Lavochkin La-11

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La-11
Role Fighter
National origin USSR
Manufacturer Lavochkin
Primary users Soviet air forces
PLAAF
Produced 1947-1951
Number built 1232
Developed from Lavochkin La-130

The Lavochkin La-11 (NATO reporting name Fang) was an early post-World War II long-range piston-engined Soviet fighter aircraft.

Development[edit]

One of the recommendations from the government testing of Lavochkin La-130 (Lavochkin La-9 prototype) was to further develop it into a long-range escort fighter. The resultant La-134 prototype (also sometimes referred to as La-9M) featured increased fuel and oil capacity. Armament was reduced to three cannons. The prototype flew in May 1947. The second prototype, La-134D had fuel capacity increased by an additional 275 l (73 US gal) with wing and external fuel tanks. The aircraft was fitted with larger tires to accommodate the increased weight and amenities for long flights such as increased padding in the seat, armrests, and a urinal. In addition, a full radio navigation suite was installed. Not surprisingly, combat performance with a full fuel load suffered. However, as the fuel load approached that of La-9, so did the performance. The aircraft was found to be poorly suited for combat above 7,000 m (23,000 ft). The new fighter, designated La-11 entered production in 1947. By the end of production in 1951, a total of 1,182 aircraft were built.

Operational history[edit]

The first documented combat use of La-11 took place on April 8, 1950, when four Soviet pilots shot down an United States Navy Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer over the Baltic Sea, with all 10 of the Privateer's crew lost. Later the same year, two La-11 pilots shot down a USN Lockheed P2V Neptune over the Sea of Japan near Vladivostok; one USN crew member was killed.

From February 1950, the Soviet 106th Fighter Aviation Division moved to Shanghai to defend it against bombing by the ROCAF. The division included the 351st Fighter Regiment, equipped with the La-11. On March 7, the regiment claimed a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber, shot down near Nanjing.[citation needed] On March 14, 1950, a Martin B-26 Marauder bomber was claimed in Xuzhou.[citation needed] On March 20, 1950, five La-11 pilots encountered a group of North American P-51 Mustangs north-west of Shanghai, although the P-51 pilots immediately retreated.[citation needed] On April 2, 1950, two P-51s were claimed by La-11 pilots over Shanghai.[citation needed] After that, MiG-15s of the Soviet 29th Fighter Regiment took over the air defence role. The ROCAF stopped bombing Shanghai that June and the Soviet units left in October 1950.

By July 1950, La-11s were flying combat air patrol missions over North Korea.[citation needed]

On November 30, 1951, 16 La-11 fighter pilots of the 4th Fighter Aviation Regiment, Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) were escorting 9 Tu-2 PVA bombers to bomb the South Korean island of Taehwa-do (대화도/大和島), in the Pansong archipelago. They were ambushed by more than 30 F-86 fighters of the United States Air Force: four Tu-2 bombers and three La-11s were shot down.[citation needed]

The main target of La-11 pilots during the Korean War was the Douglas A-26 Invader night bomber, although numerous skirmishes with P-51s also took place.[citation needed] Attempts to intercept Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers proved fruitless. La-11 required 26 minutes to reach the B-29's cruise altitude and once there had a speed advantage of only 20 km/h (12 mph) making it easy for the B-29 to evade the attacker in a shallow dive.

On July 23, 1954, a Douglas DC-4 airliner, registration VR-HEU, operated by Cathay Pacific Airways, en route from Bangkok to Hong Kong, was shot down by two La-11 fighters of the 85th Fighter Regiment, People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) off the coast of Hainan Island,[citation needed] killing 10 people. The La-11 pilots misidentified the DC-4 as the military aircraft (such as the military variant of the DC-4, the Douglas C-54 Skymaster). Three days later, near the same location, two La-11s of the same unit were shot by 12 AD-4 airplanes of the US Navy.

During 1954–55, La-11 fighters of the PLAAF took part in the Battle of Yijiangshan Islands escorting the ships of the People's Liberation Army Navy and Tu-2 bombers.[citation needed]

Users[edit]

 Soviet Union
 People's Republic of China
 North Korea
 Indonesia

Specifications (La-11)[edit]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

Notes
Bibliography
  • Gordon, Yefim. Lavochkin's Piston-Engined Fighters (Red Star Volume 10). Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-85780-151-2.
  • Kopenhagen, W (ed.), Das große Flugzeug-Typenbuch (in German). Transpress, 1987, ISBN 3-344-00162-0

External links[edit]

The initial version of this article was based on material from aviation.ru. It has been released under the GFDL by the copyright holder.