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Lavochkin 5/7

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Developed from the disappointing LaGG-3, the Lavochkin La-5 was one of the great fighters of World War II. It shared the earlier machine's wooden construction, but the new radial engine gave it vastly superior performance. The La-5 and its successors were amongst the best dogfighters of the war, especially at low level and were flown by most leading Soviet pilots including Ivan Kozhedub, the Allied 'ace of aces'.

As the Soviet armies reeled back from the German invasion of 1941, there were frantic demands for the Soviet air force to be re-equipped with modern fighters. In Oct 1941, Semyon Lavochkin began work on an improved version of the heavy LaGG-3 fighter. The ensuing La-5, equipped with a powerful radial engine and cut-down rear fuselage, entered production in July 1942 and more than 1000 were built by the end of the year.

The first large-scale use of the La-5 came in 1942 over Stalingrad. Here and at Kursk the following year, it proved to be a ferocious dogfighter, especially at low level. The lightweight La-5FN appeared that year and was flown by many top Soviet aces.

The La-7 of 1944 had more power and many minor improvements, making it one of the most effective fighters of the war.


Lavochkin 5/7

Lavochkin 5/7 rugged radial Lavochkin 5/7 ready for battle
The La-5's excellent radial engine and wooden bonded construction were ideal for service in Russia. The La-5 was simply and ruggedly constructed. It structure was mostly built from wood rather than scarce light aircraft alloys.

Lavochkin 5/7 (Technical Specification)
Role Single-seat fighter
Manufacturer Lavochkin
Maximum Speed 650 kmh (403 mph)
Maximum Range 765 km (475 miles)
Ceiling 11,000 meters (36,000 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

2,605 kg (5,737 lbs)
3,360 kg (7,932 lbs)
Wing Area

9.80 meters (32 ft)
8.67 meters (28 ft)
2.54 meters (8 ft)
17.59 square meters (189 sq ft)
Engines One Shvetsov M-82FN (ASh-82FN) radial piston engine which provides 1231-kW (1,650 hp)
Armament Two or three 20 mm (0.79 in) ShVAK or 23 mm (0.9 in) NS cannon
158 kg (350 lbs) of bombs
Four 82 mm (3 in) rockets underwing

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This Lavochin La-7 had two RD-13 pulsejet fitted under the wings. It had...

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