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Sukhoi Su-15 (Samolet P)

Interceptor Aircraft Prototype

Sukhoi Su-15 (Samolet P)

Interceptor Aircraft Prototype


The Sukhoi Su-15 interceptor prototype entry of 1949 failed to impress and was ultimately limited to just a single prototype.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Soviet Union
YEAR: 1949
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Sukhoi OKB - Soviet Union
OPERATORS: Soviet Union (cancelled)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Sukhoi Su-15 (Samolet P) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 50.66 feet (15.44 meters)
WIDTH: 42.22 feet (12.87 meters)
HEIGHT: 9.84 feet (3 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 16,336 pounds (7,410 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 23,016 pounds (10,440 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Klimov RD-45F turbojet engines developing 5,000lb of thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 612 miles-per-hour (985 kilometers-per-hour; 532 knots)
RANGE: 652 miles (1,050 kilometers; 567 nautical miles)
CEILING: 49,213 feet (15,000 meters; 9.32 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 6,562 feet-per-minute (2,000 meters-per-minute)

2 x 37mm Nudelman N-37 cannons
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon

Series Model Variants
• Su-15 - Base Project Designation; single example completed with second prototype partially constructed before project's end.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Sukhoi Su-15 (Samolet P) Interceptor Aircraft Prototype.  Entry last updated on 6/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The road to air superiority for both sides of the Cold War (1947-1991) was a never-ending battle of advancing technologies - weapons, jet engines, radar, etc... When one side generated a new faster, high-flying bomber, the other would release an all-new interceptor as its counter. The progress of jet-powered aircraft during the period was of considerable note and advanced with each passing year resulting in a plethora of forms - some successful, some not.

In March of 1947, Soviet authorities pushed through a new requirement calling for an all-weather, jet-powered single-seat interceptor. Sukhoi was given the charge of design, developing, and - ultimately -producing the new Air Force product which became the "Samolet P" - or "Su-15" (the Su-15 would late be resurrected in another Cold War aircraft development - the "Flagon" series detailed elsewhere on this site).

For the required speeds, the aircraft was to carry swept-back wing mainplanes and a pair of turbojet engines. Swept-back wings ensured the proper stability at higher speeds and a two-engine arrangement gave the desired performance - at the expense of fuel consumption. The mainplanes were mid-mounted along the sides of the fuselage. The engines became 2 x Klimov RD-45F turbojets developing 5,005lb thrust each (the RD-45 became the first mass-produced Soviet turbojet)

Within the Su-15 design, the engines would be arranged in tandem owing to their rather large dimensions. Both aspirated through the same split-air intake found at the nose while the forward engine unit exhausted under the belly of the aircraft at midships. The rear unit exhausted at the tail in the usual way. The ductwork required to feed the aft engine forced the cockpit to be set to portside. The radome intended to house the "Izumrud" ("Emerald") interception radar was fitted to the nose above the air intake which further added to the aircraft's rather deep fuselage appearance. The undercarriage was of a typical tricycle arrangement and fully retractable - the nose leg held under the cockpit floor and the main legs under each wing. Boundary layer fences - found on many of the Soviet jet-powered fighter designs of the period - were also present on the wing mainplanes.

Armament became 2 x 37mm Nudelman N-37 series autocannons with 110 projectiles afforded each system and this provided the interceptor with considerable killing capabilities against Western bombers.

The Su-15, in prototype form, achieved its first flight on January 11th, 1949 and a second example underwent construction. It was on the prototype's 39th flight that severe flutter was encountered which led to a loss of control, forcing the test pilot to eject. This aircraft crashed and proved a complete loss which led to insurmountable delays and questioning the project's fruitfulness moving forward. As such, the second prototype was not completed and the entire program ultimately terminated.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (612mph).

Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Sukhoi Su-15 (Samolet P)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (1)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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