La-9 (China)

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This page is about the fighter La-9 (China). For the Soviet version, see La-9.
GarageImage La-9 (China).jpg
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Due to its late introduction in 1946, the La-9 was already obsolete, along with its long-range variant La-11. However, while they would have to compete with the dawn of the jet fighters, Lavochkins were still considered an economic alternative for countries which needed to expand their air forces quickly. One such user was the PLAAF. As the aviation forces of the PLA (being officially established on 11th November 1949) only consisted of less than 20 fighters, most of which were captured aircraft from the ROCAF, there was a dire need to establish more fighter regiments against ROCAF air raids. A deal for 120 fighters was set in August 1949 and these aircraft soon joined the PLAAF and PVAF during the Korean War. They would soon be phased out by the MiG-15bis, leaving them as a trainer aircraft for PLAAF pilots before they hop into the latest jet fighters, sometimes also being used as attackers against insurgents at different locations over Mainland China.

Introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision" along with the initial Chinese aviation tree, the La-9 retains all the features of its Soviet counterpart. While it will face late WWII jets and has an air-cooled engine that doesn't perform well in high-altitude operations, if any fighters are lured below La-9 by teammates, it can be utilized well to chase off and take down these targets with its four devastating 23 mm autocannons.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 6 250 m690 km/h
Turn time21 s
Max altitude13 000 m
EngineShvetsov M-82FN
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight4 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 6,250 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 662 642 13000 22.1 22.7 14.3 14.3 550
Upgraded 721 690 20.5 21.0 25.6 19.2


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
850 320 490 451 290 ~13 ~8
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 480 < 340 < 570 > 341

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural850 km/h
Gear320 km/h
  • 55 mm bulletproof glass - Windscreen
  • 66 mm bulletproof glass - Behind pilot
  • 8.5 mm steel - Pilot's seat

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB2 675 → 3 359 Sl icon.png
RB6 089 → 7 647 Sl icon.png
SB9 156 → 11 499 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications46 800 Rp icon.png
85 300 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost1 500 Ge icon.png
Crew training52 000 Sl icon.png
Experts185 000 Sl icon.png
Aces940 Ge icon.png
Research Aces480 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
110 / 210 / 460 % Sl icon.png
166 / 166 / 166 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
3 100 Rp icon.png
5 600 Sl icon.png
155 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
3 100 Rp icon.png
5 600 Sl icon.png
155 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
5 300 Rp icon.png
9 600 Sl icon.png
270 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
3 900 Rp icon.png
7 100 Sl icon.png
195 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
3 900 Rp icon.png
7 100 Sl icon.png
195 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
7 600 Rp icon.png
14 000 Sl icon.png
380 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
5 300 Rp icon.png
9 600 Sl icon.png
270 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
7 600 Rp icon.png
14 000 Sl icon.png
380 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
3 100 Rp icon.png
5 600 Sl icon.png
155 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods weapon.png
3 900 Rp icon.png
7 100 Sl icon.png
195 Ge icon.png

The two most important modules that should be unlocked as soon as possible are the Offensive 23 mm belts and Engine injection. The first gives access to the devastating "air targets" ammo belt while the second one gives a huge boost to the fighter's flight characteristics. The difference between a completely stock and a fully upgraded plane is huge, and the first few battles will be very challenging.

The recommended order of research is as follows:

  1. Offensive 23 mm belts
  2. Radiator
  3. Compressor
  4. Engine
  5. Wings repair
  6. Engine Injection
  7. Everything else, based on personal preferences


Offensive armament

Weapon 14 x 23 mm NS-23 cannon
Ammunition300 rounds
Fire rate600 shots/min
Main article: NS-23 (23 mm)

The La-9 (China) is armed with:

  • 4 x 23 mm NS-23 cannons, nose-mounted (75 rpg = 300 total)

Usage in battles

Arcade Battles: As all planes, the La-9 has a boosted Flight Model (FM) in the Arcade mode, which allows for better overall performance, from speed and climb rate to manoeuvrability. It performs best at an altitude of 3,400 m and below. The main reason for this is the absence of War Emergency Power (WEP) at altitudes above 4,000 m. To be able to use WEP at altitudes between 3,400 m and 4,000 m it is necessary to maintain a good speed.

In terms of top speed, a fully upgraded La-9 is among the fastest planes at sea level in the game, allowing it to easily outrun most opponents. The acceleration is good even without WEP, but with it, becomes amazing, however, keep in mind not to overuse it and thus overheating the engine. Although it can be cooled off easily by lowering the throttle, thanks to the ASH-82FN being an air-cooled engine, once overheated both the top speed as well as acceleration take a noticeable loss in performance.

The La-9 is not a particularly manoeuvrable plane and should avoid dogfights in most cases as even if won, they are likely to take long enough and leave the plane low on speed – a tempting target for other enemy fighters.

The climb rate of the plane is great until the fighter reaches 4,000 m after which it becomes somewhat moderate in comparison to other planes at rank IV, due to the absence of WEP at higher altitudes. The best IAS (Indicated airspeed) for climbing is 250 km/h.

Another important trait of this fighter is its energy retention, in arcade battles, it is possible to safely dive from 4,000 m to 1,000 m and still be able to recover all that altitude, it also helps to keep flying at above max speed after a dive longer than the average competition at its level.

Maximum true airspeed (TAS) depending on altitude in arcade battle

In Ground Strike battles, La-9 pilots have two choices:
Helping to secure altitude and bomber hunting/escorting – A high risk/high reward option, best attempt this if the La-9 is almost or already fully upgraded. At the start of the battle side climb for a bit, but don't get too separated from friendly fighters that are also climbing. It is important to avoid the initial clash since the La-9 isn't very manoeuvrable and with numerous enemies flying around – an easy target. Instead, provide cover for one of the more nimble teammates that have engaged in a dogfight. Once air superiority has been established, either pursue enemy bombers or escort friendly bombers by shooting down any climbing attackers. Should the team fail in establishing air superiority, don't stay up high as the La-9 gets outperformed by most fighters at higher altitudes. Focus on any enemy bombers within reach and then proceed to the second option.

Covering ground targets and attacking low flying enemies – A relatively low risk/decent reward option, the most appropriate when the player doesn't have the plane upgraded (i.e. when it is in "stock" condition). The best way to do this is to fly the La-9 an altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 m and to position it either at the flanks of the map or directly in front of friendly fighter spawn. A certain distance is to be kept from the core of the enemy airspace, whilst attacking low flying bombers and attackers to protect friendly ground targets, or whilst finding and engaging a furball from above and performing Boom and Zoom attacks on the enemy fighters below. In case of danger, speeding away towards the enemy team's fighter spawn ought to resolve any issues.

Domination mode is arguably the best mode for the La-9 because most enemies are flying below 4,000 m and are thus always allowing the fighter to perform at its best. The approach to Domination battles is always simple yet effective. With the plane above contested airspace at around 2,500 m altitude, one should dive down on an enemy, shoot and extend towards teammates. Once safe, it is time to regain altitude and repeat the process. The La-9 is also capable of quickly capturing airfields since its powerful 23 mm cannons can be fired to use the recoil as a quasi-airbrake.

In the Realistic and Simulator modes the FM of the La-9 is no longer boosted in any way. However, the plane is still at its best below 4,000 m, as the WEP is unavailable above 4,000 m just as in the arcade mode. The speeds required to apply WEP at altitudes from 3,000 m to 4,000 m vary slightly from those in AB, but the main idea remains the same – high speed is required.

In realistic and simulator battles start by climbing to an altitude of 2,500 m (if cloudy) or 3,000 m (if the weather is clear). Climbing higher than that is only advised if not alone as the La-9 will be outperformed at high altitude by most enemies. The key to success in the La-9 is teamwork, so consider squading up with a friend. Since it is a bad idea to dogfight, try to get an enemies attention by acting as bait and lure him down to sea level instead. Once the enemy loses his altitude advantage, it is time for the squadmate to attack. Once low, the pursuer won't be able to either catch the bait nor escape your ally – presenting themselves as an easy target. Be also sure to target any enemies that are flying low, if the La-9 has an altitude advantage use Boom & Zoom tactics, if the plane is on the same low altitude as the enemy, perform high-speed fly-bys.

Maximum speed (TAS) depending on altitude in RB/SB

Even if not as fast as in arcade battle, it remains among the fastest fighters at low altitude in RB and SB, while also having great acceleration with WEP applied. Keep in mind that this only applies, if the engine isn't overheated – to cool it off, lower the throttle; it will only take a couple of seconds.

Both the manoeuvrability and the climb rate take a drop in performance as well, but the general rule stays the same. Try to avoid dogfights and don't climb above 4,000 m unless not alone or there are no enemies above the La-9. The best IAS for climbing remains 250 km/h.

While the energy retention of the La-9 after a dive in RB and SB is great, one shouldn't dive for more 2 -2,5 km at a time, because the plane quickly reaches its maximum allowed speed of 850 km/h IAS or roughly 910 km/h TAS (true airspeed, default speed measurement). Not only that but at speeds above 750 km/h IAS it becomes hard to pull up from a dive due to noticeable control stiffening.

A separate characteristic of the fighter which only really comes into play in RB and SB is the minimal amount of fuel a player can take into battle, which is currently enough for 45 minutes of flight time. In prolonged matches it allows the La-9 to simply outlast its enemies. Once around half of the fuel is consumed an increase of the fighters speed, climb rate, but most importantly roll rate becomes noticeable which is likely to come in handy late game.

This last feature is currently only really useful for SB players. The La-9 is currently one of the planes for which the canopy of the cockpit can be opened to improve the visibility at the expense of some top speed.

Specific enemies worth noting

When fighting German aircraft, the toughest opposition will be late Bf 109s and aircraft of the Fw 190 D series (together with their cousin, the Ta 152 H-1).

The former are deadly opponents above 4,000 m that are well capable of outmanoeuvring the La-9 due to the Soviet fighter's absence of WEP at high altitudes, having also an advantage in regards to climb rate. This leaves the La-9 pilot with two options, either acting as bait - making the Bf 109 lose energy and become vulnerable - or diving down. At lower altitudes, the La-9 regains a fighting chance, but it is usually a tense battle where the deciding factor will be the pilot's individual skill. Don't forget to use combat flaps.

Fw 190 D series/Ta-152 – similar to the Bf 109, these German aircraft possess a climb and also a speed advantage above 4,000 m. However, they will be out-turned by the La-9 in the horizontal, though it may take a while. At lower altitudes, these planes are easy targets as they hold no significant advantages, except for roll rate and considerable firepower. It is unwise to perform head-on attacks against them.

When fighting British aircraft, naturally, different tactics are to be employed.

Late Spitfires, such as the Mk. XVIIIe or the Mk. 22 variants, can easily out-do the La-9 in the department of turn radius, so employing turn-heavy tactics is heavily discouraged. Their well-performing Rolls-Royce Griffon engines also grant them a better output at higher altitude, which means that fighting above 4,000 m for the La-9 puts the Soviet pilot at a disadvantage. These Spitfires, however, are not as fast as the La-9 nor do they manoeuvre as well at high speed. Therefore, engagements against these aircraft should consist of Boom & Zoom and Boom & Run oriented tactics.

The Tempest Mk II is of, all piston-engine enemies, the La-9's most deadly adversary. Any opportunity to engage one in an advantageous situation should be seized - lest the Tempest is given the upper hand and the La-9 becomes prey. Unlike other piston-engine planes, the Tempest is among those few planes that can rival the La-9 in terms of top-speed at lower altitudes. Climb rate and turn rates are similar, but the British fighter has the edge. To defeat one, very skilful defensive flying is required. The best course of action is to set the Tempest up for an attack on a teammate. One factor that can prove to decide on both sides is knowing how to use Manual Engine Controls.


The best way to fight the La-9 is by exploiting its weaknesses – poor manoeuvrability in dogfights and poor high altitude performance. If flying a more manoeuvrable plane (F8F-1B, Spitfires, Ki-84, N1K2 or Yak-9UT), turn-intensive tactics are recommended. If the La-9 commits to it, it would be easy to destroy it, if not, one ought to climb and employ the tactics recommendable when flying less manoeuvrable fighters.

A less nimble plane (Fw 190, Bf 109 K, F7F, etc.) should, once above 4,000 m hold on to that altitude and get in position for Boom & Zoom runs. The only way to catch the La-9, if it is going at full speed at low altitude, is by diving on one, so an altitude advantage is a key to success.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Not controllable Controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Separate Controllable
2 gears
Not controllable

When using MEC, switching to the 2nd Supercharger gear at around 3,000 m altitude is recommended. WEP does not work when in this gear above 3 km, it is simply the greyed out WEP.

Pros and cons


  • Excellent performance at low altitudes(<3,400 m)
  • Amazing top speed at low altitudes
  • Great energy retention
  • Powerful nose-mounted weaponry
  • Responsive control surfaces
  • Sturdy Damage Model
  • Very good acceleration (especially with WEP enabled)
  • High rate of fire
  • Ability to fire only half the guns (enabling better ammo conservation and recoil control)


  • Manoeuvrability not good enough for dogfights with most opponents
  • Poor performance at higher altitudes (>4,000 m)
  • Low ammo capacity
  • Powerful recoil
  • Bad overall ballistics of the NS-23 guns
  • Poor cockpit visibility


Main article: History of the La-9

Although the Lavochkin La-9 (NATO codename: Fritz) didn't make it into World War 2, and came into commission during the downfall of propeller fighters in 1946, it was sold to various Soviet allies before the latest jet fighters could make their appearance, including the newly born People's Republic of China in 1949.

In mid-1949, when the first fighter regiment of the Communist forces was formed in the now-disused Beijing Nanyuan Airport, the regiment only had 8 P-51D/K Mustangs, and 2 Mosquitos serving as attackers; so the Central Commission of CCP sent Liu Shaoqi(刘少奇)to the Soviet Union to purchase new fighters to counter Nationalist aerial bombings in Northern China. The deal was made in 18th August where the Soviets would provide 120 La-9s and 40 Tu-2 bombers, as well as other aircraft, to Mainland China. These aircraft also marked the dawn of PLAAF as their first non-captured fighters.

These aircraft were first used as trainer aircraft for the interceptor regiments in 1950; but when the turmoil over the Korean Peninsula had risen, most of these aircraft were then transferred to northeastern China to intercept bombers. However, after Mainland China declared its support for North Korea, La-9 didn't see extensive usage against the United Nations forces as MiG-15s were already soaring in the skies, which also marked the end of extensive usage of propeller aircraft in warfare. Although most of them were replaced by jets, some La-9s were still transferred to southwestern China near Sichuan to suppress the local warlord rebels.

A total of 129 La-9s were delivered to the PLAAF, and they were soon replaced by newer jets; the last 5 of them were decommissioned in 1959. A few examples of La-9 still exist in different places in Mainland China and one of the aircraft was exchanged with the British in 1996, where the British exchanged a Harrier GR.3 XZ965 to Beijing Air and Space Museum (北京航空航天博物馆).



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Lavochkin Design Bureau (Лавочкинa Опытное конструкторское бюро)
LaGG-3*  I-301 · LaGG-3-4 · LaGG-3-8 · LaGG-3-11 · LaGG-3-23 · LaGG-3-34 · LaGG-3-35 · LaGG-3-66
La-5/7  La-5 · La-5F · La-5FN · La-7 · Dolgushin's La-7 · La-7B-20
La-9/11  La-9 · La-11
Jet Fighters  La-15 · La-174 · La-200
Export  ␗La-9 · ␗La-11
Captured  ▀La-5FN
  *Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov (Лавочкин-Горбунов-Гудков), head designer V. P. Gorbunov

China fighters
British  ␗Gladiator Mk I
French  D.510C
Japanese  ␗A6M2 · ␗Ki-27 otsu · ␗Ki-43-III ko · ␗Ki-44-II hei · ␗Ki-61-I otsu · ␗Ki-84 ko
American  CW-21 · Hawk III · P-66 · ␗P-40E-1 · H-81A-2 · ␗P-43A-1
  ␗P-47D-23-RA · ␗P-47D-30 · ␗F-47N-25-RE · ␗P-51C-11-NT · ␗P-51D-20 · ␗P-51K
Soviet  ␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · ␗I-16 Chung 28 · ␗I-16 type 5 · ␗I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗La-11 · ␗La-9