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Yakovlev Yak 28

The Soviet Union utilized the Yakovlev Yak-28, an aircraft equipped with a turbojet engine and a swept wing design.

Originally designed as a tactical medium bomber, it was later produced in various versions for reconnaissance, electronic warfare, interception, and training purposes.

These versions were referred to as Brewer, Brewer-E, Firebar, and Maestro respectively, according to the NATO reporting names.

The Yak-28 was developed based on the Yak-129 prototype, which took its maiden flight on 5 March 1958.

It subsequently commenced active service in 1960.

The Yak-28 made its debut in the West during the Tushino air show in 1961.

Initially, Western analysts misinterpreted its purpose and mistakenly classified it as a fighter aircraft, assuming it was a continuation of the Yak-25M.

Consequently, it was given the designation “Flashlight”.

However, once its true role was understood, the Yak-28 bomber series was subsequently renamed “Brewer”.

Featuring a sizable mid-mounted wing with a 45-degree sweep, the Yak-28 boasted a unique design.

The tailplane was positioned halfway up the vertical fin, incorporating cutouts to facilitate rudder movement.

Additionally, slats were installed on the leading edges, while slotted flaps were affixed to the trailing edges of the wings.

The aircraft was equipped with two Tumansky R-11 turbojet engines, each initially providing a thrust of 57 kN (12,795 lbf).

These engines were housed in pods, similar to those found on the preceding Yak-25 model.

The wing-mounted engines, along with the bicycle-type main landing gear (complemented by outrigger wheels concealed in fairings near the wingtips), were strategically spaced apart, allowing for maximum utilization of the fuselage for fuel and equipment storage.

Although primarily operating at subsonic speeds, the Yak-28 had the capability to surpass Mach 1 at high altitudes.

In total, 1,180 Yak-28 aircraft were produced, encompassing all variants of the model.

Captain Boris Kapustin and Lieutenant Yuri Yanov became widely recognized for their courageous actions following a severe engine malfunction on the Yak-28 aircraft they were operating on 6 April 1966.

Despite being instructed to divert and attempt a landing in the Soviet zone of Germany, they lost control of the aircraft and unintentionally entered the airspace of West Berlin.

While maneuvering to avoid a residential area, the aircraft ultimately crashed into Lake Stößensee without the pilots ejecting.

The Royal Navy dispatched divers from Portsmouth to recover their bodies and the wreckage from the lake.

Additionally, these specialists successfully retrieved classified materials from the plane, including the engines, which were subsequently transported to RAF Gatow for examination by both RAF and American engineers.

The bodies of Captain Kapustin and Lieutenant Yanov were repatriated to the USSR with full military honors, receiving recognition from both Soviet and British armed service members.

Posthumously, they were honored with the prestigious Order of the Red Banner.

The first engine was salvaged on 18 April 1966, followed by the recovery of the second engine a week later.

Both engines were returned to the Soviets on 2 May 1966.

Although the Yak-28P was phased out in the early 1980s, other variants of the aircraft, such as trainers and different models, remained in active service until at least 1992, even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Eventually, the reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures (ECM) roles were assumed by newer versions of the Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft, marking the replacement of the Yak-28 series in these specific functions.
Prototype of Yak-28.
Tactical bomber, Initial production version; built in small numbers without radar.
Production of Yak-28 with weapon-aiming radar fitted, and various improvements such as fittings for JATO bottles.
Production number unknown.
Tactical bomber with ground-controlled targeting system using triangulation from ground-based transmitter sites.
A total of 111 built.
Tactical bomber with the internal targeting system “Initsiativa-2” 360-degree ground-mapping radar.
A total of 223 built.
Yak-28UVP prototype
A single Yak-28 converted for testing short take-off and landing techniques with JATO bottles and braking parachutes.
It was a dual control trainer with a second cockpit in the nose for student pilots; made as a prototype in 1962.
A total of 183 were built.
A dedicated tactical reconnaissance version of the Yak-28I, with increased headroom under the pilot´s canopy, increased nose glazing with a sloping rear bulkhead, Initsiativa-2 radar, and five interchangeable pallets containing various mission equipment fittings. 
A total of 183 built.
Yak-28SR prototype
Chemical warfare aircraft for dispensing dust or liquid agents from underwing tank/applicators.
Though recommended for production none were delivered to the VVS.
Tactical reconnaissance aircraft fitted with an active radio/radar jammer (either SPS-141 or SPS-143).
Production was on a very small scale.
Television reconnaissance system to send real-time images to a ground base.
Backup provided by a 190 mm focal length still camera.
Radiation intelligence aircraft with RR8311-100 air sampling pods, for gathering samples of nuclear tests.
The pods were specially designed for the Yak-28RR but became standard fit for all subsequent radiation intelligence gathering aircraft.
Modification of a number of existing Yak-28R aircraft.
Radiation Intelligence aircraft conceived by fitting RR8311-100 air sampling pods, with no other specialist equipment.
Modification of a number of existing Yak-28L aircraft.
Deployed in 1970, it is notable as the first Soviet electronic countermeasures (ECM) aircraft.
It was unarmed, with an extensive electronic warfare (EW) suite in the bomb bay and various aerials and dielectric panels for transmitting the jamming signals.
Excess heat generated by the jamming equipment was dissipated by heat exchangers under the centre fuselage; it did not include a radome.
Produced in the 1970s in unknown numbers.
Yak-28VV proposition
A vertical take-off and landing project, with two R-27AF-300 lift/cruise engines and four R39P-300 lift engines in the forward fuselage.
Yak-28LSh proposition
Light attack aircraft project competing with the Ilyushin Il-102 and Sukhoi T-8, eliminated at an early stage.
A dedicated long-range interceptor version, the Yak-28P was developed from 1960 and deployed operationally from 1964.
It omitted the internal weapons bay in favour of additional fuselage tanks (its fuel capacity was considerable, limited by weight rather than volume), and added a new ‘Oriol-D’ interception radar compatible with the R-98 (AA-3 ‘Anab’) air-to-air missile.
Late production “upgraded” Yak-28Ps had a longer radome of pure conical shape and enhanced armament.
Produced until 1967, with 435 built.
Yak-28PM prototype
Upgraded Yak-28P with R11AF3-300 engines, flight testing started in 1963 but development abandoned when the R11AF3-300 did not enter production.
The re-engined “PM” modification has established a speed record of 2,400 km/h in 1963.
Yak-28URP prototype
High altitude interceptor prototype using a rocket engine to boost performance during the interception phase.
Yak-28-64 prototype
Extensively redesigned Yak-28P with Tumansky R-11F2-300 engines moved to the rear fuselage with intakes extending to the cockpit, intended to compete with the Sukhoi Su-15.
Performance was very disappointing, being slower than the Yak-28P, and serious aileron reversal issues caused the abandonment of the Yak-28-64.
21.6 m (70 ft 10 in)
12.5 m (41 ft 0 in)
3.95 m (13 ft 0 in)
Wing area
37.6 m2 (405 sq ft)
Empty weight
9,970 kg (21,980 lb)
Gross weight
15,000 kg (33,069 lb)
Max take-off weight
20,000 kg (44,092 lb)
2 × Tumansky R-11 afterburning turbojet engines, 46 kN (10,000 lbf) thrust each dry,
62 kN (14,000 lbf) with afterburner
Maximum speed
1,840 km/h (1,140 mph, 990 kn)
2,500 km (1,600 mi, 1,300 nmi)
Service ceiling
16,750 m (54,950 ft)
Wing loading
531 kg/m2 (109 lb/sq ft)
Air-to-air Missiles
2 × R-98M (AA-3 ‘Anab’), usually one R-98TM infrared and one R-98RM semi-active radar homing
2 × K-13A (AA-2 ‘Atoll’) short-range missiles (occasionally fitted)
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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