Lavochkin-Gorbuniv-Gudkov (LaGG) went on to design, develop, and produce the effective LaGG-3 single-seat, single-engine monoplane fighter for the Soviet Union during the World War 2 years (1939-1945). The inline-engined LaGG-3 was a further evolution of the earlier LaGG-1, this aircraft existing in only 100 completed examples, setting the framework for the subsequent LaGG-3, La-5, and La-7 fighter series to follow. For its part in the war, the LaGG-3 was completed in 6,528 examples and served the Soviet Air Force well. Introduced in the early part of 1941, it was retired as soon as 1944 while production spanned those very same war years.
In 1941, as soon as the LaGG-3 was rooting itself as a player in the wide-reaching war, thought turned to an offshoot of this gunnery platform, one to fit an air-cooled radial unit instead of the more fragile inline system currently in play. This led Gudkov to develop the "Gu-82" which intended to carry the Shvetsov M-82, a 14-cylinder radial of 1,540 horsepower output. The three-bladed propeller unit, with its large spinner, would be retained and armament was to mimic that of the original LaGG-3 (1 x 20mm autocannon in the propeller hub and 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns). Much of the form and function of the original remained.
The M-82 engine was a carry-over from the Sukhoi Su-4 project which intended to mate the Su-4 airframe with the Urmin M-90 engine of 2,100 horsepower. When this intention fell through, the M-82 was to be substituted to create a "wooden-winged attacker" armed through 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns. A single prototype of this aircraft was tested but the product was not selected for production.
Regardless, the M-82 was to be installed in the LaGG-3 airframe to produce the Gu-82 in an attempt to extract better performance and improved economy over that of the original while also increasing survivability through use of an air-cooled radial. The project was heavily delayed by the German invasion of the Soviet union in June of 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) as resources were directed toward the ultimate defense of the Soviet Motherland. To make matters worse for the program, the facility was under threat of being overrun by the enemy, forcing the factory to be relocated eastwards in October of that year. By this time, just one of the two contracted-for prototypes was available and this example did not begin flight-testing until the middle of 1942.
During this time, advancement on a LaGG-3 successor, becoming the La-5 by Lavochkin, eventually overtook the Gu-82 program which was no longer needed. As such, the Gu-82 aircraft's development was abandoned shortly thereafter. The resulting La-5, however, went on to have an excellent wartime and post-war career, seeing production each nearly 10,000 units with a few select global operators in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Mongolia, and Poland.
Some performance specifications of the Gu-82 on this page have been estimated on the part of the author based on the existing LaGG-3 production fighter.
(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.
28.7 ft (8.75 m)
32.2 ft (9.80 m)
4,872 lb (2,210 kg)
8,818 lb (4,000 kg)
+3,946 lb (+1,790 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Gudkov GU-82 production variant)
1 x M-82 air-cooled radial piston engine developing 1,330 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
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