Yakolev Yak-141 ‘141 white’
Originally designated as the Yak-41, this advanced VTOL aircraft was intended to replace the Soviet Navy’s Yak-38 fleet and to serve purely as a fighter for fleet protection. Four prototypes were built, two for static tests and two for flight tests, before the collapse of the Soviet Union cancelled the project. The prototypes set 12 new class records, with the type being recorded as the ‘Yak-141’ for propaganda purposes. When Lockheed became involved in the project in 1992, the name was officially changed to Yak-141 by Yakolev, although the military designation remained as Yak-41. At the time, Lockheed was developing the X-35 for the Joint-Strike-Fighter programme, for which the Yak-141 proved a useful experience. In some respects the two types aren’t entirely dissimilar. The X-35, of course, led to the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II, but that’s another story.
This is the first of the two flight test aircraft (c/n 48-2) and was originally coded ’75 white’, although both aircraft were later recoded as ‘141 white’ when the type was renamed. This is the aircraft that appeared at Farnborough in 1992, while the other example (c/n 48-3) had been damaged by fire following a heavy landing in October 1991 and did not fly again.
Retaining the ‘141’ code, it is on display at the Central Air Force museum, Monino, Moscow Oblast, Russia.
27th August 2017