Yak-36 and Yak-38


Both aircraft were designed by the Soviet Union's Yakovlev design bureau during the 1960s. However, The Yak-36 'Freehand' was purely an experimental aircraft fitted with a thrust-vectoring system similar to that used on the British Harrier (see a previous question to learn more). The purpose of the Yak-36 was for use as a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology demonstrator. Based on the success of the Yak-36, Yakovlev developed an operational attack fighter incorporating some of the features tested on the Yak-36. This production aircraft was intended to operate from the Kiev class of aircraft carriers then under construction.

Yak-36
Yak-36

When this new plane first appeared in the early 1970s, it was referred to as the Yak-36M or Yak-36MP. Only later was the aircraft redesignated the Yak-38 'Forger' owing to the fact that it was a completely different design than the Yak-36 utilizing a slightly different approach to VTOL flight.

Yak-38
Yak-38

While the Yak-36 featured two engines, each equipped with thrust vectoring systems to operate in hover and forward flight, the Yak-38 used one engine purely for hover and a second thrust-vectoring engine for both hover and forward flight. Production of the Yak-38 ended in 1988, and some reports indicate that small numbers remain in service while others claim the aircraft was withdrawn by about 1993.
- answer by Jeff Scott, 27 January 2002


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