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Yakovlev Yak-30

Jet-Powered Interceptor Prototype Aircraft

Yakovlev Yak-30

Jet-Powered Interceptor Prototype Aircraft


The swept-wing Yakovlev Yak-30 jet-powered interceptor prototype was a further evolution of the abandoned straight-wing Yak-25 design of 1947.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Soviet Union
YEAR: 1948
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Yakovlev OKB - Soviet Union
OPERATORS: Soviet Union

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Yakovlev Yak-30 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 29.07 feet (8.86 meters)
WIDTH: 28.38 feet (8.65 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 5,324 pounds (2,415 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 8,003 pounds (3,630 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Klimov RD-500 (Rolls-Royce Dervent Mk.V) turbofan engine developing 3,505lb of thrust.
SPEED (MAX): 637 miles-per-hour (1,025 kilometers-per-hour; 553 knots)
RANGE: 1,069 miles (1,720 kilometers; 929 nautical miles)
CEILING: 49,213 feet (15,000 meters; 9.32 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 2,460 feet-per-minute (750 meters-per-minute)

3 x 23mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannons in nose.
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon

Series Model Variants
• Yak-30 - Base Series Designation; initial prototype (of two).
• Yak-30D - Second prototype; Fowler flaps; revised undercarriage door; increased internal volume; airbrakes; improved onboard systems.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Yakovlev Yak-30 Jet-Powered Interceptor Prototype Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 3/16/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Like the global powers of the West during the Cold War decades, the Soviet Union moved on rapid testing and development of many jet-powered aircraft. After World War 2 - a war which witnessed the apex of prop-powered fighters - the turbojet engine became firmly entrenched as the next propulsion system of choice for military fighters and bombers and engineers on all sides raced against the clock in an attempt to mate the still-infant technology with a perfected high speed frame. Yakovlev OKB, founded prior to the war in 1934, was one of the power players in the Soviet defense industry during this period, joining stalwarts Mikoyan-Gurevich, Lavochkin, and Sukhoi in the race against the West.

In 1947, Soviet engineers at Yakovlev OKB revealed their Yak-25 interceptor prototype - a straight-winged aircraft with single vertical tail fin, high-mounted horizontal tailplanes, and a forward-set cockpit. The aircraft was intended to compete with designs being offered to the Soviet Air Force from Mikoyan-Gurevich and Lavochkin. The single turbojet engine was aspirated through the nose and was nothing more than a Rolls-Royce "Derwent" V centrifugal compressor-based system of 3,500lbf thrust output. First flight of this aircraft was on November 2nd, 1947 with testing lasted until July of the following year.

While performance of the Yakolev offering proved excellent for the period, it lacked high speed stability due to its use of a straight wing mainplane arrangement - severe buffeting being the result. A new tail unit failed to alleviate the issue and the competing design by Mikoyan-Gurevich - to become the famous MiG-15 - was selected ahead of all others. While this ultimately led to a stoppage on the Yak-25 product per se, work continued on what would become the "Yak-30" .

To compete with the swept-back wing submissions from Mikoyan-Gurevich and Lavochkin (the La-15) an endeavor arose that attempted to see the Yak-25 fitted with swept-back wings herself. The resulting aircraft featured the same general design layout of the Yak-25 but its wing mainplanes now featured 35-degree sweepback. Boundary layer fences were prominent along the dorsal face and, underwing, external fuel tanks were carried (early turbojets were thirsty systems limiting operational ranges). The aircraft carried over the same tubular fuselage of the Yak-25 as well as the open nose section that was used to aspirate the Derwent turbojet within (the copy of the British engine was the "RD-500" and manufactured (illegally) by Klimov OKB). The pilot sat in a cockpit at front with generally good views out of the provided canopy that featured framing only along its forward panels. The tricycle undercarriage was wholly retractable. The engine exhausted through a circular jetpipe under the tail with the tail unit itself made up of a single vertical fin with mid-mounted horizontal planes. In several ways, the Yak-30 mimicked many of the design lines adopted by both the Mikoyan-Gurevich (in their classic MiG-15 fighter) and Lavochkin (in their La-15).

NOTE: The "Yak-30"designation, while used in this ultimately abandoned Soviet jet program, was resurrected down the road in 1960 for yet another Yakovlev product - this being the Yak-30 "Magnum" jet-powered trainer of which four were constructed. The two products have no direct link between them.

The Klimov RD-500 turbojet engine developed upwards of 3,505lbf thrust output which provided a maximum speed of 636 miles per hour, a range out to 1,068 miles, a service ceiling of 49,215 feet, and a rate-of-climb of 8,070 feet per minute. In comparison, the MiG-15 (MiG-15bis mark) received 6,000lbf thrust output from its Klimov VK-1 turbojet and reached speeds of 658 miles per hour, a range out to 770 miles, operated at a service ceiling of 50,855 feet, and sported a rate-of-climb of 10,080 feet per minute.

Proposed armament for the Yak-30 was to be 3 x 23mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 autocannons with 75 rounds to a gun.

Two Yak-30 prototypes were realized from the now-stillborn Yak-25 program. First flight of the initial model was recorded on September 4th, 1948 though it was the second prototype that incorporated far more beneficial changes such as Fowler-type flaps (replacing the original split arrangement), air brakes, and revised landing gear door panels. Onboard systems were also improved as was internal volume. The Yak-30 proved faster and only slightly heavier than its forerunner but, unfortunately for Yakovlev engineers, the sweptback mainplanes persisted in being problematic at the speeds required.

Due to the official adoption of the MiG-15 into the Soviet Air Force inventory, the Yak-30 was not under any real consideration to find similar favor by the service. It was left to essentially live out its days as a data collection / research platform exploring various aeronautical fields including that of sweptback wings and turbojet propulsion. The program was eventually terminated in its own time after the usefulness of the product had been met. Only the two prototype Yak-30 aircraft were ever completed. In comparison, over 18,000 MiG-15s were produced and 235 of the Lavochkin La-15 were also taken on. Both were introduced in 1949.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (637mph).

Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Yakovlev Yak-30's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (2)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
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Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
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Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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