The aircraft was a modification of the fighter "LaGG-1" with a greater range. Work on the LaGG-3 began in January 1941, and the lead for series production was determined #21 factory in Gorky. Lavochkin was appointed chief designer responsible for the implementation of the series.
In 1940, together with M.I.Gudkovym V.P.Gorbunovym, he presented at trials the fighter LaGG-1 (I-22), which was launched after the improvements in the series under the name LaGG-3 (I-301). In the late 1930s, it became obvious to many that a war with Nazi Germany was inevitable. The latter managed to create a powerful army and aviation, armed with modern and at the same time well-mastered models of combat aircraft. In the face of such a threat to the aviation industry and the Air Force, the leadership of the USSR set the task: as soon as possible, create, introduce into mass production and operation the latest types of combat aircraft, which would be in no way inferior to the aircraft of a potential enemy.
This task was not solved immediately. An important stage was the replacement of the I-16 and I-15 fighters designed by Nikolai Polikarpov, which brought well-deserved fame to our country as a powerful aviation power in the mid-30s of the twentieth century, proved themselves well in local conflicts, but were clearly outdated by that time. They were replaced by new I-200s (later MiG-1 and MiG-3) by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, I-26 (Yak-1) by Alexander Yakovlev, as well as I-301 (LaGG-3) by Semyon Lavochkin, Vladimir Gorbunov and Mikhail Gudkov.
LaGG-3 took off for the first time on March 30, 1940 and, according to the testimony of test engineer Israel Rabkin, Lavochkin, who in his qualifications and responsibility stood out in the design "triumvirate", worried more than others the day before and at the same time did not doubt the compliance of the I-301 modern requirements for aircraft of this class.
“His confidence was based on the results of many studies, checks and conclusions carried out at his own and related enterprises, in research organizations ... A year and a half ago, there was nothing yet - neither the aircraft project, nor the team that completed it in full, nor those who built the plane according to this project. ”There was only he [Lavochkin] with his ideas and first rough calculations, sketch sketches and an indomitable desire to create the fighter needed for the country, which would have high flight performance, powerful weapons and was built from new materials ", - recalled Rabkin.
Despite the numerous remarks noted during the tests conducted by military engineer Alexei Nikashin, the I-301 aircraft with powerful weapons (cannon, two large-caliber and two conventional machine guns) was recognized as successful and promising, since it "constructively resolves the task of creating an all-wood aircraft using hardened wood ". Before the war, there was an acute shortage of metal, it was impossible to count on a large batch, while, of course, there was no shortage of wood in the country. For small planes - single-seat fighters - wood could compete with metal in terms of weight and strength, however, it was not easy to create a reliable, verified design, since the engine was still metal. It was necessary to calculate everything very accurately.
After the tests, it was decided to modify the aircraft, eliminate all defects and build a series of 25-30 aircraft. Lavochkin and both co-authors of the work were awarded the 1st degree Stalin Prize. In October-November 1940, when there was no doubt about the success, the new fighter was launched into mass production at four aircraft factories, with the major plant No. 21 in Gorky becoming the lead.
Unfortunately, from the very first days of operation, more and more flaws of the aircraft began to be revealed - both in terms of production and design. Stalin's instructions to increase the range from 600 to 1000 km pulled other changes as well, leading to a significant increase in take-off weight and a decrease in the flight data of the serial aircraft compared to the experimental one. So, the maximum speed at an altitude of 5000 m decreased by 30-50 km / h, and the time to climb to 5000 m, on the contrary, increased by almost a whole minute.
After the start of the war, the LaGG-3 fighters entered the battle with the enemy somewhat later than the MiGs and Yaki, since they were sent for the first time in the air defense unit. They played a role in protecting the skies of Moscow and Leningrad in the fight against scouts and bombers. When meetings with enemy fighters began to take place regularly, it turned out that the LaGGies built of wood turned out to be heavy in piloting, difficult for insufficiently trained flight personnel, did not forgive piloting mistakes and were noticeably inferior in terms of flight and tactical characteristics to the most massive German all-metal Bf 109F developed by Willie Messerschmitt.
On the one hand, Semyon Alekseevich's idea was fully confirmed that the absence of scarce materials in the structure (the stake on wood) would not interfere with mass construction; although the LaGG-3 was introduced six to nine months later than the Yak-1, the first were built 2463 units. for 1941, the second - only 1397 pieces for 1940-1941. On the other hand, none of the aircraft launched into series on the eve of the war suffered so much in terms of the deterioration of the characteristics of serial machines, relatively experienced, as the creation of Lavochkin, Gorbunov and Gudkov.
Plans were ordered in 1941 to make 2960 LaGG-3 fighters. Prior to June 22 managed to produce 322 aircraft. Affected nedovedennost design because of the extreme haste with the launch of the aircraft in the series. First LaGG made in Gorky, took off from the factory airfield January 23, 1941.
The LaGG-3 airframe was resistant to fire, but performance was reduced by the presence of a water cooling system. In the series due to the deterioration of exterior trim, weight gain performance of the aircraft significantly decreased, so the martial qualities LaGG-3 conceded as the main fighter of the Luftwaffe Messerschmitt ME-109F, and the domestic Yak-1. The positive qualities of LaGG-3 called it more powerful than the other Soviet fighters and weapons to defeat enemy fire, however, it could not compensate for his lack of flight performance.
In 1941-1944, Lavochkin (factory number 21) and VP Gorbunov (at the plant number 31) were carried out to facilitate the work of the machine, improving its aerodynamics, installing a more powerful engine M-105PF. In addition to work on improving the performance of the aircraft Lavochkin, Gorbunov and Gudkov (everyone in your company) created a large number of modifications with different weapons (37 -, 23 - and 20-millimeter cannon, different numbers of machine guns, with the installation of missiles).
In the most typical of the 1941 version of LaGG-3 weaponry consisted of ShVAK gun caliber 20 mm and synchronous machine guns - one BS and two ShKAS. In addition, under the wings could accommodate 6 - 8 rockets.
In 1943 serial LaGG-3 began to establish a new, not yet fully tested gun NS-37. After successful military trials NA-37 is installed in the Yak-9T, and the Il-2. So LaGG-3 paved the way for the gun NS-37, destroyed a lot of German armored vehicles.
There are three ways to improve the LaGG-3: relieved by removal of the equipment and weapons; increase engine power (eventually this way was the most effective and resulted in the creation of La 5); increase the firepower by installing a 37-mm cannon.
In 1943. due to improvements in flight data LaGG-3 closer to the parameters of the data Yak-1 and Yak-7.
LaGG was in many publications unflattering characterization. Of course, he was heavy, sluggish in maneuver. Criticism on the plane were caused not only by his far shiny flight data, and poor training of pilots at the beginning of the war. Plaque young "Stalin falcons" rarely exceeded 30 hours, while the pilots of enemy raids had about 450 hours. The words are true: "The best fighter is, which is piloted by the best pilots." But in the hands of experienced pilots LaGG-3 became a formidable weapon. 17 victories in air battles on this plane won the Hero of the Soviet Union Grigoriev - Pilot 178 th Fighter Wing, defending in 1941, the sky over Moscow. February 3, 1942 A. Gubanov on LaGG-3 in combat shot down three Bf 109. Our pilots were shot down on Lugg several German aces of the famous squadron "green heart".
It is on the LaGG-3 opened fighting account glorified aces VA Zaitsev, NM Buffoons, VI Popkov, SD Lugansk, PY Golovachev, PM Kamozin, who later became twice Heroes of the Soviet Union.
In the fall of 1941 Lugg joined the battle for Moscow. At the direction of Moscow acted 5 fighter and a reconnaissance regiment, armed Lugg. LaGG-3 does not become a symbol of the battle for Moscow sky, but the contribution to the common cause made significant. Shelves armed Lugg, operated as part of the Western, Bryansk and Kalinin fronts. Kalinin Front fighters of this type even occupied a dominant position, is another matter that they were few. Distinguished Lugg in the battle for the Crimea and the Caucasus. In the battles for the Crimea participated 3 Fighter Wing aircraft LaGG-3. LaGG-3 had a chance to take part in the war against Japan. They mainly covered stormtroopers.
The most successful LaGG-3 acted against enemy bombers, where his superiority in the flight data and power arms have been crucial. Good it was the aircraft and to perform tasks assault. On the Western Front LAGG widely used as a scout.
But dogfights with enemy fighters is apparent deficiencies LaGG-3, due to its handling qualities unimportant and too much weight. According to the flight characteristics LaGG-3 yielded Messerschmitt-109 versions F and G. Because in 1942 the production of LaGG-3 was discontinued in all plants except plant in Tbilisi, which was evacuated Taganrog Aviation Plant #31. On the Gorky plant number 21, LaGG- 3 was replaced by new aircraft La-5, and in Novosibirsk began to produce the Yak-7. In 1941 - 1944 years. Plants number 21 (Gorky), #23 (Leningrad), #31 (Taganrog - Tbilisi), #153 (Novosibirsk) released 6528 aircraft LaGG-3 of all modifications. In 1941 and 1942. LaGG-3 was one of the most popular Soviet fighters. At that time, the war with the great difficulties in the supply of light metals, the use of wood made it possible to significantly expand production of aircraft.
For the creation of the aircraft LaGG-3 chief designers VP Gorbunov, SA Lavochkin, MI Gudkov spring of 1941, were awarded the Stalin Prize I degree.
Yak-1 fighters and their "younger brothers" Yak-7 fighters, which were also inferior at that time in terms of flight and tactical data to the German Bf 109F, looked preferable to the "Triumvirate" machines ("Yaks" were 300 kg lighter), and on March 4 In 1942, the government decided to replace the LaGG-3 aircraft with the Yak-7 on the assembly line of plant No. 21 (a similar decision for plant No. 153 in Novosibirsk followed on December 23, 1941), and send OKB-21 headed by Lavochkin to Tbilisi, to a small plant No. 31 - to the "periphery".
LaGG-3 Fighter Prototype (1942)
EDO SA Lavochkin initiative marked the first work on the application of an airplane jet engine, however, is still as additional accelerators. In August of 1942. flight tests took place LaGG-3 with two ramjet engine WFD-1 design M. Bondaryuk. Both engines were suspended to the consoles of the wing near the second rib. The first flight took place on August 5 and until August 16, test pilot Captain GA Mishchenko was made 14 flights. Obtained during tests absolute increase the maximum speed at an altitude of 1500 meters was 12-15 km / h. Tests have shown that the through-flow of the WFD still very imperfect and in need of further refinement.
However, the test results also clearly showed that the front waiting for designers big work on the development of jet technology. The first word of the engine specialists were here, but during the war, especially in the first half, all the forces were thrown into the aviation industry to improve the series of military equipment. Continuation of work on the application of ramjet followed only after the war.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|