24 June 1956 – The Sukhoi Su-9 (NATO reporting name: Fishpot) was a single-engine, all-weather, missile-armed interceptor aircraft developed by the Soviet Union.
The Su-9 emerged from TsAGI, the Soviet aerodynamic center, during the Korean War, which devised several optimum aerodynamic configurations for jet fighters. The design first flew in 1956 as the T-405 prototype. The Su-9 was developed at the same time as the Su-7 “Fitter”, and both were first seen by the West at the Tushino Aviation Day on 24 June 1956, where the Su-9 was dubbed Fitter-B. It entered service in 1959.
The total production of the Su-9 was about 1,100 aircraft. It is believed that at least some Su-9s were upgraded to Su-11 “Fishpot-C” form. None were exported to any of the USSR’s client states nor to the Warsaw Pact nations. The 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”.
The combat record of the “Fishpot”, if any, is unknown. It is possible that it was involved in the interception (or even shoot-down) of reconnaissance missions whose details remain classified, but nothing is publicly admitted.
It was reported that a Su-9 was involved in the interception of Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 on Soviet territory on 1 May 1960. A newly manufactured Su-9 which was in transit flight happened to be near Powers’ U-2. The Su-9 was unarmed and was directed to ram the U-2. One ramming attempt was made and the Su-9 missed the U-2, primarily due to the large difference in the speed of the two planes. No further ramming attempt was made due to Su-9’s lack of fuel. Its pilot, Captain Igor Mentyukov later claimed that his slipstream had caused the U-2 to break apart. He discounts the official version that the U-2 was shot down by an SA-2 missile, saying that Captain Powers could not have survived such a hit.” (1)