SU-15 FLAGON gallery

The first flight of the Su-15 prototype took place on May 30, 1962, but the first Flagon would not enter service until 1967, replacing the Su-9/11 in the interception role. One of the main differences with the previous fighters were the side air intakes of the engines  instead of the classic inlet cone nose intake in front of the cockpit.
The Su-15 Flagon was a pure interceptor, with good flight performances such as speed, rate of climb and acceptable maneuverability, superior to that of the MiG-25 Foxbat. These aircrafts were always deployed in bases near the Soviet border in view of being able to intercept the enemy’s strategic bombers. This fighter was not designed to maintaining “dogfight” with the enemy escort fighter formations.
Soviet interceptors were always very dependent on the ground radar stations, and the Su-15 was no exception. They had powerful radars from the beginning, such as the “Ural 5B” (“Skip Spin”), or the Taifun -M (“Twin Scan”). In addition, they carried modern equipment like the SAU-58 automatic control system that allowed them automatic interceptions practically until time of firing the missiles.
It is estimated that the range of the radar was about 80 km and that of the AA-3 Anab missiles of about 23 km, enough in the 60s and 70s to make safe interceptions. They also had short-range air-to-air missiles R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) and could carry pods with 23mm GSH-23L twin-tube guns.
The only operators of the Su-15 Flagon were the Soviet Air Force, (later Russian), and the Ukrainian Air Force. Ukrainian Flagons were framed in the 62 and 636 Fighter Regiments based in Bel’bek and Kramatorsk respectively. The Russians retired this model in 1994 and the Ukrainians in 1996.
The career of this fighter was marked by controversial interceptions over the Soviet airspace. In 1978, a Su-15 fired a missile at Korean Air Lines Boeing 707-321B passenger aircraft, forcing it to make an emergency landing on the Korpiyarvi frozen lake in Karelia, killing two passengers. In 1981 another Su-15 crashed in flight with an Argentine Canadair CL-44 passenger aircraft that crossed the air space erroneously, resulting in 4 passengers killed.
However, the most tragic event happened on September 1, 1983, when a Su-15TM shot down a Boeing 747, (again from Korean Air Lines), when it entered Soviet airspace. This time 269 people died in one of the biggest flying catastrophes in History. Apparently the Soviet fighter “confused” the B-747 with an American RC-135 spy aircraft, and after making some gun warning shots and being ignored, the Su-15 received the shoot down order from the ground control. After the order, the fighter fired an R-98 missile from a distance of 800 meters, with the tragic result described above.
There were several variants of the Su-15, different from each other by the engines and the type of radar installed, although externally very similar. The image shows the Su-15UT Flagon-C, a variant for double-handed training in a two-seater cockpit with tandem seats. This model appeared in 1970 and had no radar, so it was only used in conversion and training missions.
The Su-15T Flagon-D was a variant that emerged in 1969 in which a new Volkov Taifun radar was incorporated. This radar was a derivative of the RP-25 Smerch-A / “Foxfire” radar installed in the MiG-25 Foxbat. Unfortunately its integration with the Flagon was unsuccessful and after modifying only ten aircraft, it was decided to cancel this new variant.
Here we see the Su-15bis Flagon-F, last variant appeared in 1975, but that was not built in series for lack of engines. This model had new Tumansky R-25-300 turbojet engines and a more powerful radar in a new re-shaped nose that allowed better supersonic acceleration.

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