- Sukhoi Su-15
first flight =
introduced = 1967
retired = 1993 (Russia)
status = Retired
primary user =
Soviet Anti-Air Defence
more users =
produced = 1966-1979
number built = 1290
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =
SukhoiSu-15 ( NATO reporting nameFlagon) was a twin- engined interceptor aircraftdeveloped by the Soviet Unionin the 1960sto replace the Sukhoi Su-11.
Recognizing the limitations of the earlier Su-9 and Su-11, the
SukhoiOKB quickly began the development of a heavily revised and more capable aircraft. A variety of development aircraft evolved, including the T-49, which shared the fuselage of the Su-9 (including its single engine), but used cheek-mounted intakes to leave the nose clear for a large radomefor the 'Oriol-D' (Eagle) radar, and the T-5, essentially a heavily modified Su-11 with a widened rear fuselage containing two Tumansky R-11engines.
These led to the T-58, which combined the twin engines with a modified version of the T-49's nose, but with side inlets further back, behind the cockpit. It was approved for production on
5 February 1962, as the Su-15, and the prototype first flew on 30 May, 1962. It entered service testing 5 August, 1963, but its service entry was delayed by political infighting with the YakovlevOKB over production line capacity in Novosibirsk, which was also building the Yakovlev Yak-28P. The Su-15 proved to be superior in most respects other than range, and it was officially commissioned on 3 April1965. Series production began the following year, and it entered service with the PVO in 1967, replacing Su-9s, Su-11s, and Yakovlev Yak-25s. The initial Su-15 received the NATO reporting name'Flagon-A.' A simplified trainer version, the Su-15UT (NATO 'Flagon-C'), with no radar or combat capability, entered service in 1970.
delta wingSu-15s had poor take-off and landing characteristics, and so Sukhoi investigated a new wing design with extended wingtips (increasing wing area) and boundary layer control. Su-15s with the new wing went into production in 1969. They were dubbed 'Flagon-D' by NATO, although the Soviet designation was unchanged.
Also in 1969 testing began of the upgraded Su-15T with the
VolkovTaifun ( typhoon) radar. The Taifun proved troublesome, however, and ceased production after only 10 aircraft had been built. It was followed in December 1971 by the Su-15TM (NATO 'Flagon-E'), with the improved Taifun-M radar and provision for UPK-23-250 gun podor Molniya R-60short-range missiles. Aerodynamic demands forced a redesign of the radome with an ogival shape, earning a new NATO reporting name, 'Flagon-F,' although again the Soviet designation did not change. A comparable combat-capable trainer, the Su-15UM (NATO 'Flagon-G'), followed from 1976. The final Su-15UMs, the last Su-15s produced, came off the line in 1979.
Various OKB proposals for upgraded Su-15s with better engines and aerodynamics were rejected in favor of development of the
Although many components of the Su-15 were similar or identical to the previous
Su-9and Su-11( NATO reporting name'Fishpot'), including Sukhoi's characteristic rear-fuselage airbrakes, the Su-15 abandoned the shock-cone nose intake for side-mounted intakes feeding two powerful turbojet engines, initially the Tumansky R-11F. The change allowed room in the nose for a powerful search radar, initially the 'Oriol-D' (NATO 'Skip Spin'). The early Su-15 ('Flagon-A' ) had pure delta wings like its predecessor, but these were replaced from the 11th production series forward by a new 'kinked' delta planformof increased span and area, with small wing fenceabove each outer pylon and blown flapsto improve landing characteristics. This was accompanied by a new tail of greater anhedraland a vertical fin of reduced height.
'Flagon' had good speed and rate of climb. Take-off and landing speeds were comparatively high, with a take-off speed of 247 mph (395 km/h) for early delta-winged 'Flagon-A's and 231 mph (370 km/h) for the larger-winged 'Flagon-F.' While the controls were responsive and precise, the aircraft was unforgiving of pilot error.
Despite its powerful radar, the 'Flagon,' like most
Sovietinterceptors before the late 1980s, was heavily dependent on ground control interception(GCI), with aircraft vectored onto targets by ground radar stations. It was fitted with the Lazur-S datalinksystem, which transmitted instructions to the pilot to accomplish the interception. The later Su-15TM had a Vozdukh-1M datalink and SAU-58 ("sistema automaticheskogo upravleniya", automatic control system) capable of carrying out completely automatic, 'hands-off' interceptions.
Primary armament of the Su-15 was the R-8 (later R-98)
air-to-air missile(AA-3 'Anab'). Early models carried two missiles, but 'Flagon-D' and later versions could carry four. Like most Soviet missiles, the R-98 was made in both infrared and semi-active radar homingversions, and standard practice was to carry the weapons in pairs to give the greatest chance of a successful hit. Later 'Flagon-F' models often carried two R-98s and one or two pairs of short-range R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid') missiles. The R-23 (AA-7 'Apex') medium-range missile, shared with the MiG-23, was also an option in place of the R-98. Late-model 'Flagons' also sometimes carried a pair of UPK-23-250 23 mm gun pods on the fuselage pylons, each containing a two-barrel GSh-23L cannon (similar to that used by the MiG-21and MiG-23).
As one of the V-PVO's principal interceptors, the Su-15 was involved in a number of incidents with foreign aircraft. One such attack was in 1978, when
Korean Air Flight 902was attacked over Murmanskby a PVO Su-15. Although the civilian aircraft survived the missile hit, two passengers were killed, and the damaged plane subsequently made a forced landing on a frozen lake. In 1981 a Baku, Azerbaijan-based Su-15 deliberately rammed an Iranian Canadair CL-44after it strayed into Soviet airspace. [ [http://www.jamesoberg.com/border.html The Bloody Border by James Oberg ] ] More notorious was the Korean Air Flight 007incident in 1983, when a Korean Boeing 747was shot down by a Su-15TM based on Sakhalin, killing all 246 passengers and 23 crew [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KAL007] .
Although it was produced in large numbers (1,290 of all types), the Su-15, like other highly sensitive Soviet aircraft, was never exported to the
Warsaw Pactor any other country. Some Su-15 were deployed in Egypt in 1972 but were used with Soviet crews.
Russia, the Su-15 was abruptly retired in 1993 to comply with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Most were hastily scrapped in favour of more advanced interceptors, including the Su-27'Flanker' and MiG-31'Foxhound.' In the Ukrainethe last Su-15s (at Kramatorskand Belbek) were withdrawn from use in 1996.
;T-58:Prototype of Su-15.;Su-15 ("Flagon-A"):First production version.;T-58VD ("Flagon-B"):One-off prototype using three Kolesov lift-jets in the centre fuselage to provide
STOLcapability. Not mass-produced.;Su-15UT ("Flagon-C"):Trainer version without radar and combat capability, in use since 1970.;Su-15 ("Flagon-D"):Version with extended wingtips built since 1969.;Su-15T ("Flagon-E"):Version equipped with Volkov Taifun radar, 10 built.;Su-15TM ("Flagon-F"):Improved Su-15T version equipped with Taifun-M radar and aerodynamical changes, in use since 1971. New radome design for improving rarad performances.;Su-15UM ("Flagon-G"):Trainer version of Su-15TM without radar but with combat capability, built between 1976 and 1979.;U-58UM:Prototype of Su-15UM with Taifun-M radar, not entered serial production.;Su-15Sh:Proposed supersonic ground-attack aircraft, offered in 1969. Not built.;Su-15-30:Proposed version sharing the radar and missiles of the MiG-25; not built.;Su-15bis:Converted Su-15TM with R-25-300 engines of 15,652 lb (69.9 kN) afterburning thrust for improved performance; approved for series production, but not built because of a shortage of the engines.;Su-19:Proposed advanced version with R-25-300 engines, ogival wing, and additional pylons for missiles. Not built.
Some Western reports indicate that the Su-15TM was also designated Su-21 and the Su-15UM Su-21U. These reports are apparently incorrect. Designation Su-21 was reserved for Su-17M4 but never used. [ [http://www.sukhoi.org/eng/planes/museum/su17/ www.sukhoi.org] , Sukhoi home site.]
;USSR / RUS
Soviet Anti-Air Defence;UKR
Ukrainian Air Force
pecifications (Su-15TM 'Flagon-F')
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
length main=19.56 m
length alt=64 ft 2 in
span main=9.34 m
span alt=30 ft 7 in
height main=4.84 m
height alt=15 ft 10 in
area main=36.6 m²
area alt=394 ft²
empty weight main=10,874 kg
empty weight alt=23,973 lb
loaded weight main=17,200 kg
loaded weight alt=37,920 lb
type of jet=
number of jets=2
thrust main=40.21 kN
thrust alt=9,040 lbf
afterburning thrust main=70.0 kN
afterburning thrust alt=15,730 lbf
max speed main=Mach 2.1, 2,230 km/h
max speed alt=1,386
max speed more=clean at high altitude
climb rate main=228 m/s
climb rate alt=45,000 ft/min
loading main=102.4 lb/ft²
loading alt=555 kg/m²
ceiling main=18,100 m
ceiling alt=59,383 ft
*Combat: 590 km (367 mi)
*Ferry: 1,780 km
range alt=1,106 mi
* 2x R-98M/AA-3 Anab (outer wing pylons)
* 2x or 4x R-60/AA-8 Aphid (inner pylons)
* Option of two UPK-23-250 23 mm gun pods on fuselage pylons
Korean Airlines Flight 007
List of military aircraft of the Soviet Union and the CIS
*Butowski, Piotr and Pankov, Valeriy and Ponomaryev, Vadim. "Su-15 Flagon. Monografie Lotnicze #14". Gdańsk: AJ-Press, 1994 (ISBN 83-86208-04-X) (in Polish).
* [http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/airdef/su-15.htm SU-15 from FAS]
* [http://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/su-15_flagon.pl SU-15 from The Global Aircraft Organization]
* [http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=197 SU-15 from Military Factory]
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