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Lavochkin La-150

Soviet Union (1946)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Lavochkin La-150 Jet-Powered Fighter Prototype.

 Entry last updated on 7/7/2015; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Lavochkin La-150  
Picture of Lavochkin La-150 Jet-Powered Fighter Prototype

The Lavochkin La-150 fighter was developed in response to a Josef Stalin directive covering a single-seat jet-powered fighting platform.

In February of 1945 Soviet leader Josef Stalin issued a directive for a single-seat fighter to be built around the captured German Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet engine for service with the Soviet Air Force. The charge fell to the Lavochkin concern which had delivered several piston-driven fighters during the war but - like many companies of the period - lacked the experience in the design, development and construction of all-metal, jet-powered types. Nevertheless, the challenge was laid and Lavochkin engineers could only try and meet the demand.

The adopted design featured a cockpit fitted well-forward of a relatively deep fuselage. The engine was mounted under the aircraft with aspiration through the cut-off nose - the air directed around the cockpit by a split-duct network. A stem emanating from the dorsal section of the fuselage made up the empennage to which a rounded vertical tail fin was fitted that featured mid-mounted horizontal planes. The wing mainplanes were shoulder-mounted, straight and fitted just ahead of midships. The undercarriage was of a tricycle arrangement and fully retractable, positioned along the fuselage (the first for a Soviet jet fighter). Proposed armament became 2 x 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 series cannons installed at the lower nose along the rim of the intake. The single-seat cockpit was under a framed canopy unit and armoring was used to help protect the pilot. In the Soviet inventory, the German Junkers Jumo 004B engine was copied as the "RD-10" and rated for 1,985 pounds of thrust output to be fed by way of five internal fuel stores.

Lavochkin unveiled a mockup in June of 1945 as the war in Europe had drawn to a close (May). Soviet authorities put in an order for five prototypes/pre-production models to which the first of these flew on September 11th, 1946. The delay between contract issuance and fly date was brought about by the inexperience of building all-metal aircraft at Lavochkin and the unreliable nature of the turbojet engine in play. However, this period allowed engineers to fine-tune the emerging design some prior to the first-flight date in 1946.
Sufficiently impressed, Soviet authorities wanted to showcase their new little fighter in the October Revolution parade of November1946 and ordered additional aircraft to bring the combined total to eight. By this time, the product was designated as "La-13" in order with previous Lavochkin offerings which included the post-war La-11 prop-powered monoplane fighter. With the flyby plans in place all fell to naught when bad weather excluded the new aircraft from impressing onlookers.

Again, this work was not lost for additional limitations were uncovered in the design allowing engineers a period to rectify them prior to more formal testing. At least five of the existing stock were modified to a new standard but engine reliability continued to plague the program. The La-150M mark was born from a one-off prototype heavily modified at the Lavochkin plant through downturned wingtips on the mainplanes (done to combat heavy dihedral effect occurring at the wings), revised wing elements (including a detaching feature to facilitate transport), improved cockpit comfort, an ejection seat and cockpit armoring. Despite these qualities being added the aircraft's performance sank in response which negated modifying any other of the original prototypes in similar fashion.

A new turbojet model of the RD-10 was introduced to the product line in mid-1947 which produced the "La-150F" prototype designation. This engine offered an increase in base power with afterburner capability but it was not enough to save the program for oscillation issues and other limitations continued to restrict handling and performance. By this time, the product had been surpassed by other competing types which left the La-150 to be cancelled.

The La-152 became a related, though highly modified, off-shoot of the La-150 program. Four of this model were produced but this line, too, fell by the wayside amidst the glut of competing Soviet designs.

The La-150 was known in the West, particularly by the United States military, under the designation of "Type 3". The La-152 would followed as the "Type 4".
Lavochkin La-150 Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Soviet Union
Year: 1946
Type: Jet-Powered Fighter Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Lavochkin OKB - Soviet Union
Production: 8
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Length: 30.91 ft (9.42 m)
Width: 26.90 ft (8.20 m)
Height: 8.53 ft (2.60 m)
Empty Weight: 4,751 lb (2,155 kg)
MTOW: 6,614 lb (3,000 kg)

Installed Power
1 x RD-10 (Junkers Jumo 004B) turbojet engine developing 1,985 lb thrust.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 544 mph (875 kph; 472 kts)
Maximum Range: 308 mi (495 km; 267 nm)
Service Ceiling: 41,339 ft (12,600 m; 7.83 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 4,350 ft/min (1,326 m/min)

2 x 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 autocannons in nose.

Operators List
Soviet Union

Series Model Variants
• La-150 - Base Series Designation

Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon