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Yakovlev Yak-1 (Krasavyets)


Single-Seat Fighter Aircraft


Soviet Union | 1940



"The Yakovlev Yak-1 - and its related Yak-3, Yak-7 and Yak-9 brethren - are an oft-forgotten breed when comparing the best piston-engined fighters of World War 2, surpassing some 36,000 aircraft built in all."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/04/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Often overshadowed by its contemporaries in the West (to include the Supermarine Spitfire, North American P-51 Mustang, Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190) the early production Yakovlev fighter aircraft were some of the best piston-engined fighters fielded during World War 2. When production of all the major Yak fighter marks were combined (Yak-1, Yak-3, Yak-7 and Yak-9) these early Yakovlev creations easily became the most produced fighter aircraft line of the entire war numbering some 37,000 total aircraft. The type initially appeared as the Alexander Yakovlev-inspired Ya-26 prototype design and evolved into the I-26 production form before being redesignated as "Yak-1".

For a brief window into history, the Germans and Soviets maintained an uneasy truce during the formative years of World War 2. Both divided the spoils that was Poland and the each were allowed to commit to other conquering ventures without worry of the other. However, all this changed when Hitler enacted Operation Barbarossa and formally invaded the Soviet Union. Initially, German progress was powerful but stretched supply lines and the Soviet winter brought the Soviets time to regroup. Enough cannot be said about the subsequent Soviet response initially beginning with only a thin line of ill-equipped soldiers, tanks and airmen to stem the tide. Yakovlev set about to produce what would become one of three notable fighter designs that would inevitably bring the Soviet Air Force into the realm of respectability. These three would then be often referred to as the first true "modern" aircraft designs of the Soviet air arm, consisting of the Yak-1, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 and the Lavochkin LaGG-3. All would dutifully serve their roles as the Soviet Union pummeled the Germans back into Berlin.

The Yak-1 originated as a design of the Yakovlev bureau, destined to fulfill a 1938 Soviet government requirement for a fighter platform constructed mostly of wood for ease of maintenance, repair and - perhaps most importantly - mass production. The initial design was known as the "Ya-26 Krasavec" and flew for the first time in March of 1939. Upon acceptance of the design into serial production with the Soviet Air Force, the aircraft was afforded the designation of "I-26". Once production had begun, however, the aircraft was redesignated to the more common "Yak-1" naming convention. The acceptance of the Yak-1 would spawn several other successful Yakovlev designs and place the bureau in the elite class of Soviet aircraft design for decades to follow. In any case, the Yak-1 finally put the Soviet Air Force on par with competing German designs of the time (namely the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters) and opened the door to improved designs and, thusly, much improved aerial combat tactics that went beyond what the biplanes of the old Russian Empire once offered.

At first glance, the outwardly design of the Yak-1 "Krasavyets" (this name meaning "Little Beauty") proved very utilitarian featuring a basic yet slender fuselage, mid-set canopy and a low-cut vertical tail surface. Though the initial Yak-1 would feature a "razorback" fuselage spine (blocking views to the critical "six"), the upcoming Yak-1b sported an unobstructed bubble-type design. Construction consisted of a combination of plywood covered over in fabric that made the Yak-1 both easy to produce in large numbers and generally easier to maintain. Additionally, such a structure could withstand greater damage from enemy guns. Power was derived from a single Klimov-brand engine fitted to the front of the design and developing some 1,100 horsepower or more depending on the production model. The Yak-1 proved a highly capable performer that quickly endeared herself to her new generation of Soviet pilots. Initial production totals in 1940 were slow to mount though the German invasion of 1941 put the program into high gear of what would become one of the most celebrated Soviet piston-engine designs of the war.

The Yak-1 appeared in an improved form designated as the Yak-1b. Improvements included revised armor protection, a retractable tail wheel, bubble canopy upgraded engines and weapons. Two examples of the experimental Yak-1M existed and these were given more powerful engines, smaller-area wings and other improvements to help refine the mark. Total production of the Yak-1 exceeded some 8,700 examples. The I-28 prototype was intended as a Yak-5 interceptor but never produced - instead the improvements went into the upcoming Yak-7 and Yak-9 fighter models.

The Yak-3 appeared as a "lighter" version of the Yak-1 in an effort to help increase performance, first flying in late 1943. The Yak-7 followed thereafter and began life as a trainer with excellent performance enough to warrant 5,000 fighters being built. This design eventually culminated with the excellent Yak-9 "Frank", itself a further development of a Yak-7 experiment. This particular model would itself spawn a plethora of battlefield-necessary designs including a dedicated tank-buster, fighter-bomber and several long-range fighter escort mounts. In all, the Yakovlev designs would prove to be some of the most instrumental and best-performing fighters of the entire war and Luftwaffe pilots themselves would later attest to these excellent flying machines available to Soviet airmen.

As an aside, the Yak-1 was known to serve within the Soviet all-female Soviet air unit (the 586 IAP) that would go on to produce two of the world's only female air aces - Lydia Litvyak and Katya Budanova - each collecting 12 and 11 air victories respectively. Soviet women played a crucial role in the forging of the new Soviet military. The Yak-1 was fielded y the Free French forces, Poland and Yugoslavia. For the latter, the Yak-1 served until 1950.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Yakovlev Yak-1B (Krasavyets) Single-Seat Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Klimov M-105P V12 liquid-cooled inline engine developing 1,180 horsepower.
Propulsion
368 mph
592 kph | 320 kts
Max Speed
34,465 ft
10,505 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
435 miles
700 km | 378 nm
Operational Range
3,038 ft/min
926 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Yakovlev Yak-1B (Krasavyets) Single-Seat Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
27.9 ft
8.50 m
O/A Length
32.8 ft
(10.00 m)
O/A Width
8.7 ft
(2.64 m)
O/A Height
5,278 lb
(2,394 kg)
Empty Weight
6,356 lb
(2,883 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Yakovlev Yak-1 (Krasavyets) Single-Seat Fighter Aircraft .
STANDARD:
1 x 20mm ShVAK cannon in propeller hub
1 x 12.7mm Berezin UBS machine gun OR 2 x 7.62mm machine guns in forward fuselage.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 441lb of external stores including both bombs and rockets.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Yakovlev Yak-1 (Krasavyets) family line.
Ya-26 "Krasavec" - First Model Design by Alexander Yakovlev to the 1938 fighter requirement.
I-26 - Initial Production Model Designation; lated redesignated to the Yak-1.
Yak-1 - Initial Production Model Designation
Yak-1b - "Improved" Yak-1 featuring improved armor protection, retractable tail wheel, improved engine, improved weapons system and bubble-type canopy; 4,188 examples produced.
Yak-1M - Two examples produced; uprated engine, smaller wings and improvements initiated throughout.
I-28 - Prototype Yak-5 High-Altitude Interceptor; design used in Yak-7 and Yak-9.
I-30 - Prototype with improvements to design and construction throughout.
Yak-3 - Lightened Version of the base Yak-1.
Yak-7 - Fighter Variant; based on two-seat trainer; 5,000 examples produced.
Yak-9 - Definitive Variant based on developmental Yak-7 frame; constructed with light alloy wing spars; 16,769 examples produced.
Yak-9M - Base Fighter Variant
Yak-9D - Long Range Model
Yak-9DD - Very Long Range Model
Yak-9U - All Metal Production Model
Yak-9P - Fitted with cannon armament.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Yakovlev Yak-1 (Krasavyets). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 8,700 Units

Contractor(s): Yakovlev - Soviet Union
National flag of France National flag of Poland National flag of the Soviet Union

[ France (Free French); Poland; Soviet Union ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (368mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
8700
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Yakovlev Yak-1 (Krasavyets)
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Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
INTERCEPTION
CLOSE-AIR SUPPORT
TRAINING
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Yakovlev Yak-1 (Krasavyets) Single-Seat Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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