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The Su-9 was the Su-7's interceptor counterpart, serving exclusively with the Soviet PVO (air defence force). The tailed delta Su-9 was generally similar in configuration to the MiG-21, though larger and heavier. This aircraft was never exported outside the Soviet Union, and saw active duty for only a brief period before other aircraft developments moved the Su-9 into second line service. The Su-11 all-weather interceptor was a refinement of the Su-9 with a new engine, new radar and improved armament. The Sukhoi FISHPOT was withdrawn from Soviet service around 1980.

The Su-9 FISHPOT should not be confused with the the SU-9(K), which was a Sukhoi re-design the German Me 262, superficially resembling the Me-262 though constituting a practically new design. Strangely, the official Sukhoi website makes precisely this mistake, combining text describing the SU-9(K) with photographs of the later SU-9, which apart from these photos appears to be absent from the website entirely.

In November 1949, a government's resolution liquidated the Design Bureau on political grounds. Pavel O. Sukhois design bureau was reborn in May 1953 after Stalins death, when it was set up with new production facilities. The Design Bureau got a new lease on life with the advent of supersonic jet aviation. Two lines of aircraft development were established; one was fighter-bombers and attack aircraft, while the other major area of work was interceptors. The design team's major projects at the initial stage were the supersonic fighters S-1 and T-3. As of summer 1953, the Design Bureau was engaged in designing supersonic fighters in two configurations: swept and delta wing (letter designations "S" and "T" respectively).

Officially, the go-ahead for the work was given by a decree of the government of 5th August 1953. The experimental T-3 became the platform for the first Soviet target interception air launched missile system Su-9-51 and the subsequent Su-11-8M and Su-15-98(M) systems. The first in this line of delta-winged aircraft was the T-3 development aircraft of 1955. After experimenting with different engine options, radars and air intake designs, Sukhoi settled for a single AL-7F engine and a TsD-30 radar in a conical intake centerbody on the T-43 which entered production in 1958 as the Su-9 - the second type to be thus designated.

The simplicity of Soviet designs relates to their modest performance specifications, just sufficient to allow completion of the minimum tasks required and no more. Simplicity is evident in the designs as a whole, in the utilization of conventional, readily available construction materials, and in the lack of detailed finishing. Commonality refers to the use of standardized parts and assemblies on various types of aircraft whenever possible. The Su-7 ground-attack fighter and the Su-9 interceptor, although fitted with different wings, armament, and equipment to suit their particular roles, nevertheless possess identical fuselages and tails.

The design bureau designed and built a series of new supersonic jet fighters including the Su-7 and Su-9 in the 1950s and 1960s. These two aircraft were extensively modified over the years and used in vast numbers by the Soviet Air Force and other Communist countries. Like a number of other aviation designers, Sukhoi embraced the concept of evolutionary development rather than large technological leaps in aircraft design. For example, Sukhoi improved the original Su-9 delta-winged series into the Su-11 and Su-15 fighter-interceptor series for service with the Soviet Air Defense Forces. He also modified the Su-7B ground-attack aircraft into the Su-17 variable-geometry aircraft by introducing small modifications to the original design. Sukhoi's aircraft symbolized the general trend of Soviet aircraft design that used common components and standardization that allowed Soviet plants to produce large numbers of aircraft very quickly.

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