Yakovlev Yak-3

1st Flight 1943

The Yakovlev Yak-3 was a single-engine, single-seat World War II Soviet fighter.

Robust and easy to maintain, it was much liked by both pilots and ground crew.

One of the smallest and lightest combat fighters fielded by any combatant during the war, its high power to weight ratio gave it excellent performance and it proved to be a formidable dogfighter.

Variants

Yak-3 

Main Production Version

Yak-3 (VK-107A) 

Klimov VK-107A engine with 1,230 kW (1,649 hp) and 2 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Berezin B-20 cannons with 120 rpg.

After several mixed-construction prototypes, 48 all-metal production aircraft were built in 1945–1946 during and after WW2.

Despite excellent performance (720 km/h (450 mph) at 5,750 m (18,860 ft)), it saw only limited squadron service with the 897th IAP.

Though the problems with the VK-107 overheating were eventually mitigated, it was decided to leave the engine for the better-suited Yak-9.

Yak-3 (VK-108) 

Yak-3 (VK-107A) modified with VK-108 engine with 1,380 kW (1,851 hp), and armed a single 23 mm (0.91 in) Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannon with 60 rounds of ammunition.

The aircraft reached 745 km/h (463 mph) at 6,290 m (20,636 ft) in testing but suffered from significant engine overheating.

Another Yak-3 with 2 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Berezin B-20 cannons was also fitted with the engine with similar results.

Yak-3K 

Armed with a 45 mm (1.8 in) Nudelman-Suranov NS-45 cannon, only a few built because Yak-9K was a better match for the weapon

Yak-3P 

Production started after war armed with 3 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Berezin B-20 cannon with 120 rounds for the middle cannon and 130 rpg for the side weapons.

A total of 596 being built, none of them took part in combat.

The three-cannon armament with full ammunition load was actually 11 kg (24 lb) lighter than that of a standard Yak-3, and the one-second burst mass of 3.52 kg (7.8 lb) was greater than that of most contemporary fighters.

Yak-3PD 

high-altitude interceptor with Klimov VK-105PD engine and a single 23 mm (0.91 in) Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannon with 60 rounds of ammunition, reached 13,300 m (43,635 ft) in testing but did not enter production due to unreliability of the engine.

Yak-3RD (Yak-3D) 

experimental aircraft with an auxiliary Glushko RD-1 liquid-fuel rocket engine with 2.9 kN (650 lbf) of thrust in the modified tail, armed with a single 23 mm (0.91 in) Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannon with 60 rounds of ammunition.

On 11 May 1945, the aircraft reached 782 km/h (486 mph) at 7,800 m (25,600 ft).

During the 16 August test flight, the aircraft crashed for unknown reasons, killing the test pilot V.L. Rastorguev.

Like all mixed powerplant aircraft of the time, the project was abandoned in favour of turbojet engines.

Yak-3T 

tank destroyer version armed with 1 × 37 mm (1.5 in) Nudelman N-37 cannon with 25 rounds and 2 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Berezin B-20S cannons with 100 rpg.

Cockpit was moved 0.4 m (16 in) back to compensate for the heavier nose.

Engine modifications required to accept the weapons resulted in serious overheating problems which were never fixed and the aircraft did not advance beyond the prototype stage.

Yak-3T-57 

single Yak-3T with a 57 mm (2.2 in) OKB-16-57 cannon

Yak-3TK 

powered by a VK-107A engine, and fitted with an exhaust turbocharger.

Yak-3U 

Yak-3 fitted with Shvetsov ASh-82FN radial engine with 1,380 kW (1,851 hp) in an attempt to increase performance while avoiding the overheating problems of VK-107 and VK-108.

Wingspan increased by 20 cm (7.9 in), wings moved 22 cm (8.7 in) forward, cockpit raised by 8 cm (3.1 in).

Armament of 2 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Berezin B-20 cannons with 120 rpg.

The prototype reached 682 km/h (424 mph) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft) and while successful did not enter production because it was completed after the war.

Yak-3UTI 

 two-seat conversion trainer based on Yak-3U powered by Shvetsov ASh-21 radial piston engine.

The aircraft became the prototype for the Yak-11.

Specifications

Crew: 1

Length: 8.5 m (27 ft 11 in)

Wingspan: 9.2 m (30 ft 2 in)

Wing area: 14.85 m2 (159.8 sq ft)

Airfoil: root: Clark YH (14%); tip: Clark YH (10%)

Empty weight: 2,105 kg (4,641 lb)

Max takeoff weight: 2,697 kg (5,946 lb)

Powerplant 

1 × Klimov VK-105PF2 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, 960 kW (1,290 hp)

Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propeller

Performance

Maximum speed: 646 km/h (401 mph, 349 kn) at 4,100 m (13,451 ft)

Combat range: 550 km (340 mi, 300 nmi)

Service ceiling: 10,400 m (34,100 ft)

Time to altitude: 5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 4 minutes 30 seconds

Power/mass: 0.35 kW/kg (0.21 hp/lb)

Take-off run: 345 m (1,132 ft)

Landing run: 580 m (1,903 ft)

360° turn: 17 seconds

Armament

Guns: 1 × 20 mm ShVAK cannon, with 150 rounds

2 × 12.7 mm Berezin UBS machine guns with 170 rpg.

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