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Soviet Union's Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter

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Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter:
Soviet Union's Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter

Design

The Yak-3 was designed to be a compact and maneuverable fighter that would use the M-107 (1,650 HP) engine in an all-metal frame.1,2 The invasion by the Germans caused the Yak-1M to receive more focus with the M-107 engine.1 Thus the Yak-3 was developed with a more powerful version of the M-105PF.1 The wingspan was also reduced.1

Combat Altitudes

The best altitudes for the Yak-3 to perform was from 8,000 to 11,000 feet.2

Production

  • Yakovlev Yak-3: 4,8481
  • Yakovlev Yak-3U: 11
  • Yakovlev Yak-3-107:
    • Manufacturer: State Industries2
    • Production: 1945 - 19461

Variants

  • Yakovlev Yak-3: Entered service in mid 1944.1,2
  • Yakovlev Yak-3U: Only one built.1 Had ASh-82FN radial engine.1
  • Yakovlev Yak-3-107: Had the M-107 engine.1 Built in 1945 - 1946, and missed combat in World War II.1
  • Yakovlev Yak-3M-107: All metal airframe.1

Usage

France, Poland, and the Soviet Union used the Yak-3s.1

Luftwaffe Ordered to Avoid Combat

The Yak-3 was found to be extremely maneuverable in close in fighting that took place below 16,400' / 5,000 m and by 1944 the Luftwaffe issued orders that pilots were "to avoid combat below 5,000 m with the Yakovlev fighters lacking an oil cooler under the nose."1

In one dogfight in July 1944, 30 Bf 109s and Fw 190s went up against 18 Yaks and lost 24 against a loss of 1 Yak.1

Normandie-Niéman Regiment

All French unit fighting with the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front.1,2 99 out of the 273 kills the unit did were with the Yak-3.1

After D-Day (June 6, 1944), this unit chose the Yak-3 out of all fighters to take back to France.1

Polish Warsaw 1st Regiment

The Yak-3 was also used by the Polish Warsaw 1st Regiment.2

Specifications

  Yakovlev Yak-31,2
Type Attack fighter2, Fighter1
Crew 11,2
Engine (Type) Klimov M-105PF-21,2
OR Klimov M-107A1
Cylinders V 121,2
Cooling Liquid2
HP M-105PF-2: 1,2202, 1,3001
M-107A: 1,6501
Propeller blades 31
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 30' 2"2, 30' 2.25"1
9.2 m1
Length 27' 10.25"1, 27' 11"2
8.49 m1
Height 7' 10"2, 7' 11.25"1
2.42 m1
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,641 lb1
2,105 kg1
Loaded 5,864 lb1,2
2,650 kg1
Performance  
Speed @ sea level 367 mph1
590 kph1
Speed @ 10,100' /
3,080 m
407 mph1
655 kph1
Speed @ 16,400' 403 mph2
Speed (M-107 engine)
@ 19,685' / 6,000 m
447 mph1
719 kph1
Climb 4,260'/min1
1,298 m/min1
Climb (M-107 engine) 5,250'/min1
1,600 m/min1
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
4.1 minutes1
Cruising speed  
Service ceiling 35,430'1, 35,760'2
10,800 m1
Range 559 miles1, 560 miles2
900 km1
Armament 1: 20 mm2
2: MG2
Nose 1: 20 mm1
2: 12.7 mm MG1
OR 1: 30 mm1
3: 30 mm1

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site