|Status||Out of service|
|Primary users||Soviet Air Force
Romanian Air Force
North Korea Air Force
La-9 represents further development of the Lavochkin La-126 prototype. The first prototype, designated La-130 was finished in 1946. Similarity to the famous Lavochkin La-7 was only superficial – the new fighter had all-metal construction and a laminar flow wing. Weight savings due to elimination of wood from the airframe allowed for greatly improved fuel capacity and four-cannon armament. Mock combat demonstrated that La-130 was evenly matched with La-7 but was inferior to Yakovlev Yak-3 in both horizontal and vertical planes. The new fighter, officially designated La-9, entered production in August 1946. A total of 1,559 aircraft were built by the end of production in 1948.
Only one La-9 remains in airworthy condition today, owned by Jerry Yagen of Virginia Beach, Va, restored by Pioneer Aero Restorations between 2001 and 2003. A handful of others remain in museums in China, Korea and one in Romania.
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 an 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 flying bomb 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 – two-seat trainer version. Built at GAZ-99 in Ulan-Ude. Two versions exist: with 12.7 mm UBS machine gun and with one 23 mm NS-23 cannon.
- La-132 (La-132) – prototype with upgraded Shvetsov M-93 engine. Projected top speed 740 km/h (460 mph) at 6,500 m (21,325 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
- La-9RD – one La-9 was fitted with two underwing RD-13 auxiliary pulsejet engines.
- La-138 – one La-9 was fitted with two underwing PVRD-450 auxiliary ramjet engines.
- People's Liberation Army Air Force Imported 129 La-9 airplanes in 1950. The last 5 La-9 fighters retired in 1959.
- Volkspolizei (5 operated from 1952 to 1956 prior to the formation of the Air Forces of the National People's Army)
- Romanian Air Force (10 delivered in 1950: 5 La-9 and 5 La-9 UTI)
- Crew: 1
- Length: 8.63 m (28 ft 4 in)
- Wingspan: 9.80 m (32 ft 2 in)
- Height: 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
- Wing area: 17.6 m² (189 ft²)
- Empty weight: 2,638 kg (5,816 lb)
- Loaded weight: 3,425 kg (7,551 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 3,676 kg (8,104 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Shvetsov ASh-82FN air-cooled radial engine with a two-stage supercharger and fuel injection, 1,380 kW (1,850 hp)
- Maximum speed: 690 km/h (428 mph) at altitude
- Range: 1,735 km (1,077 mi)
- Service ceiling: 10,800 m (35,433 ft)
- Rate of climb: 17.7 m/s (3,484 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 195 kg/m² (40 lb/ft²)
- Power/mass: 0.40 kW/kg (0.25 hp/lb)
- 4 × 23 mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannons, 75 rpg
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Gordon, Yefim. Lavochkin's Piston-Engined Fighters (Red Star Volume 10). Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-85780-151-2.
- Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Three: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co.(Publishers) Ltd., 1961. ISBN 0-356-01447-9.
- Kopenhagen, W (ed.), Das große Flugzeug-Typenbuch (in German). Transpress, 1987, ISBN 3-344-00162-0.
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