Lavochkin La-7 B-20
FIREPOWER
6
MANEUVERABILITY
7
CLIMB RATE
7
DURABILITY
6
SPEED
9
GROUND ATTACK
3

Crew
1
Primary Guns
1 x 20mm Beresin B-20S synchronised cannon with 150 rpg in cowl.
Secondary Guns
2 x 20mm Beresin B-20S synchronised cannon with 150 rpg in cowl.
Defensive Guns
Ordnance
2 x 110 lb (50 kg) or 2 x 220 lb (100 kg) bombs or 6 x 33 lb (15 kg) RS-82 rockets under wings.
Engine(s)
1 x Shvetsov ASh-82FNV radial piston engine rated for 1,775 hp at sea level (1,935 hp with WEP).
Int Fuel Capacity
793 lbs (360 kg).
Ext Fuel Capacity
none
Maximum Speeds
373 mph (600 kph) at sea level; 423 mph (681 kph) at 22,300 ft (6800 m).
Climb Rate
3,937 ft.per minute (1200 m/min); 4.5 min to 16,400 ft (5000 m).
Service Ceiling
37,070 ft (11300 m).
Range
395 miles (635 km).
Wingspan
32 ft 1.8 in (9.80 m).
Length
28 ft 5.3 in (8.67 m).
Height
8 ft 4 in (2.54 m).
Loaded Weight
7,187 lb (3260 kg).
Wing Area
188.4 sq ft (17.5 sq m).
Wing Loading
38.1 lbs/sq ft (186.3 kg/sq m).

History

By 1943, the power output of the modified, improved and injected M-82 engine was as high as it would ever get. Hopes for improved performance in the Lavochkin fighter were thus pinned on adopting the new M-71 radial, but development problems with the engine kept it from entering service until after the war.

That left the Lavochkin team with making improvements to the airframe in order to get better performance. Working with a basic La-5 airframe, considerable changes were made to aerodynamic structure by moving inlets and a careful redesign of the cowl. Replacement of some wooden parts with lighter metal ones resulted in an overall weight savings, which combined with the improved aerodynamic shape to give the prototype a 40 mph improvement in top speed over the production La-5FN.

Initial versions were fitted with a pair of 20mm ShVAK cannon with 200 rpg in the cowl, but when the lighter Berezin B-20 cannon became available, production was switched to include three of these weapons with 150 rpg. Due to some early reliability problems with B-20S, both 2- and 3- cannon La-7 variants reached combat units.

The La-7 was both faster and more maneuverable than the FW-190A-8 at all altitudes up to 20,000 feet, and a total of 5,905 La-7s were delivered.

Strengths

  1. Speed — Production fighters were able to reach 407 mph at 20,000 feet and the La-7 outperformed its German contemporaries at all altitudes lower than that.
  2. Maneuverability — As with the La-5FN, the La-7 could outmaneuver its opponents in both the vertical and horizontal plane.

Weakness

  1. Durability — The retention of wooden components gave the La-7 a durability disadvantage over the all-metal fighters it faced

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