A Russian airplane that entered service near the end of WWII. Primarily a fighter, though it was capable of carrying a very light bomb load.
The 1943 Lavochkin La-7 is actually an improvement on the previous La-5FN. For its first test flight on November 19, 1943, it still used the largely wooden frame of the La-5, and the ASh-82FN engine remained unchanged as well. The La-7 was primarily created to streamline the original design, and the various weight reductions and aerodynamic improvements were responsible for an approximate 20mph speed improvement over the La-5FN. The La-7 was somewhat heavily armed for a Soviet fighter at the time, with three 20mm cannons mounted above the engine. Most Soviet fighters at the time were armed with a single cannon and a pair of machine guns. These improvements made the new aircraft a formidable match for its chief rivals, the Bf-109G-6 and Fw-190A-8. Like most other Russian fighters, the cockpit is rather spartan, though the heavier armament perhaps shows that at least someone appreciated the lives of the Russian pilots by this date.
The famous Russian ace Ivan Kozhedub flew the La-7 during World War II, and in his hands on February 15, 1945, it became the only Soviet fighter to bring down a German Me-262 jet. Kozhedub's personal personal craft is still on display at the Gagarin Military Air Academy.
The La-7 was also used as a test bed for various advanced propulsion technologies, such as liquid-fueled rockets, under wing pulsejets, and even a pair of ramjets. None of these technologies ever took off (sorry), however, and other jet technologies soon replaced the ones in these early tests.
The La-7 is a tremendously powerful aircraft, competitive with most other top fighters of the era. Final production amounted to 5,733.
Powerplant: 1380kW (1850hp) M-82FN (ASh-82FN) 14-cylinder radial engine
Max Speed: 665km/h (413mph) at 5,000m (16,404ft)
Ceiling: 10,800m (35,435ft)
Max Range: 635km (395 miles)
Armament: 3x 20mm Beresin B-20 ShVak nose cannons (200 rounds per gun)
6x 8.2cm (3.23in) RS-82 rockets, or
200kg of bombs.
Wing Span: 9.8m (32ft 1in)
Length: 8.6m (28ft 2in)
Height: 2.54m (8ft 4in)
Empty Weight: 2,638kg (5,816lb)
Max Weight: 3,400kg (7,496lb)