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Lavochkin La-15

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Type Fighter
Manufacturer Lavochkin
Maiden flight January 8, 1948
Retired 1954
Primary user Soviet Air Force
Number built 235
Developed from La-168

The Lavochkin La-15 (NATO reporting name 'Fantail'), initially designated La-174, was an early Soviet jet fighter and a contemporary of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15. Although it had a number of technical advantages over the MiG-15, a combination of easier manufacture and the lower costs as a result led to the MiG-15 being favored, and only small numbers of La-15's were built.


The La-15 was the outcome of a series of development aircraft that began with the Lavochkin "168" (La-168) in 1947 and continued with the "176" (La-176) later in 1948. They were designed for British engines Rolls-Royce Derwent V and Nene, acquired by the Soviets in 1947 and then copied by them as RD-500 and RD-45. The Derwent-powered La-174 (initially called just "174") was designed as a backup for the main program of Nene-powered La-168, in case the British failed to deliver stronger afterburned Nene engine. The first prototype of La-174 was flown just 9 days after its counterpart MiG-15, on January 8, 1948. The first prototype was however lost on May 11, 1948 due to vibrations. Trials were continued with an improved second prototype, designated "174D". From August to September 25, 1948 it underwent state trials. In comparison with the Nene-powered MiG-15 it had almost the same maximum speed and better maneuverability, with somewhat reduced rate of climb. Even while the second prototype of La-174 was undergoing flight trials in August, the type was ordered into production in September 1948. In April 1949 it was given an official military designation La-15.

The La-15 had a barrel-like fuselage, swept wings, and stabilizers mounted high on the fin, almost like a T-tail, all features that gave it a surprisingly close resemblance-especially including the landing gear setup-to the never-built Focke-Wulf Ta 183 German second generation jet fighter design. In basic configuration, it resembled the more famous MiG-15, except for a slightly sleeker appearance and high-mounted wings. It was popular with pilots because of its easy handling and dependability, and its pressurized cockpit was an advantage at high altitude. Nevertheless, official enthusiasm for the La-15 was mild, largely because it was a complex design that required complicated (and expensive) production tooling. With an arrival of the Klimov VK-1 engine (improved Nene), the Soviet authorities decided to produce only one fighter, and they chose the MiG-15bis, despite newest Lavochkin's fighters La-168 and La-176 with VK-1 engine, basing upon the La-15, had better performance. The MiG-15 was somewhat less capable, but easier to mass-produce.

La-15 at Monino

235 La-15s were built, and served with the Soviet Air Force until 1954. A two-seat trainer version was also developed as the La-180 and was to be put into production as the La-15UTI, but as official interest in the La-15 waned, the trainer was cancelled before mass production began and only 2 were made.


Specifications (La-15)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 9.56 m (31 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.83 m (29 ft 0 in)
  • Height: ()
  • Wing area: 16.2 m² (174 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,575 kg (5,677 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,850 kg (8,490 lb)
  • Powerplant:Klimov RD-500 turbojet, 15.6 kN (3,495 lbf)



See also

Related development
La-168 - La-172 - La-176 Comparable aircraft
MiG-15 - Pulqui II - Focke-Wulf Ta 183 - Yakovlev Yak-25 - F-84F Thunderstreak - F-86 Sabre Designation sequence
La-7 - La-9 - La-11 - La-15 - La-17

See also

cs:Lavočkin La-15 de:Lawotschkin La-15 fr:Lavotchkine La-15 hu:La–15 it:Lavochkin La-15 ja:La-15 (航空機) nl:Lavotsjkin La-15 pl:Ła-15 vi:Lavochkin La-15

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lavochkin La-15".