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Yakovlev Yak-15 (Feather)

Soviet Union (1947)
Picture of Yakovlev Yak-15 (Feather) Jet-Powered Fighter

The Yakovlev Yak-15 mated the German Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet engine with a highly-modified airframe of the Yak-3 piston-powered fighter.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Yakovlev Yak-15 (Feather) Jet-Powered Fighter.  Entry last updated on 5/5/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

After the fall of Germany in May of 1945, the Soviet Union (as well as the Allies) was privy to pieces of captured data regarding turbojet engine technology. The age of the jet would soon be upon the world with all of the victorious world powers benefitting from the work that had been done by the German engineers in the months and years leading up to the end of World War 2. Not only was valuable data captured by the victors but, as in the case of the Soviet Air Force, large stores of engines were netted in abandoned or conquered German-run production facilities. Such technology could then be thoroughly tested and, ultimately, reverse-engineered to garner new insight into the evolving technology of the time. The German Junkers Jumo 004B series turbojet engine became one such spoil of war for the Soviet Union and it was quickly collected in quantity and delivered for review to various Soviet firms.

The Soviet Union, along with the British and the Americans, had persevered to bring about their own indigenous jet engine programs during the war with the British proving ahead of the curve by war's end (next to Germany). As such, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin encouraged the use of the captured German engines to facilitate introduction of new Soviet jet-powered fighters until proven homegrown technology could become available in quantity.
Engineers received German engine examples and took to fitting the powerplant in to a highly-modified airframe consisting of Yak-3 piston-powered fighter that had served in the war prior - now available in some numbers. The end result would create a light airframe that meshed well with the relatively underpowered performance inherent in the Jumo 004B. The Yak-3 was a conventional fighter aircraft in most respects, fielding low-set monoplane wings mounted ahead of amidships, a single-seat cockpit with adequate views all-around and a forward-mounted engine compartment. The empennage was traditional, sporting a short vertical fin with horizontal tailplanes. In the revised design, the piston-powered engine was replaced by the turbojet (now known under the Soviet designation of "RD-10" and constructed by Tumansky) at the front of the design. Gone was the three-bladed propeller as well, this replaced by the gaping air intake required to aspirate the engine. The low-set monoplane wings remained as did the aft-end of the fuselage and tail-dragging undercarriage of the original aircraft to help speed up development. The aircraft achieved first flight on April 24, 1946 and was designated as the "Yakovlev Yak-15" - becoming one of the earliest jet fighters available to serve with Soviet Air Force. The aircraft was publically displayed in her full aerial glory during the upcoming Tushino Aviation Day of August, 1946.

After a period of evaluation ending in 1947, to which the aircraft showcased itself quite well under the control of Soviet test pilots, the type was accepted into military service and formally armed with a pair cannons - initially 2 x 20mm BM-20 series and then 2 x 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 series cannons - these fitted to the upper forward nose assembly. Each cannon was afforded 60 projectiles of ammunition. Power from the RD-10 engine provided for a top speed of up to 500 miles per hour at altitude with a range of 315 miles. The aircraft's service ceiling topped off in the vicinity of 43,800 feet. Deliveries of the new Yak-15 occurred in 1947 and production outputted a total of at least 280 examples from 1946 to 1947. NATO went on to codename the new fighter as "Feather" in keeping with tradition (Soviet fighters were given "F" names while bombers were given "B" names).

The Yak-15 was evolved into a two-seat trainer as the "Yak-21". This airframe featured seating for an instructor and student pilot (in a forward cockpit, lengthening the fuselage as a result) as well as redundant flight controls in both seating emplacements. Training was required for all pilots as jet-powered flight brought about a whole new set of rules and concerns for "green" and veteran Soviet airmen alike. The Yak-15U was a developmental model fitting powered tricycle landing gear but was not produced en mass. The Yak-15U existed in a two-seat trainer mount under the designation of Yak-21T but, again, these did not enter serial production with the Yak-15 line.

The Soviet Air Force would become the only operator of the Yak-15 for its tenure was relatively short-lived and production was never truly quantitative enough to see export to allies. The Yak-15 was retired from service by 1953, quickly replaced by improved jet-powered types including the revolutionary MiG-15 of the Korean War.






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (500mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Yakovlev Yak-15 (Feather)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
280
280


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Soviet Union
Service Year: 1947
Classification Type: Jet-Powered Fighter
Manufacturer(s): Yakovlev - Soviet Union
Production Units: 280
Global Operators:
Soviet Union
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Yakovlev Yak-15 (Feather) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
28.81 ft


Meters
8.78 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
30.18 ft


Meters
9.2 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
7.22 ft


Meters
2.2 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
4,228 lb


Kilograms
1,918 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
13,327 lb


Kilograms
6,045 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Tumansky RD-10 turbojet engine of 2,000lbs thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
500 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
805 kph


Knots
435 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
317 mi


Kilometers
510 km


Nautical Miles
275 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
43,799 ft


Meters
13,350 m


Miles
8.30 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
3,416 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,041 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

2 x 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannons
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Yak-15 - Base Series Designation; definitive production version.
• Yak-21 - Two-seat trainer variant with second cockpit; lengthened fuselage.
• Yak-15U - Proposed tricycle undercarriage.
• Yak-21T - Proposed two-seat trainer version of the Yak-15U model.