by Tim Wing
The Yakovlev Yak-41 (UEDF reporting name “Freestyle”), was a supersonic vertical takeoff/landing (VTOL) fighter aircraft designed by Yakovlev. Developed utilizing experience from the Yak-38, the Yak-41 was meant to fulfill one mission: air defense of the fleet. The Yak-41 was the first VTOL aircraft capable of sustained supersonic speeds. Maneuverability, radar and weapons loads similar to those of the MiG-21 Fishbed.
- Role: VTOL fighter aircraft
- Manufacturer: Yakovlev
- First flight: 9 March 1987
- Status: Retired
- Primary users: Soviet Navy, Indian Navy
- Number built: 289
The Yak-41 was the first mass produced supersonic VTOL fighter in the world. It was a very important aircraft for the Soviet Navy during the eighties and nineties. They flew primarily from the Kiev-class aircraft carriers. After the Kuznetsov-class and Ulyanovsk-class carriers began to enter service, the smaller VTOL-only Kiev-class carriers were phased out of service, and sold off to India along with most of their Yak-41s. After the First Robotech War, one Kiev-class ship, the Baku, was still in service with the Soviet Navy. The remaining Yak-41s served on this ship until replaced by SuV-1 Victor B variable fighters in the late two thousand teens.
The Yak-41 did serve with the Indian Navy until the consolidation of the United Earth Government’s militaries under the Soutehrn Cross Treaty, after which time the fighter continued to serve in the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) Navy, until replaced by the VF-8 Logan.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 18.36 m (60 ft 2¼ in)
- Wingspan: 10.105 m (33 ft 1½ in)
- Height: 5.00 m (16 ft 5 in)
- Wing area: 31.7 m² (341 ft²)
- Empty weight: 11,650 kg (25,683 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 19,500 kg (42,989 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Soyuz R-79V-300 ( ru) lift/cruise turbofan Dry thrust: 108 kN (24,300 lbf)
- Thrust with afterburner: 152 kN (34,170 lbf)
- Lift engines: 2x RKBM RD-41 (ru) turbojets 41.7 kN (9,300 lbf) thrust each)
- Maximum speed: 1,800 km/h (1,118 mph, Mach 1.4+)
- Range: 2,100 km (1,305 mi)
- Ferry range: 3,000 km (1,865 mi)
- Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,853 ft)
- Rate of climb: 250m/s (15,000 m/min) (49,213 ft/min)
- Guns: 1 × 30 mm GSh-301 cannon with 120 rounds
- Hardpoints: 4 underwing and 1 fuselage hardpoints with a capacity of 2,600 kg (5,733 lb) of external stores and provisions to carry combinations of: Missiles: R-73 Archer, R-77 Adder or R-27 Alamo air-to-air missiles
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Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing