edited by Tim Wing
The Yakovlev Yak-44 (UEDF reporting name Mullet) was a twin turboprop Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft, resembling the United States Navy’s E-2 Hawkeye. It was used on the Soviet Navy’s Ulyanovsk class supercarriers and later on the Soviet Navy’s lone Prometheus-class super carrier.
- Role: Carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control
- Manufacturer: Yakovlev
- Status: Retired
Design and development
In the late 1970s, the Soviet Navy started adopted a plan to build large aircraft carriers capable of operating conventional aircraft rather than the VSTOL Yakovlev Yak-38s operated by the existing Kiev class aircraft carriers. These new carriers required a shipborne airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft to be effective, and the Yakovlev design bureau was instructed to develop such an aircraft in 1979. While the AEW was the primary role for the aircraft, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and carrier on-board delivery (COD) variants were produced as well.
The basic layout and size of the final Yak-44E design was similar to that of the Grumman E-2C which operated in the same role from American aircraft carriers, being a twin-engined high-winged monoplane with a rotodome above the aircraft’s fuselage. The Yak-44 was designed to carry much more fuel, and was therefore far heavier. The engines were two Zaporozhye D-227 propfans rated at 14,000 ehp (10,290 kW), each driving contra-rotating propellers. The crew of five were accommodated in a pressurized fuselage, while the aircraft’s rotodome, carrying a NPO Vega pulse-doppler radar could be retracted to reduce the aircraft’s height when stowed below decks in the carrier’s hangar. The aircraft’s wings also folded upwards, while a twin tail was fitted.
The aircraft was stressed to allow catapult launching and arrested landings, but was also capable of operating from the ski-jump ramps of the Kuznetsov-class carriers.
- Crew: 5
- Length: 20.39 meters
- Wingspan: 25.70 meters
- Height: 7.0 meters
- Max. takeoff weight: 40,000 kg
- Powerplant: 2 × Progress D-27 propfan, 10,290 kW (14,000 ehp) each
- Maximum speed: 740 km/h
- Range: 4,000 km
- Service ceiling: 13,000 m
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Primary source: Wikipedia Yak-44
Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing