With the establishment of jet-powered military fighter aircraft in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, it behooved national powers to support an advanced pilot training program. Airmen graduating from the classroom to primary trainers needed a sufficient in-between, in-flight classroom for which to learn the nuances of jet-powered flight from. As such, many air services of the Cold War period went on to introduce twin-seat, jet-powered aircraft to fulfill the advanced trainer role. Yakovlev OKB attempted to sell the Soviet Air Force on its impressive Yak-30 of 1960. This little-remembered jet trainer was not selected for serial production and existed in just four total prototype examples.
The Yak-30 was part of a larger Soviet competition to find a standardized advanced jet trainer for itself and its allies. Yakovlev engineers elected for a rather elegant, two-seat, single-engine design with high-reaching tail fin and swept-back mainplanes. The cockpit, seating two in tandem under a single-piece sliding canopy, was set well-forward of midships. Both crew were given ejection seats should the worst happen and controls were duplicated at both positions. The mainplanes resided near midships. The engine exhausted through a port under the tail and was aspirated by way of wingroot-mounted intakes - allowing the nose section to be covered over in a smooth cone. A retractable tricycle undercarriage was featured for ground-running. Lightweight metal was used exclusively in the construction of the aircraft and costs were kept to a minimum - as were maintenance and operating requirements.
To power the design, the Tumansky Ru-19 series turbojet was selected and this engine was developed with the new trainer in mind so the two products went hand-in-hand from the outset. Output from the single engine installation was 1,984lb of thrust to which the aircraft held a maximum listed speed of 410 mph with a reported range out to 600 miles and a service ceiling beyond 35,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was 3,540 feet-per-minute.
Four flyable prototypes were constructed by Yakovlev as was a single testbed product. A first-flight was recorded on May 20th, 1960 and flying continued into the next year. When the official fly-off was had between the Yak-30, the Czech-originated L-29 and the Polish TS-11 entry, the Yak-30 bested the Polish TS-11 but failed against the L-29. There proved nothing inherently wrong with the Yak-30 submission as it appears that the final decision of August 1961 was a politically-based one. This brought an end to Yakovlev hopes that it would deliver to the Soviet Air Force its next trainer aircraft.
Despite this, the Yak-30 still flew for a time longer and managed a few air records (for small jet aircraft) before it met its official end.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
33.3 ft (10.14 m)
30.8 ft (9.38 m)
11.2 ft (3.40 m)
3,428 lb (1,555 kg)
5,622 lb (2,550 kg)
+2,194 lb (+995 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Yakovlev Yak-30 production variant)
1 x Tumansky RU19-300 turbofan engine developing 2,363lb of thrust.
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