Yak-3 Fighter Plane Technical Specifications
- Crew – 1 person
- Power – 1240 hp
- Wingspan-9.2 m
- The wing area is 14.85 sq. m
- Empty aircraft weight-2128 kg
- Maximum take-off weight-2697 kg
- Full load weight-569 kg
- Maximum speed at altitude/near the ground-651 / 567 km / h
- Practical ceiling – 10,400 m
- Maximum range-850 km
- Armament: 1×20-mm SHVAK air gun; 2×12. 7-mm UBS machine guns.
- The Yak-3 aircraft was the last mass fighter of the Soviet Air Force, created in the Yakovlev Design Bureau during the Great Patriotic War.
Yak-3 Fighter Plane Details
The young aircraft designer A. S. Yakovlev in 1934, who received a production base – a former aircraft workshop, gradually turned it into an experimental aircraft factory. Created under his leadership, light-engine, sports, training aircraft, in particular the UT-2, had high characteristics. The work of the Yakovlev Design Bureau on fighters began in 1939. The Air Force needed a new fighter that would be at least 100 km/h faster than the standard I-16 fighter and reach 600 km / h at combat altitude, surpassing any foreign fighters. Objective opportunities in the Soviet Union for this were already created, with the advent of the powerful M-105 aircraft engine. The accumulated experience in creating light-engine aircraft was fully used by Yakovlev in the construction of his first I-26 (Yak-1) fighter in the spring of 1940. It was the prototype for all subsequent Yakovlev fighters, the dimensions, shapes and design of which mainly repeated the original type.
The Yak-1 was a single low-wing aircraft of mixed design with a VK-105P engine (later renamed “M-105P”) with a take-off power of 1050 hp. Its armament consisted of one 20-mm SHVAK gun mounted in the camber of the engine’s cylinder blocks and two 7.62-mm SHKAS machine guns mounted above the engine. Yakovlev managed to achieve in this car a successful combination of high-speed qualities of a fighter with maneuverability and ease of control, characteristic of sports aircraft. The Yak-1 was distinguished by a high design culture: it was the lightest of the new generation of Soviet fighters. After completion in November 1940, the prototype machine passed state tests at the Air Force Research Institute, and by the end of the year, the Red Army Air Force received 64 serial Yak-1 aircraft. In the series, its mass was slightly increased and became 2437 kg – for an empty aircraft, and the flight weight-2847 kg, i.e. less than the mass of the LaGG-3 fighter with the same engine. The speed of serial Yak-1 aircraft with the VK-105P engine reached 592 km / h at an altitude of 4100 m with very good maneuverability (the turn time was only 19 seconds). The maximum ceiling reached 10,000 m.
At the end of 1941, the Yak-1 aircraft entered service with 4 of the 11 fighter regiments of the Moscow Air Defense. They performed well in the battles of the initial period of the war. So, on March 20, 1942, south-west of the city of Gzhatsk (now the city of Gagarin, Smolensk region), Captain I. A. Avekov, covering the positions of the 201st Rifle Division from the air on a Yak-1 fighter, engaged in battle with seven German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. Soon Avekov shot down one enemy plane, and a few minutes later – the second. During the air battle, a brave Soviet pilot was wounded in the leg and arm. When the Yak-1 caught fire, I. A. Avekov went to ram. Approaching another Messerschmitt, he hit it with the wing of his fighter and shot down the third enemy plane. After that, Avekov managed to land in the location of his troops.
From the first days of the Great Patriotic War, the Yakovlev Design Bureau began to search for ways to improve the efficiency of its aviation equipment. During the war, the Yak-1 was repeatedly modified. In the upgraded Yak-1B fighter, the designers tried to increase the power of the weapon: instead of two 7.62-mm SHKAS machine guns, one 12.7-mm synchronous UBS machine gun was installed. As a result, the mass of the second salvo of the fighter increased from 1.73 to 1.997 kg / s. Also, the rear hemisphere view was improved by lowering the fuselage gargrot behind the pilot’s cabin, and the booking of the lantern and cockpit was strengthened. The serial control stick of the aircraft was replaced with the P-1 handle, similar to the handle of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, so that the pilot could control the fire with only one right hand. In September 1942, the Yak-1B was put into mass production and in 1942-1944, 4188 of these vehicles were built. In January – May 1942, plant No. 153 produced 277 Yak-7A fighters (take – off engine power – 1050 hp, speed-571 km/h). Its armament consisted of one 20 mm SHVAK cannon and two 7.62 mm SHKAS machine guns. This aircraft was produced in a single-seat version based on the serial two-seat Yak-7UTI training vehicle. After replacing the SHKAS machine guns with two 12.7 mm UBS machine guns and a number of design improvements, the fighter went into production under the designation “Yak-7B” and was built serially from May 1942 to July 1944. The Yak-7B fighter was equipped with an RSI-4 transceiver radio station, and the vehicles that entered the air defense regiments were equipped with a RPK-10 radio compass and a landing headlight. A total of 5,120 Yak-7B aircraft were produced. For the first time they took part in combat operations in August 1942 near Stalingrad.
In parallel with the release of the Yak-7B aircraft in 1942, the Yak-9 fighter is launched into mass production. By the end of this year, plant No. 153 has produced 59 vehicles. The Yak-9’s take-off weight was reduced by replacing the wooden wing spars with metal ones. To improve the rear view, the gargrot behind the cab was lowered. This aircraft, with its excellent aerobatic qualities and excellent maneuverability, was stable in all flight modes. The Yak-9 had a better rate of climb and vertical maneuver than the Yak-1 and Yak-7B, as well as greater speed. In general, the Yak-9 could successfully fight the best enemy fighters. In 1943, the air situation on the Eastern Front began to change in favor of the Soviet Air Force. Under these conditions, it became possible to carry out a certain specialization of fighters with the expectation of a particular type of combat operations. This specialization was most widely carried out on the Yak-9 fighter, which was produced in several modifications: Yak-9T (tank) with a 37-mm NS-37 gun; Yak-9D (long-range) with a fuel weight of 480 kg and a flight range of 1330 km; Yak-9DD (long-range) with a fuel mass of 630 kg and a flight range of 2285 km; Yak-9R (scout); Yak-9PD (interceptor); Yak-9B (bomber) with an internal bomb suspension of up to 400 kg; Yak-9K (large-caliber) with a 45-mm NS-45 gun, etc.
In 1943, on the basis of the Yak-9 aircraft, a new version of it was created-the Yak-9U front-line fighter (improved). It was built by plant No. 115. This aircraft had not only a more powerful power plant – the V. Ya.Klimov VK-107A engine with a capacity of 1,650 hp, but also significantly improved aerodynamics. During the tests, the Yak-9U showed high flight data. Compared to other Soviet serial fighters, the Yak-9U had the highest speed (700 km / h at an altitude of 5600 m) and an excellent rate of climb. These figures turned out to be a record for the beginning of 1944.
The Yak-9U also had excellent maneuverability, both in the horizontal and vertical plane. At the same time, during state tests, defects in this power plant were identified, which did not allow the VK-107A engine to operate normally at the entire altitude range. Therefore, to ensure normal operating conditions of serial Yak-9U aircraft with the VK-107A engine, the order of the People’s Commissariat of Aviation Industry of June 26, 1944, established low operating modes of this engine and increased the opening of the dampers of water and oil radiators, which affected the decrease in the maximum flight speed of serial aircraft, compared with that shown by the prototype on tests.
The Yak-9U fighter of mixed design was built serially from April 1944 to August 1945; a total of 3,921 vehicles were manufactured. During the war years until May 1, 1945, the Soviet aviation industry produced 25,570 Yak-1, Yak-7, and Yak-9 fighters of all modifications. If the development of the Yak-9 aircraft in the first half of 1943 was mainly aimed at strengthening its armament and increasing its range, then the design of the new fighter was primarily focused on a sharp increase in flight data in order to provide it with decisive superiority in air battles with enemy fighters. Already at the beginning of 1943, the Yakovlev Design Bureau developed a more advanced aircraft based on the Yak-1. Since there were no more powerful production engines at that time, in order to improve the flight characteristics of the Yak-1 fighter, it was necessary to improve its aerodynamics and reduce the flight weight as much as possible. These two directions became the main ones in the development of the new fighter, which received the designation “Yak-1M”. It embodies all the experience of design work on Yak fighters of previous types. The overall design was retained, but it was completely revised and restated for maximum weight reduction, reduced dimensions and improved aerodynamics. A noticeable reduction in drag was achieved by reducing the wing size by 2.3 square meters. m and the relative thickness of its profile, as well as improving the layout of the entire aircraft. All protruding parts that affected the streamlining of the car were removed. In addition, the shapes of the wing splices, the propeller cock, the canopy of the cockpit light were significantly improved; in addition, the sealing of the fuselage was improved. The water radiator was sunk deep into the fuselage, and the oil radiator was moved from under the engine back to the wing center section, where it practically fit into the contours of the aircraft. The canvas covering of the rear fuselage was replaced with plywood, and a mastless antenna was used. The reserve of gasoline was reduced by 30 kg and amounted to 275 kg, and oil – 20 kg. All this resulted in savings in weight (300 kg less than the Yak-1). Motor builders carried out the second boost of the M-105PF engine by supercharging, increasing its power by 80 hp. The new M-105PF-2 engine (since 1944 – VK-105PF-2) was mounted on a prototype Yak-1M fighter with improved aerodynamics. This aircraft was also equipped with: one 20-mm B-20M air gun and two synchronous 12.7-mm UBS machine guns. As a result of all these measures, the aircraft’s flight weight decreased to 2,655-2,660 kg, and its flight performance improved significantly. The Yak-1M passed factory tests from September 20 to September 30, and state tests – from October 6 to October 15, 1943. During its tests, a maximum speed of 651 km / h was achieved, which is almost 60 km/h higher than the speed of the Yak-1. Its maneuvering characteristics and rate of climb have improved, and its flight range has increased to 900 km. Despite the smaller wing area, the take-off and landing and corkscrew properties did not deteriorate, the aircraft remained stable in all modes and easily controlled.
According to the test results, the Yak-1M fighter was recommended to replace the Yak-1 in mass production, under the designation – “Yak-3”. The adaptability of their design in war conditions contributed to the mass production of these machines with improved flight performance. So, the climb during the combat turn increased from 900 m for the Yak-1 to 950-1350 m for the Yak-9 and to 1200-1500 m for the Yak-3. The maximum speed increased from 578 to 651 km / h, the climb time of 5000 m decreased from 5.4 to 3.5 minutes, the ceiling increased from 10,000 to 11,800 m, and the time for front-line fighters was within 17-21 seconds.
Already in the spring of 1944, the first serial front-line fighters Yak-3 began to arrive in the fighter regiments of the Air Force. They were armed with a 20-mm SHVAK air gun and one 12.7-mm synchronous UBS machine gun. During the war years, the Yak-3 fighter was produced with several weapons options: one SHVAK gun and two synchronous UB machine guns; one 37-mm H-37 gun and two B-20S guns; three B-20 guns (one B-20M motor gun and two B-20S). The first combat contacts of the Yak-3 with German fighters showed their significant advantage. High speed, excellent rate of climb, good ceiling, maneuverability and ease of piloting made the Yak-3 a favorite aircraft of Soviet fighter pilots. The Yak-3’s superiority was most pronounced in air battles at altitudes up to 5,000 m. The pilots of the French aviation regiment Normandie-Niemen, who fought on the Soviet-German front from March 22, 1943 to May 9, 1945, did not accidentally choose the Yak-3 as the best fighter of the Second World War. It was on the Yak-3 aircraft that they won 99 victories. So, in an air battle on July 16, 1944, between 18 Yak-3 fighters and 24 German Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf FW 190 fighters, 15 enemy aircraft were destroyed,while our pilots lost only one of their own.
Of the shortcomings of the Yak-3 aircraft, Soviet pilots noted only a small fuel reserve. The Yak-3 became the lightest and most maneuverable fighter in the world for its time. In the same year, 1944, a variant of the Yak-3 with a VK-107A engine with a capacity of 1,650 hp was developed. In the conclusion of the Air Force Research Institute after conducting state tests of the Yak-3 aircraft with this engine, it was indicated that: “In terms of maximum horizontal speed, rate of climb and vertical maneuverability over the entire altitude range from the ground to the practical ceiling, it is the best known domestic and foreign fighters.” It reached a speed of 720 km / h and a ceiling of 11,800 m, and the experimental Yak-3 aircraft with the VK-108 engine reached a speed of 745 km / h, the highest for Soviet fighters. In terms of tactical use, the Yak-3 did not replace other fighters with longer range and powerful weapons, but it perfectly complemented them, embodying the idea of a light, fast and maneuverable combat vehicle. The Yak-3, which was ideally suited to the conditions of war on the Soviet-German front, left a bright mark on the history of world aircraft construction during the Second World War as one of the best examples of a fighter for gaining air superiority. The Yak-3 remained in the history of Soviet aviation as a “Victory plane”, as it participated in battles at the final stage of the Great Patriotic War in Belarus, the Baltic States, Poland and Germany. Hero of the Soviet Union P. S. Kutakhov (42 victories) and Hero of the Soviet Union B. N. Eremin (23 victories) fought twice on Yak-3 aircraft.
The Yak-3 fighter was produced by two factories: No. 31 named after G. Dimitrov (Tbilisi) and No. 292 (Saratov). If by the end of 1944, 1,340 new fighters were built, then in January – April 1945 – another 1,016 Yak-3 aircraft. A total of 4,848 Yak-3 aircraft of various modifications were produced in 1944-1946.
The open exhibition of the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War presents a mock-up of the Yak-3 fighter aircraft (tail number 07), which was part of the 270th fighter Regiment of the 203rd Fighter Aviation Division. The mock-up of the aircraft was built in March 1995 by the Orenburg Production Association Strela (plant No. 47), where the production of Yakovlev Yak – 1 fighters was mastered in 1942-1943. The Yak-3 aircraft was presented to the hero city of Moscow on May 9, 1995, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, and transferred to the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War for permanent storage.