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Su-9K NATO codename Type 8

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. While the overall impression is of "an Me 262 with Soviet characterisitcs", a closer glance reveals an entirely redesined fuselage, which is more graceful and slender compared to its squat German protoype. The Sukhoi Su-9 ( project name K , NATO codename Type 8 ) was a Soviet fighter for the front area. It was the first jet plane developed by OKB Sukhoi. This machine visually resembled the Messerschmitt Me 262, but the two planes had only the engines in common.

In late 1944, acting on their own initiative, the design bureau of P.O. Sukhoi initiated work on a fighter with two turbojets. In November 1945, the aeroplane's conceptual design, which the design bureau designated "L", was submitted for review to the USSR PCAI, and in December it was approved by Chief Engineer of AFRA. The conclusions of the opinion on the conceptual design said that it was of interest to AFRA both in terms of its flight performance (FP) and design and went on to emphasize that the FP would be somewhat better than that of Me-262 of the same type. At the beginning of 1946, the state mock-up committee reviewed and approved a mock-up of the aeroplane.

The 26th February 1946 Resolution of the USSR CPC enacted the 1946-47 aircraft prototype engineering plan. An item of the plan provided for the chief designer and director of plant No 134 P.O. Sukhoi to design and build two prototypes of a single-seat front-line fighter with twin JUMO-004 engines.

The work on the detailed design resulted in engineering changes being introduced into the fuselage, wing, main landing gear and a number other elements and systems; the plane received the manufacturer's designation "K" or Su-9K. It was not until after the effort to build a prototype had got under way that the German-made turbojets were replaced with domestic-made substitutes, the RD-10.

The building of the prototype was completed in mid-September, and in early October it was brought to the MAI FRI's airfield. G.M. Shiyanov was appointed senior test pilot, and M.I. Zuyev senior engineer. The maiden flight took place on 13th November 1946. The manufacturer's tests got bogged down and were not completed until 13th June 1947. This was due to the extensive scope of R&D work on the aircraft as well as the unreliable performance and limited life of the RD-10 engine.

Between August and December 1947, the Su-9K aeroplane underwent governmental tests at the Scientific Research Institute of Air Forces. A.G. Kochetkov was appointed senior test pilot, and I.G. Rabkin was appointed senior engineer. At the final stage of governmental testing, at the request of the Air Forces, the Su-9 was outfitted with U-5 launch boosters, designed by the NII-1 Scientific Research Institute of USSR MAI, and a brake parachute from the Arado-234 aeroplane. The use of boosters made it possible to nearly halve the takeoff run, with the landing run, once the braking parachute and brake flaps were activated, cut from 1,080 to 600m.

The governmental test report said:

". 2. The aircraft has the following advantages over similar domestic-made aircraft in production: a) more straightforward flight procedures and easier ground maintenance;

b) the takeoff boosters and braking parachute make it possible to deploy it on aerodromes alongside aircraft with piston motors;

c) high-performance armaments, completely operational throughout the entire range of altitudes and speeds;

d) adequate array of special-purpose equipment, communications and flight navigation systems;

e) an optional Tory scan radar, which gives it an interceptor capability;

f) the aeroplane's specifications are on a par with production aircraft.

3. Along with the strong points, the aircraft has faults, which are to be remedied at all costs, with the designers expected to: a) increase the maximum allowed Mach number or provide for an automatic recovery of the aircraft from hazardous flight modes;

b) decrease the load on the control stick from the ailerons and elevator..."

In order to eliminate the faults identified during the governmental testing, the aircraft was outfitted with power-assisted aileron and elevator controls in the first six months of 1948, following which there were additional flight tests. At the end of March 1948, Air Forces Commander-in-Chief Air Marshal K.A. Vershinin sent to MAI the governmental test report on the Su-9 and a draft resolution of the USSR CM to put it into service as a fighter/interceptor version and into production at plant No 381.

Minister of Aircraft Industry M.V. Khrunichev agreed to accept the Su-9K for production provided the aircraft's run could be spread over two years seeing that a shorter period was not viable. The customer's requirement for a new fighter/interceptor version, which involved replacement of the engines, installation of radar and higher-calibre cannon, was rejected. The USSR's Minister of Armed Forces Marshall of the Soviet Union N.A. Bulganin accepted the arguments of the industry and it seemed that the future of Su-9 was a foregone conclusion.

But as early as 4the June 1948, a resolution of the USSR CM slashed the R&D funding of MAI, along with that of other defence sector departments. This "pulled the plug" on the Su-9K fighter: on 30th June the aeroplane was scrapped due to lack of financing.




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