About Yakovlev Yak-141 “Freestyle”

The Yakovlev Yak-141 (Яковлева Як-141; NATO reporting name “Freestyle”), also known as the Yak-41, was a supersonic vertical takeoff/landing(VTOL) fighter aircraft designed by Yakovlev. It was used for testing.

Freestyle was first supersonic VTOL aircraft in the world. 

Yak-141 has three engines. The main engine was served by four side-mounted ducts as well as a row of large louvers along the upper surface to allow air to enter the engine during full power hovering. This engine was the R-79V-300, a two-shaft augmented turbofan with a bypass ratio of 1. Maximum thrust was 14,000 kg (30,864 lb). The rear nozzle could rotate from 0 degrees to 95 degrees for VTOL landing and hovering. The two lift engines were the RD-41 design, a simple single-shaft engine made mostly of titanium. Each had a thrust of 4,100 kg (9,040 lb). The engines were installed behind the cockpit at an angle of 85 degrees. Like the Yak-38, the engines received their air through eight spring-operated dorsal flaps, and the exhaust exited through a belly opening covered by two ventral doors.

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Yakovlev obtained funding for four prototypes. The first (48-0, with no callsign) was a bare airframe for static and fatigue testing. The second (48-1, call sign “48”) was a non-flying powerplant testbed. The third and fourth (48-2 and 48-3, call signs “75” and “77”) were for flight testing. While 48-1 remained unpainted, 48-2 and 48-3 were painted in overall grey, with a black radome and fin cap antennas.

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Someone can say F-35 is a copy of Yak-141, and there is some truth. Lockheed was involved in this project, believe or not. Yakovlev stayed without funds to test more prototypes like Yak-41M, so they called few foreign companies to help them. Lockheed corporation (U.S.A.) was in the process of developing the X-35 for the US Joint Strike Fighter program then, so it was good for both sides to join knowledge and experience.

With Lockheed assistance, Yak-141 prototype 48-2 was displayed at the Farnborough Airshow in September 1992. Yakovlev announced that they had reached an agreement with Lockheed for funds of $385 to $400 million for three new prototypes and an additional static test aircraft to test improvements in design and avionics. Planned modifications for the proposed Yak-41M included an increase in STOL weight to 21,500 kg (47,400 lb). One of the prototypes would have been a dual-control trainer. Though no longer flyable, both 48-2 and 48-3 were exhibited at the 1993 Moscow airshow. The partnership began in late 1991, though it was not publicly revealed by Yakovlev until 6 September 1992, and was not revealed by Lockheed until June 1994.

Soviet supersonic VTOL Yak-41(141).

First flight of the Yak-141 was on 9 March 1987, program canceled in August 1991.

General characteristics

  • 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)

yak-141

Performance

  • 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)

Armament

  • 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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