YAKOVELOV YAK - 3
Although preliminary design work had commenced on the Yak - 3 in early 1941, the all-metal, single-seater fighter underwent numerous modifications and revisements, primarily around its Klimov M-105 engine and its 20mm cannon firing through the hollow-driveshaft nose spinner.
The Yak 1 had been hopelessly out-matched by the more technologically advanced German fighters not only in speed and manoeuvrability but also firepower.
In 1943, a group of designers headed by Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev designed the Yak-3, a further development of the Yak-1 aimed at improving survivability, flight characteristics and firepower, which required a lower weight, a higher-power engine and therefore, faster speed.
Significantly reducing the aircraft’s weight by swapping out some of the metal panels for plywood sheeting whilst also increasing its engine power and flight responsiveness, the Yak 3 was robust, easy to maintain and very forgiving in the hands of lesser experienced pilots. For the battle hardened veterans, it became a lethal dog fighter - able to out perform most of the Luftwaffe's fighters.
The Yak - 3 began to reach frontline units in the summer of 1944 and immediately proved its worth when 18 Yak-3’s clashed with 24 German fighters made up of Bf 109 s and FW 190s.
At the end of the encounter, 15 German aircraft had been shot down for the loss of one Yak destroyed and one damaged. Within a day, all Luftwaffe activity in that sector had abruptly ceased.
On 17 July 1944, eight Yaks surprised a formation of 60 German aircraft, including escorting fighters. In the ensuing dogfight, the Luftwaffe lost three Ju 87s and four Bf 109Gs, for no loss. The Luftwaffe issued an order to "avoid combat below five thousand metres with Yakovlev fighters lacking an oil cooler intake beneath the nose!”
Despite ongoing issues with the Yak-3’s plywood panels delaminating when the aircraft pulled up out of a high-speed dive, its relatively short operational range and ongoing engine reliability issues, the Yak 31 became one of the Soviet's most successful single-engined fighters with the Soviet Normandie-Niemen fighter group scoring the last 99 of their 273 air victories in the aircraft.
With over 4,800 units built before production ended in 1946, the Yak-3’s impact on the Eastern Front cannot be underestimated with the aircraft playing a significant role in securing vital Soviet air superiority during the final months of the war.
All Yak 3 Instruments listed below come complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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YAK 3 STARBOARD EXHAUST STUB
Rare Yakovlev Yak 3 Starboard Exhaust stub salvaged from a...