Yakovlev Yak 1

Design of the Yakovlev Yak-1 medium altitude interceptor fighter began in November 1938, and from it evolved a series of remarkable aircraft (produced in large numbers) which made an important mark in history of aviation. Known initially as the I-26, the type had a wooden wing combined with with a fuselage of mixed construction and main landing gear units retracting inwards into the underside of the wing. The I-26 looked a thoroughbred and was dubbed "Beauty" by its design team.

The Yak-1M flown by Red Guards Major B. N. Yevemen

Flown initially on 13 January 1940, the first prototype was soon lost in a fatal accident, but the development programme was continued without any break by the second prototype which incorporated some improvements. A pre-production batch batch of Yak-1s was flying by the end of the year and 64 initial series machines had also been completed by then. Changes were introduced during the course of production and many aircraft of the main variants were completed from early 1942 with increased wingspan and a more pointed wing. A new pilots canopy and a cut down rear fuselage were introduced on the Yak-1B and reduction in overall weight was achieved with the Yak-1M. The plane of choice for many leading Soviet fighter pilots, the Yak-1 equipped a high proportion of fighter 'Eskadrilli' from 1942 onwards, when the type was phased out of production in mid 1943. A total of 8,721 series aircraft of all versions had been completed.


Originated as an field modification with an all-round vision cockpit canopy and cut down rear fuselage decking, accepted officially in July 1942 and in full production by early 1943. Some planes of this version had a more pointed wing.


This version incorporated many structurial changes in an effort to reduce weight. Changes done to the Yak-1B were continued on this version and the introduction of the Klimov 1,260 hp (940 kw) M-105PF engine resulted in a new maximum speed of 364 mph (585 km/h) at 12,465 ft (3800 m). Production started on this version in late 1942. An experimental Yak-1M was tested in 1942, and eventually became the Yak-3.


Three experimental aircraft with a wing of reduced span, a two-stage supercharger intended for high altitude operations. During flight testing in June 1942 these aircraft achieved a speed of 413 mph (665 km/h) at 32,810 ft (10000 m).


Two prototype aircraft introducing an all metal version of the I-28 wing and a heavier armament. One aircraft had a retractable tailwheel.


A small batch of aircraft which was built in 1943 using a 1,350 hp (1007 kw) M-106 engine with a maximum speed of 379 mph (610 km/h) at 11,810 ft (3600m). The engine proved troublesome and unreliable and this version was withdrawn from further service.

Specifications (Yakovlev Yak-1 late production)

Type: Single Seat Fighter / Interceptor

Design: Aleksandr Sergeyevich Yakolev

Manufacturer: State Industries

Powerplant: One 1,050 hp (783 kw) Klimov M-105PA 12-cylinder Vee liquid cooled engine derived from the Hispano-Suiza 12Y.

Performance: Maximum speed 336 mph (540 km/h) at sea level; service ceiling 32,810 ft (10000 m).

Range: 435 miles (700 km) on internal fuel.

Weight: Empty equipped 5,174 lbs (2347 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 6,276 lbs (2847 kg).

Dimensions: Span 32 ft 9 3/4 in (10.00 m); length 27 ft 9 1/2 in (8.47 m); height 8 ft 8 in (2.64 m); wing area 184.61 sq ft (17.15 sq m).

Armament: One engine mounted 20 mm ShVAK cannon with 140 rounds and one (sometimes two) 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Beresin UBS machine guns in the fuselage each with 348 rounds, plus two 110 lbs or 220 lbs (50 or 100 kg) bombs on underwing racks. Some aircraft had the addition of underwing rails for six 25 lbs (12 kg) RS-82 rockets.

Variants: I-26 (initial designation of the two prototypes), Yak-1 (initial production), Yak-1B (official modification of a field canopy modification), Yak-1M (structural changes and the change to a 1,260 hp (940 kw) M-105PF engine), I-28 (three experimental aircraft), I-30 (two prototypes), I-33 (small numbers built with the 1,350 hp (1007 kw) M-106 engine).

Operators: Soviet Union.