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Yak-141 Freestyle

The Yak-141 (formerly Yak-41) was intended originally to replace Yak-38 for air defence of Kiev class carriers/cruisers, with secondary attack capabilities. Designed for carrier-borne operations as an air interceptor, close air combat, maritime and ground attack aircraft, the Yak-141 has the same multi-mode radar as the MiG-29, although with a slightly smaller antenna housed in the nose radome. It features a triplex full authority digital fly-by-wire system.

The Yak-141 continues previous Soviet V/STOL principles, combining a lift and propulsion jet with two fuselage mounted lift jets in tandem behind the cockpit, with cruise power provided by a single Tumansky R-79 jet engine. The R-79 has a rear lift/cruise nozzle which deflect down for take-off while the two lift engines have corresponding rearward vector to ensure stability. The airframe makes extensive use of composites materials, with some 28 percent by weight constructed of carbon-fibre, primarily in the tail assembly, while the remainder of the structure is mainly aluminum lithium alloys.

The project began in 1975, but was delayed by financial constraints as well as the protracted development of the engine, which meant the prototype did not fly until March 1989. This development program was cancelled due to termination of Defence Ministry funding. Yakolev OKB continued development in refined land-based and naval combat aircraft forms. Four prototypes were built, two continuing in flight testing until 1995, with the other two used for engine and structural testing. To facilitate sales of the Yak-141, Yeltsin has issued decrees allowing tri- or quadripartite agreements with a number of interested organizations in Latin America and Asia.

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