Author Topic: Yakovlev UAVs  (Read 3470 times)

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Yakovlev UAVs
« on: May 16, 2017, 02:59:35 AM »
A few nostaglia shots from the 'boneyard' ...

First up, a decommissioned Yakovlev Yak-144 Elektron medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV in the weeds. This drone has been stripped of its jet engines and its under-belly sensor bay is empty. Also missing from this Elektron are its tailcone (with data transmission 'stinger' antenna); wing-tip sensor pods; and satcom antenna (although its forward-fuselage mast remains in place).

Codenamed 'Mangrove' by NATO, the Elektron was originally designated BAS-44 (for Unmanned Aviation System Type-44). This designation matched the Yak-44, a converted Yak-40 passenger jet used as a testbed for the BAS-44 programme. Prior to the prototype's first flight, this UAV was relabelled Yak-144. That designation is visible on the nose of the derelict drone (although, technically, this aircraft is a Yak-144A).

The Yak-144 was derived from the Yak-40 airframe -- the wings, undercarriage, and horizontal tailplane being unchanged. Sensors were carried in a long, under-belly 'canoe' fairing. Much of the fuselage was dedicated to fuel tanks to provide the necessary range (lacking in the 'parent' Yak-40 commuterliner).

The Yak-144A Elektron were operated primarily on behalf of the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU, Main Intelligence Directorate) although the similar Yak-144M Chirok (Teal) was developed for dedicated naval surveillance use -- the two variants differing mainly in the sensor payloads carried.
_____________________
"I dared to ask for sunshine, and I got World War three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me!"

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 08:09:56 AM »
 :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline pigflyer

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 01:00:46 AM »
Nice! 
If I don't plan it, it can't go wrong!

If it's great, I did it. If it's naff, I found it.

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2017, 03:30:38 AM »

Next up ... not a UAV but a manned derivative of the Yak-144 series. The Yak-144-I (Issledovaniye = Research) had incorporated a 2-seat cockpit [1] into the nose of a Yak-144A airframe. Used as a sensor 'test mule', the Yak-144-I looked to be another one-off ... until the outbreak of the Afghan conflict.

Yakovlev engineers quickly realized that there was counter-insurgency potential in a relatively slow-flying aircraft operating above effective small arms fire range. From that altitude, the aircraft could track insurgents safely before directing laser-guided bombs onto selected targets. The Yakovlev OKB proposed that their Yak-144I design could be quickly adapted to meet this envisioned role.

The revised manned aircraft was designated Yak-140-O (Obnovlennyy = Updated). [2] Dubbed Stervyatnik (Vulture), the Yak-140-O differed from the Yak-144I mainly in sensor fit, operational equipment, and the six new weapon pylons lining the wings. NATO codenamed this new Yak-40 variant 'Forebear'.

By its very nature, the Stervyatnik was restricted to combat in areas of total air superiority. With the Soviet withdrawl from Afghanistan, the intended role of the Yak-140-O ceased to exist. The V-VS quickly removed the Yak-140-O from combat use. However, that was not the end of the Stervyatnik story.

The Yak-140-O proved to be an ideal platform for a number of non-combat roles. Initially it was seen as a flying simulator for Yak-144 and Yak-244 UAVs. More widespread use came with the Stervyatnik's adoption outside the military. Other than for very high-altitude use, the type became a prefered type for much scientific sensor work including meteorology work (as the Yak-140M for Meteorologicheskiy) and mapping.

(Below) Shown in its later days is a Stervyatnik re-equipped for geological survey work, the Yak-140GS (Geologicheskaya s"yemka). Built as a Yak-140A, this aircraft now features a large belly radar radome (in place of the usual sensor 'canoe' fairing) and much-reduced 'antennae farms' (on fuselage spine, belly, and wingtip pods). There is no sign of the usual large electro-optical turret (usually partially visible even when retracted into its rear fuselage bay) but, incongruously, the tail ECM antenna is retained.

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[1] To speed the Yak-144I conversion process, the complete cockpit and canopy of the Yak-25M interceptor was adapted to the Yak-144A airframe.

[2] The Yak-140-O designation seems intended to confuse NATO. The Stervyatnik was no more closely related to the Yak-40 airliner than was the Yak-144A UAV. And in what sense was the Stervyatnik 'Updated'?

_______________________________
"I dared to ask for sunshine, and I got World War three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me!"

Offline apophenia

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2017, 03:34:22 AM »
Yakovlev Yak-244LL Monster 'Manned Drone' and Yak-244A Mantis Strategic UAV

The Yakovlev Yak-244LL (Letayuschchaya Laboratoriya or Flying Laboratory) was another manned testbed ... this time for the improved Yak-244 strategic UAV. Based on the Yak-144 Elektron airframe, the Yak-244 would feature more advanced sensors and sophisticated satellite data link -- the latter in the form of a large antenna housed in a domed radome atop the forward fuselage.

To enhance satellite links, the entire forward fuselage of the Yak-244A (NATO codename 'Mantis') would be 'kinked' upwards to keep the radome 'proud' of the fuselage. This feature also provided Yakovlev OKB designers with the opportunity to install a large electro-optical turret in front of a revised nose undercarriage. In the Yak-244LL, a spartan manned cockpit for test purposes was substituted for the fuselage-top radome. The result was rather freakish in appearance, prompting NATO to codename the Yak-244LL 'Monster'.

As can be seen in the photo, the one-off Yak-244LL 'Monster' is now in quite poor condition. The cockpit has been stripped -- the Zvezda K-36VM ejection seat has been removed along with all instrumentation. The hinged canopy is also missing, leaving the cockpit interior exposed to the punishing Russian winter weather. The belly sensor pylon remains in place but no sensors are now fitted. Likewise, the E/O turret is gone. At some point, the original wing tip pods have been replaced with standard Yak-40 wing tip fairings.

Oddly, the tail-top radome remains in place (although whether the antenna for the Gorizont-15 datalink system is still in situ is unknown). All markings have been scrubbed (possibly suggesting post-trial use as an instructional airframe). After its usual service life was over, the sole Yak-244LL 'Monster' was pushed out into the weeds ... a sad but all-to-common fate for unique pieces of aviation history.

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[1] The Yak-244LL 'Monster' is sometimes referred to as the Yak-244Eks (for 'Eksperimental'nyy')

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« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 03:37:47 AM by apophenia »
"I dared to ask for sunshine, and I got World War three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me!"

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 04:50:39 PM »
 :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 09:40:54 AM »
I really, really like these. I've always liked the Yak-40 so it's great to see some Codling-based whiffery.

What are the chances of seeing one of these from you in plastic?
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 10:44:29 AM »
well, there is a 1/72 Yak-40 kit available.

Offline AXOR

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 06:49:32 PM »
Great job all the way,I especially like the Yak 144 I.At first sight it seemed to be a mix between Yak-40 and Yak-30...even so it looks really good.
Alex

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2017, 07:17:15 AM »
Thanks folks! Considering all the 'manned drones', I probably should've thought harder about my title! Ah well, here's another Yakovlev non-UAV ...

The Yakovlev Yak-48 Forager was a short take-off and landing development of the VTOL Yak-38 Forger.

In its prototype incarnation, the Forager was simply a Yak-38 with a shortened forward fuselage. The Forger's twin lift-jets were deleted and the rear vectoring nozzles had their rotation reduced to 45 degrees. Having proven the concept, Yakovlev OKB embarked on a more serious redesign.

(Below) The 'small-winged' Yak-48 Forager prototype as currently preserved on its pedestal.

The goal of the Yak-48 design was to produce a Soviet equivalent to the West's Jaguar strike aircraft with comparatively low development costs and risk. A secondary goal was to maintain as much commonality with the Yak-38 as possible. This was to allow the side-by-side assembly of both types on the same production line.

In its production form, the Yak-48 featured a 25% larger wing (allowing an additional pylon per wing). The enlarged wing resulted in extensive changes to the forward fuselage structure as well. The Yak-48 rear fuselage, tail surfaces, undercarriage, and main powerplant remained unaltered from the Yak-38.

(Below) A V-VS Yak-48 Forager-A ('Yellow 53') in full Afghan conflict camouflage.
"I dared to ask for sunshine, and I got World War three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me!"

Offline KiwiZac

  • Once crowned Mango King by Brian da Basher!
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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2017, 09:04:52 AM »
well, there is a 1/72 Yak-40 kit available.
True! I'd do it but I don't have 1) money or b) will.
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2017, 02:18:36 AM »
... I'd do it but I don't have 1) money or b) will.

Money can be a crippling constraint but lack of "b) will" is always the real project killer  ;D
"I dared to ask for sunshine, and I got World War three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me!"

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2017, 04:31:57 AM »
 ;D
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2017, 02:51:40 AM »
Those are all shining examples of vast superiority of Soviet engineering over decadent capitalist rent-seekers, comrade apophenia!

May you forever bask in the glory of your Red Banner and swim in a river of vodka!

Brian da Basherski

P.S. You could seriously gas light people with some of these. Of course, my favorite would be the Yak-244LL 'Monster' because it 'd be hard to make it look any more dangerous (for the pilot)!

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2017, 06:30:09 AM »
Yet another that doesn't fit the Subject title ... but, hey, at least its a Yakovlev!

This one is a RW project -- the original Yakovlev Yak-42 (aka Yak-40VVP), a V/STOL derivative of the Yak-40 feederliner.

There aren't many details visible in the Yakovlev drawings. The two 'side' engines are now mounted in new mid-span wing pods fed by leading-edge slot intakes. In front of each podded propulsion engines are three lift-jets. An open grill feeds those lift-jets but there is no detail as to how they were exhausted ... open ports, Yak-38-side hinged doors, or ?

There is a controllable stabilizing 'puffer' using fan air bled-off from the central tail engine. But there is no sign of a corresponding nose 'puffer'. One Yakovlev drawing shows small projections on each wing outboard of the lift-jet pods. Perhaps these were for wing 'puffers'?

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting design attempt at adapting an existing transport to V/STOL.
"I dared to ask for sunshine, and I got World War three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me!"

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2017, 10:33:46 AM »
 :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Brian da Basher

  • He has an unnatural attraction to Spats...and a growing fascination with airships!
  • Holding Pattern
  • *
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Re: Yakovlev UAVs
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2017, 06:02:42 AM »
You've got great skill at that Aeroflot livery, comrade!

Brian da Basher