The Yak-26 was developed from the Yak-25, along with the Yak-27 family of interceptor fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. The main goal was to increase the speed to supersonic. Although it kept the Yak-25's layout, it had a more streamlined and longer fuselage with a glazed nose for a navigator/bombardier, replacing the Yak-25's radome, modified wings and stronger engines. The Nudelman N-37 cannon was replaced with four NR-23 23 mm weapons (two in the tail), and an internal weapons bay was added for 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) of bombs, including the nuclear bomb Tatyana. Additional bombs could be carried on underwing pylons.
Although flown at the Tushino air show on 24 June 1956, only ten were produced, and the type did not enter service.