Yakovlev Yak-1b
FIREPOWER
3
MANEUVERABILITY
8
CLIMB RATE
5
DURABILITY
4
SPEED
6
GROUND ATTACK
2

Crew
1
Primary Guns
1 x Beresin (UBS) 12.7mm machine gun with 250 rpg in cowl.
Secondary Guns
1 x ShVAK 20mm cannon with 110 rpg in propeller hub.
Defensive Guns
Ordnance
2 x 110 lb (50 kg) or 2 x 220 lb (100 kg) bombs, plus 6 x 33 lb (15 kg) RS-82 rockets under wings. Maximum load of 500 lbs.
Engine(s)
1 x Klimov M-105PF 12-cylinder in-line rated for 1,180 hp at sea level
Int Fuel Capacity
727 lbs (330 kg).
Ext Fuel Capacity
none
Maximum Speeds
310 mph (499 kph) at sea level, 364 mph (586 kph) at 13,780 ft (4200 m).
Climb Rate
5.5 min to 16,400 ft (5000 m).
Service Ceiling
32,970 ft (10050 m).
Range
435 miles (700 km).
Wingspan
32 ft 9.7 in (10.0 m).
Length
27 ft 9.9 in (8.48 m).
Height
10 ft 7.2 in (3.23 m).
Loaded Weight
6,217 lbs (2820 kg).
Wing Area
184.5 sq ft (17.2 sq m).
Wing Loading
33.7 lbs/sq ft (164.0 kg/sq m).

History

A close personal friend of Josef Stalin, Alexander Yakovlev was given control of several aircraft factories in the Moscow region, which produced a series of basic trainers. In December 1938 a discussion between the two men centered on the possibility of building a fighter around the new Klimov M-105P 12-cylinder, water-cooled engine (a copy of the Hispano-Suiza HS-12Y). A month later the NKAP issued the design directive that also resulted in the LaGG-3 and MiG-3.

The I-26 prototype was made of mixed metal, wood, and fabric construction. The fuselage back to the cockpit was made of steel tubing covered by duralumin panels while the section aft of the cockpit was made of made of plywood spars covered by fabric. The wing was a one-piece affair utilizing a wooden box spar frame design with plywood skinning covered in varnished fabric.

As with the other designs culminating from this competition, the I-26 was rushed into production despite a laundry list of design flaws and production defects, which prevented it from meeting the design requirements. Initially fitted with a 20mm ShVAK cannon with 120 rpg firing through the propeller spinner and a pair of synchronized 7.62mm ShKAS machine-guns with 375 rpg in the upper cowl, the second series saw the 7.62mm ShKAS guns replaced with a single 12.7mm Beresin machine-gun with 250 rpg.

Redesignated the Yak-1 by Stalin in December 1941, the “B” version was an unofficial designation indicating the cut-down rear-cockpit design with transparent panels that was field modified by Major Shinkarenkov’s regiment to improve visibility to the rear.

In combat the Yak-1 was considered to have superior handling characteristics to pilots that flew it and captured examples of the German Bf-109F and FW-190A and in action was the most successful of the three designs. Additionally, ground crews found it to be an easy plane to maintain, requiring as little as 20 minutes to refuel and rearm and only 6 hours to replace the engine-cannon assembly.

Strengths

  1. Handling — An easy plane to fly, more pilots found success in the Yak-1 than in either of its two contemporary designs (the MiG-3 and LaGG-3).

Weakness

  1. Firepower — With only a single 12.7mm machine-gun to augment the engine-mounted 20mm cannon, the Yak-1 requires more time on target to get a kill than either the LaGG-3 or MiG-3.

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