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Lavochkin GG-3

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Designed by a new bureau and rushed into production as World War II was getting under way, The LaGG-3 was an improved version of Lavochkin's original LaGG-1. Although they had many shortcomings, the urgent need for new fighters meant that around 300 LaGG-3s were in service by the time Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. And by the time production ended just over a year later a further 6000 had been delivered.

First flown as the I-22 in March 1939, the LaGG-1 was built largely of wood and armed with a 23 mm (0.9 in) cannon plus two 12.7 mm (0.5 cal) machine-guns in the nose. It proved short on performance, range and manoeuvrability and was difficult to control.

The need for a new fighter was urgent, however and so the LaGG-1 was fitted with lighter weapons had its control system improved and had additional fuel tanks installed to produce the LaGG-3. This aircraft still suffered from a lack of power and had a very poor view from the cockpit.

Most units equipped with the type suffered heavy losses and the pressure of war meant that few of the improvements proposed were actually carried out. Instead, the heavier weapons of the LaGG-1 were often fitted so that the LaGG-3 could be used for close support missions against ground targets.

Modifications included three aircraft fitted with 37 mm (1.47 in) cannon and one with a 1230-kW M-10A engine. But it was the installation of the M-82 air-cooled radial to produce the La-5 that finally turned Lavochkin's design into a worthwhile fighter.


Lavochkin GG-3

Lavochkin GG-3 long-serving Soviet stop-gap Flying Lavochkin GG-3
Reports vary with regard to the flying qualities of the LaGG-3. Some sources suggest it was as dangerous to its pilots as it was to the enemy. Soviet forces relied heavily on the LaGG-3 flying it against far superior enemy fighters until the introduction of more advanced Soviet fighter designs.

Lavochkin GG-3 (Technical Specification)
Role Single-seat fighter
Manufacturer Lavochkin
Maximum Speed 560 kmh (348 mph)
Maximum Range 650 km (404 miles)
Ceiling 9,600 meters (31,500 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

2,620 kg (5,776 lbs)
3,280 kg (7,231 lbs)
Wing Area

9.80 meters (32 ft 2 in)
8.90 meters (29 ft 2 in)
3.30 meters (14 ft 5 in)
17.50 square meters (118 sq ft)
Engines One Klimov M-105PF-1 liquid-cooled V-12 engine which provides 925-kW (1,240 hp)
Armament One 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon
Two 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) machine-guns
Six 82 mm (3.2 in) rockets
Two 100 kg (220 lbs) bombs

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