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Yak-1 file photo [202]


ManufacturerA. S. Yakovlev Design Bureau JSC
Primary RoleFighter
Maiden Flight13 January 1940


ww2dbaseThe Yak-1 fighters first flew on 13 Jan 1940 . Almost failing government approval due to overheating problems, they nevertheless entered production a month later on 19 Feb 1940, possibly due to Alexander Sergeevich Yakovlev's favored status with Joseph Stalin. Over 20,000 changes of various degrees were made to the blueprint in the first three years of production, complicating the manufacturing process that was already plagued by a shortage of engines and other parts. As a result, different batches of Yak-1 fighters often used different parts, making service difficult. Additionally, the plywood wings often damaged from weather, and these aircraft were notoriously known for the lack of safety for pilots. Nevertheless, they performed well in combat situations, particularly with a tight turning radius, making them well-liked in the Russian military.

ww2dbaseThe war's only two female aces, Katya Budanova and Lydia Litvyak, both piloted Yak-1 fighters.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2006

Yak-1 Timeline

13 Jan 1940 The Yakovlev YA-26 prototype, later to become the Yak-1 fighter, took flight. This prototype would be lost in an accident in Apr 1940.
6 Aug 1942 Soviet fighter pilot Mikhail Baranov of the 183rd Air Regiment leading a flight of four Yak-1 aircraft over Stalingrad, Russia ran headlong into a formation of 25 Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and took them on, shooting down three before running out of ammunition. Then skilfully manoeuvring his aircraft on to the tail of a fourth Bf 109 fighter, he closed in and cut off the fin of the enemy fighter with his propeller, afterwards making a successful forced landing.


MachineryOne Klimov M-105PF V-12 liquid-cooled engine rated at 1,180hp
Armament1x20mm ShVAK cannon, 1x12.7mm Berezin UBS machine gun
Span10.00 m
Length8.50 m
Wing Area17.20 m²
Weight, Empty2,394 kg
Weight, Loaded2,883 kg
Speed, Maximum592 km/h
Rate of Climb15.40 m/s
Service Ceiling10,050 m
Range, Normal700 km


Yak-1 aircraft resting at an airfield, date unknownSoviet pilot 1st Lieutenant Mikhail Dmitrievich Baranov of 183rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, circa 1943

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. luca says:
25 Jul 2011 01:14:36 AM

I've always tought it's amazing how the Russians could effectively struggle against Bf-109 and Fw-190 with a fighter armed with just one cannon and one machine gun.
2. Anonymous says:
6 Oct 2017 07:39:41 PM

I like the Yak-1b.
Best turn time of the Yaks.
Now it could dive better, had more armor, better punch, better view, more speed, and it's still 1942!
Even the ladies scored against the Luftwaffe in this bird. Top that!
3. Anonymous says:
11 Dec 2017 10:37:01 PM

The Soviet UBS machine gun and ShVAK cannon were faster than those of the Luftwaffe. They also had better M/V. Luca, you're right that the Yak-1b was still under-gunned, but not as much as people think. The Yak-3 had 3 guns to address this for a WoF of 2.72kg per second.
The Yak-9T packed the NS-37 motor-cannon and became an ace-maker. With 2 guns, it had much more firepower per second than the P-39 had with 7 guns!

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Notable Figure:
» Budanova, Yekaterina

Yak-1 Fighter Photo Gallery
Yak-1 aircraft resting at an airfield, date unknownSoviet pilot 1st Lieutenant Mikhail Dmitrievich Baranov of 183rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, circa 1943

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"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

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