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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
On September 4, 1959 a modified Su-9 piloted by Vladimir Sergeievitch Ilyushin set a new world record for absolute height, at 28,852 m
This record was later broken on 6 December 1959 by Commander Lawrence E. Flint, Jr., who performed a zoom climb to a world record of 98,557 ft while piloting an F-4 A Phantom
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
Remaining Su-9s and later Su-11s were retired during the 1970s