Sukhoi Interceptors: The Su-9/-11/-15 and other types.


Yeflim Gordon




$34.95 from Specialty Press


Scott Van Aken

Notes: ISBN 1-85780-180-6   # 16 in the Red Star series

Continuing with the excellent series of aircraft that is part and parcel of what the Red Star volumes are all about, the noted  aviation author, Yefim Gordon has chosen the Sukhoi Interceptors for #15.

Though disgraced by Stalin and out of a job since just after WWII, the death of one of the world's most barbarous leaders saw Sukhoi's fate take a turn for the better as his design bureau was reinstated. This time, his job was to provide interceptors against high flying US and British nuclear bombers and spy aircraft; particularly the B-52 and various British 'V' bombers.

Developed in conjunction with the Su-7 ground attack fighter, the Su-9 and later Su-11 had very different wing designs that allowed for a higher speed than what the Su-7 was capable of providing. For years, the Su-9 and Su-11 were the most potent of the POV's interceptor force. However, they were not able to match the altitude of the even higher-flying U-2s that blatantly over-flew Soviet territory in the late 1950s/early 1960s. It took an SA-2 'Guideline' missile to finally stop those incursions.

What was needed was an even more potent interceptor and the privately started Su-15 is what the Soviets got. This was their fastest and highest flying aircraft available until the even faster MiG-25 finally entered the scene in the late 1970s. Even then the Su-15 stayed in service as it was cheaper to build and maintain. It also was nearly as capable as the more expensive MiG-25. Thanks to the unfortunate destruction of a Korean Air Lines 747 in the early 1980s, the Su-15 has been indelibly etched into the minds of many around the world. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1989, the Su-15 finally fell out of favor and the final flight of this aircraft was in the mid-1990s when it was retired due to the inability of Russia and Ukraine to properly maintain this now rather elderly aircraft.

As with all Red Star books, there are sections on the development of the aircraft, its multitude of variants and one-off specials as well as its operational use. Included are a number of very nice 3 view drawings of the principle types as well as some of the more unusual prototypes. Several pages of color photos fill out what is a most interesting and fascinating book. It is one that every enthusiast of Russian aircraft should have on their shelves.

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