The Lavochkin (LaGG) LaGG-3 

Lakirovannii Garantirovannii Grob

U.S.S.R.
U.S.S.R.

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

In 1938 Semyon Lavochkin, Vladimir Gorbunov and Mikhail Gudkov were allowed to establish their own design bureau (LaGG). Their first design would be an air-superiority fighter, aimed at the altitudes of up to 16,405 ft (5.000 m). The resulting design was the LaGG-1, built largely of impregnated wood and Dural. The prototype was powered by a Vee engine, and showed indifferent handling and bad performance. Flight tests had shown that the LaGG-1 showed many defects,and improvements were quickly made. Non other LaGG-1's were produced, production started with the improved LaGG-3 right from the start. The success of this aircraft is somehow described by the name it received from its crews: 'Lakirovannii Garantirovannii Grob', which stands for 'Varnished Guaranteed Coffin'. You can imagine it wasn't very popular…

Versions:

Further pictures:

Lavochkin LaGG-3 ready for take-off
Lavochkin LaGG-3 ready for take-off

Lavochkin LaGG-3 being prepped under camouflage netting
Lavochkin LaGG-3 being prepped under camouflage netting

 

Technical data on the Lavochkin LaGG-1
Powerplant 1 × Klimov M-105P Vee, rated at 1050 hp (782.76 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
Length 28 ft 11 inch Height 8 ft 4 inch
Empty weight 6543 lb Operational weight 7451 lb max
Wing Span 32 ft 1.75 inch Wing Aspect ratio 5.485
Wing Area 188.48 sq ft Service ceiling 29530 ft
Maximum speed 376 mph at 16240 ft Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 16,405 ft in 6 min 12 sec Range 345 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal 75 Imp gal (90 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns Alternatively either one of the options below:
  • 2 × 0.303 inch ShKAS fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose (together with the 20 mm cannon), or
  • 2 × 0.50 inch Beresin UBS fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 220 rounds each (together with the 23 mm cannon)
Cannons Alternatively either one of the options below:
  • 1 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in a moteur cannon installation (together with the 0.303 inch guns), or
  • 1 × 23 mm Vya-23, 80 rounds (together with the 0.50 inch guns)
Bomb load Up to 1,102 lb, carried on two underwing hardpoints, rated at 551 lb each. General disposables load consisted of 2 × 551 lb FAB-250 bombs Torpedoes/rockets 6 × 3.2 inch RS-82 Air-to-surface rockets (in stead of bombs)
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 30 March 1940 Operational Service Late 1940 - 1945
Manufacturer Lavochkin, Gorbunov and Gudkov Design Bureau Number produced 6.428 total, 1 this version
Metric system
Length 8.81 m Height 2.54 m
Empty weight 2968 kg Operational weight 3380 kg max
Wing Span 9.8 m Wing Aspect ratio 5.485
Wing Area 17.51 m² Service ceiling 9001 m
Maximum speed 605 km/h at 4950 m Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 5.000 m in 6 min 12 sec Range 555 km typical
Fuel capacity internal 340 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns Alternatively either one of the options below:
  • 2 × 7,7 mm ShKAS fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose (together with the 20 mm cannon), or
  • 2 × 12,7 mm Beresin UBS fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 220 rounds each (together with the 23 mm cannon)
Cannons Alternatively either one of the options below:
  • 1 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in a moteur cannon installation (together with the 7,7 mm guns), or
  • 1 × 23 mm Vya-23, 80 rounds (together with the 12,7 mm guns)
Bomb load Up to 500 kg, carried on two underwing hardpoints, rated at 250 kg each. General disposables load consisted of 2 × 250 kg FAB-250 bombs Torpedoes/rockets 6 × 82 mm RS-82 Air-to-surface rockets (in stead of bombs)

Technical data on the Lavochkin LaGG-3
Powerplant 1 × Klimov M-105PF Vee, rated at 1240 hp (924.41 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
Length 28 ft 11 inch Height 8 ft 4 inch
Empty weight 5776 lb Operational weight 6781 lb typical,
7032 lb max
Wing Span 32 ft 1.75 inch Wing Aspect ratio 5.485
Wing Area 188.48 sq ft Service ceiling 31825 ft
Maximum speed 357 mph at 16405 ft Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 16,405 ft in 5 min 48 sec Range 354 miles typical,
621 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 102 Imp gal (122 US gal) Fuel capacity external Up to 44 Imp gal (53 US gal) in 2 × 22 Imp gal (26 US gal) drop tanks
Machine guns 2 × 0.3 inch ShKAS fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose, 325 rounds each Cannons 1 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in a moteur cannon installation, 120 rounds
Bomb load Up to 1,102 lb, carried on two underwing hardpoints, rated at 551 lb each. General disposables load consisted of 2 × 551 lb FAB-250 bombs Torpedoes/rockets 6 × 3.2 inch RS-82 Air-to-surface rockets (in stead of bombs)
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 30 March 1940 Operational Service Late 1940 - 1945
Manufacturer Lavochkin, Gorbunov and Gudkov Design Bureau Number produced 6.428 total, 6.427 this version
Metric system
Length 8.81 m Height 2.54 m
Empty weight 2620 kg Operational weight 3076 kg typical,
3190 kg max
Wing Span 9.8 m Wing Aspect ratio 5.485
Wing Area 17.51 m² Service ceiling 9700 m
Maximum speed 575 km/h at 5000 m Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 5.000 m in 5 min 48 sec Range 570 km typical,
999 km max
Fuel capacity internal 462 liters Fuel capacity external Up to 200 liters in 2 × 100 liters drop tanks
Machine guns 2 × 7,62 mm ShKAS fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the nose, 325 rounds each Cannons 1 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in a moteur cannon installation, 120 rounds
Bomb load Up to 500 kg, carried on two underwing hardpoints, rated at 250 kg each. General disposables load consisted of 2 × 250 kg FAB-250 bombs Torpedoes/rockets 6 × 82 mm RS-82 Air-to-surface rockets (in stead of bombs)

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Lavochkin (LaGG) LaGG-3 
Lavochkin LaGG-1 This version was only produced in small numbers (luckily). See details above.
Number built: 1
Lavochkin LaGG-3 This version was built in large numbers, and was built to improve the all-round performance figures of the LaGG-1. It was an upgrade of the LaGG-1, for instance additional fuel tanks in the wings, reduced weight, automatic leading-edge slats, revised elevator control system, modified rudder, etc. During production also a better hydraulics system, controllable brakes, improved radio, improved cockpit transparencies, improved fuel system etc. were fitted.
Some modifications were carried out in the field, mostly concerning armament: 1 × 23 mm Vya-23 cannon and/or 2 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Beresin UBS guns, or 2 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) UB guns in underwing gondolas
Number built: 6.427
Lavochkin LaGG-3F Prototypeof an improved LaGG-3, powered by 1 × Klimov M107 Vee. This engine however was terribly unreliable, so efforts in this direction were stopped
Number built: unknown amount of prototypes
Lavochkin LaGG-3F Dubler Prototype of a new version, powered by 1 × Klimov VK-105-PF-2 Vee, rated at 1,280 hp (954 kW). Max level speed was expected to be 384 mph (618 km/h) at 11,155 ft (3.400 m). This study was conducted in 1943, when the La-5 already was proving it was an outstanding fighter, so there was no need for it anymore
Number built: unknown amount of prototypes
Lavochkin I-22 Prototype designation of the LaGG-1
Redesignated aircraft
Lavochkin I-301 Prototype designation of the LaGG-3
Redesignated aircraft

Remarks:

The LaGG-3 had major problems right from the start. A lot of these were a direct result of the problems with the production process, and the quality of aircraft varied wildly from plant to plant. Popular belief at this moment is that the fighter wasn't that bad, but the low level of training for the Soviet fighter pilots is to blame too for the bad losses and crashes it suffered. In the beginning, however, a summary of the entry to operational status of the LaGG-3 was given by the Soviet Air Force Commander-in-Chief P. Zhigarev. In a letter to Stalin on 24th May 1941 he wrote that although 593 fighters had been scheduled for delivery to 14 regiments, only 158 had actually been delivered, and only 39 of these had actually reached the regiments, the rest needing modifications. The aircraft was easy to master however, and pilots found it more tractable than the MiG-3 which had a more difficult handling.
The most notable feature of the LaGG-3 is the fact that it could be produced in large numbers, and that it was the starting point for the Lavochkin La-5.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 5/20/01