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Lavochkin La-9

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La-9
Role

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Manufacturer

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First flight

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Introduction

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Status

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Primary users

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Romanian Air Force
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Produced

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Number built

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Variants

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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

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 horizontal 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.

Variants

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

23x15px People's Republic of China
23x15px East Germany
Template:Country data North Korea
23x15px Romania
23x15px Soviet Union

Survivors

Only one La-9 remains in airworthy condition today, 828/N415ML owned by Jerry Yagen's Military Aviation Museum, restored by Pioneer Aero Restorations in New Zealand between 2001 and 2003.

Stored/on display

  • La-9 6201, on display at Beijing Aeronautical Institute, Beijing, China as 7504
  • La-9 on display at People's Liberation Army Air Force Museum, Datangshan, Chiangping, China as 06
  • La-9 on display at Central Military Museum, Bucharest, Romania as 66
  • La-9 on display at Glorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Pyongyang, North Korea
  • La-9UTI on display at People's Liberation Army Air Force Museum, Datangshan, Chiangping, China

La-9 on display and flyable at the Military Aviation Museum, Virginia Beach, VA

Specifications (La-9)

General characteristics

Performance

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

References

Notes

Bibliography

  • 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.
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External links

The initial version of this article was based on material from aviation.ru. It has been released under the GFDL by the copyright holder.