Yakovlev Yak-3, Duxford 2010 ©Nigel Key
28 February 1943.
The Yakovlev Yak-3 is a single seat World War II Soviet fighter designed by A.S. Yakovlev Design Bureau.
It was one of the smallest and lightest fighters during the war and was liked by its pilots because of its performance.
Yakovlev built a prototype, the Yak-1M, which housed the VK-105 engine which had an autocannon that fired through the hollow propeller shaft.
The wing was similar to the Yak-1 but had a smaller surface area and had plywood instead of fabric covering to the rear fuselage.
The chief test pilot was so impressed with the new prototype that he recommended it should replace the Yak-1 and Yak-7 with only the Yak-9 to be retained.
The prototype was only lightly armed with the 20mm cannon and a 12.7mm synchronized machine gun, though subsequent aircraft had a second machine gun.
Having the armament close to the axis of the aircraft helped accuracy and avoided loading the wings.
The Yakovlev Yak-3 was produced from 1944 to 1946, with 4,848 built.
Klimov VK-105PF2 engine, producing 1,290 hp.
Press play to hear the Yak-3
1 x 20mm cannon
2 x 12.7mm machine guns
Lighter and smaller than the Yak-9 and powered by the same engine, the Yak-3 was an easy-to-handle aircraft loved by both novice and experienced pilots.
It was robust, easy to maintain and a highly successful dog-fighter and was used mostly as a tactical fighter, flying low over battlefields and engaging in dogfights below 4,000 m (13,000 ft).
|Crew - 1|
|Length - 27ft 10.25in (8.49m)|
|Wingspan - 30ft 2.25in (9.2m)|
|Height - 7ft11.25in (2.42m)|
|Empty Weight - 4,641lb (2,105kg)|
|Max. Weight - 5,864lb (2,660kg)|
|Max. Speed - 407 mph (655 km/h)|
|Range - 560 miles (900 km)|