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La-9 'Fritz'



La-9 'Fritz'

Lavochkin's famed La-7 became one of the best Soviet WWII fighters, however its wooden construction limited its performance. At the end of the War a new La-7 version armed with three 20 mm Beresin B-20 guns was put into production and efforts were made to improve firepower even more by developing the new design armed with Nudelman and Suranov NS-23 guns. Called Aircraft "130" the prototype was completed on the Production Plant 21 in Gorkiy (now Nizhny Novgorod). The new fighter was made entirely of metal and was armed with four NS-23 guns. In 1946 the "130" was put into serial production under the designation "Product 48" and was named La-9. 1,559 airplanes were built in 1946-1949.

According to standard Soviet practice the two-seat trainer version was developed. Named La-9V or UTI La-9, the new aircraft was evaluated in 1947 and put into serial production on the Production Plant 99 (Ulan Ude) under the designation "Product 49". The trainer La-9V could be armed with one NS-23 gun or one 12.7 machine gun. The Production Plant #99 also built single-seat La-9 fighters from the components supplied by the Plant #21. A number of prototypes equipped with auxiliary jet boosters were developed on the basis of the La-9 airframe, however none were put into serial production.


Like other aircraft designers at the time, Lavochkin was experimenting with using jet engines to augment performance of piston-engined fighters. One such attempt was La-130R with a RD-1Kh3 liquid fuel rocket engine in addition to the Shvetsov ASh-82FN piston powerplant. The project was cancelled in 1946 before the prototype could be assembled. A more unusual approach was La-9RD which was tested in 1947-1948. It was a production La-9 with a reinforced airframe and armament reduced to two cannons which carried a single RD-13 pulsejet (likely of the German V-1 rocket origin) under each wing. The 70 km/h (45 mph) increase in top speed came at the expense of tremendous noise and vibration. The engines were unreliable and worsened the handling. The project was abandoned although between 3 and 9 La-9RD were reported to perform at airshows, no doubt pleasing the crowds with the noise.

Other notable La-9 variants were:

La-9UTI - field-modified two-seat trainer version

La-132 (La-132) - prototype with upgraded Shvetsov M-93 engine. Projected top speed 740 km/h (460 mph) at 6,500 m (21,300 ft). Engine proved a failure and the single prototype was equipped with an experimental Shvetsov ASh-82M instead. The aircraft did not proceed to production.

La-9M (La-134) - long-range fighter prototype, see Lavochkin La-11

WW 2 Soviet Fighters
La-7 La-9 La-11
Crew One One One
Year of issue 1944 1946 1947
Length 8.60 m (28 ft 2 in) 8.63 m (28 ft 4 in) 8.62 m (28 ft 3 in)
Wing span 9.80 m (32 ft 1 in) 9.80 m (32 ft 2 in) 9.80 m (32 ft 2 in)
Wing area 17.5 m² (188 ft²) 17.6 m² (189 ft²) 17.6 m² (189 ft²)
Height 2.540 m (8 ft 4 in) 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in) 3.47 m (11 ft 5 in)
Empty weight 2,638 kg (5,803 lb) 2,638 kg (5,816 lb) 2,770 kg (6,107 lb)
Loaded weight 3,265 kg (7,183 lb) 3,425 kg (7,551 lb) 3,730 kg (8,223 lb)
Maximum takeoff weight 3,400 kg (7,480 lb) 3,676 kg (8,104 lb) 3,996 kg (8,810 lb)
Engine ASh-82FN ASh-82FN ASh-82FN
Power 1,380 kW (1,850 hp) 1,380 kW (1,850 hp) 1,380 kW (1,850 hp)
Maximum speed at sea level 579/613* 640 562
at altitude 661 km/h (470 mph) 690 km/h (430 mph) 674 km/h (420 mph)
m (ft) 6000 m (19,685 ft) 6250 m (20,505 ft) 6200 m (20,341 ft)
Time to 5,000 m (16,404 ft), min 5.25/4.6* 4.7 6.6
Time of turn, sec 19 20-21 24-25
Rate of climb 18.3 m/s (3,608 ft/min) 17.7 m/s (3,489 ft/min) 758 m/min (2,486 ft/min)
Wing loading 38 lb/ft² (187 kg/m²) 195 kg/m² (40 lb/ft²) 212 kg/m² (44 lb/ft²)
Power/mass 0.42 kW/kg (0.25 hp/lb) 0.40 kW/kg (0.25 hp/lb) 0.37 kW/kg (0.23 hp/lb)
Service ceiling 10,450 (34,284 ft) 10,800 m (35,424 ft) 10,250 m (33,620 ft)
Range 570 km (354 mi) 1,735 km (1,082 mi) 2,235 km (1,393 mi)
Cannon 2хShVAK or 3xBB-20 4xNS-23, 75 rounds/gun 3xNS-23 75 rounds/gun

* Forcing of the engine during 10 minutes.

Photo Description

A prototype of La-9 - the plane "130" - on state tests

The layout of the La-9

Dashboard pilot. See four recharge lever guns.

4 gun NS-23 aircraft La-9

The first copy of the training La 9B on state tests.

Front cabin La 9B

The aircraft "138" with two ramjet Bondaryuk with traction 220 kg at the sea level. Compared with the La-9 speed at an altitude of 3000 meters has grown by only 45 km / h, when switched off, ramjet - in the 60-80 km / h less.


  • "The history of designs of planes in USSR 1938-1950" /Vadim Shavrov/
  • "La-9, La-11 Fighters " /M-Hobby #11/