General Information
Type Yak-1 light
Function Series Fighter with modifications
Year 1942
Crew 1
Type VK-105PF
Power at ...
Length 8.48m
Height ?m
Wingspan 10.0m
Wing area 17.15m2
Weights and loads
Empty 2350kg
Loaded 2780kg
Wing Load (kg/m2)
Power load (kg/hp)
Speed (km/h)
at 0m 526
at 3800m 592
Landing 140
Turn time (sec) 17
Roll (m)
Landing 530
Takeoff 285
Range (km)
Practical 1000
Ceiling (m)
Ceiling 11000
to 5000m 4.7min
during combat turn 1100m
Fuel 305kg
Gun Type 1*20mm ShVAK
Position Through the hub
Ammo 120
Salvo 1.28 (kg/sec)
Rockets 6*RS-82 optional

Yak-1 light variant (1942), A.S.Yakovlev

On March 14 1942 the GKO ordered the Saratov Plant to build 10 Yak-1 fighters with reduced weight, modified for interceptor role. Time scale was tight - on April 1 aircraft had to be presented for trials.

For experiments, 'pre-assembled' series Yak-1s were chosen. There were no time to start from scratch with specially built airframes. Light saving list included 25 items, here are the most significant:

Airforce Command suggested to keep the RS-82 as an optional weapon for attacks against large formations of the enemy bombers or ground targets. The weight cuts totalled 162kg.

All 10 aircraft were accepted 'on assembly' on March 21...24, but not flown until April 7. Delay was caused by late delivery of new metal tails from Novosibirsk. Trials were performed on Yak-1 N°33-60 (60th batch) in May 1942. This PVO interceptor was flown by chief pilot of Yakovlev OKB P.Ya.Fedrovi, proving that experiment was a success.

For comparison, same aircraft was flown also with standard Yak-1 wooden tail (extra 16 to 18kg). Rearward shift of the center of gravity resulted in clear degradation of maneuverability: turn time was increased by 2sec. Decreased by some 10% rudder area of the metal tail decreased stick load and improved aircraft handling. There were no substantial speed gains, but modified aircraft had much better maneuverability and climb parameters.

After N°33-60 trials all 10 aircraft were transferred to 12th Guards IAP of 6th IAK, involved with the Moscow PVO district. There they served as fighters-interceptors. Total weight saving on those 10 planes was 162kg

In September 1942 during the air combat pick over Stalingrad Luftwaffe put new Bf-109G-2 into action. Stavka of the Supreme Command ordered the Saratov plant to manufacture 20 more 'Lightened' Yak-1s to counter new formidable enemy.

Those 20 aircraft of 96th batch were different from previous 10. Intended as day time front line dog-fighters, they were stripped also from some equipment:

State trials of Yak-1 N°45-96 took place at NII VVS during October 12 to 17 1942. Test pilot K.A.Antipov carried out 8 flights (6h15min). Also participated leading engineer M.A.Pronin and mechanic K.S.Medvedev.

Those 20 machines of 96th batch were shared between 512th (later 53th Guards) IAP under command of N.S.Gerasimov and 520th IAP (commander - S.N.Chirva). Both regiments - part of the 16th VA under command of S.V.Rudenko.

Pilots of the 512th IAP I.P.Motornyj and V.N.Makarov were attacked by German fighters during ferry flight from Saratov. In short fight two Bf-109G-2 were downed. Upon arrival to their detachments, pilots stated that 'On new Yak they will bring down any Messerschmitt'. Indeed, soon Luftwaffe pilots started avoiding dogfight with Yak-1s. Lightened Yaks were superior in both turn and climb (and even on speed at altitudes up to 3000m), and could easily take better position for attack.

Despite lighter armament and deleted radio, lightened Yak-1 proved to be more efficient than series aircraft. Table below shows the 512th IAP for period 5 to 12 November 1942:

Yak-1 modelSeries aircraftLightened 96th batch
Sorties per lost Yak86118
Sorties per kill2618
Kill to loss ratio2.5:16.5:1

Despite obvious success of lightened Yak-1, it did not enter mass production. But the results and experience gained with this modification were used later during creation of the Yak-1M prototype of the Yak-3 fighter.


Yak-1 M-105PF
  • "Yak fighters of the Great Patriotic War period" by A.T .Stepanets
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  • Created August 01, 2000 Back to
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