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Yakovlev Yak 30 Trainer

The Yakovlev Yak-30, known as Magnum in NATO reporting, was initially named Yakovlev 104 and was created by Yakovlev as a contender in a contest to produce the inaugural military jet trainer aircraft specifically designed for countries within the Warsaw Pact.

Intended as a successor to the Yak-17UTI, its development also paved the way for the emergence of the Yakovlev Yak-32 sport jet.

Unfortunately, the Yak-30 was unsuccessful in the competition, losing out to the L-29 Delfin.

Consequently, neither the Yak-30 nor the Yak-32 were manufactured for production.

In 1959, the Soviet Air Force organized a competition to select the first purpose-built jet trainer for the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations.

Until then, the Soviet jet trainers, including the Yakovlev Yak-17UTI, had been adapted from existing jet fighters.

Given that Yakovlev had been the primary manufacturer of trainer aircraft for the Soviet Union since World War II, winning this competition held significant importance.

The victorious design would be produced extensively for an extended period.

Among the contenders, Yakovlev’s submission, the Yak-30, stood as the sole competitor from within the Soviet Union, which was quite surprising.

The Yak-30, a fully metallic aircraft constructed entirely from lightweight alloys, was engineered with the intention of being both uncomplicated and cost-effective to manufacture.

The two wing spars were crafted from pressed-sheet ribs, contributing to the simplified design.

Within the elliptical fuselage, a straightforward configuration accommodated both the student and instructor in a single unpressurized tandem cockpit.

Positioned above the wing, the fuel capacity was limited to 600 litres (132 gallons) and stored in a bag tank located within the fuselage.

Specifically tailored for this aircraft, the RU-19 engine, designed by Turmanskii, showcased a similar simplicity in its construction.

This single-shaft turbojet featured a seven-stage axial compressor and delivered a thrust of 900 kg (1,984 lbs).

Air intake was facilitated through minute inlets situated in the wing roots, while the exhaust was directly discharged beneath the rear fuselage without the use of a jet pipe.

To facilitate maintenance procedures, the engine could be lowered vertically without causing any disruption to the fuselage.

The tailplane of the aircraft was positioned halfway up the sharply swept fin, and all control surfaces were operated manually through rods that were located along the upper surface of the aircraft.

These rods extended down a dorsal spine and terminated at the rear of the canopy.

The aircraft featured a long and continuous canopy, which was made of blown Plexiglas and had a bulged shape to enhance the downward view.

It could be slid to the rear on long rails. Both the instructor and the pupil had the ability to fire the ejection seats, although the instructor had control over both seats.

Additionally, both cockpit positions were equipped with a comprehensive set of controls.

The undercarriage of the aircraft was designed as a tricycle configuration and had retractable features.

The main units retracted inward, while the steerable nosewheel retracted forward into a bay that was covered by two doors.

Although the four prototypes of the aircraft were equipped with provisions for armament similar to the military version of the single-seat Yakovlev Yak-32, no actual armament was installed.

The program was overseen by K V Sinelshcikov, who served as the technical manager. The team of chief engineers consisted of V A Shavrin, V G Tsvelov, and V P Vlasov.

During the testing phase, the OKB constructed a single airframe specifically for static and fatigue tests, alongside four flying prototypes with the callsigns 30, 50, 80, and 90.

Simultaneously, two Yak-32s were also assembled.

The factory testing commenced on 20 May 1960 and continued until March 1961.

Throughout this period, a total of 82 flights were conducted, accumulating a flight time of 43 hours and 36 minutes.

Notably, no operational difficulties were encountered during the operation of the aircraft.

As the competition progressed, it eventually narrowed down to three contenders: the Czechoslovak L-29 Delfin, the Polish TS-11 Iskra, and the Yak-30.

The Iskra was swiftly eliminated and returned to Poland, leaving the Yak-30 to compete head-to-head with the L-29.

The Yak-30 showcased superior performance in various aspects, including its lower weight, enhanced manoeuvrability, and reduced production costs.

Despite these advantages, a political decision was made in August 1961 to select the more robust Czechoslovak L-29 as the primary jet trainer for all Soviet and Warsaw Pact nations, excluding Poland.

Following this decision, OKB pilot Smirnov achieved several official light jet world records in the Yak-30, such as a speed record over a 25 kilometres course (767.308 km/h) and a maximum altitude record of 16,128 meters.


Yak 32

The Yak-32 was developed alongside the Yak-30 as a single-seat aircraft that could serve both as a sporting jet and a light military ground attack aircraft.

While the airframe of the Yak-32 was based on that of the Yak-30, it was modified to include only one seat.

Yakovlev had intended to market the Yak-32 as a sporting jet, which was a unique offering at the time since no other single-seat jet aircraft were being marketed for civilian use.

It wasn’t until the 1970s, with the introduction of the jet version of the Bede BD-5, that another sport aircraft like the Yak-32 was offered.

Even today, manufacturers rarely offer single-seat sporting jets.

The Yak-32Sh was the light attack version of the Yak-32, which was designed to include more advanced avionics than the Yak-32.

It could also carry external fuel and weapons loads, including bombs of up to 500 kg, up to four rocket launchers, up to four missiles, four rockets, or four gun pods.

One of the Yak-32s was equipped with RU19P-300 on August 5, 1971, which was modified to allow for longer inverted flight.

This aircraft was designated the Yak-32P, and its flight evaluation was just as good as the original Yak-32.
Yak 30
10.14 m (33 ft 3 in)
9.38 m (30 ft 9 in)
3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
Wing area
14.3 m2 (154 sq ft)
Empty weight
1,555 kg (3,428 lb)
Gross weight
2,250 kg (4,960 lb)
Max take-off weight
2,550 kg (5,622 lb)
Fuel capacity
500 kg (1,100 lb)
1 × Tumansky RU-19-300 turbojet engine,
10.51 kN (2,363 lbf) thrust
Maximum speed
660 km/h (410 mph, 360 kn)
965 km (600 mi, 521 nmi)
2 hours 3 minutes
Service ceiling
11,500 m (37,700 ft)
(record set at 16,128 m (52,913 ft))
G limits
+7 -5
Rate of climb
18 m/s (3,500 ft/min)
Wing loading
154 kg/m2 (32 lb/sq ft)
Take off run
425 m (1,394 ft)
Landing run
450 m (1,480 ft)
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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