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Soviet Union's Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter


Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter:
Soviet Union's Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter


In 1938 a requirement was issued for a single engine front fighter for the UV-VS. The Ya-22, designed by Aleksandr Sergeievich Yakovlev, was selected. For his work on the Yak-1, Yakovlev received the Order of Lenin, 100,000 rubles, and an automobile.

The Yakovlev Yak-1 was to be designed so that as much cheap materials could be used as possible.

During the initial trials the Yak-1 showed great potential and was rushed into production even before the trials were completed.


The Yak-1 had a structure of metal and wood, with wood providing the cover.


The cockpit hood of the Yak-1M was jettisonable and gave the pilot excellent views. There was a 1/3" / 9 mm sheet of armor behind the pilot.


Modifications during production for the Yak-1 included more pointed wing tips.

The Yak-1M had an all metal wing that were replaceable in the field quite easily. There were oil coolers in the wing roots.


The Yak-1M's tail had a elevator mass balance added that lighted the amount of force that was needed to move them. The skin was 1/8" / 2 mm of plywood.


The Yak-1's tail wheel didn't retract. Eventually a retractable tailwheel was installed in the Yak-1.

The tail wheel of the Yak-1M retracted.


The M-105PF engine was installed to reduce weight to help increase performance. The rear fuselage was reduced to allow for an all-around canopy.


The prototypes were nicknamed Krasavyets (beauty).

The Yak-1 first flew in March 1939.


The initial prototype was designated the I-26. Originally designed to use the M-106 (1,350 HP) engine, but do to it being unavailable a M-105P engine (based on the Hispano-Suiza 12Y) was put in its place.

On January 13, 1940, the I-26 first flew.

By the end of 1940 65 prototypes and early production Yak-1s were completed.

Test Pilots

Piontkovskii, the test pilot of the Yak-1, was killed in January 1940 while flying the I-26 prototype.

Stepan Suprun was made a Hero of the Soviet Union for test flying the Yak-1.


The Yak-1M first flew on September 23, 1944.
In June 1941 the first prototype flew.


  • Yakovlev Yak-1: 8,700, 8,721
    • Manufacturer: State Industries
    • Production: 1940 - mid 1943


  • Yakovlev I-26: Prototype.
  • Yakovlev I-28: Prototype. Span of wing was reduced. Higher rated engine.
  • Yakovlev I-30: Prototype. Metal wings used.
  • Yakovlev Yak-1:
  • Yakovlev Yak-1M: Had M-105PF engine installed. Had a nitrogen fire suppression system for the fuel tanks. Evolved into the Yak-3. Entered service in 1943.


France, Poland, and the Soviet Union used the Yak-1.

Invasion of the Soviet Union

In June 1941 there were approximately 400 Yak-1s available.

Factory Moved

With the invasion the factory was moved 1,000 miles / 1,600 km east. It took only 6 weeks to move.

Naval Units

Units with the Black Sea Fleet were equipped with the Yak-1 while fighting in the Crimea.

Female Ace Lilya Litvak

During the fighting over Rostov and Stalingrad, Soviet ace Lilya Litvak shot down 13 planes.


  Yakovlev Yak-1
Type Fighter, fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Klimov M-105
Klimov M-105P
Klimov M-105PA
Cylinders V-12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,050
P: 1,100
PA: 1,100
Propeller blades 3, 3 metal variable pitch
Fuel capacity  
Span 32' 9.75", 32' 10"
10 m
Length 27' 9", 27' 9.5", 27' 10"
8.47 m, 8.48 m
Height 8' 8"
2.64 m
Wing area 185 sq ft
17.15 sq m
Empty 5,610 lb
2,550 kg
Loaded 6,217 lb, 6,886 lb
3,130 kg
Speed 329 mph
530 kph
Speed @ 16,400' 364 mph
Climb to 16,400' /
5,000 m
7 minutes
Cruising speed  
Service Ceiling 29,500', 32,800'
9,000 m
Range 435 miles
700 km
Turning time 360° in 17.6 seconds
Armament 2: MG
1: 20 mm
Spinner 1: 20 mm ShVAK
Upper fuselage 2: 12.7 mm MG
Nose 1: 20 mm
2: 12.7 mm MG
Wing racks 6: RS-82 rockets
6: 82 mm
Bombs - maximum 441 lb
200 kg
  Yakovlev Yak-1M
Engine (Type) Klimov M-105PF
Cylinders V-12
HP 1,260
Propeller blades 3
Fuel capacity  
Wing area  
Empty 5,313 lb
2,410 kg
Loaded 6,382 lb
2,895 kg
Speed @ sea level 314 mph
505 kph
Speed @ 12,465'
3,800 m
364 mph
586 kph
Climb to 16,400' /
5,000 m
5.4 minutes
Cruising speed  
Service Ceiling 32,810'
10,000 m
Range 528 miles
850 km
Turning time  


  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
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