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    The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

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    Giulio
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    The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Giulio on Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:32 pm

    Good evening. I open this thread to learn something about the Yak-38 and the Soviet amphibious assault fleet.

    1) First question: was the Yak-38 intended only as assault aircraft in support of the Navy Infantry?

    2) Why there weren't airplanes to defend the fleet on board the Kiev class ships? Was the fleet defended by the VVS? Or it was waiting for new aircraft carriers with air to air interceptors?

    Thanks.

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:41 pm

    the Yak-38 was a short range fighter primarily.

    It was tested in Afghanistan against ground targets but was found to be no where near as good as the Su-25. It was expensive to maintain, difficult to fly, and lacked payload and punch.

    Its primary air to surface weapon was the AS-7 Kerry... a command guided missile that was tricky to operate and was generally used from aircraft that were two seaters like the Su-24. When used in single seaters like the Yak-38, Mig-27, Su-17 its performance was very dependent on the level of skill of the pilot.

    Otherwise bombs and rockets were standard.

    The primary armament of the Yak-38 was the R-60M AAM.

    Its primary fault was a focus on speed which led to a tiny high speed wing of thin aerofoil. No version was supersonic.

    Like they did with the Harrier, they could have greatly improved the effectiveness of the aircraft by giving it a much bigger high lift wing to allow heavier payloads and more fuel to be carried, which in turn would have allowed a more capable radar etc, but at the end of the day the best solution was to use the Mig-29 instead, which is a far more capable aircraft.

    The Yak-38M actually made things worse... the more powerful engine allowed more weight... but not that much more, and burned fuel at a faster rate, so while acceleration and takeoff were safer top speed didn't change much and range got shorter.

    It was really a bit of a dead end... but useful experience in handling fixed wing aircraft at sea.

    Because it was fitted with an automatic ejection system when in hovering flight although rather more Yaks were lost fewer pilots were killed when compared with the Harrier.


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Giulio on Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:30 am

    Thanks. Thus, the primary mission of the Yak38 was air-to-air?

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Wed May 14, 2014 4:05 pm

    it's late a bit, but...

    the primary mission of the Yak38 was air-to-air?
    Nope, Yak-38 was a surface-attack aircraft mainly. It had only short-range AA rockets and no in-build radar. Generally, it was an anti-ship aircraft and light bomber for the landing troops support.
    Su-33 was designed as a fighter for Kiev-class carriers. And don't forget about "soviet F-35" - Yak-141: supersonic, all-weather, multi-role. Too bad project was cancelled due to the dessolution of Soviet Union

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Thu May 15, 2014 4:26 am

    Nope, Yak-38 was a surface-attack aircraft mainly. It had only short-range AA rockets and no in-build radar. Generally, it was an anti-ship aircraft and light bomber for the landing troops support.

    Have to disagree with you there, it was to be directed to enemy aircraft by ship radar and was to be primarily used against maritime patrol aircraft and anti ship aircraft and therefore was more of an interceptor than a fighter.

    For anti ship use the Kievs had Vulkan 700km range anti ship missiles... a light subsonic fighter armed with rocket pods and light bombs would have no chance against any ship air defence system.

    The Kievs were sub hunters with Vulkans as backup to protect themselves from enemy surface interference. Their primary anti sub capability came from the helos they carried, while the fighters were for light air defence.

    Su-33 was designed as a fighter for Kiev-class carriers. And don't forget about "soviet F-35" - Yak-141: supersonic, all-weather, multi-role. Too bad project was cancelled due to the dessolution of Soviet Union.

    The Su-33 was far to large to operate from the Kiev class carriers, you are thinking of the Kuznetsov class. The modified Gorshkov allowed the use of MiG-29Ks, but only after most of the deck armament was removed.


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  TR1 on Thu May 15, 2014 4:31 am

    Kiev never had Vulkan.

    Bazalt at most.

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Thu May 15, 2014 5:04 am

    Quite right, though the Vulkan was designed to replace Bazalt so if they were still in service in their original capacity they likely would have been converted to Vulkan.

    Bazalt had a range of 500km and with a 1 ton warhead and mach 2 speed was orders of magnitude more potent than a Yak-38 or Yak-38M... and actually had a better radar.... Smile


    Last edited by GarryB on Thu May 15, 2014 9:49 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  TR1 on Thu May 15, 2014 5:36 am

    I wonder how much each Bazalt cost in comparison to the Yak-38 !

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Thu May 15, 2014 7:52 am

    GarryB wrote:
    The Su-33 was far to large to operate from the Kiev class carriers, you are thinking of the Kuznetsov class. The modified Gorshkov allowed the use of MiG-29Ks, but only after most of the deck armament was removed.
    Ahh, yes, that's totally right. I'm stupid.

    But still AA role of Yak-38 wasn't their main function. Interceptor should have a long-range radar and long-range missiles, like Mig-31, to take down enemy aircrafs before they could launch their air-to-surface missiles. Yak-38 only have short-range armaments. It is possible to destroy subsonic cruise missiles with yaks using target designation data received from the ship may be, I dunno.
    GarryB wrote:
    Bazalt had a range of 500kg and with a 1 ton warhead and mach 2 speed was orders of magnitude more potent than a Yak-38 or Yak-38M... and actually had a better radar....  Smile
    Do you want to overkill each corvette or boat with a bazalt missile? Very Happy Yak-38 was a launching platform for small AS-7 'Kerry' and AS-10 'Karen' missiles (about 100 kg warhead). Bazalts is a big game hunters

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Thu May 15, 2014 9:59 am

    I wonder how much each Bazalt cost in comparison to the Yak-38 !

    I suspect survival rate would be similar against a contemporary enemy, but I rather suspect the Bazalt would be rather more effective.

    Ahh, yes, that's totally right. I'm stupid.

    No you aren't... I have an imperfect memory too sometimes... Smile

    But still AA role of Yak-38 wasn't their main function. Interceptor should have a long-range radar and long-range missiles, like Mig-31, to take down enemy aircrafs before they could launch their air-to-surface missiles. Yak-38 only have short-range armaments. It is possible to destroy subsonic cruise missiles with yaks using target designation data received from the ship may be, I dunno.

    The primary role of the Kievs was to hunt western Boomers and attack subs hunting Soviet boomers. The Forgers in such a situation would be hunting enemy Orions and other long range aircraft.

    I guess they could be used against enemy anti ship missiles directed their carrier like Harpoon and Exocet, but these are largely secondary and rather hopeful uses.

    Note the natural replacement for the Forger was the Freestyle Yak-141 with a MiG-29 level radar and longer range MiG-29 like AAMs which would have been much more capable... though still not as capable as a real MiG-29 or Su-33.

    Do you want to overkill each corvette or boat with a bazalt missile? Very Happy Yak-38 was a launching platform for small AS-7 'Kerry' and AS-10 'Karen' missiles (about 100 kg warhead). Bazalts is a big game hunters

    Yak-38 didn't have the laser target illuminators needed to use AS-10 missiles though they would be vastly more useful than the AS-7 missile which was difficult to use.

    Combined with the max flight radius of the Yak neither missile would be more effective than sending a destroyer to use its heavy calibre guns (ie 130mm).


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Thu May 15, 2014 1:48 pm

    GarryB wrote:

    The primary role of the Kievs was to hunt western Boomers and attack subs hunting Soviet boomers. The Forgers in such a situation would be hunting enemy Orions and other long range aircraft.
    Soviet Navy did have other thing for hunting submarines and strategic bombers, but didn't have much fire capability to support marine landings. And in all russian articles i've read about forgers they are called "attack aircrafts". So I think the main goal for Yak-38 were surface attacks anyway.
    There were plans for interceptor/fighter versions of 38s (Yak-38P, Yak-38MP, Yak-38MTs), which were cancelled.
    GarryB wrote:Yak-38 didn't have the laser target illuminators needed to use AS-10 missiles though they would be vastly more useful than the AS-7 missile which was difficult to use.
    Forger used additional wing-mounted containers for targetting missiles, iirc
    GarryB wrote:Combined with the max flight radius of the Yak neither missile would be more effective than sending a destroyer to use its heavy calibre guns (ie 130mm).
    Breaking naval battleorder in hope for hunting small and fast targets is a bad thing. Destroyers are the part of AA cover for larger ships for example. 200 km operational radius of Yak-38 isn't that small compared to artillery fire. And of course guided missiles could be used for strikes against land targets like command posts or counter-attack forces trying to throw your landing marines back into the sea

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Sat May 17, 2014 12:32 pm

    Soviet Navy did have other thing for hunting submarines and strategic bombers, but didn't have much fire capability to support marine landings.

    They had the 130mm guns of the Sovremmeniy class and the 100mm guns of the Udaloy class, and indeed the 152mm guns of the Sverdlovs.

    Even the landing ships had 76mm automatic guns and of course 122mm unguided rockets... there was no real lack of fire support for the Marines.

    And in all russian articles i've read about forgers they are called "attack aircrafts". So I think the main goal for Yak-38 were surface attacks anyway.

    Performance in ground attack was shown to be mediocre in Afghanistan... especially compared with the Su-25.

    Forger used additional wing-mounted containers for targetting missiles, iirc

    Yes, mounted on the wing leading edge above the weapon pylon from memory, but they were only data link pods... nothing very sophisticated like and EO port for laser guidance or anything.

    Breaking naval battleorder in hope for hunting small and fast targets is a bad thing. Destroyers are the part of AA cover for larger ships for example. 200 km operational radius of Yak-38 isn't that small compared to artillery fire. And of course guided missiles could be used for strikes against land targets like command posts or counter-attack forces trying to throw your landing marines back into the sea

    The only guided missile the Yak could carry was the 10km range AS-7 which has dubious performance in single seat aircraft. A destroyer carrying long range anti ship missiles would be far more effective and certainly far better able to defend itself than even a flight of several Yaks.

    The Yak was a test plane that had not evolved into anything useful yet... and in the end never did.


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Mon May 19, 2014 11:11 am

    130mm guns of the Sovremmeniy class and the 100mm guns of the Udaloy class
    Artillery ranges aren't great compared to forger's operational range
    Performance in ground attack was shown to be mediocre in Afghanistan
    Of course it was worse than normal VVS planes. Forger was a compromise between VTOL issues and the weight of a load. It was no worse than See Harrier (not Harrier II) as an ground-attack plane in general
    nothing very sophisticated like and EO port for laser guidance or anything.
    Forger (or at least Yak-38M) had the ability to use Kh-29MR (radio-command version of the guided missile), do not know any further details by now.
    The Yak was a test plane
    No, it was produced in a quite a big serie. It had flaws of course as all VTOL planes, but still not that totally bad.

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Mon May 19, 2014 11:50 am

    Of course it was worse than normal VVS planes. Forger was a compromise between VTOL issues and the weight of a load. It was no worse than See Harrier (not Harrier II) as an ground-attack plane in general

    The Sea Harrier had much better performance because it had a larger wing and was not considered for supersonic flight.

    In fact the Sea Harrier had an excellent radar set and was more a fighter than a strike aircraft, though it could do both because it was a fully developed operational fighter bomber, while the Yak-38 was an incomplete testbed really that got to service but hadn't really been developed as one thing or another.

    Forger (or at least Yak-38M) had the ability to use Kh-29MR (radio-command version of the guided missile), do not know any further details by now.

    Manually command guided? Sounds like it would have the same problems as the manually command guided Kerry missile in single seat aircraft. But with a serious increase in weight of course...

    No, it was produced in a quite a big serie. It had flaws of course as all VTOL planes, but still not that totally bad.

    If the task is to intercept a Nimrod or Atlantic or Orion it would be quite capable of that, and any enemy ASW helos it came across would be in serious trouble, but it was certainly a very limited aircraft with some potential.

    Once the Kuznetsov set sail however it could not be comparable with even the Su-25 trainer, let along the MiG-29K or Su-33... all of which needed bigger vessels to operate from but offered far superior performance in all areas.

    It is not a direction Russia should continue to pursue in my opinion.

    I remember reading about a Russian Photographer who went up in Russian planes to take photographs. When asked was there any aircraft he would not fly in, he said the two seat Yak-38.


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Mon May 19, 2014 1:06 pm

    The Sea Harrier had much better performance because it had a larger wing
    Larger wings are for maneuverability, as harrier was a fighter-bomber, not a ground-attcak aircraft, like forger. Internas gas tanks (they are in the wings of all aircrafts) of forger was still larger.
    and was not considered for supersonic flight.
    Yak-38 wasn't supersonic.
    In fact the Sea Harrier had an excellent radar set
    Right, as it was a fighter-bomber. Ground-attack aircrafts didn't have radars (like Su-25, iirc)
    while the Yak-38 was an incomplete testbed really that got to service but hadn't really been developed as one thing or another
    Yak-38 was a light ground-attack aircraft with limited AA potential. It wasn't supposed to be a fighter (there were fighter variants developed, they wasn't sent to production). That's because soviet fleet had much anti-ship potential (lots of anti-ship missiles of different classes) and complex AA approach (even carriers had AA missiles), but lacked long-range ground-attack assests
    Once the Kuznetsov set sail however it could not be comparable with even the Su-25 trainer, let along the MiG-29K or Su-33... all of which needed bigger vessels to operate from but offered far superior performance in all areas.

    It is not a direction Russia should continue to pursue in my opinion.
    That's why Russia dosen't develop "5th generation Yak-141", as USA does with their infamous F-35. All forgers are out of service for a long time by now. MiG-29K is a good multi-purpose aircraft for the Fleet, as Russia dosen't have Kiev-class carriers anymore.

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Tue May 20, 2014 11:27 am

    Larger wings are for maneuverability, as harrier was a fighter-bomber, not a ground-attcak aircraft, like forger. Internas gas tanks (they are in the wings of all aircrafts) of forger was still larger.

    They wanted Forger to be supersonic but found it simply was not practical.

    After pulling back from trying to make it supersonic they did not do the logical thing and redesign the wing for subsonic flight... in every way the Forger would have benefited from a thicker higher lift subsonic wing. It would have reduced top speed by a few hundred kms per hour, but would have increased lift, improved manouver performance and increased payload from rolling takeoffs.

    Yak-38 wasn't supersonic.

    And neither was the Yak-38M, but they were trying to make it faster and in the replacement aircraft, the Yak-41 they managed to make a supersonic fighter, but with a lot more thrust from the engine. When they worked out supersonic flight was not practical from the Yak-38 they should have redesigned the wing to something more practical.

    Right, as it was a fighter-bomber. Ground-attack aircrafts didn't have radars (like Su-25, iirc)

    Light strike aircraft did have radar... Tornado, Su-24, Yak-141.

    Yak-38 was a light ground-attack aircraft with limited AA potential. It wasn't supposed to be a fighter (there were fighter variants developed, they wasn't sent to production). That's because soviet fleet had much anti-ship potential (lots of anti-ship missiles of different classes) and complex AA approach (even carriers had AA missiles), but lacked long-range ground-attack assests

    The Yak-38 was a light subsonic jet aircraft that was deployed on a light ASW carrier whose role was to hunt enemy submarines. The main aerial threat it was intended to deal with was MPAs, for which it was perfectly suited... the Yak-38 could out run and outmanouver any Orion or Atlantic.

    The Yak-38 was tested in Afghanistan against ground targets as a potential CAS aircraft because the British Harrier was used in the land based CAS role too.

    VSTOL aircraft are far too vulnerable and fragile to operate against ground forces however... even the least effective IR guided MANPAD will hit a target when presented with the engine nozzle as a target... and VSTOL aircraft present their engine nozzles to the side of the aircraft making them vulnerable over a very wide angle.

    The British didn't have an Su-25 so they went ahead with Gr models of the Harrier... later models had quite sophisticated sensors and capabilities but the Yak-38 was shown to be very poor compared with the Su-25 and testing as a land based light strike aircraft died in Afghanistan.

    That's why Russia dosen't develop "5th generation Yak-141", as USA does with their infamous F-35. All forgers are out of service for a long time by now. MiG-29K is a good multi-purpose aircraft for the Fleet, as Russia dosen't have Kiev-class carriers anymore.

    X2

    The Kiev was a good step for a country with no fixed wing carrier experience and the Yak-38 was an excellent lesson that VSTOL fighters are expensive, fragile, complicated, temperamental, and ultimately fairly limited in terms of performance.

    The US got the Harrier handed to them and it is quite a unique aircraft, but at the end of the day something like a Buccaneer would be a much better aircraft.

    If the British had kept fixed wing carriers and gone to the Falklands with F-4 Phantoms and Buccaneers for strike aircraft I actually think they would have done rather better than they did... which is not to say they performed poorly.



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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Tue May 20, 2014 2:37 pm

    After pulling back from trying to make it supersonic they did not do the logical thing and redesign the wing for subsonic flight...
    No offence, but seems like a fairytale. It's a great job for TsAGI to test planer models it airtubes according to it's flight modes. I'm an aviation desigh engeneer (actually, my speciality is aircraft engines, but netherless), I know I'm talking about. There cannot be such a thing as just to forget to change wing panels in a design project.
    And again... attack aircraft shouldn't be supersonic. Su-25 isn't supersonic either.
    Light strike aircraft did have radar... Tornado, Su-24, Yak-141
    Tornados and Yak-141 was desighned as multirole, wasn't they?

    Su-24 isn't what I'm talking about. There is a "shturmovik" aircraft class in russian, which means light attack aircraft for direct fire support of troops directly involved into fire contact with an enemy. First dedicated shturmovik was Il-2. Su-25 is also an shturmovik. Yak-38, as I read, also was classified as shturmovik (no armor as on Su-25, but it's because of mass limitations). And Su-24 is a tactical bomber. It's supposed to have more independancy (operational range, ect) than a shturmovik.
    a light ASW carrier whose role was to hunt enemy submarines
    One of their role, no primary btw.
    The Yak-38 was tested in Afghanistan against ground targets as a potential CAS aircraft because the British Harrier was used in the land based CAS role too.
    Why do yak-38 have more surface-attack ammunitions than AA amunitions then? Why no radar? Harrier as a fighter-bomber did have radar from the beggining. Are russian engeneers so stupid not to at least copy harrier's equipment, if they wanted a fighter?  Smile  Why no medium-range AA missile for Yak?
    VSTOL aircraft are far too vulnerable and fragile to operate against ground forces however
    Rly? Harrier and F-35 too? And don't they vulnerable to a real fighter with good speed and maneuverability and lot's long-range missiles?
    The British didn't have an Su-25
    Soviet didn't too on a Kiev-class carriers.
    Yak-38 was an excellent lesson
    yes. It was a lesson and not a really good plane due to inner limitations of the concept. But it wasn't a fighter. You just show no proofs of it. And I can show you... I don't know. Russian wiki Very Happy Not to mention my arguments (reasons not to install a radar, plans for true fighter versions of Yak-38, ect.).

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Wed May 21, 2014 12:57 pm

    There cannot be such a thing as just to forget to change wing panels in a design project.
    And again... attack aircraft shouldn't be supersonic. Su-25 isn't supersonic either.

    I am not suggesting they forgot, I am suggesting they designed it for a purpose but when tested in Afghanistan it was a failure that they didn't throw good money after bad and make a complete redesign to make it different.

    they left it the way it was and just used it as a light fighterbomber till the solution became available... the Solution being the Yak-141 Freestyle.

    Experience had shown them that subsonic planes like the MiG-15 were better for ground support than more sophisticated but faster aircraft.

    they didn't make the Yak-141 faster to make it better at ground attack.

    Tornados and Yak-141 was desighned as multirole, wasn't they?

    The Yak-141 was multirole... the ground attack strike version of the Tornado was no more multirole than the Su-24. There was an interceptor version of the Tornado too, but the strike version was for strike and the interceptor was for interception... no multirole here.

    Light strike aircraft tend to be cheap and therefore tended to lack radar... Su-25, A-10, and the Jaguar spring to mind. But multirole aircraft like late model F-16 and MiG-29s have radar that enable more effective ground attack capabilities.

    Yak-38, as I read, also was classified as shturmovik (no armor as on Su-25, but it's because of mass limitations).

    That was its purpose... until it was tested and found inadequate. they could have spent money to fix it but were already working on the replacement so they left it in service till something better was available. It was supposed to be the Yak-141 but ended up being the Su-33 and now MiG-33/29K.

    One of their role, no primary btw.

    Most important role till the range of western SLBMs increased too far...

    Why do yak-38 have more surface-attack ammunitions than AA amunitions then? Why no radar? Harrier as a fighter-bomber did have radar from the beggining. Are russian engeneers so stupid not to at least copy harrier's equipment, if they wanted a fighter? Smile Why no medium-range AA missile for Yak?

    They stopped trying to make it a fighter when they found it was not going to be supersonic, and they stopped trying to make it a CAS aircraft after testing it in Afghanistan. It became a nothing aircraft.

    Sea Harrier was used as a fighter in the Falklands conflict and was only fitted with Sidewinder missiles... no AMRAAM in 1982.

    Rly? Harrier and F-35 too? And don't they vulnerable to a real fighter with good speed and maneuverability and lot's long-range missiles?

    A harrier is a good fighter when the enemy has no long range weapons... it is small and fairly agile and a reasonable capable dogfighter, but the critical factor during the Falklands war was the all aspect AIM-9L sidewinder taken from NATO warstocks.

    Even against a early model MiG-29 with helmet mounted sight and R-73 the Harrier would be in serious trouble.

    The F-35 has more speed and stealth, but against a land based fighter it has severe compromises in design to get VSTOL capability which as I said, make it more expensive, more fragile, and less capable than a conventional fighter.

    But it wasn't a fighter. You just show no proofs of it. And I can show you... I don't know. Russian wiki Very Happy Not to mention my arguments (reasons not to install a radar, plans for true fighter versions of Yak-38, ect.).

    It wasn't much of a fighter, but it didn't need to be. the designation with an even number shows it was not intended as a fighter or CAS aircraft... but experience resulted in a change of roles. It needed rather more power to be an effective supersonic aircraft and the redesign for that resulted in them realising a new aircraft was needed with a new configuration... hense the Yak-141... now if the Yak-38 was not a failure the Yak-141 might have been the fighter and the Yak-38 might have been the strike aircraft. The Yak-38 was a failure... first at being an attack aircraft and second as being an effective fighter/interceptor.

    The replacement might have been an adequate fighter and a limited attack aircraft with short range and limited payload.

    In the end the actual replacement was the MiG-33 and Su-33... vastly superior aircraft in every way.


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Wed May 21, 2014 5:21 pm

    That was its purpose... until it was tested and found inadequate
    So this is what I'm talking about  Smile
    The Yak-38 was a failure... first at being an attack aircraft and second as being an effective fighter/interceptor.
    It's very similar to first versions of Harrier (no radar, but without a long or medium range missiles it's not a very limiting factor). USSR just didn't have their own Falklands. Afganistan isn't count - why use Yak-38 if soviets had many airfields for real airplanes? Of course it has small payload, ect. USSR just didn't have anything better for the Fleet for a long time. Even now Russia do not have many MiG-29Ks for Kuznetsov, only Su-33 without ground strike options (but know we at least have a plenty of multirole fleet-based missiles).

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Thu May 22, 2014 4:14 am

    It's very similar to first versions of Harrier (no radar, but without a long or medium range missiles it's not a very limiting factor).

    Just the same the first versions of the Harrier was a concept looking for a role where it was actually useful.

    the Soviets used the Forger in Afghanistan to test its ability to perform ground attack missions... not to see if it was any good at invading countries with.

    their findings are relevant to the role they intended for it... if it had been successful then they might have scaled back their work on swing wings and MiG-23/27s and gone for VSTOL fighters operating from supermarket car parks the way the Harrier was sold. Obviously we know it was not that simple and foreign object ingestion and performance limitations made such a role unrealistic.

    USSR just didn't have their own Falklands. Afganistan isn't count - why use Yak-38 if soviets had many airfields for real airplanes?


    The Falklands and Afghanistan were real world tests. If the Argentines had MiG-23s with BVR missiles like R-23 and R-24 then the Harriers might have failed in the air to air role too making the ground attack Harriers much less useful and likely dead in the water.

    the huge appeal of the Sea Harrier was that it could operate from smaller cheaper ships... without it the British might have kept its fixed wing carriers longer... or not.

    Even now Russia do not have many MiG-29Ks for Kuznetsov, only Su-33 without ground strike options (but know we at least have a plenty of multirole fleet-based missiles).

    The MiG-29Ks ground attack capability is better than any ground attack aircraft they had in the 1970s and 80s... including the MiG-27K or Su-24. It also has better air to air capability of any fighter from that period too.

    The Su-33 has comparable dumb bomb and rocket capability to the Yak-38 but much heavier weights, much higher speed, much better range, and a very much better air to air performance.

    Not really fair to compare them, but I really don't see any modification to the Yak-38 or Yak-38M that might have resulted in an aircraft better than either of the two carrier fighters they have now... so it probably is for the best that it failed.

    BTW I think the F-35 would be a rather better aircraft if it was just a 5th gen F-16, which is what it could have been. Instead it is an F-16 based on a Harrier.

    For those that don't know much about VSTOL aircraft they have a lot of high pressure air pipes in them that delivers high pressure air to the nose, the tail and the wing tips that can be used in the hover to help control the aircraft. this adds weight and complexity and vulnerability to the design.

    Operating an F-35 off a carrier the size of the K or bigger is like operating helicopters from a 3km long runway... it defeats the whole purpose of the design.

    Operating the F-35 from something like the Mistral is where the money is saved... and performance improved over what you could do otherwise with the same hull.


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Thu May 22, 2014 12:47 pm

    the Soviets used the Forger in Afghanistan to test its ability to perform ground attack missions... not to see if it was any good at invading countries with.
    In case of Afghanistan there was a choice to use Su-25, Su-24 or Yaks. In case of a marine operation there was no choice, as only carrier-based strike aircraft was Yak-38 unitl the fall of the Soviet Union.
    Obviously we know it was not that simple and foreign object ingestion and performance limitations made such a role unrealistic.
    I'm not sure. As I said, USSR just didn't have their own Falklands or any other kind of a large scale marine operation, so there were just not enough funding of conventional marine forces (outside of strategic submarines and anti-submarine aviation like Tu-95). It's a long story of fleet's lobbying the carriers buildng instead of more subs, more tank divisions, and other orbital death stars of immenent doom
    The MiG-29Ks ground attack capability is better than any ground attack aircraft they had in the 1970s and 80s... The Su-33 has comparable dumb bomb and rocket capability to the Yak-38
    There were no MiG-29Ks or Su-33s until 1989. Not to mention Su-33 has no ground targetting system iirc, so a Su-33 pilot has problems with the bomb load.
    BTW I think the F-35 would be a rather better aircraft if it was just a 5th gen F-16, which is what it could have been. Instead it is an F-16 based on a Harrier.
    I agree. I'd say, F-35 is a US version of Yak-141 (vary similar propulsion system with more stealth and avionics). F-35 based on F-16 is a F-22, isn't it? Not the best aircraft either, but USAF wanted a miracle, not a fifth generation plane. Too many compromises. Just like with F-35 now.
    Operating an F-35 off a carrier the size of the K or bigger is like operating helicopters from a 3km long runway... it defeats the whole purpose of the design.
    Actually I see the point about VTOLs on a large carriers. You can only launch a pair of Su-33 from Kuznetsov's deck at once iirc, so it takes time to launch a good amount of planes, but with Yak-141/F-35 you can get a whole squadron up in the air in a minute

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Thu May 22, 2014 1:23 pm

    Some humour:

    Yak-38s were called "superstructure defence aircrafts" in the Fleet because of their short operational range Smile 

    Also he was known as "Soviet military threat", as a Forger could only threat (and not actually harm) an enemy and then fly back to the carrier.

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  GarryB on Fri May 23, 2014 12:35 pm

    In case of Afghanistan there was a choice to use Su-25, Su-24 or Yaks. In case of a marine operation there was no choice, as only carrier-based strike aircraft was Yak-38 unitl the fall of the Soviet Union.

    I don't agree. The Su-24 was used and was the only mature strike medium bomber used.

    The Yaks and the Su-25 were both very new and very experimental at that time... the Yak being the only naval sea based aircraft and the Su-25 developed because they had found through experience that the slower aircraft used for ground support like the MiG-15 were more effective.

    Both the Yaks and the Frogfeet were tested with the Frogfoot being found to be an excellent close air support aircraft... manouverable, resistant to enemy fire, effective payload, good visibility, relatively cheap and simple to operate and maintain.

    The Yak on the other hand was complicated, expensive, fragile, and with poor payload and range.

    the choices were... to spend lots of money on the Yak to make it a better CAS aircraft... which didn't really make sense as the replacement aircraft was already being developed in the form of the Yak-141... or use it for experience... make simple cheap upgrades like more engine power to see if it helped (it didn't... the extra thrust increased acceleration and improved takeoff weight but shortened range and endurance).

    Suggesting naval forces in Afghanistan had to use the Yak doesn't hold water. When the BMD was found to be too light in structure in Afghanistan the VDV happily traded their BMDs for BMP-2Ms. Naval forces would happily operate under Su-25 support too.

    The Soviets developed the Yak-38 while looking closely at the Harrier and what it was being used for at the time. The British use of the Harrier influenced the Soviets expectations of the Yak. This is not to say the Yak was a copy... it clearly was not, but in terms of operational roles it remained most of its life an experimental aircraft looking for a role or roles.

    Intercepting MPAs was about the only role it would have actually been any use for.

    As I said, USSR just didn't have their own Falklands or any other kind of a large scale marine operation, so there were just not enough funding of conventional marine forces (outside of strategic submarines and anti-submarine aviation like Tu-95).

    Hense the interest in the VSTOL design... the British designed the Harrier and the US bought the AV-8II... without the British developing the Harrier the US would likely not have bothered with VSTOL aircraft because they are fragile and expensive and have limited performance... the main benefit however is that with a more expensive lower performing aircraft you get a smaller cheaper carrier. The US Navy are not interested in cheaper lighter carriers... they wanted and want big expensive carriers with big capable fighters and strike aircraft so they would never develop what the British developed.

    The British had fixed wing carriers... Phantoms and Buccaneers were very capable air components and would have made a victory in the Falklands rather more certain, but the British governments like to cut funding and spending money on developing the Harrier meant money could be saved with smaller lighter cheaper carriers.

    For the Soviets the Kiev class carriers were a less expensive stepping stone to fixed wing carrier experience. the fixed wing aircraft they carried were next to useless for most roles, but they learned a lot and could put that experience into something like the Kuznetsov that is actually useful with fixed wing conventional takeoff but arrested landing fighters.

    Ironically the solution to VSTOL aircraft is really powerful engines and the projected Yak-43... a sort of stealthy Yak-141 but with a whopping 25 ton thrust engine might have actually been a useful VSTOL aircraft... but we will never know now...

    There were no MiG-29Ks or Su-33s until 1989. Not to mention Su-33 has no ground targetting system iirc, so a Su-33 pilot has problems with the bomb load.

    But even the basic model MiG-29 and Su-27 have better air to ground capability than the Yak-38 or Yak-38M which doesn't even have a radar and can pretty much only operate dumb bombs and rockets too. The Su-33 can operate dumb bombs and rockets. The MiG-29K was very multirole and well equipped to engage ground targets.

    Note when I say the Su-33 has comparable air to ground capability to the Yak-38 I mean in terms of weapon types... the Su-33 has vastly superior range and payload capacity to the Yak... which doesn't even have a built in gun.

    F-35 based on F-16 is a F-22, isn't it? Not the best aircraft either, but USAF wanted a miracle, not a fifth generation plane. Too many compromises. Just like with F-35 now.

    Actually I see the F-22 as being a standoff long range killer... a bit like a 5th gen F-15C... a stealthy F-16 would be a numbers plane that carries a lighter payload but carries bombs and air to air weapons and makes up in numbers what it might lack in individual payload.

    Ie in the first phase of an attack where stealth is important the F-35 would carry less than an F-22 but for every F-22 there would be 10-15 F-35s so the enemy wont be able to come up and shoot down the high flying F-22s because there will be 10-15 highly manouverable F-35s with helmet mounted sights and high off boresight AAMs in their way, plus light guided bombs to take out air defence components like SAMs and HQs and radars etc.

    Likely however they might dump the F-35 for armed drones perhaps?

    Actually I see the point about VTOLs on a large carriers. You can only launch a pair of Su-33 from Kuznetsov's deck at once iirc, so it takes time to launch a good amount of planes, but with Yak-141/F-35 you can get a whole squadron up in the air in a minute

    With proper procedures you can have two aircraft on the short takeoff strips and one on the long run launching every few minutes... launch the two short planes first and then the third, then position three more aircraft.

    If something goes wrong with a VSTOL takeoff and the aircraft pitches too far one side and the pilot is punched out you probably don't want a lot of other aircraft taking off in close proximity... generally there is only one SAR helo on station and in cold water seconds count...

    If the choice is three MiG-29Ks getting airborne every three minutes on average or being able to lift off 8 Yak-38s at a time I would take the MiGs... pure vertical takeoffs seriously limit fuel and payload for all VSTOL aircraft so most of the time they have rolling takeoffs anyway... even on big carriers.

    Of course with the new Ka-52K helo with AESA radar... most new Russian ships have helo pads so a potential new option could be Ka-52Ks with R-77s rapidly taking off and being able to launch AAMs at incoming anti ship missiles and other aerial threats...


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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Asf on Sun May 25, 2014 11:41 am

    The Yaks and the Su-25 were both very new and very experimental at that time..
    Forger was being mass-produced for five years at the beginning of the Afghanistan conflict. It wasn't experimental
    which didn't really make sense as the replacement aircraft was already being developed in the form of the Yak-141
    Yak-38M was still much cheaper than yak-141. And it was already mastered in a mass-production.
    Suggesting naval forces in Afghanistan had to use the Yak doesn't hold water. When the BMD was found to be too light in structure in Afghanistan the VDV happily traded their BMDs for BMP-2Ms. Naval forces would happily operate under Su-25 support too.
    I must have said it wrong. Fleet wasn't involved in Afghanistan. I meant there were no choice other than Yak's as CAS in case of a marine operation far from soviet airfields like Falkland war was for UK. There was no MiG-29Ks, not Su-33s until the end of 80's. VVS pilots in Afghanistan had a choice not to use Yaks, of course they prefered normal planes.
    The Su-33 can operate dumb bombs and rockets. The MiG-29K was very multirole and well equipped to engage ground targets.
    Again there were no marine versions of MiG-29 and Su-27 until the end of 80s. Fleet had to use that it could
    the Su-33 has vastly superior range and payload capacity to the Yak...
    It can be fitted with dumb bombs and rockets, that's all, it's just a bonus. It is no way a fighter-bomber.
    Likely however they might dump the F-35 for armed drones perhaps?
    May be. Still it's not possible to make a good UAV fighter due to absence of a sophisticated AI and vulnerability of radio control channels (russian countermeasures seems to work pretty good - this is why there are piloted strike aircrafts even now)
    most new Russian ships have helo pads so a potential new option could be Ka-52Ks with R-77s
    I'm not sure if a Ka-52K is fit for a standart ship hanger (it's bigger than a Ka-27).
    Ka-52Ks with R-77s rapidly taking off and being able to launch AAMs at incoming anti ship missiles and other aerial threats...
    I don't actually think it's necessary as russian ships are already AA-heavy

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    Re: The Yak-38 and the Kiev class cruisers

    Post  Giulio on Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:29 pm

    Hello.
    Does someone know this video?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKAKDQ3PrOs

    If possible:
    1) What 's appened?
    2) Why the Yak takes off from the ship stern?
    3) Does the ejection seat of the Yak work also under the water??
    Thanks.

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