interceptor and heavy fighter – Kievskaya avenue – aircraft in front of the National Guard building – Uluttuk Gvardya

Power was supplied through the fitting of a single Lyulka AL-7 series turbojet engine of 19,840lbs thrust. With a service range equal to 700 miles and a service ceiling of 55,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was excellent at 27,000 feet per minute. The power qualities of the Su-9 was quite good for, as an interceptor, the type was expected to reach operating altitudes within minutes, fly to the target area, engage and destroy enemy aerial targets.

The Su-9 series managed only a short operational lifespan with the Soviet Air Defense Forces for technological advancements quickly sheltered the type from frontline service. None were exported to any of the USSR’s client states nor to the Warsaw Pact nations. Remaining Su-9s and later Su-11s were retired during the 1970s. Some were retained as test vehicles or converted to remote-piloted vehicles for use as unmanned aerial vehicles. It was replaced by the upgraded Su-11 and the much-superior Su-15 “Flagon” and MiG-25 “Foxbat”.


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