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La-9
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Lavochkin
First flight 1946
Introduction August 1946
Status Out of service
Primary users Soviet Air Force
Romanian Air Force
North Korea Air Force
Produced 1946-1948
Number built 1,559
Variants Lavochkin La-11

The Lavochkin La-9 (NATO reporting name Fritz) was a Soviet fighter aircraft produced shortly after World War II. It was a piston engined aircraft produced at the start of the jet age.

Development[edit | edit source]

La-9 represents further development of the Lavochkin La-126 prototype. The first prototype, designated La-130 was finished in 1946. Similarity to the famous Lavochkin La-7 was only superficial – the new fighter had all-metal construction and a laminar flow wing. Weight savings due to elimination of wood from the airframe allowed for greatly improved fuel capacity and four-cannon armament. Mock combat demonstrated that La-130 was evenly matched with La-7 but was inferior to Yakovlev Yak-3 in both horizontal and vertical planes. The new fighter, officially designated La-9, entered production in August 1946. A total of 1,559 aircraft were built by the end of production in 1948.

Only one La-9 remains in airworthy condition today, owned by Jerry Yagen of Virginia Beach, Va, restored by Pioneer Aero Restorations between 2001 and 2003. A handful of others remain in museums in China, Korea and one in Romania.

Variants[edit | edit source]

Like other aircraft designers at the time, Lavochkin was experimenting with using jet engines to augment performance of piston-engined fighters. One such attempt was La-130R with an RD-1Kh3 liquid fuel rocket engine in addition to the Shvetsov ASh-82FN piston powerplant. The project was cancelled in 1946 before the prototype could be assembled. A more unusual approach was La-9RD which was tested in 1947–1948. It was a production La-9 with a reinforced airframe and armament reduced to two cannons, which carried a single RD-13 pulsejet (likely of the German V-1 flying bomb origin) under each wing. The 70 km/h (45 mph) increase in top speed came at the expense of tremendous noise and vibration. The engines were unreliable and worsened the handling. The project was abandoned although between 3 and 9 La-9RD were reported to perform at airshows, no doubt pleasing the crowds with the noise.

Other notable La-9 variants were:

  • La-9UTI – two-seat trainer version. Built at GAZ-99 in Ulan-Ude. Two versions exist: with 12.7 mm UBS machine gun and with one 23 mm NS-23 cannon.
  • La-132 (La-132) – prototype with upgraded Shvetsov M-93 engine. Projected top speed 740 km/h (460 mph) at 6,500 m (21,325 ft). Engine proved a failure and the single prototype was equipped with an experimental Shvetsov ASh-82M instead. The aircraft did not proceed to production.
  • La-9M (La-134) – long-range fighter prototype, see Lavochkin La-11
  • La-9RD – one La-9 was fitted with two underwing RD-13 auxiliary pulsejet engines.
  • La-138 – one La-9 was fitted with two underwing PVRD-450 auxiliary ramjet engines.

Operators[edit | edit source]

 People's Republic of China
 East Germany
 North Korea
 Romania
 Soviet Union

Specifications (La-9)[edit | edit source]

La-9 Silh.jpg

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 8.63 m (28 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.80 m (32 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 17.6 m² (189 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,638 kg (5,816 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,425 kg (7,551 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 3,676 kg (8,104 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Shvetsov ASh-82FN air-cooled radial engine with a two-stage supercharger and fuel injection, 1,380 kW (1,850 hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 690 km/h (428 mph) at altitude
  • Range: 1,735 km (1,077 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 10,800 m (35,433 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 17.7 m/s (3,484 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 195 kg/m² (40 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 0.40 kW/kg (0.25 hp/lb)

Armament

  • 4 × 23 mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannons, 75 rpg
  • See also[edit | edit source]

    References[edit | edit source]

    Notes[edit | edit source]

    Bibliography[edit | edit source]

    • Gordon, Yefim. Lavochkin's Piston-Engined Fighters (Red Star Volume 10). Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-85780-151-2.
    • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Three: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co.(Publishers) Ltd., 1961. ISBN 0-356-01447-9.
    • Kopenhagen, W (ed.), Das große Flugzeug-Typenbuch (in German). Transpress, 1987, ISBN 3-344-00162-0.

    External links[edit | edit source]

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