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This page is about the Russian fighter Yak-3. For other uses, see Yak-3 (Family).


GarageImage Yak-3.jpg

The Yak-3 is a rank III Russian fighter with a battle rating of 4.0 (AB/RB) and 4.7 (SB). This aircraft has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27.

By the time you get this plane, you should be well versed in the rules of Yakovlev warfare: Engine throttle at about 90%, stay below 2,000 m and watch your ammo. However, the Yak-3 is a true gift to Soviet pilots: while peak performance is still at or below 2,000 m, going above up to 4,000 m is now possible! Energy fighting, while not the Yak's speciality, can also be done effectively with the Yak-3, and moderate BnZ can be allowed due to metal wing construction (wings take more to rip now). While engine throttle should still be at 90% for max engine cooling, once upgraded, you should never have to throttle lower than this on this plane. In addition, WEP is moderately effective now and does not overheat the engine as fast as previous Yaks!

The guns on this plane are worth noting as well. Along with the effective and feared 20 mm cannon in the nose, the Yak-3 gains two additional 12.7 mm MGs. This means that the cannon is no longer your only real weapon. Dual .50s can wreak impressive havoc at close range, and compliment the cannon well. The cannon also gets an improved belt: Air Targets. While not having as much HE as the Ground Targets belt (some pilots will, justifiably, prefer the GT belt), it contains more incendiary rounds. The Stealth belt is still a solid choice for those who are used to the trajectory of the cannon. Find the belt that suits you.

The Yak-3 sports 2 x Berezin UB 12.7 mm MGs, which are arguably the best 12.7 mm weapons in the game besides the M3 Browning. These run dry at approximately the same time as the 20 mm ShVAK cannon. The ShVAK sports inferior ballistics to those of the MG 151 and especially Hispano cannons, closing to short range before firing is recommended. Being hub mounted, the ShVAK can utilize its hefty firing rate advantage that it holds overall 20 mm cannons in the game (with the exception of the F-86F-2's T-160s).

The Yak-3 carries 150 RPG for the Berezin UBs and 120 rounds for the ShVAK, which is a below average load. It is imperative that you fire short bursts and save your ammo until within 400 meters for maximum effectiveness and longevity. This weapon set is more than adequate for fighter vs. fighter engagements, but you will notice how lacking the weapons are vs. dual and quad engine aircraft.

The lightened airframe of the Yak-3, being propelled by the more powerful Klimov VK-105 engine, gives the aircraft very good acceleration properties and a good rate of climb. It is also very agile, especially at low altitudes. However, while the Yak-3 is one of the best low-altitude dogfighters, its high-altitude performance still leaves much to be desired. The aircraft should always be kept below 4 km altitude to maximize its strengths. The Yak can also be used as a Boom & Zoom aircraft, however, due to low wing endurance, it is advised to always control the speed of the dive and not use excessive force to pull out of it.

General info

Flight Performance

Describe how the aircraft behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.

Max Speed
(km/h at 4,100 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
633 616 10400 18.3 18.9 17.9 17.9 348
Max Speed
(km/h at 4,100 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
671 654 10400 17.2 17.4 24.2 21.3 348


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flaps
Max Static G
+ -
N/A ~12 ~9
Optimal velocities
< 380 < 420 < 490 > 340
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
300 m 1,310 hp N/A
Setting 2
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
2,600 m 1,240 hp N/A

Engine performance

Engine Name Number present
Klimov VK-105PF 12-cylinder 1
Engine characteristics
Weight (each) Type Cooling
600 kg Inline Water
Engine power (Stock)
Mode Take-off
Arcade 1,229 hp
Realistic/Simulator 1,217 hp
Engine power (Upgraded)
Mode Take-off
Arcade ____ hp
Realistic/Simulator 1,320 hp
WEP Duration
Arcade Realistic/Simulator
25 seconds N/A

Survivability and armour

Examine the survivability of the aircraft. Note how vulnerable the structure is and how secure the pilot is, whether the fuel tanks are armoured, etc. Describe the armour, if there is any, and also mention the vulnerability of other critical aircraft systems.


Offensive armament

The Yak-3 is armed with:

  • 1 x 20 mm ShVAK cannon, nose-mounted (120 rpg)
  • 2 x 12.7 mm Berezin UB machine guns, nose-mounted (150 rpg = 300 total)

Usage in battles

The Yak-3's instrument panel.

The Yak-3 is the pinnacle of the piston engine Yakovlev design, with a much more powerful engine, the addition of a second MG (meaning the MGs are viable now!), and metal wings! The coolant system, now actually somewhat effective, has been moved to the wing roots (no "smiley face" below the nose), making the plane more streamlined. The cannon - the same old 20 mm ShVAK - receives a pleasant upgrade: an effective Air Targets belt.

Overall, the Yak-3 can be considered as a "jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none" aircraft. It will readily fulfil any fighter role a pilot will put it in, however, it won't excel in any – the American and German aircraft will still be better at energy fighting and executing Boom & Zoom tactics, while the British and the Japanese planes will still have an edge in manoeuvrability. Yet, the Yak-3 is a very potent machine which, with a skilled pilot behind the controls, is an opponent that you don't want to underestimate.

Baiting higher enemies into lower altitudes and engaging them in a dogfight is a worthwhile tactic. The only exception to this is Japanese opponents and certain Spitfire variants, where strict energy fighting or Boom & Zoom is recommended.

The Yak series also works oddly well at medium altitude "Boom & Zoom", thanks to a clean low drag airframe (good horizontal energy retention) and good vertical manoeuvrability. You can also use this to escape from the very light and maneruvable A6M's (which you will most often be fighting).

Manual Engine Control

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


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage repair Radiator Offensive 12 mm
II Compressor Airframe New 12 mm MGs
III Wings repair Engine Offensive 20 mm
IV 100 octane fuel usage Cover New 20 mm cannons

Pros and cons


  • Very manoeuvrable
  • Excellent roll rate
  • High acceleration and top speed, especially at low altitudes
  • Excellent energy retention
  • Dual Berezin UB HMG's with upgraded belts are capable of doing good damage


  • Still confers to the standard Yak setup of 1 x 20 mm ShVAK with one/two MGs, which is underwhelming at this rank
  • Poor high altitude performance
  • Upgraded Yak-3s can still have engine overheating problems!
  • Very low wing rip speed
  • Catches fire easily, which are not easy to put out in a dive due to the low wing durability.
  • Suffers extreme compression above 600kph, combined with the low wing rip speed diving from high altitude is a death sentence


The idea to produce a new fighter for the Red Army Air Force went as far back as 1941. It was then that the Yakovlev Design Bureau presented the I-30 prototype, intended an alternative to the earlier Yak-1 design. However, the German invasion of the USSR, as well as aluminium shortages, meant that the project had to be put on hold. Yakovlev resumed the development in 1943 while working on an upgraded version of the Yak-1 fighter. This time, it was decided that a new aircraft should be produced to completely replace the Yak-1 and Yak-7 models. The new machine was dubbed as the Yak-3 and entered service with the Red Army Air Force in 1944.

The new fighter quickly became very popular with Soviet pilots. They highly praised its solid armament of two Berezin UBS 12.7 mm machine guns and one ShVAK 20 mm cannon as well as ease of piloting and superb low-altitude performance. Marcel Albert, the top scoring French ace of World War II, cited the Yak-3 as one of the best fighters of the war, along with the P-51 Mustang and the Supermarine Spitfire. After the war, the Yak-3 was also used by the Air Forces of Socialist Yugoslavia and Poland.[1]

The Yak-3P was produced from April 1945 until mid-1946, armed with 3 × 20 mm Berezin B-20 cannon with 120 rounds for the middle cannon and 130 rpg for the side weapons. The three-cannon armament with full ammunition load was actually 11 kg (24 lb) lighter than that of a standard Yak-3, and the one-second burst mass of 3.52 kg (7.74 lb) was greater than that of most contemporary fighters. Starting in August 1945, all Yak-3 were produced in the Yak-3P configuration with a total of 596 built.

In-game description

"The Yak-3 was a Soviet single-engine fighter of the WWII era. It was the first combat aircraft designed by Alexander Yakovlev's construction bureau. The Yak-3 was a further modification of the Yak-1, produced in 1944 and 1945, with a total of 4,848 built, and considered one of the best fighters of the war. In February 1943, a new Yak-1M variant was completed. It was a further development of the Yak-1, differing from it mainly in lower weight and smaller wing span.

By September 1943, yet another improved variant was ready, designated Yak-1M Dubler, on which the canvas skin on the tail section was replaced with 2mm plywood, and oil and water radiators were improved. The Dubler also had a new mastless antenna, a ring sight instead of a reflector sight, improved armor and a new propeller. Test pilots were impressed by the new prototype. Their report stated in part: ""Yak-1M possessed excellent horizontal, and especially vertical, maneuverability. Top speed greatly improved compared to earlier serial-production Yaks. Despite improved performance, the aircraft remains easy to fly and does not require extensive pilot training."" Therefore, the new modification went into production, receiving a new designation, Yak-3.

One of the most memorable air battles for the Yak-3 took place on 16th July 1944, when the plane showed it could confidently engage superior enemy forces. On that day, 10 Yak-3s met 8 Bf-109s and 4 FW-190s, with the battle eventually growing to 18 Soviet and 24 German planes. In the end, 15 German planes were shot down, for the loss of a single Yak-3."


Skins and camouflages for the Yak-3 from http://live.warthunder.com


See also

External links

USSR fighters
I-15  I-15 WR · I-15 M-22 · I-15R · I-15bis
I-153  I-153 M-62 · Zhukovsky's I-153-M62 · I-153P
I-16  I-16 type 5 · I-16 type 10 · I-16 type 18 · I-16 type 24 · I-16 type 27 · I-16 type 28 · I-180S
I-185  I-185 (M-71) · I-185 (M-82)
I-225  I-225
MiG-3  MiG-3-15 · MiG-3-15 (BK) · MiG-3-34
LaGG  I-301 · LaGG-3-4 · LaGG-3-8 · LaGG-3-11 · LaGG-3-23 · LaGG-3-34 · LaGG-3-35 · LaGG-3-66
La  La-5 · La-5F · La-5FN · La-7 · Dolgushin's La-7 · La-7B-20 · La-9 · La-11
Yak-1/7  Yak-1 · Yak-1B · Yak-7B
Yak-3  Yak-3 · Yak-3P · Yak-3T · Yak-3U · Yak-3 (VK-107)
Yak-9  Yak-9 · Yak-9B · Golovachev's Yak-9M · Yak-9T · Yak-9K · Yak-9U · Yak-9UT · Yak-9P
Other countries  ▂P-40E-1 · ▂P-47D-27 · ▂Hurricane Mk IIB · ▂Fw 190 D-9 · ▂Spitfire Mk IXc
P-39  ▂P-39K-1 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · ▂P-39Q-15
P-63  ▂P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-10 · ▂P-63C-5