In January 1944, the design bureau of O.P. Sukhoi, acting on its own initiative, started preliminary studies for a single-seat fighter with a combined powerplant comprising the main piston engine M-107A with a propeller and an auxiliary compressor jet engine (CJE) to act as a booster. The CJE compressor was rotated by the M-107A engine using a shaft.
The completed design was sent to the USSR PCAI for review and was subsequently incorporated in the draft of the 1944 AFRA aircraft prototype development plan. On 22nd May 1944, SDC adopted a resolution, which, among other things, obligated P.O. Sukhoi "… to design and build a single-seat experimental aeroplane with the VK-107A engine, outfitting it with an additional CJE designed and built by TsIAM…"
At the beginning of June, the design bureau started to design the aeroplane subsequently referred to as I-107 and later renamed the Su-5. The conceptual design mentioned above was used as the design basis to be subsequently resubmitted, following some alterations, to the leadership of PCAI and AFRA for review. In the autumn of 1944, approval was given to the opinions delivered on the conceptual design and the report of the mock-up committee.
Due to a late delivery of the powerplant, the flying prototype took a very long time to build. The first flight on the Su-5 aircraft was performed by test pilot G.I. Komarov on 6th April 1945. The manufacturer's flight tests continued till 15th June, and that day saw the VK-107A engine break up in flight.
During the down time, there being no replacement engine available, the aircraft was fitted with a new laminated-profile wing developed by CAHI.
The new VK-107A engine with a limited service life was received at the beginning of July, with the flight testing resuming in early August and continuing till 18th October. The flights were discontinued, the engine having reached the end of its life. All attempts to arrange for a delivery of a new engine met with failure. There being a limited number of powerplants available, PCAI instructed TsIAM to supply them on a priority basis for the I-250 aeroplanes designed by A.I. Mikoyan as the latter were more advanced and had entered small-batch production. Note that the manufacturer's tests of the Su-5 aeroplane failed to reach the design performance targets.
A November 1946 resolution of USSR CM terminated work on a number of aircraft that "had lost the edge," the Su-5 having been named among them. By that time, testing had already begun on aeroplanes with turbojets.