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Saturday, March 28th 2020, 4:45am

Russian Aircraft of 1949

Sukhoi Su-9 Osa Russian Naval Jet Fighter
The Su-9 grew out of the earlier Su-7 Shershen jet-powered carrier fighter, which had proven somewhat disappointing to the AV-MF. Although it had generally satisfactory performance in the hands of an expert pilot, the Su-7 was unforgiving with younger, inexperienced pilots, logging a very poor safety record during the course of its active service, which lasted between 1948 and 1952. Among its worst attributes were poor visibility over the nose and unfavorable spin characteristics.

Although Sukhoi OKB (Design Bureau) started a program to address the Su-7's shortcomings, it quickly became clear to the designers that more drastic measures were required. Shortly before the Su-7 even entered service, Sukhoi started a crash project to design a follow-on carrier fighter that addressed the Su-7's known flaws. The new design received the Su-9 designation in July 1948, when the AV-MF instructed Sukhoi OKB to cease all Su-7 development in favor of the Su-9 - although this had, in effect, already been done.

The Su-9's design team benefitted substantially from an influx of wind-tunnel data shared by ONERA, the French aeronautical research bureau, and tested a half-sized mockup of the Su-9 in ONERA's supersonic wind-tunnel in January of 1949. The first full-sized Su-9 prototype flew in May of 1949. It retained the Su-7's 35-degree swept wings, but had a different tail and a slimmer fuselage. One of the major differences was an improved Lyulka TR-2 turbojet, which offered significantly increased thrust while dropping thirty kilograms of weight.

The Su-9 was ordered into production before flight testing even finished, and the first production examples rolled out of the factory by September 1949. Carrier trials were conducted aboard Azov in October, and the first squadron was declared operational in late December. In spite of this hasty timeline, the Su-9 had relatively few major teething troubles, largely attributable to the lessons learned from its Su-7 predecessor.

At a glance, the Su-9 could be mistaken for the Su-7, or occasionally even the land-based MiG-15, particularly at a distance. The Su-9's resemblance to the earlier Su-7 proved problematic, as many pilots expressed reluctance to fly the new jet, sometimes suspecting they were being tricked into flying the old Su-7. To make identification easier, the AV-MF painted all of their Su-9s in a striking two-tone blue camoflage scheme. A popular joke which circulated amongst naval aviators was that the blue camouflage was intended for a fleet-wide Caribbean vacation, and they'd been provided "navalized MiG-15s" to replace their Su-7 Shershens. These jokes became so common among Su-9 pilots that the Iberian, Chinese, and US navies added the "MiG-15K" to their aircraft identification charts.

Overall, the Su-9 proved itself a relatively successful aircraft. It quickly sidelined both the Su-7 and the AV-MF's twin-engine Alekseyev I-212 as the AV-MF's primary carrier fighter. It served without major issues in frontline service until 1955, when it was replaced by the transonic Sukhoi Su-11.

General characteristics
Crew: One pilot
Length: 11.33 m (37 ft 2 in)
Span: 11.6 m (38 ft 0 in)
Height: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
Wing Area: 22.4 m²
Empty Weight: 4030 kg (8,885 lbs)
Loaded Weight: 6280 kg (13,845 lbs)
Powerplant: 1 × Lyulka TR-2 M1949 turbojet, 25 kN (5,620 lbf) thrust

Maximum Speed: 955 km/h (516 knots, 593 mph)
Cruise speed: 695 km/h (375 knots, 432 mph)
Range: 1,575 km (854 mi)
Ceiling: 12,345 m (40,502 ft)
Rate of Climb: 35 m/s (6,890 ft/min)

- 4 × 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannons in nose, 135 rpg

- Su-9K: standard variant.
- Su-9UTI: two-seat dual-control jet trainer.
- Su-9bis: improved design introduced 1951.