The Yakovlev Yak-9 was a single-seat fighter that was used by the Soviet Union during World War II.

Description

The first production example of the Yak-9 series, simply designated the Yak-9 had a Klimov M-105 Engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 534 km/h. It also had an armament that consisted of a single 20mm autocannon and one 12.7mm machine guns.[1] This model was also capable of equipping up to 200 kilograms worth of bombs. Becoming operational in 1942, it was first sent into combat during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Variants

The first variant of the Yak-9 series was the Yak-9B model,[N 1] it could carry 400 kilograms worth of bombs in both an internal bay behind the cockpit and in external racks. This was followed by the long range Yak-9D model. Designed to escort bombers, it was introduced in 1943 and it featured a new engine and additional fuel to create a new operational range of around 1,330 kilometers.

Next came the Yak-9DD which was an extreme version of the YaK-9D model. It even had external drop tanks to increase the range further to 2,200 kilometers. The Yak-9K model was fitted with a ground attack model which had a single 45mm cannon and had its cockpit moved back to compensate for the heavy cannon. The Yak-9M was given a revised armament and as such required minor modifications made to cockpit position so that it could be supported.

The only night fighter version of the Yak-9 produced was the MPVO designed with a searchlight and RPK-10 radio compass, which went through a limited production run only. An experimental model examples, the Yak-9PD was produced with an M-105PD engine designed with a two-stage gear driven supercharger.  It also had a single 20 mm cannon.  Only a small batch was believed to have seen limited combat against German reconnaissance aircraft during the latter part of the war. The Yak-9R was fundamentally just a reconnaissance model with additional camera equipment. The last variants of the Yak-9 were the Yak-9T, Yak-9U, and the Yak-9UT which was an anti tank version, tested in December 1942 and entering service in early 1943.  It was initially fitted with 11P-37 anti armor cannon and racks for 2.5 kg PTAB hollow charge bombs.  Other Yak-9Ts had the MP-20, VYa-23 or MP-23VV cannons. The Yak-9U was an all metal prototype that first flew in later 1943 and was put into production in 1944. The Yak-9UV meanwhile was a trainer aircraft fitted with two seats.

History

A flight of Yakovlev Yak-9s[N 2]

Originally known as the Yakovlev Yak-7DI,[N 3] which introduced light alloy wing spars in Yakovlev aircraft, the Yak-9 was the most produced Soviet aircraft apart from the Ilyushin Il-2,[N 4] and first flew in August 1942,[6] Initially fitted with one 20mm cannon and one 12,7mm machine gun, the next sub variant, the Yak-9M,[N 5] was fitted with a second 12.7mm machine gun.

Combat Service

The Yak-9 entered service over Stalingrad in October 1942.[4] Principally used to support ground troops by keeping the air clear of the Luftwaffe and attacking enemy troops,[2] the Yak-9 was also used to escort Il-2s and Pe-2s, as well as attacking forward Luftwaffe bases, rarely operating above 4,500 meters. At these low altitudes, the Yak-9 proved to be superior to the Bf 109G-2s it began to encounter over Stalingrad at the end of 1942, with the Soviet fighter possessing greater speed, rate of climb and low level manoeuvrability.[7]

After the war, the type received the NATO codename 'Frank'.[5]

Notes

  1. Bombardirovshchik = Bomber[2]
  2. The caption for this photograph in the Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of WWII states that these aircraft are Yak-9Ds of a Guards unit photographed over the Crimea in 1944, and that the aircraft nearest the camera - White 22 - is that of Col Avdyeyev, credited with 15 victories.[3]
  3. Dalnii Istrebitel = Long range fighter[4]
  4. By the close of production in 1946, a record 16,769 Yak-9s had been built.[5]
  5. Modificatsion = Modification[2]

References

  1. http://www.warbirdalley.com/yak9.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Green, William - Fighters. 1975. Page 100
  3. Gunston, Bill. The Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War II. Salamander Books Ltd. 1988. ISBN 0 86101 390 5 Page 95.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Green, William. Famous Fighters of the Second World War. Purnell Book Services. 1975. Page 99
  5. 5.0 5.1 World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 913 Sheet 2 (A-Z of Aircraft:Yakovlev Yak-7 (continued) to Yakovlev Yak-25 'Flashlight' and 'Mandrake')
  6. Gunston, Bill. 1988. Page 94.
  7. Green, William - Fighters. 1975. Page 102


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