In February of 1945, Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered aviation concerns to concentrate their energy on designing and developing a single-seat, jet-powered fighter featuring the German Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet engine as its centerpiece. This prompted all manner of proposals to come about and Lavochkin worked two parallel designs into fruition - these becoming the La-150 and the La-152. Despite attempting to fulfill the same requirement, each design was wholly unique and developed along its own lines. The La-152 is credited with being the first Soviet jet fighter to feature an afterburner capability in its engine though this did not come until a modified prototype had entered the fold. The German engine became the RD-10 in Soviet nomenclature.
The La-150 was given a "pod-and-boom" configuration popular with many early Soviet jet fighters of the period. A nose-mounted intake aspirated the single engine installation with and wing mainplanes were shoulder-mounted along the fuselage. A conventional, single-finned tail unit was used and a retractable three-legged wheeled undercarriage was fitted. The pilot sat at the extreme front of the aircraft under a largely unobstructed canopy.
Conversely, the La-152 was given a similar, though all-new thin wing planform and these appendages were mid-mounted along a deeper fuselage. The single jet engine still aspirated through a nose-mounted intake and exhausted under the fuselage and a single-finned tail arrangement was still in play. The aircraft retained a wheeled, three-point undercarriage that was retractable. The cockpit now resided at midships with more glazing used on the canopy, the cockpit's placement forced by the forward-mounted engine. The relocation of the engine in the nose was brought about to avoid "duct loss" encountered through the La-150's arrangement which sported a rear-mounted engine. To maintain the proper Center of Gravity (CoG), the cockpit was forced aft in the La-152. As a fighter development, the new aircraft carried an all-cannon armament comprised of 3 x 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 series cannons and all mounted in the nose.
La-152 took to the air for the first time on December 5th, 1946. The design netted itself a maximum speed of 520 miles per hour during its time aloft but was eventually lost in a crash on its eighth flight when attempting to land.
For the program, four total aircraft emerged as the La-152, La-154, La-156 and La-174TK which, save for slight engine differences, were largely faithful to one another in terms of design. The Lyulka TR-1 engine (2,800 pounds thrust) planned for La-154 was never fitted and the prototype never finished while La-156 graduated from an RD-10 to an RD-10F engine which included an afterburning capability. First flight of La-156 came during September of 1947 and this model managed a top speed of 562 miles per hour. The prototype also added lengthened wings, an ejection seat, a new canopy design and cockpit armoring to symbolize a truer fighter form. Maximum speed achieved was 562 miles per hour. This prototype was trialed by the Soviet Air Force but too many required changes doomed it in 1948 from being adopted for serious use.
La-174TK was largely an experimental version of the La-156 when it appeared in 1947. A thinner wing mainplane was fitted and the British Rolls-Royce Derwent V turbojet of 3,500 pounds thrust output was installed. The shift in engine forced the nose cannon armament to be relocated to the ventral section of the nose and the revised design managed a maximum speed of 600 miles per hour.
Like the others in the series, La-174 fell to naught as any further work on the program was halted due to the rise (and promised performance gains) of swept-wing jet fighters being worked on. Straight-winged jets held both performance and technological ceilings that could be largely overcome through swept wing surfaces and this work led to the classic designs of the period such as the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 and the North American F-86 Sabre of Korean War (1950-1953) fame.
La-152 was recognized by the USAF as "Type 4". This line of aircraft went on to influence the upcoming La-160 project which evolved the product line even further - this form becoming the "Type 6" in USAF nomenclature.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
29.9 ft (9.12 m)
28.0 ft (8.52 m)
5,291 lb (2,400 kg)
7,760 lb (3,520 kg)
+2,469 lb (+1,120 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Lavochkin La-156 production variant)
1 x RD-10 (Junkers Jumo 004B) turbojet engine with afterburner developing 2,000 lb thrust.
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