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Lavochkin La-7

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Type Fighter
Manufacturer Lavochkin OKB
Primary user Soviet Air Force
Number built 5,753
Developed from Lavochkin La-5
Variants Lavochkin La-9

The Lavochkin La-7 (Лавочкин Ла-7) was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development and refinement of the Lavochkin La-5, and the last in a family of aircraft that had begun with the LaGG-1 in 1938.

Design and development

By 1943, the La-5 had become a mainstay of the Soviet Air Force, yet both its head designer, Semyon Lavochkin, as well as the engineers at TsAGI ("Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute") felt that it could be improved upon. The LaGG-1 had been designed at a time when it was considered necessary to conserve strategic materials such as aircraft alloys, and had a structure built almost entirely of plywood. With Soviet strategists now confident that supplies of these alloys were unlikely to become a problem, Lavochkin began replacing large parts of the airframe (including the wing spars) with alloy components. Various other streamlining changes were made as well, increasing performance further. The prototype, internally designated La-120 by Lavochkin, flew in November, and was quickly put into production, entering service the following spring.

Operational history

The La-7 earned itself a superb combat record by the end of the war, and was flown by the top two Soviet aces of the conflict, one of which was Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub. Turning a full circle took 19-21 seconds. The aircraft was also used as a testbed to explore advanced propulsion systems, including a tail-mounted liquid-fuelled rocket engine (La-7R), two under-wing pulsejets (La-7D), and two under-wing ramjets (La-7S). None of these variants proved worth pursuing, and turbojet technology quickly overtook them.

The La-7 was the only Soviet fighter to shoot down a Messerschmitt Me-262, by Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub on one occasion over Germany on February 15, 1945.

Total production of the La-7 amounted to 5,753 aircraft, including a number of La-7UTI trainers. Those aircraft still in service after the end of the war were given the NATO reporting name Fin. The follow-up model, La-9 despite its outward similarity was a complete reworking of the design.


Testbed for two under-wing pulsejet engines.
Testbed for tail-mounted liquid-fuelled rocket engine.
Testbed for two under-wing ramjet engines.
One La-7 testbed with two TK-3 turbocharges installed.
Two-seat trainer version.


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Specifications (Lavochkin La-7)

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  • Abanshin, Michael E. and Gut, Nina. Fighting Lavochkin, Eagles of the East No.1. Lynnwood, WA: Aviation International, 1993. ISBN unknown.
  • Gordon, Yefim. Lavochkin's Piston-Engined Fighters (Red Star Volume 10). Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-85780-151-2.
  • Gordon, Yefim and Khazanov, Dmitri. Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War, Volume One: Single-Engined Fighters. Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 1998. ISBN 1-85780-083-4.
  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume Three: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1961 (seventh impression 1973). ISBN 0-356-01447-9.
  • Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. WW2 Aircraft Fact Files: Soviet Air Force Fighters, Part 1. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1977. ISBN 0-354-01026-3.
  • Jane, Fred T. “The La-7.” Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London: Studio, 1946. ISBN 1-85170-493-0.
  • Liss, Witold. The Lavochkin La 5 & 7 (Aircraft in Profile number 149). Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1967.
  • Morgan, Hugh. Soviet Aces of World War 2. London, Osprey Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-85532-632-9.
  • Stapfer, Hans-Heiri. La 5/7 Fighters in Action (Aircraft in Action Number 169). Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-89747-392-2.
  • Veštšík, Miloš. Lavočkin La-7 (in Czech/English). Prague, Czech Republic: MBI-Miroslav BÍLÝ Books, 2000 (reprinted 2003, ISBN 80-86524-05-1). ISBN 80-902238-7-7.

External links

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Designation sequence
LaGG-1 - LaGG-3 - La-5 - La-7 - La-9 - La-11 - La-15 Related lists

cs:Lavočkin La-7 de:Lawotschkin La-7 fi:Lavotškin La-7 gl:Lavochkin La-7 ja:La-7 (航空機) nl:Lavotsjkin La-7 pl:Ła-7 ru:Ла-7 sl:Lavočkin La-7 vi:Lavochkin La-7

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lavochkin La-7".