Yakovlev Yak-38


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Yakovlev Yak-38

The first combat aircraft of Soviet design conceived specifically for shipboard operation to achieve series production, the Yak-38 single-seat carrier-borne air defence and strike fighter was evolved from the Yak-36M. Flown in prototype form in 1971, the Yak-36M was developed under the design leadership of S Mordovin for the primary tasks of fleet air defence against shadowing maritime surveillance aircraft, reconnaissance and anti-ship strike. Power plant combined a Yu Gusev-developed Tumansky R-27V thrust-vectoring turbojet with two Rybinsk (Koliesov) RD-36-35 vertical-lift turbojets designed by a team led by A Dynkin. Hydraulic drives synchronised by a transverse shaft rotated the thrust-vectoring nozzles aft of the wing, their output in vertical take-off and landing operations being balanced during hover and transition by the paired lift engines mounted in tandem immediately aft of the cockpit and inclined forward 13 from the vertical.

Shipboard trials with the Yak-36M began aboard the Moskva half-deck anti-submarine cruiser in 1972, and, in the following year, the decision was taken to build a pre-series of Yak-36M fighters for service evaluation, the first two of these landing aboard the carrier-cruiser Kiev in 1975. An evaluation squadron comprising 12 single-seat Yak-36Ms and two two-seat Yak-36Us embarked aboard the Kiev in the summer of 1976, the aircraft being confined to vertical take-off with conversion following at 5-6m above the deck. During 1976, production was initiated of a much improved version of the basic design as the Yak-38. Externally similar to the Yak-36M, apart from substantial strakes either side of the intake for the lift engines, the Yak-38 possessed a full weapons system and an automatic control system permitting a short roll leading into vertical take-off as distinct from an orthodox short take-off benefiting from wing-induced lift.

The Yak-38 entered service with the Soviet Navy in 1978, and, during 1980, was evaluated under operational conditions in Afghanistan. Progressive development resulted in the Yak-38M, which, with 1000kg more engine thrust, a steerable nosewheel and provision for paired 600-litre underwing auxiliary tanks, entered production in succession to the Yak-38. The Yak-38M had a 6940kg R-27V-300 thrust-vectoring turbojet and two vertical-lift RD-38 turbojets each rated at 3250kg. Two wing stations immediately inboard of vertically-folding panels provided for two gun pods each containing a twin-barrel 23mm GSh-23 cannon, rocket packs or bombs weighing up to 500kg each, two R-60 IR-homing AAMs or short-range ASMs. The tuitional version, the Yak-38UM, had vertically-staggered tandem seats, a plug being inserted in the aft fuselage to compensate for a lengthened nose. Each of the four Soviet Navy Kiev-class carrier cruisers received a 14-aircraft squadron of Yak-38s or -38Ms (each including two two-seaters), and production was completed by 1987 with a total of 231 Yak-38s (all versions) built.


The 'Forger' had a system to automaticaliy eject the pilot if the engine stopped while the thrust was angled below the horizontal. On one occasion this occurred in full view of a British carrier, who rescued the pilot.

A hinged door opened behind the cockpit to feed air to the lift jets, which exhausted out of a hatch at the bottom.

The 'Forger' was very basically equipped, with only a simple weapons sight and no radar or radar warning systems.

Although intended only for vertical take-offs and landings, the 'Forger' had double-slotted flaps and a braking parachute.

Yakovlev Yak-38

  Take-off weight11700 kg25794 lb
  Wingspan7.32 m24 ft 0 in
  Length15.5 m51 ft 10 in
  Height4.37 m14 ft 4 in
  Wing area18.50 m2199.13 sq ft
  Max. speed1010 km/h628 mph

Yakovlev Yak-38A three-view drawing (1640 x 1103)

Klaatu83, e-mail, 27.07.2012 16:13

The Yak-38 was intended to be the Soviet Union's answer to the Harrier, but it really wasn't. The Harrier took off, flew and landed, all with a single engine. The Yak-38 required three engines, two of which were shut down except during take-off and landing. The rest of the time the two extra engines were merely dead weight and wasted space, reducing the aircraft's capacity to carry fuel, electronics and weapons. As a result, the Yak-38 could do what the Harrier could do, but not as efficiently.


anonymous, 19.02.2012 22:38

what is the average price?


anonymous, 19.02.2012 22:35

what is the average price?


Davin, e-mail, 11.08.2021 anonymous

The price of a yak38 in 1998 was 18.8 million dollars


Kevin Morrow, e-mail, 15.05.2011 12:04

Looks like a hairrier without the jump engines.


Todd, e-mail, 07.12.2010 07:18

Mr HTIAN the Yakovlev Yak-38's only spent a month in Afghanistan in an operation called Romb-1 and preformed poorly do to the Heat and altitude they were operating in. The number of Yak-38's was no more than 4 and they were regulated to early morning flying and that was it. There are no other known combat operations of the Yak-38 and they are no longer in service as of 1995. Were supposed to be replaced by Yak-141 but that failed to get financing. 30 years of studying Soviet Aircraft.


Mr HTAIN WIN, e-mail, 01.06.2010 17:45

I would like to know its experimental fighting and history in modern war. And I want to know its weight


Kiril, e-mail, 05.04.2010 01:58

I am able to offer demilitarized Yak-38s for sale to civil buyers. Contact me for more information.
E-mail: chochkov@aero-x.eu


Taufan, e-mail, 21.12.2008 07:18

What happen to the example?


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