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ARX-005 Yakovlev Yak-9: Soldiers of the Sky (by Dmitry Leipnik) book
ARX-005 Yakovlev Yak-9: Soldiers of the Sky (by Dmitry Leipnik) book
In late 1942 service experience of the Yak-7 led to the call for increased fighter range. Thus a Yak-7B was modified with the provision for only one UBS machine gun and the addition of metal wing spars. Extended capacity fuel tanks were fitted into the larger volume of the inner wing. Furthermore, the rear fuselage fairing was removed and the aircraft was fitted with a bubble-top canopy (as per theYak-1B fighter). Named Yak-7DI, the aircraft had a cruising range of about 1,310 km using the M-105Pf engine (as compared with the Yak-7B's mete 900 km). The new aircraft entered serial production under designation «Yak-9» at Plant #153 in Novosibirsk.
The first serial Yak-9s were powered with the M105Pf liquid cooled engine and VISH-61P controllable propeller. They differed externally from the prototype in having the one-piece main landing gear (MLG) doors, convex cockpit canopy, moved slightly forward, conventional exhaust pipes placed between upper and lower plates, convex shape oil cooler, rectangular supercharger wing-root air intake, a mechanical gunsight and double-wire aerial. The Yak-9 possessed two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 320 kg and 26-30 kg oil tank. There were no bomb racks beneath the wing. The armament comprised 20 mm ShVAK canon with 120 shells and 12,7 UBS machine gun with 200 shells. Having a maximum takeoff weight about 2875 kg, the Yak-9 could attain a maximum speed of 602 km/h at 4300 m altitude. Production Yak-9s were initially allocated to units taking part in the Battle of Stalingrad in late December 1942. A total of 459 Yak-9s were produced by the Siberian Plants # 166 and # 153.
In 1942 the aerodynamic performance of the Yak-9 was improved by fitting the M-106 engine but it did not result in serial production due to the M-106's unreliability.
Development moved swiftly in Yakovlev's design office and in the winter of 1942-43 the antitank model Yak-9T was offered for evaluation (completed on 4 March 1943 by pilot V.Chomyakov). The major armament was the very powerful 37 mm NS-37 cannon with length of 3400 mm and ammunition of 52 shells. The aircraft featured a reinforced nose section, the cockpit canopy moved 400 mm rearwards and an improved VISH-105 SV propeller. Fuel capacity was increased up to 330 kg and maximum takeoff weight • raised to 3025 kg. Compared to the Yak-9, the type's performance showed only a slight loss in vertical speed. A total of 2748 Yak-9Ts was built by Plant #153 from March 1943 till June 1945.
The introduction of additional fuel tanks and larger oil tank was intended as an improvement to the aircraft's flight range characteristics. The Yak-9D powered with M-105PF engine, featured four 650L common volume fuel tanks and 48 kg oil tank. Having the same armament as the Yak-9 had, the Yak-9D showed flight radius of 1360 km and maximum takeoff weight of 3117 kg. However, usually because of weak radio equipment performance, the aircraft were not used with full fuel tanks. The long range capability was employed for bomber escort missions only. A total of 3058 Yak-9Ds were produced from March 1943 till June i C46.
The Yak-9P featured the second 20 mm ShV/Y< cannon in place of UBS machine gun. The second cannon had as ammunition 165 shells. Having been rolled out in March 1943 it went to the Air Force Research Institute for evaluation from 17.03.43 until 8.04.43. Powered by the M-105 PF engine, the aircraft was equal to Yak-9's flight performance, however it did not see serial production because of aiming difficulties.
The Yak-9 TK powered with same engine could be fitted with different types of cannon while in service. The aircraft's design enabled the installation of 23 mm VYa-23, 37 mm NS-37 or 45 mm HS-45 canon . This experimental "transporter" was tested at Ai,' :orce Research Institute in October 1943, but it was not adopted for serial production.
In the winter of 1943/4 the Yakovlev design bureau decided to greatly improve the aircraft's fire power by installing the 45 mm HS-45 cannon, with the intention of creating the ultimate Yak-9. The cannon featured barrel brake and had ammunition of shells. Furthermore the aircraft was fitted with a bullet-proof windscreen and AFT armored glass. But the VK-105PF engine was not powerful enough for a take off weight of 3028 kg. Compared to the earlier Yak-9s, the new fighter's speed was 27-40 km/h lower. The rate of climb dropped too. A total of 53 Yak-9Ks was produced in April-June 1944. Soviet pilots enjoyed flying the new aircraft but the
Yak-9K was only used during the final period of the war in the hands of skilled pilots, who had previously flown theYak-9T.
The introduction of the M-105PD engine with E-100V supercharger was intended as an improvement for the aircraft's high altitude characteristics. Yakovlev received an order for five Yak-9PDs on 12 November 1942. They were allocated to the 12tn Guard Fighter Wing for evaluation trials which were disappointing. Armed with 20mm ShVAK canon (120 shells) aircraft had a maximum ceiling of 11650m. The improved M-105 PD powered Yak-9 was also unsuccessful on its trials at the Flight Research Institute on 3 August-18 October, 1943. The maximum altitude was only 12500 m.The M-105 PD engine was eventually replaced by the M-106 PV. It enabled the aircraft to show a service ceiling of 13000 m on 15-18 September 1943. But very high engines temperatures precluded the aircraft serving from in Red Army Air Force. In 1944 the Yak-9U was created. It climbed to altitudes of 12800 m and even 13500m. Powered by the M-106 PV engine with a methanol/water injection system, new ignition system and VlSh-105 TL lightened propeller, the aircraft reached a speed of 620 km/h at 10500 m. It took 25 min to reach 11000 m altitude. The Yak-9U was armed with ShA-20 M super light canon (60 shells), it featured a 50% reduction in fuel capacity and the removal of some structural features , e.g. split flaps. The Yak-9U flew until the end of the war without gaining any significant combat experience.
The Yak-9R variant had a camera and mechanically controlled shutter in the lower fuselage. The control unit was placed in the starboard side of the cockpit. The Yak-9R short-range version was produced by serial plants or modified in the field. Built at Plant #166 in Omsk in 1943, the first aircraft was evaluated from 21 September until 10 October 1943. (The pilot was A.Prochakov, the engineer was G.Sedov). Equipped with the AFA-IM camera, the aircraft's flight performance was equal to that of the conventional Yak-9, The operational altitude varied from 300 m to 3000 m.
Produced at Plant #166 in Omsk, the Yak-9R long range version was created using the Yak-9D as a basis. The aircraft carried theAFA-3S/50 camera. A maximum range of 1400 km was provided by 480 kg of fuel in four tanks.
There were some long-range Yak-9Rs that did not carry UBS machine gun. These featured radio navigation equipment. Military trials undertaken showed the Yak-9R was more effective than the Pe-2 over targets with strong air defences. A total of 35 aircraft powered with VK-105PF engines had been produced by 13 August, 1943.
From 18 December, 1944 until 20 February, 1945 the Yak-9B version was evaluated by thel 30tn Fighter Division, the trials proving unsuccessful. Nevertheless a military experimental series of 109 aircraft was produced. The fighter-bombers were allocated to this division, named «The small theater - for the front!" A rebuilt rear fuselage compartment enabled the Yak-96 to carry a 400 kg bomb behind the cockpit. Takeoff weight was increased to 3356 kg with a bombload of 200 kg. Bomb release could be achieved at dive an-jles of less than 45°. A 400 kg bombload could not be released in this way and thus this bombing method was not used often. Furthermore, aircraft loaded with 400 kg bombs could not achieve sufficient longitudinal stability.
The Yak-9D still needed to increase flight range. The version created on the basis of the Yak-9D, the Yak-9T, had its cockpit moved 400mm rearwards and featured eight wing fuel tanks and one fuselage tank with total volume of 845I. Six wing tanks (excepting the outer ones) were protected. Maximum takeoff weight was 3387 kg, thus resulting in a worse performance than that of the earlier Yak-9D(T). But the Yak-9DD could boast a maximum range of 2285 km and normal one of 1325 km. Furthermore the aircraft incorporated modern radio navigation equipment. A total of 339 Yakr9DDs was built from May 1944 to September 1945.
The first Yak-9M was tested by the Air Force Research Institute between 17.12.44 and 27.12.44. However production actually began 10 months earlier. Serialledfrom #25-01, fighters were produced by Plant #153 as the Yak-9M. The aircraft featured VK-105PF2 engine VISh-105SV-01 propeller and the cockpit moved 400mm rearwards. The flight performance and the armament were equal to the Yak-9D. The new fighter differed from its predecessor i.i having a jettisonable canopy, automatic water temperature control unit and pneumatic rather than mechanical armament control. Wing durability characteristics had met the requirements at last. A total of 4239 airplanes was produced from May 1944 to June 1945.
The Yak-9PVO was the Yak-9M air defence version. The Yak-9PVO was fitted with better instrument equipment. Furthermore the aircraft lost armour and a half its fuel and oil capacities. Serial fighters were divided between the Air Defence Force and Red Army Air Force.
Only the experimental Yak-9K (VIP version) created at Plant #153 in July 1944 was evaluated by test pilot A. Pashkevitch. The aircraft incorporated the Yak-9DD's fuel system. The Official State evaluations were not undertaken.
The Yak-9V (trainer) was rebuilt from the Yak-9T and the Yak-9M in serial production. The aircraftfeatured two cockpits with a common canopy and 20mm ShVAK canon with 90 shells. Instrument equipment was quite advanced. Testing was undertaken at the Air Force Research Institute by V. Ivanovfrom 10 April 1945to17 April 1945. A total of 493 Yak-9Vs was produced.
The Yak-9U powered with VK-105-PF2M engine in ~orporated a number of modifications including the Vlah-105V-1 (improved) propeller. The variant created on the basis of the Yak-9T differed from the -9U in having another centrepanel, Yak-3 type oil cooler and inner MLG door locks. Ailerons mass balances were removed. The cockpit received improved armour protection Engine power increased to 1180 h.p. Yak-9DD type protected fuel tanks accommodated 320 kg of fuel. Oil tank capacity was reduced to 25 I. The aircraftfeatured new oil and water coolers, the ART-41 water temperature control unit and individual engine exhaust pipes. The cannon was replaced by the more powerful 23rnm Vya-23 with an ammunition of 60 shells. Furthermore, there were two UBS machine guns with 170 shells per barrel. The aircraft had maximum takeoff weight of 2990 kg, very high flight performance but flight range of only 850 km. The experimental fighter was built in November 1943 and finished evaluations on 11 March 1944. This version did not see serial production.
Powered with VK-10SPFengine and VISh-105SV-01 propeller Yak-9S differed from serial Yak-9M in having two 20mm B-20S cannons (220 shells) and 23mm VYa-23 cannon in place of ShVAK. Two experimental aircraft were built in May 1945. Plant evaluations were undertaken from 10.05.45 to 28.05.45 and Official State tests were performed between 28.09.45 and 14.09.45. These proved unsuccessful because of very low speed.
Powered by a 1500 h.p. VK-107A engine, the Yak-9U featured a new OP-554 water cooler, OP-555 oil cooler and VISh-107LO propeller. Newengine cooling and exhaust systems were introduced. The wings were moved forward by 100mm and elevator area was decreased to 1.13m2. Armament incorporated 20mm ShVAK cannon and two 12.7mm UBS machine guns with 170 shells per barrel. The fighter was fitted with GS-15-500 general. Maximum takeoff weight was 3150 kg. This experimental fighter was built in December 1943 and the type had been tested by 28 December, 1943. Official State evaluation had been successfully completed by 20 April 1944 by test pilot A. Proshakov. A total of 3921 Yak-9U(VK-107) was delivered from April 1944 to August 1945. However the aircraft was quite temperamental in the context of engine temperature. From December 1944 728 and 726 type coolers were introduced. Oil and water cooler intakes sectionals were increased too. Thus the aircraft had met requirements and it could reach a speed of 575 km/h at sea level and 672 km/h at 5000 m.
The Yak-9UT version was Yak-9U version serialled # 39-# 083. This was armed with 23mm NS-23 cannon (30 shells) and two 20mm B-20S cannons (120 shells per barrel). Undertaken from 8.03.45 to 29.03.45, Official State evaluation proved successful. To add to the State programme, the aircraft was tested at Air Force Research Institute until 9 June 1945. A total of 282 fighters was built between February and May 1945.
The Yak-9UV and Yak-9P were postwar versions. The former didn't see serial production, but the Yak-9P was delivered to the Air Force. Furthermore it took part in the Korean War.
The Yak-9 was not the best Soviet fighter but, due chiefly to its ruggedness, stability, simplicity and cheapness of production, 16769 aircraft were delivered between 1942 and 1948, the largest number of one single design built for service in armed forces of the USSR.