Yakovlev Yak-141: Fork-Tailed Beast.

The Yakovlev company has the honour of being the producer of the second Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) fighter. Even worse, their Yak-38 was an interim second-best effort and they knew it. So when the time came, in the middle 1970’s, to create a replacement they attacked it with a vengeance. The supersonic Yak-141 (originally it was called Yak-41M) was anything the Yak-38 wasn’t: powerful, well-armed, well-equipped and gorgeously nasty-looking. Sadly, it was born (first flight in 1987) when the USSR was on its way to the history books. When the State funding dried Yakovlev tried to save their brainchild with a collaboration with the Lockheed company, but in the end all came to nothing. Only four were built.

Fires in the holes while its hovers at the 1992 Farnborough Airshow  (my guess). Such an amazing photo. With its twin pod tail (to put the main engine nozzle in its appropriate place to the centre of gravity) the Yak-141 was an aircraft with character….and those MNPK Soyuz R-79V-300  main engine and two RKBM RD-41 lift engines. Brutally magnificent.


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