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Yakovlev Yak 17

The Yakovlev Yak-17, an initial Soviet jet fighter, emerged as a derivative of the Yak-15, primarily distinguished by its tricycle landing gear.

In the 1940s, the Yak-17UTI, also referred to as the Magnet by NATO, served as the sole Soviet jet trainer.

Although both aircraft were exported in limited quantities, the Yak-17 was swiftly substituted by the significantly more advanced Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, commencing in 1950.

Following the state acceptance trials of the Yak-15 in May 1947, it was recommended that the aircraft undergo modifications to better suit jet-powered operations.

Consequently, the Yakovlev design bureau initiated the development of the Yak-15U or Yak-15U-RD-10 (uloochshenny – improved).

One of the key modifications involved the redesign of the main gear to position the wheels behind the aircraft’s centre of gravity.

This relocation necessitated moving the main gear behind the front spar, resulting in a configuration where the retracted gear occupied a significant portion of the space between the spars.

Consequently, this major alteration led to the redesign of the fuel tanks, resulting in a reduced capacity of only 680 litres (150 gallons).

To compensate for this reduction, two 200-liter (44 imp gal; 53 U.S. gal) drop tanks were added, suspended beneath the wingtips.

The inclusion of these tip tanks required a structural overhaul of the wing to ensure the aircraft could still withstand a load bearing of 12g.

Additionally, the vertical stabilizer was enlarged, and a periscope was installed above the windscreen on most series aircraft.

However, the armament, systems, and equipment remained largely unchanged.

Production of the Yak-15U commenced in 1948, with a total of 717 units produced across all Yak-15 and Yak-17 variants.

The Yak-17 made its debut appearance during the Soviet Aviation Day of 1949, held at Tushino Airfield.

Despite sharing many of the same drawbacks as its predecessor, such as limited speed and range, as well as an unreliable engine derived from the German Junkers Jumo 004, the Yak-17 possessed a straightforward handling characteristic akin to popular propeller fighters like the Yak-3 and Yak-9.

This quality rendered it an exceptional transitional aircraft for pilots transitioning to jet fighters.

Consequently, the majority of Yak-17s produced were of the trainer variant, known as the Yak-17UTI, featuring tandem seating and dual controls.

This particular version fulfilled a crucial role within the Soviet air forces, addressing a significant training requirement.

Yak-15U (Yak-15U-RD-10)
Improved Yak-15 with tricycle undercarriage and drop tanks, became the prototype of the Yak-17 proper.
UTI Yak-17-RD10 (Yak-21T)
(No relation to the earlier Yak-17-RD10)
Two-seat trainer version of the Yak-15U with long greenhouse canopy over tandem cockpits and tricycle undercarriage.
(T for Tryokhkolyosnoye shassee – “tricycle undercarriage”)
Alternative designation of the UTI Yak-17-RD10.
Unrelated to the earlier Yak-21.
Production fighters with tricycle undercarriage.
The most-produced variant of the Yak-17, the Yak-17UTI was a tandem-seat, dual-control trainer.
Fuel capacity was greatly reduced, owing to the elimination of the wingtip tanks.
Initially it was planned to include a single UBS machine gun, but this was omitted on series-produced aircraft.
8.78 m (28 ft 10 in)
9.2 m (30 ft 2 in)
Wing area
14.85 m2 (159.8 sq ft)
Empty weight
2,081 kg (4,588 lb)
Gross weight
3,323 kg (7,326 lb)
Fuel capacity
553 kg (1,219 lb) (internal),
884 kg (1,949 lb) (with drop tanks)
1 × Klimov RD-10A axial-flow turbojet,
9.8 kN (2,200 lbf) thrust
Maximum speed
744 km/h (462 mph, 402 kn) at 4,250 m (13,940 ft)
395 km (245 mi, 213 nmi)
Ferry range
710 km (440 mi, 380 nmi) with drop tanks at altitude of 8,000 m (26,000 ft)
Service ceiling
11,900 m (39,000 ft)
Rate of climb
17.6 m/s (3,460 ft/min) at sea level
Time to altitude
5,000 m (16,000 ft) in 6.5 minutes
Wing loading
189 kg/m2 (39 lb/sq ft)
2 × 23 mm (0.91 in) Nudelman-Suranov NS-23K autocannon with 105 rounds per gun
Yakovlev Aircraft Since 1924 – Bill Gunston & Yefim Gordon.
OKB Yakovlev, A History of the Design Bureau and Its Aircraft-Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy Komissarov & Sergey Komissarov.
Soviet Aircrafts Illustrated-A.S.Yakovlev.
The History of Soviet Aircraft from 1918-Vaclav Nemecek.
Soviet AF Fighter Colours 1941-45-Erik Pilaeskii.
Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War, Vol 1, Single Engined Fighters-Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov.

Early Soviet Jet Fighters, The1940s and early 50s-Yefim Gordon.

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