Yak-9U. Tactical fighter from WW2 (1943). Flight range – 870 km, max. speed – 700 km/h.

The Yakovlev Yak-9 (Russian: Яковлев Як-9) is a single-engine, single-seat multipurpose fighter aircraft used by the Soviet Union and its allies during World War II and the early Cold War. It was a development of the robust and successful Yak-7B fighter, which was based in turn on the tandem-seat advanced trainer known as the Yak-7UTI. The Yak-9 started arriving in Soviet fighter regiments in late 1942 and played a major role in retaking air superiority from the Luftwaffe’s new Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and Messerschmitt Bf 109G fighters during the grand Battle of Kursk in summer 1943.

The Yak-9 had a cut down rear fuselage with an unobscured canopy. Its lighter metal structure allowed for an increased fuel load and armament over previous models built from wood. The Yak-9 was manoeuvrable at high speeds when flying at low and medium altitudes and was also easy to control, qualities that allowed it to be one of most produced Soviet fighters of World War II.

It was produced in different variants including the Yak-9T with the 37 mm (1.5 in) cannon and the “large-calibre” Yak-9K with a 45 mm (1.77 in) cannon firing through the propeller hub, which was used for antitank duty and as a potent aircraft destroyer, the fighter-bomber Yak-9B with an internal bomb bay behind cockpit for up to 400 kg (880 lb) worth of bombs, the long-range Yak-9D and the Yak-9DD with additional wing fuel tanks to escort bombers over Eastern Europe, and the Yak-9U with a more powerful engine and improved aerodynamics. The Yak-9 remained in production from 1942 to 1948, with 16,769 built (14,579 during the war).

After World War II, the Yak-9 would also be used by the North Korean Air Force during the Korean War.

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