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Yakovlev Yak 27

The Yakovlev Yak-27, also known as “Flashlight-C” according to NATO reporting, was a group of supersonic aircrafts that originated from the Yak-121 prototype in 1958.

Among the different variants, the Yak-27R was the most commonly produced and utilized for tactical reconnaissance purposes.

The Yak-121 prototype was designed as a successor to the Yak-25 series and served as the foundation for the Yak-27 family of supersonic interceptor and tactical reconnaissance aircraft.

Both the Yak-27 and Yak-27K interceptors, equipped with guns and K-8 missiles respectively, met or exceeded their requirements.

However, they were outperformed by the Sukhoi Su-9, leading to the decision of not authorizing their production.

A variant of the Yak-27, known as the Yak-27V, was developed as a high-altitude interceptor by incorporating a 1,300 kgf (2,866 lbf) Dushkin S-155 rocket booster in the rear fuselage, along with Tumansky RD-9AKYe afterburning turbojets.

Although the Yak-27V demonstrated impressive performance during trials, reaching an altitude of 23,000 m (75,400 ft), the development was halted due to maintenance issues associated with the Dushkin S-155 rocket engine.

The Yak-27 interceptor had a specialized variant designed for high-altitude photo-reconnaissance, which was given the name Yak-27R (known as “Mangrove” by NATO).

This variant featured a glazed nose for an observer/navigator, replacing the radome and radar, and two cameras were added.

Additionally, the port-board Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon was removed.

The Yak-27R had a longer wing with a span of 11.82 m (38 ft 9 in) and was powered by two Tumansky RD-9AF turbojet engines, allowing it to reach a top speed of approximately 1,285 km/h (798 mph) at high altitude.

It had a service ceiling of 16,500 m (54,000 ft) and a range of 2,380 km (1,480 mi) with two wing tanks.

Production of this variant took place at Plant No.292 in Saratov, with around 180 aircraft being produced.

In 1960, the Yak-27R was introduced into the Soviet Air Force as a replacement for the subsonic Ilyushin Il-28 reconnaissance aircraft.

Despite its higher speed and ceiling, the Yak-27R had a shorter range.

Moreover, due to certain operational limitations, it was only flown at supersonic speeds by the most skilled pilots.

The engines of the Yak-27R were positioned low, making them susceptible to foreign object ingestion from unimproved forward-base runways.

As anti-aircraft missile coverage expanded across Europe, the high-altitude capabilities of the Yak-27R became increasingly restricted compared to the Il-28.

Consequently, the Yak-27R was retired from operational service in the early 1970s and replaced by the Yak-28R and the MiG-25R.
Supersonic interceptor derived from Yak-121, armed with two 30 mm cannons, did not enter service.
Conversion of one Yak-27R with downward pointing TV cameras in the rear fuselage.
Yak-27K (Yak-27K-8)
Interceptor version of Yak-27, armed with two K-8 missiles, did not enter service.
Tactical reconnaissance version of Yak-27, the most built variant with about 180 built.
Yak-27LSh, (ski undercarriage)
Conversion of a Yak-27R, with a single retractable ski under the centre fuselage and enlarged nosewheels.
Reconnaissance version of Yak-27 underwent flight testing, nothing further known.
High-altitude interceptor, one prototype only, converted from the Yak-121.
Had auxiliary rocket engine.
Prototype of Yak-27 family.
18.55 m (60 ft 10 in)
11.82 m (38 ft 9 in)
4.05 m (13 ft 3 in)
Wing area
28.94 m2 (311.5 sq ft)
Empty weight
6,983 kg (15,395 lb)
Gross weight
10,700 kg (23,589 lb)
Max take-off weight
13,600 kg (29,983 lb)
2 × Tumansky RD-9F turbojet engines,
37.2 kN (8,400 lbf) thrust each
Maximum speed
1,285 km/h (798 mph, 694 kn)
2,380 km (1,480 mi, 1,290 nmi)
Service ceiling
16,550 m (54,300 ft)
Rate of climb
95 m/s (18,700 ft/min)
1x 23 mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon.
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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