Type: Russian fighter plane in Korea and of WW2.
Table of Contents
The Yak-9D played a leading role in wrestling air-superiority on the Eastern front away from the Luftwaffe – but more because of its numbers than of its power qualities.
However, no one was more aware than Yakovlev and his design bureau of the weakness of the Yak-9D design. The first attempt at a refinement of the Yak-9D were made in early 1943, but the unreliability Klimov M-107 engine delayed the project. It was an engine failure that was responsible for the loss of the initial Yak-9U (‘U’ for Ulutshshenny = improved) prototype on 25 February 1943.
The Yak-9U featured a further aerodynamically refined aft cockpit canopy with a modified aft fuselage deck contour. The oil cooler intake was moved from beneath the nose to the port wing root, an enlarged radiator bath was moved further aft on the under fuselage, and a supercharger intake was centered on the top decking of the engine cowling. Armament comprised an engine mounted 20-mm-ShVAK or 23-mm-MP-23W cannon and two 12.7-mm-UB machine guns, which fulfilled a long-standing desire of front line pilots for more firepower.
Continuous problems with the M-107A engine forced the first production batches to be powered with the reliable M-105 PF-3 engine.
Additional changes had to be made, the wing was moved forward 3.9in, fuel capacity was increased to 78 Imperial Gallons and a VlSh-107LO propeller replaced the old VISH-105S type.
In the Yak-9U, the Red Air Force had a superb fighter equipping its fighter regiments with outstanding performance and handling qualities, which was considered to be nearly on par with its contemporary, the North American P-51D Mustang.
Impressive achievements had been made by Russian aviation since the Nazis invade the Soviet Union, when an under-powered and under-armed Yak-1 or Yak-7 tried to challenge far superior Luftwaffe aircraft and suffered enormous losses. The Yak-9U could attain 433 mph (c. 697 km/h) at 18,500 ft (c. 5,639 meters) and reach an altitude of 16,405 ft (c. 5,000 m) in 4.1 minutes. Compared with the 360 mph (ca. 579 km/h) of the Yak-1, an incredible achievement. The Yak-9U was entering service in the second half of 1944 and flying rings around the Me 109 G and Fw 190.
The availability of metal alloys in large quantities during the second half of the war allowed for replacement of all wooden parts internally in the wing and the application of light alloy stressed skinning to the entire aircraft, including the wing. This Yak-9UT reached the front as Germany was finally collapsing.
When hostilities ended in Europa on 8 May 1945, the Yak-9UT had proven itself to be a superb fighter, but by Western standards lacked much of the essential equipment and instrumentation. However, in performance Yakovlev’s last piston-engined fighter development, the Yak-9P had matched the latest British and American standards and even offered limited all-weather capability.
The Yak-9P was introduced into fighter regiments during 1946 and featured new instrument panels. Many encountered in Korea.
Animated 3D model Yakovlev Yak-9U
Specifications Yakovlev Yak-9U
|Power plant||one 1,650 hp Klimov VK-107A engine|
|Wing span||32 ft 9.75 in (10.00 m)|
|Length overall||28 ft 6.5 in (8.70 m)|
|Height overall||8 ft (2.44 m)|
|Weight empty||5,100 lb (2.313 kg)|
|Weight loaded||6,988 lb (3,170 kg)|
|Maximum speed||435 mph (700 km/hr)|
|Initial climb||5,920 ft/min. (1,500 m/min.)|
|Time to height||16,405 ft (5,000 m) in c. 4.1 min.|
|Service ceiling||34,500 ft (10,500 m)|
|Range||c. 550 miles (890 km)|
|in front||1 x 20mm ShVAK (with 100 rounds) or 23mm MP-23W cannon plus 2 x 12.7mm UB machine-guns (each with 250 rounds)|
|external load||2 x 220 lb (100 kg) bombs|
|First flight||February 1943|
|Service delivery||second half 1944|
|Final delivery (Yak-9P)||early 1947|
|Production figures||all Yak-9 variants total: 16,769|
References and literature
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Chris Bishop)
Combat Aircraft of World War II (Bill Gunston)
Technik und Einsatz der Kampfflugzeuge vom 1. Weltkrieg bis heute (Ian Parsons)
Das große Buch der Luftkämpfe (Ian Parsons)
Flugzeuge des 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)
World Aircraft World War II (Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi)
Yak Fighter in action (Hans-Heiri Stapfer)