Yak-141. A Soviet multipurpose supersonic aircraft with vertical take-off and landing from 1987

Yak-141. A Soviet (the first in the world multipurpose supersonic) aircraft with vertical take-off and landing. Flight range – 2100 km, max. speed – 1800 km/h, ceiling – 15500 m

The Yakovlev Yak-141 (Russian: Яковлев Як-141; NATO reporting name “Freestyle”), also known as the Yak-41, is a Soviet supersonic vertical takeoff/landing (VTOL) fighter aircraft designed by Yakovlev. Intended as a replacement for the Yak-38, it was designed as a supersonic fleet defence fighter capable of STOVL/VTOL operating from Soviet carriers. Four prototypes were built before the project’s cancellation.

Yakovlev always believed the Yak-38 to be an interim aircraft, developed to gain experience designing and developing military VTOL aircraft. Even before the Yak-38’s introduction, the Soviet Navy desired a more comprehensive aircraft, with greater capabilities than the Yak-38 offered. The result was a design contract offered to Yakovlev in 1975. The requirement was for an aircraft with only one mission: air defense of the fleet. Unlike the Yak-38, this aircraft was to have sustained supersonic speed. Maneuverability, radar and weapons loads were expected to be similar to those of current front-line fighters, such as the Su-27 and MiG-29. For the Soviet Navy this aircraft was to be their next generation VTOL fighter. For Yakovlev the aircraft was viewed as a way of returning to designing Soviet fighter aircraft.

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