The Yak-141 is the world's first supersonic VTOL fighter. It operates with lift engines in the
forward fuselage and a vectoring nozzle on the main engine, placed well forward, between twin
tail booms. The Yak-141 seems to be more a technology demonstrator than an actual fighter aircraft,
and the need to use afterburner for take-off is a distinct problem. Development is continuing,
after being halted temporarily.
Yakovlev Yak-41/141 Freestyle
Design of the Yak-41 began in 1975; the first prototype flew on 9 March 1987, followed
by a second in April 1989. Tests were conducted on the aircraft carrier
"Admiral Gorshkov". In April 1991, one of the prototypes set several records for VTOL
aircraft; it was displayed at the Paris Air Show shortly afterwards. One prototype was
lost in a crash (attributed to pilot error) on the carrier in November 1991, after which
development was suspended (due to lack of funds rather than any problems with the aircraft);
the surviving aircraft was mothballed.
Yakovlev have recently announced their intention to restart development of the Yak-41,
apparently as a result of renewed interest from the Russian Ministry of Defence (a similar
revival of the twin-turboprop Yak-44 AEW aircraft is also being considered).
A more advanced version, has also been designed, with the
emphasis now on Air Force rather than Navy service. This version has an extensively
modified airframe, with a strong emphasis on stealth (there is a distinct resemblance
to the F-22), a much more powerful engine, and more fuel and payload.
The "Freestyle" has been referred to as both Yak-41 and Yak-141; it appears that one
designation refers to the standard fighter (Yak-41) and one to the single prototype modified for
record attempts (Yak-141).
Engines: 1 * 15500kg Soyuz R-79V-300, 2 * 4100kg Rybinsk RD-41
Wing Span: 10.10 m
Length: 18.30 m
Height: 5.00 m
Max.Weight: 19500 kg
Speed: 1800 km/h
Ceiling: +15000 m
Range: 2100 km
Armament: 1*g30mm, 2600 kg payload
missiles R-27, R-73 (air to air), Kh-58 (anti-ship) and Kh-25MP and Kh-31P (antiradar)