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Soviet Union's Lavochkin La-5 fighter


  • Lavochkin La-5 fighter video part
  • Lavochkin La-5 fighter video part


Semyon Alekseievich Lavochkin started working on the design for the Lavochkin La-5 / LaG-5 in October 1941.

The Lavochkin La-5 was based on the Lavochkin LaGG-3. The La-5 also had an all wood construction. The La-5FN used metal and wood construction.


The La-5 used a better engine than the LaGG-3 to improve performance. It was the Shvetsov M.82 radial engine (1,600 HP). By eliminating the cooling system it saved weight. The front of the fuselage was extended to allow for the engine to fit.

The engine was again improved in 1943 with the La-5FN that had a M.82FN direct injection engine (1,640 HP).


The wing was constructed of plastic bonded wood veneer strips.

There were five self sealing fuel tanks in each wing. To improve maneuverability the outer two tanks were usually left empty.

The control surfaces were light allow with a fabric covering.

Tail wheel

The tail wheel was retractable but was unreliable.


The elevator and rudder were made of an alloy frame with fabric covering.


The rear fuselage was cut down to allow for better visibility than the LaGG-3.


The La-5 prototype first flew in March 1942.

The acceptance trials for the La-5 prototype was completed in May 1942.


First entered production in July 1942 with approximately 1,182 built by the end of the year.

Around 12,000 Lavochkin's were produced.

  • Lavochkin La-5: 1,182, 9,920
  • Lavochkin La-5FN:
  • Total: 21,875 (includes La-7)
    • Manufacturer: State Industries


  • Lavochkin La-5:
  • Lavochkin La-5N: Appeared in March 1943. The engine was a fuel injected M-82FN.
  • Lavochkin La-5FN: Appeared in 1943.
  • Lavochkin La-5UTI: Trainer. Two seats. Armament was usually removed.


Liked for it's low level dog fighting, the La-5 was liked by it's pilots and many of the Soviet aces flew the La-5. The ace of aces, Ivan Kozhedub, flew the La-5 and shot down 62 enemy planes. He flew La-5s, La-5FNs, and La-7s from March 26, 1943 to April 19, 1945. Kozhedub also shot down a Me. 262 while flying a La-7.


The La-5 became operational in the spring of 1942.


The first large use of the La-5s were over Stalingrad.


Lavochkin La-5s escorted Il-2 Shturmovik's during the battle of Kursk. The La-5s would also be used as tank busters, and once they expended their heavy weapons they would climb to be escorts for the Il-2s.

After World War II

The Lavochkin La-11, the last piston fighter, was used by Communist forces in 1960.


  Lavochkin LaG-5
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) M-82
Cylinders Radial
HP 1,600
  Lavochkin La-5FN
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Shvetsov M-82FN
ASh-82FN piston
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,640, 1,650, 1,850
Propeller blades 3
Span 32', 32' 1.75", 32' 2", 32' 5.75"
9.8 m, 9.9 m
Length 27' 10.75", 27' 11", 28', 28' 2.5", 28' 5.3"
8.5 m, 8.6 m, 8.67 m
Height 8', 8' 4", 9' 3"
2.54 m, 2.82 m
Wing area 189 ft2 , 189.3 ft2 , 201.8 ft2
17.59 m2 , 18.75 m2
Empty 5,737 lb, 5,743 lb, 6,173 lb
2,605 kg, 2,800 kg
Loaded 7,406 lb, 7,407 lb, 7,408 lb, 7,932 lb
3,360 kg
Speed 403 mph
650 kph
Speed at 16,400' 402 mph
Speed at 16,405' / 5,000 m 402 mph
647 kph
Speed at 21,000' / 6,400 m 403 mph
648 kph
Climb 3,600'/minute
1,097 m/minute
Climb to 3,280' / 1,000 m 0.35 minutes
Climb to 16,000' / 5,000 m 5 minutes
Service ceiling 32,800, 32,810', 36,000', 36,090'
10,000 m, 11,000 m
Range 435 miles, 475 miles
700 km, 765 km
Armament 2: 20 mm
Bombs 330 lb
Above engine 2: 20 mm
2: 20 mm ShVAK
OR 2: 23 mm NS (later aircraft)
Under wings Rockets or light bombs
331 lb bombs, 350 lb bombs
150 kg bombs, 158 kg bombs
OR 4: 3" rockets, 3.23" rockets , 3.23" RS-82 rockets
4: 82 mm rockets, 82 mm RS 82 rockets
OR 2: PTAB anti-tank weapons


  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, General Editor Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  5. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site