- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Yak-141 (also known as the "Yak-41", NATO reporting name "Freestyle") was a prototype Soviet VTOL fighter designed as a successor to the Yak-38. While the subsonic "Forger" with limited payload and poor handling was more of a proof of concept than a serious combat aircraft for its time, the heavily evolved Yak-141 was a far more capable one. It was a much larger aircraft with refined aerodynamics and a monstrously powerful Tumansky R-79 turbofan primary engine. With modern avionics and long-range missiles at its disposal, the Yak-141 was poised to be a world-leading supersonic VTOL fighter and a strong asset for the Soviet Navy — however, the collapse of the USSR prevented the Yak from entering serial production and operational service in real life.
Introduced in Update "Sky Guardians", this plane is a fearsome predator despite its slightly awkward appearance. It is in fact a full-featured 4th generation fighter on the same technological level as the MiG-29, its counterpart in the VVS. It does not have the Mach 2+ top speed of contemporary fighters, but its agility is surprisingly good and its acceleration is phenomenal. Carrying R-27ERs and boasting a radar range of 70 km, the Yak-141 is a terrifying opponent with fantastic avionics and sensors able to sling the best missiles of its BR at all ranges.
This jet is shockingly agile, particularly at very high speeds. In addition, being a VTOL jet, it is able to accelerate much more quickly than other aircraft. It is usually the first to the end of the runway, only initially outpaced by Harriers. It can bring enough fuel to afterburn to the middle of the largest of locations, strategically deploy its missiles, usually still afterburning, and return home with fuel to spare. It also has the ability to afterburn while thrust vectoring, which, combined with its manoeuvrability, powerful engines, and hovering potential, make it quite versatile at close ranges, able to outperform and elude the most nimble of conventional fighters. The only downside of this aircraft is its roll rate, which can impair its reactivity at close ranges.
The R-79V-300 is currently the most powerful aircraft engine in War Thunder by a large margin. It yields 45% more thrust than the F-14B's General Electric F110 under optimal conditions and allows the Yak to achieve a commendable thrust-to-weight ratio in forward flight despite being a VTOL jet with the associated dead weight.
|Characteristics|| Max speed
(km/h at 11,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear||Drogue chute|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 650||< 850||< 920||-|
|Engine name||Number||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|Tumansky R79V-300 (main)||1||10,930 kg||483 kg/m2|
|Saturn RD-41 (lift jets)||2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|
|Weight (each)||Type||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||35m fuel|
|1,750 kg (main)||Afterburning vectored-thrust low-bypass turbofan||12,250 kg||13,381 kg||14,606 kg||15,330 kg||17,362 kg|
|290 kg (lift jet)||Axial-flow turbojet|
|Thrust to weight ratio in forward flight @ 0 m (WEP / 100%)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||35m fuel||MGW|
|Stationary||11,179 kgf||15,582 kgf||1.27||1.16||1.07||1.02||0.90|
|Optimal|| 11,179 kgf
| 19,740 kgf
|Thrust to weight ratio in VTOL (all 3 engines) @ 0 m (WEP)|
Survivability and armour
Most hits from a missile are fatal, as with any top tier jet, but if used properly, the Yak-141 can dodge even very advanced missiles with its combination of speed and agility. Because of its powerful engine, this aircraft can still fly and manoeuvre effectively even with extensive fuselage damage.
Modifications and economy
|CCIP (Guns)||CCIP (Rockets)||CCIP (Bombs)||CCRP (Bombs)||Lead indicator|
The Yak-141 is armed with:
- 1 x 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon, belly-mounted (120 rpg)
- 60 x countermeasures
The Yak-141 boasts the same GSh-30-1 cannon as the MiG-29, albeit with a slightly smaller ammo capacity. It is accurate, fast-firing, and has a high muzzle velocity. Since the Yak-141's advanced avionics offer lead computing, it is a good backup weapon for dogfights or head-ons.
The Yak-141 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|23 mm GSh-23L cannons (250 rpg)||1||1||1||1|
|100 kg OFAB-100 bombs||4||4||4||4|
|250 kg FAB-250M-62 bombs||1||1||1||1|
|250 kg OFAB-250Sh bombs||1||1||1||1|
|500 kg FAB-500M-62 bombs||1||1||1||1|
|500 kg FAB-500Sh bombs||1||1||1||1|
|ZB-500 incendiary bombs||1||1||1||1|
|Maximum permissible weight imbalance: 1,000 kg|
|Default weapon presets|
The Yak-141 has a comparable arsenal to the MiG-29, but with only four hardpoints, it is important to allocate the weapons carefully.
The main focus is on the air-to-air missiles. The stock R-60Ms are the classic tools of Soviet top-tier jets with high agility, short range, and low flare resistance. R-27 missiles with greater range can be mounted on all four pylons (the Fulcrums can only carry two) and come in four flavours: the R-27T with an IR seeker, the R-27R with a SARH seeker, and the R-27ER and R-27ET extended range variants with incredibly fast and powerful rocket motors. The R-27ERs should always be taken once unlocked because they are outstanding for long-range missile jousts, especially when paired with the Yak's excellent radar, but they are only available on the 2 inboard hardpoints. How to fill the other two is up to personal taste: R-27Rs are weaker but still viable and R-27Ts are good for medium range sneak attacks as they do not trigger any RWR warnings when cued with the Yak's IRST. R-60Ms are good for close-range knife fights, but bringing them has a significant opportunity cost on the Yak-141 and it may be better to leave dogfighting for friendly Fulcrums instead.
The remaining options are unguided bombs (100 to 500 kg) and rockets (S-5K and S-8KO HEAT rockets, S-13OF and S-24B HE rockets) for ground attack. The Yak-141 has a full-featured ballistic computer and can deliver them accurately, but using this aircraft for a strike role is suboptimal - it has a poor attack payload, no precision or standoff weapons, and no hardpoints reserved for air-to-air missiles.
Usage in battles
The Yak-141 is a very versatile aircraft, competitive if not dominant in all kinds of combat. It is a monster in long range engagements, with an advanced radar and almost flawless SARH missiles, as long as an opponent does not notch your radar, their lifetime is measured in seconds. This jet also excels in close combat, its cannon and R-60s making short work of opponents. For the tough cases, you can transition into relying on your VTOL ability to bring the fight to your strengths, stall speed fighting.
As most initial engagements will begin at long range, it is recommended to bring two R-27ERs. These missiles are almost unilateral improvements on the R variants, with little sacrifice for a vast increase in range. Before enemies are spotted, switch the radar to HDN or head-on mode, so it searches slightly better for the hot aircraft you know are out there. It is also recommended to increase the scan azimuth of your radar so that you have a better chance of finding something. When contacts appear, you can filter out the AI planes based on distance and formation. They will be well ahead of the the first players, usually starting as one contact that slowly fragments. When other contacts come within range, it is recommended to use TWS or Track While Search mode to learn their placement in the sky and heading without alerting them of your attention. You can also use the "Switch selected target" function to check many different targets position and closing speed. Using this information, you can filter out targets based on closing speed and altitude. Contacts closing faster than about 700 m/s are probably missiles, while targets under about 450 m/s could easily notch your radar if they notice a lock. You also want to avoid targets that are hugging the ground as ground clutter can even fool pulse-Doppler radars when tracking a target less than 50 m from the surface. As for distance, while you can technically hit a target over 40 km from you, most pilots will begin notching when they see your missile approaching, if not as soon as the lock tone sounds. Therefore, it is advised to target hostiles under the 10 km range who will not have much time to react to your lock or missile.
In head-ons, it is recommended to use your radar missiles, as they are essentially undodgeable if fired from more than about 4 km. However, it takes time to lock and launch, so sometimes it is better to sling an R-60 and hope for the best. While they are usually flared off the intended target, an R-60 can frequently parry an incoming missile, locking onto and destroying it instead. It is generally unwise to engage in a head-on that is too short range to use an R-27, as neither R-60s nor your single cannon is very effective. In most cases any damage in a close head on like this will be done to you, unless you are carrying gunpods. As with any other aircraft of this tier, it is ill-advised to enter a pitched, focused turnfight unless you are absolutely sure that no enemies are around, otherwise you will be a slow helpless target for a hungry missile. That said, the Yak-141 is a very dangerous opponent in a dogfight. It possesses the ability to vector its thrust and so turn in a way that belies your lumbering appearance. Your surprising turning ability can give you enough time, even when losing, to bleed their speed and force them to fight in a way that favours you. After a couple of turns, your speed will be low enough to engage your thrust vectoring. Lower your aft engine to about 55%, as it will still afterburn up to 57%, then use your fore engines to swing your nose toward your opponent. Your speed will continue to fall, but with the ability to hover, simply move to the center of your opponent's turn circle and transition to a dynamic hover, floating in the center of the circle while using your lead indicator to target them with your cannon. Try to get them to bleed until they stall or use your partial hover to outmanoeuvre them in a stall speed dogfight. Be careful, however, as it will take time to transition out of a short range fight. Enter at your peril.
Pros and cons
- VTOL/Thrust Vectoring
- Surprising high speed manoeuvrability
- Excellent radar range/difficult to notch/IRST
- Sufficient fuel capacity for plenty of afterburning
- Heavy duty IR missiles
- Fairly low top speed for its BR
- R-60M is flared off easily
- Only carries four missiles
- Limited strike capability
While the Yak-38 and its later modernized Yak-38M variant fulfilled the role of a fleet defence strike fighter for the Soviet navy, the aircraft were considered obsolete almost immediately due to the many shortcomings they had, such as a very poor range of less than 100 km, difficulty operating in hot weather, inability to operate at night due to lack of radar or advanced targeting systems, horrible controllability and manoeuvrability due to the heavy weight and high wing loading, and a small combat payload among other things. As early as 1973, the and OKB-115, led by General Designer Aleksander Yakovlev, went back to the drawing board to create a new generation of VTOL fighters for the Soviet navy. The successor aircraft project outlined a set of requirements: the new aircraft had to be supersonic, incorporate an advanced fire control system and radar/sensor suite, allow for a larger range of operations, and include a larger array of weapons. At the time of the project, no aircraft like this existed in the world, and the only equivalent that came close was the french Dassault Balzac V prototype.
This new aircraft would be designed around the new Soyuz-Tumansky R-79V lift/cruise afterburning turbofan, starting its life as the Yak-36P heavy VTOL naval interceptor. However, after substantial changes and almost a complete redesign of the aircraft resulting from reconsideration of the project requirements, the project would be redesignated as the Yak-41. In mid 1974, the Communist Party's Central Committee and Council of Ministers would issue a directive for the development of a new Soviet VTOL fighter, officially kickstarting the project. After many years of research and development, the design was finalized and submitted for review in June of 1980. The design invoked many new technologies not yet standardized in the Soviet Union, such as composite materials and advanced radars. Many setbacks with the R-79V engine and the Phazotron S-41 radar development programs caused the development schedule of the Yak-41 to be delayed by a few years. In 1983, the first static (non-flying) prototype was completed, and static ground testing commenced until the radar, engine, and fly-by-wire/power-by-wire systems were completed. The first flying prototype was soon completed and on March 9th, 1987 performed its maiden flight. Many of the important systems such as the S-41 radar and the other important avionics were still not completed fully, and would be incorporated later into the second flyable prototype which was completed in 1989. The second prototype was a more definitive "Yak-41" prototype, this time including most of its avionics and fire control system, such as the Zhuk S-41M radar which was completed by now, and would go as far as to mount mock-up missiles and weapons for flight testing and "simulated" firing during trials. The most notable missing piece of avionics was the system, which was ready to be installed when completed as shown by the cut-out for it on top of the nose on the second flying prototype.
The Yak-41 showed great promise, and at this stage of flight testing started setting many world records. To keep its development and true identity secret, the Soviet Union registered the aircraft as the "Yak-141" instead of Yak-41 with international record keeping agencies, hence where the 141 designation comes from. The Yak-41 program was proceeding smoothly at that point, with many flight tests scheduled and performed successfully over the next few years. Most notably, by 1991 the Yak-41s had flown to Severomorsk-1 airbase and successfully performed carrier trials and testing, including both VTOL and STOL operations from the carriers Baku (later renamed Admiral Gorshkov), in anticipation of future service deployment aboard the new and upcoming Type 1143.5 carrier Tblisi (later renamed to Admiral Kuznetsov) after the aircraft is accepted into service in the upcoming years.
However, as promising as the aircraft was, the program was ultimately terminated in 1992 due to lack of funding after the collapse of the USSR. The Yakovlev design bureau then started trying to find foreign investors and buyers for the aircraft. Shortly after, a very unlikely foreign investor appeared at Yakovlev's doorstep, as Lockheed Corporation started negotiations for further funding more Yak-141 prototypes. The two flying prototypes, White 75 and White 77, would both be repainted into identical "White 144" liveries, and the two static non-flying prototypes would be cannibalized for spare parts before being scrapped to ensure that public display of the Yak-41 was flawless. The first public appearance of the Yak-41 occurred famously at the 1992 Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom. However, the Yak-41s would be banned from performing vertical take-offs after a few days at the airshow due to "excessive wear to the runway", a testament to the powerful thrust from the engines in vertical flight. Shortly after, Yakovlev had announced that they had successfully reached an agreement with Lockheed for 4 million $USD in funding for two more flying prototypes, a twin-seat trainer prototype, and a single static (non-flying) testbed to test improvements in avionics. The partnership had actually begun almost immediately after the USSR had collapsed, but was not revealed publicly by Yakovlev and Lockheed until September 6th, 1992. It is widely believed that many of the technological advancements from the Yak-41 program would be directly applied by Lockheed through their partnership to the upcoming X-35 prototype in the Joint-Strike Fighter program, most notably the later VTOL F-35B variant, which shares many basic features with the Yak-41.
The two flyable prototypes, now no longer flyable, would be exhibited as static ground displays at the 1993 Moscow airshow. Shortly after, the two prototypes would undergo cosmetic restoration before being placed in museums for permanent display. The first flyable prototype retained its post-soviet "White 141" livery, and is permanently displayed at the Central Air Force Museum at Monino. The second prototype was re-painted into the "White 75" livery originally used by its sister aircraft (the first prototype), and placed in the Technical Museum, Arkhangelskoye, Moscow.
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.
- Gordon, Yefim. Yakovlev Yak-36, Yak-38 & Yak-41: The Soviet "Jump Jets." Midland Publishing, 2008.
- Gordon, Yefim, and Bill Gunston. "'Yakovlev's Experimental VTOLs' p.213-215." Soviet X-Planes, Midland, Hinckley, 2000.
- Gordon, Yefim (1997). Yakovlev Aircraft since 1924. London, UK: Putnam Aeronautical Books.
|A.S. Yakovlev Design Bureau (Яковлев Опытное конструкторское бюро)|
|Yak-1||Yak-1 · Yak-1B|
|Yak-3||Yak-3 · Yak-3 (VK-107) · Yak-3P · Yak-3T · Yak-3U|
|Yak-9||Yak-9 · Yak-9B · Yak-9K · Golovachev's Yak-9M · Yak-9P · Yak-9T · Yak-9U · Yak-9UT|
|Yak-15||Yak-15P · Yak-15|
|Yak-38||Yak-38 · Yak-38M|
|Foreign use||▄Yak-3 · Challe's ▄Yak-9T|
|USSR jet aircraft|
|Yakovlev||Yak-15 · Yak-15P · Yak-17 · Yak-23 · Yak-28B · Yak-30D · Yak-38 · Yak-38M · Yak-141|
|Mikoyan-Gurevich||MiG-9 · MiG-9 (l) · MiG-15 · MiG-15bis · MiG-15bis ISH · MiG-17 · MiG-17AS · MiG-19PT|
|MiG-21F-13 · MiG-21PFM · MiG-21S (R-13-300) · MiG-21SMT · MiG-21bis|
|MiG-23M · MiG-23ML · MiG-23MLD · MiG-27M · MiG-27K|
|MiG-29 · MiG-29SMT|
|Lavochkin||La-174 · La-15 · La-200|
|Sukhoi||Su-9 · Su-11|
|Su-7B · Su-7BKL · Su-7BMK · Su-17M2 · Su-17M4 · Su-22M3|
|Su-25 · Su-25BM · Su-25K · Su-25T · Su-39|
|Ilyushin||IL-28 · IL-28Sh|