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Yakovlev Yak 19

The Yakovlev Yak-19, developed in the late 1940s, served as a prototype Soviet fighter.

Distinguished as the inaugural Soviet aircraft to incorporate an afterburning turbojet, it featured the Klimov RD-10F engine, which drew inspiration from the German Jumo 004 engine.

Despite its innovative design, the Yak-19 failed to secure a place in the Soviet Air Force, resulting in the construction of only two prototypes.

In April 1946, the Council of People’s Commissars issued a directive to various design bureaus, including that of Alexander Yakovlev, to develop a single-seat jet fighter.

This fighter was intended to be equipped with a single Lyulka TR-1 turbojet engine.

The specified requirements for the aircraft were a maximum speed of 850 kilometres per hour (528 mph) at sea level and a speed of 900 km/h (559 mph) at an altitude of 5,000 meters (16,400 ft).

Additionally, it was expected to reach an altitude of 5,000 meters in 3.8 minutes or less and have a minimum range of 700 kilometres (430 mi).

Yakovlev and his team recognized that their ongoing projects, the Yak-15 and Yak-17 fighters, would not be able to meet the required speed due to their thick wings.

Consequently, they decided to embark on a completely new design.

The initial stages of this design followed the “pod-and-boom” layout, similar to their previous Yakovlev models, with the cockpit positioned in front of the engine.

However, the development of the TR-1 engine faced numerous delays, leading Yakovlev to shift his focus towards designs utilizing the RD-10 engine.

Yakovlev made the decision in late June to adopt a “tubular” layout for enhanced aerodynamic efficiency, positioning the engine within the fuselage’s centre.

As it became evident that the TR-1, as well as the imported British Rolls-Royce Nene and Rolls-Royce Derwent engines, would not be accessible to propel the prototypes, Yakovlev opted for the recently accessible afterburning version of the RD-10.

The initial prototype was commissioned with a highly challenging timeline and was successfully finished on 29th November 1946.

The Yak-19 featured a flattened oval-shaped metal semi-monocoque fuselage, housing a single-seat cockpit and a teardrop-shaped canopy positioned just ahead of the axial-flow RD-10F turbojet engine, which exerted a force of 1,100 kgf (11 kN; 2,400 lbf).

The air intake was located in the nose, while the afterburner was situated at the rear of the fuselage, just below the tail structure.

This aircraft was equipped with tricycle landing gear, with the main landing gear retracting inwards into the fuselage and the nose gear retracting forwards.

The fuselage accommodated four fuel tanks, providing a combined fuel capacity of 650 kilograms (1,430 lb).

The laminar-flow wing, featuring two spars, was positioned in the middle of the fuselage.

Notably, the wing was fitted with modified Fowler flaps and Frise ailerons.

The rudder was divided into two sections by the horizontal stabilizers, with the upper portion covered in fabric and the lower half covered in metal.

To ensure the pilot’s safety, the Yak-19 incorporated various protective measures.

These included a bulletproof windscreen, a forward armour plate, and an armoured seat back.

Additionally, the pilot was equipped with an ejection seat.

In terms of armament, the Yak-19 was armed with two Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 autocannons, each boasting a calibre of 23 millimetres (0.9 in) and carrying 70 rounds.

After the completion of the initial prototype, it was transported to Khodynka Field for the purpose of conducting taxiing trials.

However, on 12th December, an unfortunate incident occurred when a defective fuel gasket blew out, resulting in a fire.

The necessary repairs took a period of two weeks.

Just before its inaugural flight, the NS-23s were replaced by a pair of experimental 23 mm Shpitalny Sh-3 autocannons.

On 8 January 1947, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Ivanov, the aircraft took to the skies for the first time, although he was not the primary test pilot.

Subsequently, from 2 March to 18 May, the Yak-19 was grounded as it awaited the installation of a new engine.

It was on 21 May that the afterburner was tested during flight for the very first time.

While the Yak-19 was the first Soviet aircraft to be equipped with an afterburner, it was not the first to utilize one during flight, as the Aircraft 156 had already done so over a month earlier.

The second prototype, which closely resembled the first, made its initial flight on 6 June.

Notable modifications included a five-degree dihedral to the horizontal stabilizer, a slightly revised vertical stabilizer, and the addition of plumbing for a pair of 195-liter (43 imp gal; 52 U.S. gal) drop tanks beneath the wingtips.

As a result, the fighter’s total fuel capacity increased to 980 kilograms (2,160 lb).

During the manufacturer’s flight tests, the Yak-19 achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Soviet aircraft to surpass the speed of 900 km/h.

The primary test pilot, Major Sergei Anokhin, provided positive feedback on the aircraft’s flying characteristics, stating that it exhibited pleasant and predictable behaviour, posing no challenges for the average pilot.

Prior to the completion of the testing phase, Anokhin also led a group of jets in a flypast at Tushino Airfield on 3 August.

Following this, state acceptance tests commenced on 17 October, utilizing the second prototype, and concluded on 30 January 1948.

The group of military test pilots reached a consensus that the afterburner system was unreliable and encountered difficulties in controlling the aircraft during roll manoeuvres.

Additionally, criticisms were directed towards the cockpit, which was deemed too small and lacking adequate armour, heating, and ventilation.

Consequently, the Yak-19 was deemed unsuitable for service.

Rather than attempting to rectify these issues through modifications, Yakovlev made the decision to cancel the project entirely.

Instead, he opted to focus on designs that incorporated the more powerful Rolls-Royce Derwent-derived Klimov RD-500 engine, which was being utilized in his Yak-23 and Yak-25 fighters that were currently in development.
8.36 m (27 ft 5 in)
8.72 m (28 ft 7 in)
Wing area
13.56 m2 (146.0 sq ft)
Empty weight
2,151 kg (4,742 lb)
Gross weight
3,400 kg (7,496 lb)
Fuel capacity
650 kg (1,430 lb) (internal), 973 kg (2,145 lb) (with drop tanks)
1 × Klimov RD-10F axial-flow turbojet,
10.79 kN (2,425 lbf) thrust with afterburner
Maximum speed
907 km/h (564 mph, 490 kn) at 5,250 m (17,220 ft)
580 km (360 mi, 310 nmi)
Ferry range
970 km (600 mi, 520 nmi) with drop tanks at altitude of 8,000 m (26,000 ft)
Service ceiling
12,100 m (39,700 ft)
Rate of climb
23 m/s (4,500 ft/min) at sea level
Time to altitude
5,000 m (16,000 ft) in 4 minutes
Wing loading
226 kg/m2 (46 lb/sq ft)
2 × 23 mm (0.91 in) Shpitalny Sh-3 autocannon with 70 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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