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[wiki:contest] La-9

Lavochkin La-9

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Table of contents

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1 La-9

2 The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

     2.1 Overview and performance

          2.1.1 Arcade battles

          2.1.2 Realistic and simulator battles

     2.2 Damage model

     2.3 Usage

          2.3.1 Ground Strike (Arcade Battles)

          2.3.2 Domination (Arcade Battles)

          2.3.3 Air Domination (Arcade Battles)

          2.3.4 Realistic and Simulator Battles

     2.4 Enemies

     2.5 Tactics

          2.5.1 Offensive maneuvers

          2.5.2 Defensive maneuvers

     2.6 Defeating the La-9

3 Pros and cons of the plane

4 Armament

     4.1 Ammunition

     4.2 Ground attack

5 Modules and improvements

6 History of creation and combat usage

7 Screenshots, fan art and photos

8 References

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La-9

 

The Lavochkin La-9 or as it was often called „the all-metal La-7” was at the same time a further development of the La-7 as well as a completely new aircraft. While visually it looked much like its predecessor there was a number of distinct changes.

 

The most notable improvement was the change of wood to duraluminium in the cover of both wings and fuselage, which resulted in a noticable reduction of the weight of the aircraft. This allowed an installation of additional fuel tanks to increase the planes operational range as well as new heavy armament consisting of four 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23S cannons with a total ammo capacity of 300 rounds, significantly increasing the burst mass per second of the fighter. A Fairchild gun camera mounted on the right wing panel was used to direct shooting and for training purposes. Later it was replaced with an S-13, its Soviet counterpart, which was placed in the fairing over the cockpit windshield. Overall an empty La-9 weighed only 2638 kg, only 33 kg more then an empty La-7.[1]

 

Another important change was the new laminar flow wing which allowed to increase the planes max speed by 20 km/h. The leading edge slats were removed on the La-9 as they were deemed unnecessary because of the new profile of the wing.[2]

 

The cockpit also underwent noticable changes and was made more spacious and comfortable as well as improving the visibility for the pilot. By pressurizing the cockpit and the power unit compartment, one of the main shortcomings of the Lavochkins - the high temperature in the pilot's cockpit during engine operation - was finally overcome. Also, the aircraft's instrumentation system was brought into line with worldwide standards. A radio compass, an attitude indicator, and an identification-friend-or-foe transponder enabled the aircraft to be piloted and engage in dogfights even in difficult weather conditions.

 

Although initially developed with the ASh-83 engine in mind, the plane was equipped with the much more reliable Shvetsov ASh-82FN fourteen-cylinder two-row radial air-cooled fuel-injected engine producing a maximum power of 1,850 hp - the same that was used on the La-7 and the La-5FN. The improvements in the aerodynamics of the plane however allowed for the La-9 to achieve greater speeds as well as increasing its maximum service ceiling.[1]

 

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The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

 

Overview and Performance

 

In War Thunder the Lavochkin La-9 is the last piston engine fighter of the famous Lavochkin series, it currently sits at tier IV and possesses a Battle rating (BR) of 6.0 in Arcade Battles, 5.7 in Realistic Battles and a 6.0 in Simulator Battles.  It is best known for its amazing low altitude speed as well as devastating armament.

 

Arcade battles

 

As all planes, the La-9 has a boosted Flight Model (FM) in the Arcade mode, which allows for better overall performance, from speed and climb rate to maneuverability. It performs best at an altitude of 3400m and below. The main reason for this is the absence of War Emergency Power (WEP) at altitudes above 4000m. To be able to use WEP at altitudes between 3400m – 4000m it is necessary to maintain a good speed.

 

In terms of top speed a fully upgraded La-9 is among the fastest planes at sea level in game, allowing it to easily outrun most opponents. The acceleration is good even without WEP, but with it, becomes amazing, however keep in mind not to overuse it and thus overheating the engine. Although it can be cooled off easily by lowering the throttle, thanks to the ASH-82FN being an air-cooled engine, once overheated both the top speed as well as acceleration take a noticeable loss in performance.

 

The La-9 is not a particularly maneuverable plane and should avoid dogfights in most cases as even if won, they are likely to take long enough and leave the plane low on speed – a tempting target for other enemy fighters.

The climb rate of the plane is great until the fighter reaches 4000m after which it becomes somewhat moderate in comparison to other planes at tier IV, due to the absence of WEP at higher altitudes. The best IAS (Indicated airspeed) for climbing is 250 km/h.

 

Another important trait of this fighter is its energy retention, in arcade it is possible to safely dive from 4000m to 1000m and still be able to recover all that altitude, it also helps to keep flying at above max speed after a dive longer than the average competition at its level.

 

Maximum true airspeed (TAS) depending on altitude in AB:

 

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The necessary minimum speed at given altitudes for WEP to be available in AB:

 

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Realistic and Simulator battles

 

In the Realistic and Simulator modes the FM of the La-9 is no longer boosted in any way. However the plane is still at its best below 4000m, as the WEP is unavailable above 4000m just as in the arcade mode. The speeds required to apply WEP at altitudes from 3000m to 4000m vary slightly from those in AB, but the main idea remains the same – a high speed is required.

 

Even if not as fast as in arcade, it remains among the fastest fighters at low altitude in RB and SB, while also having great acceleration with WEP applied. Keep in mind that this only applies, if the engine isn’t overheated – to cool it off, lower the throttle; it will only take a couple of seconds.

 

Both the maneuverability and the climb rate take a drop in performance as well, but the general rule stays the same. Try to avoid dogfights and don’t climb above 4000m unless not alone or there are no enemies above the La-9. The best IAS for climbing remains 250 km/h.

 

While the energy retention of the La-9 after a dive in RB and SB is great, one shouldn’t dive for more 2 -2,5km at a time, because the plane quickly reaches its maximum allowed speed of 850 km/h IAS or roughly 910 km/h TAS (true airspeed, default speed measurement). Not only that, but at speeds above 750 km/h IAS it becomes hard to pull up from a dive due to noticeable control stiffening.

 

A separate characteristic of the fighter which only really comes into play in RB and SB is the minimal amount of fuel a player can take into battle, which is currently enough for 45 minutes of flight time. In prolonged matches it allows the La-9 to simply outlast its enemies. Once around half of the fuel is consumed an increase of the fighters speed, climb rate, but most importantly roll rate becomes noticeable which is likely to come in handy late game.

 

This last feature is currently only really useful for SB players. The La-9 is currently one of the planes for which the canopy of the cockpit can be opened to improve the visibility at the expense of some top speed.

 

Maximum speed (TAS) depending on altitude in RB/SB:

 

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The necessary minimum speed at given altitudes for WEP to be available in RB/SB:

 

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Climb speed in relation to IAS (times were achieved by climbing from 0m to 5000m without the usage of WEP):

 

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Flaps break-off speed in relation to chosen position (RB/SB):

 

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Damage Model

 

The La-9 is a rather durable plane and can take some punishment before going down.

The most vulnerable parts of the plane are the space between wings, where the fuel tanks are located, and the root sections of the wings (also fuel tanks) as well as the fighter’s elevator.

 

The head of the pilot is protected by a 66mm steel plate from behind and a 55mm thick windshield from the front. The body of the pilot is protected by an 8,5mm thick plate from behind (in addition to the entire back of the plane) and the engine from the front. This makes it possible to kill the pilot only when attacking the fighter from the side or from above.

 

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Usage

 

Ground Strike (Arcade Battles)

 

In Ground Strike games there are two main choices:

  1. Helping securing altitude and bomber hunting/escorting – A high risk/high reward option, best attempt this if the La-9 is almost or already fully upgraded.  At the start of the battle side climb for a bit, but don’t get too separated from friendly fighters that are also climbing. It is important to avoid the initial clash since the La-9 isn’t very maneuverable and with numerous enemies flying around – an easy target. Instead provide cover for one of the more nimble teammates that have engaged in a dogfight. Once air superiority has been established, either pursue enemy bombers or escort friendly bombers by killing any climbing attackers. Should the team fail in establishing air superiority don’t stay up high as the La-9 gets outperformed by most fighters at higher altitudes, kill any enemy bombers within reach and proceed to the second option.
  2. Covering ground targets and attacking low flying enemies – A relatively low risk/decent reward option, perfect if the plane is still mostly in stock condition. Position the La-9 at an altitude of 2000m-3000m either at the flanks of the map or directly in front of friendly fighter spawn. Don’t advance too deep into enemy airspace and attack low flying bombers and attackers to protect friendly ground targets or find and approach a furball from above and perform Boom and Zoom (BnZ) attacks on the enemy fighters below. In case of danger simply speed away towards the teams fighter spawn.

 

Domination (Arcade Battles)

 

Arguably the best mode for the La-9 because most enemies are flying below 4000m and are thus always allowing the fighter to perform at its best. The approach to Domination battles is always simple yet effective. Position the plane above contested airspace at around 2500m altitude, dive down on an enemy, shoot and extend towards teammates. Once safe, regain altitude and repeat the process. The La-9 is also capable of quickly capturing airfields, if it is necessary to slow down quickly – open fire at 0% throttle, due to the powerful recoil it works almost like an air-brake. 

 

Air Domination (Arcade Battles)

 

Air Domination is similar to the Domination mode, but not as advantageous for the La-9. A number of enemy planes will be right above, unless air superiority is established. If the plane is at least partially upgraded consider providing cover for climbing teammates, but at the same time try to avoid 1v1 dogfights as they are either hopeless or take too long and make the La-9 an easy target. Should high altitude supremacy be established – great, one less thing to worry about. If not, it will be important to be extra cautious as an enemy BnZ attack could happen at any time.

 

The best positions for the La-9 in an air domination match are either directly above or above and on the flanks (at around 2000m-2500m) of the main battle that is being fought near ground. That way the plane has enough room for BnZ attacks as well as having great chances to escape if attacked by an enemy that is higher and offering an advantage over opponents which might decide to climb towards the fighter.  It also carries the additional advantage of preventing the enemy team to capture the zone.

 

Realistic and Simulator Battles

 

In realistic and simulator battles start by climbing to an altitude of 2500m (if cloudy) or 3000m (if the weather is clear). Climbing higher than that is only advised if  not alone as the La-9 will be outperformed at high altitude by most enemies. The key to success in the La-9 is teamwork, so consider squading up with a friend. Since it is a bad idea to dogfight, try to get an enemies attention by acting as bait and lure him down to sea level instead. Once the enemy loses his altitude advantage, it is time for the squad mate to attack. Once low the pursuer won’t be able to neither catch the bait, nor escape your ally – an easy kill. Be also sure to target any enemies that are flying low, if the La-9 has an altitude advantage use BnZ tactics, if the plane is on the same low altitude as the enemy, perform high speed fly-bys.

 

Enemies

 

Germany

 

The most common German fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. Late Bf-109’s – A deadly opponent above 4000m, up high it is capable of out maneuvering the La-9 due to the soviet fighter’s absence of WEP at high altitudes. It also has a climb-rate advantage, leaving only two options – either act as a bait or dive down. At lower altitudes the La-9 regains a fighting chance, but it is usually a tense battle where the deciding factor will be the pilot’s individual skill. Don’t forget to use combat flaps.
  2. Fw-190D series/Ta-152 – similar to the Bf-109, these German aircraft possess a climb and also a speed advantage above 4000m, however they will be out-turned by the La-9 in the horizontal, although it may take a while. At lower altitudes these planes are easy targets as they hold no significant advantages, except for roll rate and considerable firepower. Don’t forget to avoid head-on attacks.

Great Britain

 

The most common British fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. Late Spitfires – The most important thing to remember when battling these planes is – never ever turn-fight them. The La-9 is considerably faster than the Spitfire so make use of it. A preferred tactic against these British fighters is BnZ or high speed fly-bys.
  2. Tempest Mk II – La-9’s most deadly adversary, if there is an opportunity to attack one from an advantageous position – use it immediately. Unlike the rest of piston engine planes, the Tempest is among those few planes that can rival the La-9 in terms of top-speed at lower altitudes. Climb rate and turn rates are similar, but the British fighter has the edge. To defeat one – very skillful defensive flying is required. However the best course of action is to set the Tempest up for an attack of a teammate.

USA

 

The most common American fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. F8F-1B – a difficult opponent as it outperforms the La-9 in every way by a large margin, the only exception being top speed. Use a similar approach as with Spitfires – BnZ, if there is an altitude advantage, or execute high speed fly-bys, if both planes are low. Do not engage alone at high altitude. The best way to effectively defeat a Bearcat is by either using yourself or a teammate as bait in order to set up a kill. Escaping the F8F-1B isn’t particularly hard, bringing it down is.
  2. P-51’s – One of the easiest opponents, the only circumstances where the Mustang holds the advantage is if it is both high and fast, but even then the American fighter is capable of out-turning the La-9 only for a few high-speed turns, after which the initiative is lost and the Soviet fighter gains the upper hand. Down low the P-51 is nothing more than a target, being worse in all aspects.

Japan

 

The most common Japanese fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. Ki-84’s – a tricky enemy, unfortunately as with many other planes the only true advantage the La-9 holds is its superior speed at lower altitude. Do not turn fight or energy fight this Japanese plane as it is considerably better than the Lavochkin in these aspects. Stick to BnZ and high speed attacks
  2. N1K’s – an easier opponent, the max speed difference between the La-9 and the N1K is quite noticeable, while also having the advantage in climb rate at altitudes where WEP is available, making setting up BnZ attacks easy down low. High speed passes work great as well, just keep in mind not to turn fight it as well as not engaging above 5000m.

USSR

 

The most common Soviet fighters the La-9 encounters (AB only) are:

  1. Yak-9P/UT – In arcade it is possible for the La-9 to meet Soviet planes as well. In the case of Yak-9P/UT the Lavochkin has better climb, speed and energy retention and, as long as not turn fighting, not a big threat. This however is only valid for fully upgraded planes. A stock La-9 will actually be slower at low altitude than fully upgraded Yaks – don’t forget that. The best ways to deal with them are BnZ or energy fighting (for example the vertical spiral).
  2. La-7 – The predecessor of the La-9. It is slightly slower, climbs slightly worse but is more nimble, for these reasons don’t fight in the horizontal, but instead use the vertical. However keep in mind that even the slightest mistake can end tragically, so if there is an option to set the enemy up for an ally – do it. Another thing to remember is that while in stock condition the La-9 is considerably slower than a fully upgraded La-7. Just like with the Tempest, if there is an opportunity to attack from a superior position – don’t waste it.
  3. La-9 – Should it so happen, that two La-9’s at an equal energy state clash with each other – may the best pilot win.

Bombers

 

Thanks to amazing armament of the La-9 bombers drop like flies and pose a prime target. However don’t get overconfident – some of them, like the Tu-2S or the Do-217E have forward facing cannons, don’t head-on those, unless feeling confident and lucky enough.

 

B-17, B-24, B-29 and G8N1 must also be noted, as they should always be killed with a guns-blazing approach. The last thing one would need is a lucky hit from an AI gunner. Thankfully all bombers go down easily.

 

Jets

 

Yes, the La-9 is eligible of encountering jets. And yes, planes such as the Ho-229, Mig-9, Ki-200 and F-80C can prove to be a major pain. The only real chance one has is fighting them in the horizontal, if they are foolish enough, if not, stay aware and dodge – jets are significantly worse at turning than the Lavochkin and will have a hard time at BnZ, if situational awareness is present. If above one and flying at a high speed, it is possible to catch most jets in a dive and meet their speed for a short time, potentially securing a kill, as all jets are rather fragile.

 

Tactics

 

Offensive maneuvers

 

Boom and Zoom – The offensive tactic that is most effective while flying the La-9 is, without a doubt, the Boom and Zoom (BnZ). The basic concept of BnZ is simple – the attacker dives at the target from a superior altitude position, opens fire and, whether successful or not, climbs back to regain the altitude advantage. An important thing to note is the Soviet fighter’s behavior in a dive – while the control surfaces are responsive at all times they are far from the point where the plane could be called agile. Because of this reason take extra care when lining up before the attack, also, when in need to correct the aim, do it through a roll as the ailerons and elevator are a lot more responsive then the rudder in a dive. Should the target break off hard – don’t follow – climb and set up a new attack instead.

 

There are two other variations of the classical BnZ that are very useful to know:

  1. The tailing BnZ – After the initial attack the attacker instead of climbing back up stays on the tail of its target for 3-5 seconds before disengaging. This variation of the classical attack is very useful against fast targets and especially jets, since the target is moving fast as well, the attacker isn’t likely to overshoot as well as having extended time on target. The downside is that it won’t be possible to regain all of the initial altitude afterwards.
  2. Boom and Extend (BnE) – This variation is distinguished by the absence of climbing after the attack – instead, the attacker uses the speed to quickly gain separation from enemies in level flight. Due to the La-9’s superb low altitude speed this is an incredibly effective tactic. It is best utilized in situations when climbing after the Boom phase would be too dangerous (for example control over high altitude has been lost or freshly spawned enemies are approaching the engagement zone rapidly).

Hammerhead – A great finisher in situations when an enemy decides to climb towards the La-9. Instead of diving on the enemy and throwing away all the altitude advantage for a 50/50 chance, point the nose upwards and climb so that the fighter is directly above the enemy. The most crucial part of the attack is timing – keep an eye on the enemy with the Left Alt key and, once his nose starts dropping, cut throttle and apply either left or right rudder hard to bring guns on the now helpless target.

 

High Speed Passes (Fly-bys) - This tactic requires the fighter to fly at a much higher speed than its target to be successful. It is the best option if there is no time or opportunity to climb and set up a proper BnZ attack. The target and the attacker are at roughly the same altitude. When executing, try to aim for enemies that are exposing their sides/rear or are already engaged in a fight. If offered a head-on, best evade it, although the La-9 is very much capable of winning such duels, it’s still an unnecessary risk. The tactic works great as an extension of the BnE move.  And last but not least – always fly in the general direction of allies.

 

 

Defensive maneuvers

 

Running away – Probably the oldest defensive move known to man makes a spectacular return in the form of the La-9. The fighter is capable of easily outrunning almost all piston engine aircraft at low altitude. The only exceptions are the La-7 and the Tempest Mk.II which can both stick around long enough to deal some serious damage before they fall back far enough.

 

If the enemy is already in guns range, to throw off his aim use the Q and E keys to apply rudder in short successions, then move the mouse slightly up and down, then use rudder again, etc. until the pursuer is lost( keep in mind to perform these evasive actions mildly to avoid losing too much speed). Best defensive move if there is at least 1000m to convert into speed by diving away.

 

Split S – Performed in the direction underneath the attacker it is the perfect defense from a BnZ attack, if one has some altitude to spare (minimum 300m) and not enough speed to escape in a dive. It leads either to the attacker disengaging or him following (effectively preventing a safe escape) in which case extend combat flaps starting an upwards loop to get on the tail of the enemy. If failed to get on the tail of the enemy (can happen against Spitfires and F8F-1B) accelerate towards allies. The faster the enemy the more effective this move gets, as excessive speed causes the loops to be wide and longer to perform.

 

4i1HlkSm.png

 

Flat Scissors – Sometimes the La-9 will be down low and not fast enough to escape (probably after a dogfight). The enemy fighter dives with full speed targeting the Lavochkin, a split-S that low will just end up in a crash. Instead pull a hard turn and enter the flat scissors maneuver. Two things can happen – first, the attacker follows and overshoots allowing to bring it down or at least to switch roles, second he starts pulling up, should the distance between both planes be at around 300-400m, when coming out of the turn, follow him by pushing the nose up and opening fire – while extremely risky it gives one last chance to turn the tables, the sole fact that he decided to pull up is a sign that the enemy knows what he is doing. Keep track of the selected enemy via Left Alt key by default.

 

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Barrel Roll – In a situation where engaged by an enemy that is flying considerably faster at the same altitude as the La-9, a great maneuver to force an overshoot is a barrel roll as it slows down the planes forward movement without losing much energy as well as making the plane a difficult target.

 

oJQRpygl.png

 

Vertical Spiral (Ascending Spiral, Climbing Spiral, Vertical Corkscrew) – The best choice if attacked from below. The maneuver itself is pretty self-explanatory, keep the nose up, turn with the help of the rudder and adjust with ailerons as it becomes necessary. Drain the enemy’s energy and once he is close to stalling, either loop around on his tail or perform a hammerhead.

 

A great video by long5hot showing how to correctly perform the maneuver (at 3:04): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqTjap5ptMI&feature=iv&src_vid=sqTjap5ptMI&annotation_id=annotation_4217459715#t=3m4.3s

 

Firing the guns – While it sounds crazy, the guns on the La-9 can be used not only to defeat enemies, but also as an improvised air-brake. Cut throttle to 0%, extend flaps and open fire to drop speed at a tremendous rate. Possible uses include situations when control surfaces are too damaged to perform other evasive actions, but it is necessary to force an overshoot.

 

Defeating the La-9

 

The best way to fight the La-9 is by exploiting its weaknesses – poor maneuverability in dogfights and poor high altitude performance. If flying a more maneuverable plane (F8F-1B, Spitfires, Ki-84, N1K2 or Yak-9UT) try to engage it in a turn-fight. If the La-9 commits to it, an easy kill is at hand, if not climb and use the same approach as the less maneuverable fighters.

 

A less nimble plane (Fw-190, Bf-109K, F7F etc.) should, once above 4000m hold on to that altitude and get in position for BnZ runs. The only way to catch the La-9, if it is going at full speed at low altitude, is by diving on one, so an altitude advantage is the key to success.

 

 

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Pros and cons of the plane

 

Pros

  • Excelent performance at low altitudes(<3400m)
  • Amazing top speed at low altitudes
  • Great energy retention
  • Powerful nose mounted weaponry
  • Responsive control surfaces
  • Sturdy Damage Model
  • Very good acceleration (especially with WEP enabled)
  • High rate of fire

Cons

  • Maneuverability not good enough for dog fights with most opponents
  • Poor performance at higher altitudes (>4000m)
  • Low ammo capacity
  • Powerful recoil
  • Bad overall ballistics of the NS-23 guns

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Armament

 

The La-9 main armament consists of four synchronized Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 23mm cannons located in the upper part of the nose with a total burst mass of 7,90 kg per second(with default belts). The total ammo capacity is only 300 rounds (75 rounds per gun), so make sure the hits count, if flying in RB or SB. The muzzle velocity of the shells lies at 690 ±10 m/s[3].

 

An important feature of the Soviet fighters armament is its ability to either fire the upper pair of cannons or the lower pair of cannons. This becomes particularly useful when in need of conserving ammo in RB and SB, because 2 cannons is still enough to easily kill any fighter. When firing all 4 guns at once be mindful of the powerful recoil as it tends to lift the nose slightly upwards as well as slowing the plane down (this becomes especially noticeable when the throttle is cut down to 0%).

 

The NS-23 gun possesses a high rate of fire of 10 rounds per second. With 4 guns those are 40 rounds per second. While the rate of fire is 20% slower then that of Shvak cannons the higher weight of rounds more than makes up for it in terms of damage output. Combined with low ammo capacity per gun it is crucial to maintain trigger discipline and fire in short bursts.

 

The ballistics of the cannons can be considered bad and usually require a lot of time getting used to before becoming proficient with them. The drop and spread of the shells is particularly noticeable when firing at large distances.

 

Currently the La-9 cannot carry any bomb load in-game.

 

Ammunition

 

The NS-23 gun features only two types of rounds:

  • Fragmentation incendiary tracer shell (FI-T) – The most devastating shell available. Don’t be fooled by the absence of HE rounds, the FI-T shell contains 11g of A-IX-2 explosive filler (total mass of shell – 196g).[3] For comparison a 20mm Shvak HEF shell contains only 6,7g of explosives (total mass of shell – 91g).[4] The high weight of the shell also allows for twice as heavy shrapnel than that from 20mm rounds, which is very important when damaging wing and control surfaces.
  • Armor-piercing incendiary shell (AP-I) – Only useful for knocking out enemy pilots and damaging control surfaces. In comparison to the FI-T shell it is much less effective. The round weighs 199g and contains 6g of incendiary substance located at the tip of the shell. Fired at 0° from a distance of 200m it is capable of penetrating 25mm of armor. [3]

Four different ammunition belts are available:

  • Default (FI-T | AP-I) – the default belt, second best choice.
  • Armored targets (FI-T | AP-I | AP-I | AP-I) – only useful in cases where there is a need to take down a light pillbox fast.
  • Air targets (FI-T | FI-T | FI-T | AP-I) – the best choice for air to air combat due to the highest amount of FI-T shells
  • Stealth  (AP-I) – not recommended, against air targets the damage is insufficient to kill in one pass most times. The awful ballistics also make it unsuited for attacking light pillboxes making it very easy to miss the slit without tracers.

Ground attack

 

The only ground targets the La-9 can destroy with its AP-I rounds are:

  • Soft targets such as AAA, Artillery, Armored cars, Vehicles and Landing crafts.
  • Light pillboxes – if aimed precisely at the slit of the pillbox(a bit tricky and requires good aim)
  • Light tanks – only when targeting the roof of the tank at an angle of 0° from very close distance (<200m) and requires a prolonged burst. Usually ends up in crashing the plane without destroying the tank – best not even attempt this in a battle.

All other ground targets (Medium tanks, Heavy tanks, Pillboxes etc.) are impossible to destroy with the NS-23 cannons.

 

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Modules and improvements

 

The two most important modules that should be unlocked as soon as possible are the Offensive 23 mm belts and Engine injection. The first gives access to the devastating air target ammo belt while the second one gives a huge boost to the fighters flight characteristics. Difference between a completely stock and a fully upgraded plane is huge (see screenshots in post below), and the first 50 or so battles will be very challenging.

 

Best research the modules in this order:

  1. Offensive 23 mm belts
  2. Radiator
  3. Compressor
  4. Engine
  5. Wings repair
  6. Engine Injection
  7. Everything else, based on personal preferences

The total amount of Research points(RP) necessary to unlock all modules on the La-9 lies at 167000 RP and makes it the most expensive plane in terms of RP to upgrade in all of Soviet tier IV. Curiously enough only 120000 RP are needed to research the plane itself.

 

List of modules:

 

Tier I     | Fuselage repair | Radiator | Offensive 23 mm belts| each costs 11000 RP

Tier II    | Compressor | Airframe | each costs 19000 RP

Tier III  | Wings repair | Engine | New 23 mm cannons (requires Off. 23mm belts) | each costs 14000 RP

Tier IV  | Engine injection | Cover | each costs 27000 RP

 

One other camouflage besides the default one is currently available – Unicolor Grey Camouflage, which requires 350 player kills in the La-9 to be unlocked.

 

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History of creation and combat usage

 

The first real predecessor of the La-9 was the prototype «130». The fighter was first designed with the new ASh-83 engine in mind, a slightly more powerful version of the ASh-82FN. It was expected for the plane to reach a max speed of 725 km/h at an altitude of 7500 m, range – 1450 km, and max altitude -10 500 m. The engine however had a very short life-span, and often malfunctioned which lead to the decision to use the combat proven ASh-82FN engine instead, which was already successfully used on a large number of aircraft (La-5FN, La-7, Tu-2S).

 

The first fighter «130» was built in January 1946 at the Factory No. 21 in Gorky. Next month the prototype was relocated to Factory No. 301 in Himki, near Moscow, where at the time the Lavochkin Construction Bureau headquarters were located. Factory trials, which consisted of 30 fly-outs, ended in May 1946.

 

After successful factory trials, the La-9 was launched into serial production in August 1946 in the Factory No.21, despite the fact that the state trials were not yet completed. For this reason the first four planes built in August were rejected by the military. At the start of production the La-9 had a large number of issues which caused the state trials to be completed successfully only in October. After bringing the already built fighters up-to-date and making preparations for future mass production, the military started receiving the planes on December 20th.

 

The total number of aircraft produced in 1946 was 15, La-9 entered full-scale production in 1947. In 1948 the fighter saw a high number of minor improvements, for example the automated gear shift of the supercharger. Production continued until the end of 1949. A total 1882 planes, including both the combat and the two-seat training variants, were produced.

 

La-9 saw active service in the Soviet Air Force from 1947 to 1951, but already during 1952 was exempted from service due to the transition to the new MiG-15 jet fighters.

 

The La-9 was used not only by the Soviet Union, but also by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) where the plane also saw combat service.

Under the agreement between the Soviet Union and PRC that was made on September 1949 it was planned to deliver 60 combat and training La-9 aircraft. However the deliveries only began in 1950. Since the production of the La-9 had already ceased at the time, the fighters were delivered from regular Soviet Air Force units.

 

The La-9 was used in China as escorts for the Tu-2 bombers and transport aircraft in the fight against the Kuomintang. They stayed in service in China until 1960.

 

In March 1951 in North Korea the United Air Army was founded, which at the time had only 6 La-9 fighters, located in Xinzhou (China), where the training of North Korean pilots was conducted. As the Korean War went on, further unknown numbers of La-9 fighters were delivered to North Korea.

 

The first actual combat of the North Korean La-9’s apparently took place on the 20th of June, when a pair of La-9’s was attacked by approximately ten Sabres. In the ensuing air combat the North Korean pilot Pak Ki Raku, subsequently Hero of the Republic, claimed to having shot down two enemy jets as well as an enemy piston engine fighter. The same day the Americans intercepted another pair of La-9’s. However North Korean reports on this as well as the previous encounter are rather questionable since the La-9 was only able to fight jets in the horizontal, a form of air-combat which is considered defensive. A La-9 pilot could win such an engagement only under very good circumstances.

 

Because of this reason the North Koreans began using the La-9 in the role of a night bomber by mounting two 50 kg bombs under the wings. In 1953 they participated in attacks on the island Cho-do and the capital of South Korea Seoul. According to American reports a total of 3 La-9 fighters were shot down in July by F4U night fighters.

 

After the end of the Korean War the La-9 remained in service of the DPRK until rhe late 1950’s.[2][5]

 

 

Today only one La-9 remains in airworthy condition, 828/N415ML owned by the Military Aviation Museum (Virginia Beach, USA) and restored by Pioneer Aero Restorations in New Zealand between 2001 and 2003.[6]

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Screenshots, fan art and photos

 

Nice screenshots, fan art and most importantly custom skins can all be found at WarThunder Live:

http://live.warthunder.com/?q=%23la9

 

Due to limitations in maximum pictures per post see the Screenshots and photos in the post below!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

References

 

[1] http://www.sovplane.ru/readarticle.php?article_id=144

[2] Николай Якубович „Ла-7, Ла-9, Ла-11. Последние поршневые истребители СССР”

[3] http://saperka.ru/23-mm-boepripasy-k-pushkam-ns-23-i-nr-23

[4]https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A8%D0%92%D0%90%D0%9A_%28%D0%BF%D1%83%D1%88%D0%BA%D0%B0%29#.D0.91.D0.BE.D0.B5.D0.BA.D0.BE.D0.BC.D0.BF.D0.BB.D0.B5.D0.BA.D1.82

[5] http://www.airpages.ru/ru/la9.shtml

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavochkin_La-9

Edited by racer999
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Screenshots, fan art and photos

 

La-9's predecessor ''130''

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La-9 aircraft on patrol with a single La-7 in the back

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Fan art of a North Korean La-9
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La-9 in the unlockable Unicolor Grey Camouflage

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Comparison between a stock and a fully upgraded La-9 (AB)

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Comparison between a stock and a fully upgraded La-9 (RB/SB)

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pFFlqbs.jpg?1

[/spoiler]

Edited by racer999
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Ok, albeit somewhat late, my first wiki article seems to be finally completed. I believe it contains all that there is important to know about the La-9 in the game. Hope you find the article both interesting and helpful.

 

Parts of article(in the beginning) that have been taken from the existing Wiki page are marked in dark blue. The History of creation and combat usage section, has been made possible thanks to the book I got my hands on: Николай Якубович „Ла-7, Ла-9, Ла-11. Последние поршневые истребители СССР”. The original text was in Russian so I translated the most relevant parts myself, also found small missing bits of info on an other Russian website. The translation has been formatted accordingly.

 

I hope the article isn't too big, everything seemed relevant and leaving parts of the article out felt wrong.

 

Please let me know what you think (btw. English is not my native language so I'm also very curious, how readable,easy-to-understand the article is, also if you notice some minor grammar mistakes - let me know).

 

racer999 :salute:

_________________________________________________________________

 

*Edit 1:

  • Added hyperlinks to various War Thunder wiki pages
  • Added a table of contents
  • Minor grammar fixes

*Edit 2:

  • Added table depicting the flaps break-off speed in relation to chosen position

  • More grammar fixes.
Edited by racer999
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Really good article. But I don't get what you mean by "need this speed at this alt to use WEP", when I fly La9 I just use wep from takeoff until 4km where it gets disabled. 

Really informative article m8  :salute:

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Thanks, glad you liked it!

 

The "need this speed at this alt to use WEP" is there because, if you go below the minimum required speed at given altitude the WEP will get disabled sooner (as in even before you reach 4000m)

 

It is only really an issue when going too slow at altitudes between 3400m - 4000m as it can suddenly put you at a disadvantage if you're dogfighting at those altitudes.

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AHHHHH floral. There goes any chances of the top spot. 

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AHHHHH floral. There goes any chances of the top spot. 

I'll take that as a compliment, thanks :salute:

Your article is great too btw., I'm sure you'll make it into top 3. :yes:

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I'll take that as a compliment, thanks :salute:

Your article is great too btw., I'm sure you'll make it into top 3. :yes:

Mate, You might as well post it on the real Wiki it's that good. 

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Note: This final edit of my article is only meant to improve the quality of the future wiki page, my original post (and the screenshots from the 2nd post) remains my contest entry.

 

Lavochkin La-9

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D0N9RVd.jpg?1

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Table of contents

[spoiler]

1 La-9

2 The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

     2.1 Overview and performance

          2.1.1 Arcade battles

          2.1.2 Realistic and simulator battles

     2.2 Damage model

     2.3 Usage

          2.3.1 Ground Strike (Arcade Battles)

          2.3.2 Domination (Arcade Battles)

          2.3.3 Air Domination (Arcade Battles)

          2.3.4 Realistic and Simulator Battles

     2.4 Enemies

     2.5 Tactics

          2.5.1 Offensive maneuvers

          2.5.2 Defensive maneuvers

     2.6 Defeating the La-9

3 Pros and cons of the plane

4 Armament

     4.1 Ammunition

     4.2 Ground attack

5 Modules and improvements

6 History of creation and combat usage

7 Screenshots, fan art and photos

8 References

[/spoiler]

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

La-9

 

The Lavochkin La-9 or as it was often called „the all-metal La-7” was at the same time a further development of the La-7 as well as a completely new aircraft. While visually it looked much like its predecessor there was a number of distinct changes.

 

The most notable improvement was the change of wood to duraluminium in the cover of both wings and fuselage, which resulted in a noticable reduction of the weight of the aircraft. This allowed an installation of additional fuel tanks to increase the planes operational range as well as new heavy armament consisting of four 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23S cannons with a total ammo capacity of 300 rounds, significantly increasing the burst mass per second of the fighter. A Fairchild gun camera mounted on the right wing panel was used to direct shooting and for training purposes. Later it was replaced with an S-13, its Soviet counterpart, which was placed in the fairing over the cockpit windshield. Overall an empty La-9 weighed only 2638 kg, only 33 kg more then an empty La-7.[1]

 

Another important change was the new laminar flow wing which allowed to increase the planes max speed by 20 km/h. The leading edge slats were removed on the La-9 as they were deemed unnecessary because of the new profile of the wing.[2]

 

The cockpit also underwent noticable changes and was made more spacious and comfortable as well as improving the visibility for the pilot. By pressurizing the cockpit and the power unit compartment, one of the main shortcomings of the Lavochkins - the high temperature in the pilot's cockpit during engine operation - was finally overcome. Also, the aircraft's instrumentation system was brought into line with worldwide standards. A radio compass, an attitude indicator, and an identification-friend-or-foe transponder enabled the aircraft to be piloted and engage in dogfights even in difficult weather conditions.

 

Although initially developed with the ASh-83 engine in mind, the plane was equipped with the much more reliable Shvetsov ASh-82FN fourteen-cylinder two-row radial air-cooled fuel-injected engine producing a maximum power of 1,850 hp - the same that was used on the La-7 and the La-5FN. The improvements in the aerodynamics of the plane however allowed for the La-9 to achieve greater speeds as well as increasing its maximum service ceiling.[1]

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

 

Overview and Performance

 

In War Thunder the Lavochkin La-9 is the last piston engine fighter of the famous Lavochkin series, it currently sits at tier IV and possesses a Battle rating (BR) of 6.0 in Arcade Battles, 5.7 in Realistic Battles and a 6.0 in Simulator Battles.  It is best known for its amazing low altitude speed as well as devastating armament. The plane costs 360000 Silver Lions(SL) and requires an additional 100000 SL to put it in a crew slot. Expert crew qualification costs 360000 SL and Ace qualification costs 1400 Golden eagles (GE).

 

Arcade battles

 

As all planes, the La-9 has a boosted Flight Model (FM) in the Arcade mode, which allows for better overall performance, from speed and climb rate to maneuverability. It performs best at an altitude of 3400m and below. The main reason for this is the absence of War Emergency Power (WEP) at altitudes above 4000m. To be able to use WEP at altitudes between 3400m – 4000m it is necessary to maintain a good speed.

 

In terms of top speed a fully upgraded La-9 is among the fastest planes at sea level in game, allowing it to easily outrun most opponents. The acceleration is good even without WEP, but with it, becomes amazing, however keep in mind not to overuse it and thus overheating the engine. Although it can be cooled off easily by lowering the throttle, thanks to the ASH-82FN being an air-cooled engine, once overheated both the top speed as well as acceleration take a noticeable loss in performance.

 

The La-9 is not a particularly maneuverable plane and should avoid dogfights in most cases as even if won, they are likely to take long enough and leave the plane low on speed – a tempting target for other enemy fighters.

The climb rate of the plane is great until the fighter reaches 4000m after which it becomes somewhat moderate in comparison to other planes at tier IV, due to the absence of WEP at higher altitudes. The best IAS (Indicated airspeed) for climbing is 250 km/h.

 

Another important trait of this fighter is its energy retention, in arcade it is possible to safely dive from 4000m to 1000m and still be able to recover all that altitude, it also helps to keep flying at above max speed after a dive longer than the average competition at its level.

 

Maximum true airspeed (TAS) depending on altitude in AB:

 

Idu2py9.png

 

The necessary minimum speed at given altitudes for WEP to be available in AB:

 

2sTqawU.png

 

Realistic and Simulator battles

 

In the Realistic and Simulator modes the FM of the La-9 is no longer boosted in any way. However the plane is still at its best below 4000m, as the WEP is unavailable above 4000m just as in the arcade mode. The speeds required to apply WEP at altitudes from 3000m to 4000m vary slightly from those in AB, but the main idea remains the same – a high speed is required.

 

Even if not as fast as in arcade, it remains among the fastest fighters at low altitude in RB and SB, while also having great acceleration with WEP applied. Keep in mind that this only applies, if the engine isn’t overheated – to cool it off, lower the throttle; it will only take a couple of seconds. The engine temperature indicator becomes yellow at 210 °C and red at 215 °C. The temperature, at which the engine lifespan countdown begins, differs depending on altitude - above 5000m it starts at around 220 °C, while at sea level it can start as late as 235 °C. Oil temperature never reaches critical values as long as the corresponding modules aren't damaged.

 

Both the maneuverability and the climb rate take a drop in performance as well, but the general rule stays the same. Try to avoid dogfights and don’t climb above 4000m unless not alone or there are no enemies above the La-9. The best IAS for climbing remains 250 km/h.

 

While the energy retention of the La-9 after a dive in RB and SB is great, one shouldn’t dive for more 2 -2,5km at a time, because the plane quickly reaches its maximum allowed speed of 850 km/h IAS or roughly 910 km/h TAS (true airspeed, default speed measurement). Not only that, but at speeds above 750 km/h IAS it becomes hard to pull up from a dive due to noticeable control stiffening.

 

A separate characteristic of the fighter which only really comes into play in RB and SB is the minimal amount of fuel a player can take into battle, which is currently enough for 45 minutes of flight time. In prolonged matches it allows the La-9 to simply outlast its enemies. Once around half of the fuel is consumed an increase of the fighters speed, climb rate, but most importantly roll rate becomes noticeable which is likely to come in handy late game.

 

This last feature is currently only really useful for SB players. The La-9 is currently one of the planes for which the canopy of the cockpit can be opened to improve the visibility at the expense of some top speed.

 

Maximum speed (TAS) depending on altitude in RB/SB:

 

q8nistF.png

 

The necessary minimum speed at given altitudes for WEP to be available in RB/SB:

 

sXUmHc0.png

 

 

Climb speed in relation to IAS (times were achieved by climbing from 0m to 5000m without the usage of WEP):

 

3NXHSr7.png

 

Flaps break-off speed in relation to chosen position (RB/SB):

 

voHTwnq.png

 

Damage Model

 

The La-9 is a rather durable plane and can take some punishment before going down.

The most vulnerable parts of the plane are the space between wings, where the fuel tanks are located, and the root sections of the wings (also fuel tanks) as well as the fighter’s elevator.

 

The head of the pilot is protected by a 66mm thick armored glass from behind and a 55mm thick windshield from the front. The body of the pilot is protected by an 8,5mm thick plate from behind (in addition to the entire back of the plane) and the engine from the front. This makes it possible to kill the pilot only when attacking the fighter from the side or from above.

 

M2Lha79l.jpg

 

oSco8Khl.jpg

 

Usage

 

Ground Strike (Arcade Battles)

 

In Ground Strike games there are two main choices:

  1. Helping securing altitude and bomber hunting/escorting – A high risk/high reward option, best attempt this if the La-9 is almost or already fully upgraded.  At the start of the battle side climb for a bit, but don’t get too separated from friendly fighters that are also climbing. It is important to avoid the initial clash since the La-9 isn’t very maneuverable and with numerous enemies flying around – an easy target. Instead provide cover for one of the more nimble teammates that have engaged in a dogfight. Once air superiority has been established, either pursue enemy bombers or escort friendly bombers by killing any climbing attackers. Should the team fail in establishing air superiority don’t stay up high as the La-9 gets outperformed by most fighters at higher altitudes, kill any enemy bombers within reach and proceed to the second option.
  2. Covering ground targets and attacking low flying enemies – A relatively low risk/decent reward option, perfect if the plane is still mostly in stock condition. Position the La-9 at an altitude of 2000m-3000m either at the flanks of the map or directly in front of friendly fighter spawn. Don’t advance too deep into enemy airspace and attack low flying bombers and attackers to protect friendly ground targets or find and approach a furball from above and perform Boom and Zoom (BnZ) attacks on the enemy fighters below. In case of danger simply speed away towards the teams fighter spawn.

 

Domination (Arcade Battles)

 

Arguably the best mode for the La-9 because most enemies are flying below 4000m and are thus always allowing the fighter to perform at its best. The approach to Domination battles is always simple yet effective. Position the plane above contested airspace at around 2500m altitude, dive down on an enemy, shoot and extend towards teammates. Once safe, regain altitude and repeat the process. The La-9 is also capable of quickly capturing airfields, if it is necessary to slow down quickly – open fire at 0% throttle, due to the powerful recoil it works almost like an air-brake. 

 

Air Domination (Arcade Battles)

 

Air Domination is similar to the Domination mode, but not as advantageous for the La-9. A number of enemy planes will be right above, unless air superiority is established. If the plane is at least partially upgraded consider providing cover for climbing teammates, but at the same time try to avoid 1v1 dogfights as they are either hopeless or take too long and make the La-9 an easy target. Should high altitude supremacy be established – great, one less thing to worry about. If not, it will be important to be extra cautious as an enemy BnZ attack could happen at any time.

 

The best positions for the La-9 in an air domination match are either directly above or above and on the flanks (at around 2000m-2500m) of the main battle that is being fought near ground. That way the plane has enough room for BnZ attacks as well as having great chances to escape if attacked by an enemy that is higher and offering an advantage over opponents which might decide to climb towards the fighter.  It also carries the additional advantage of preventing the enemy team to capture the zone.

 

Realistic and Simulator Battles

 

In realistic and simulator battles start by climbing to an altitude of 2500m (if cloudy) or 3000m (if the weather is clear). Climbing higher than that is only advised if  not alone as the La-9 will be outperformed at high altitude by most enemies. The key to success in the La-9 is teamwork, so consider squading up with a friend. Since it is a bad idea to dogfight, try to get an enemies attention by acting as bait and lure him down to sea level instead. Once the enemy loses his altitude advantage, it is time for the squad mate to attack. Once low the pursuer won’t be able to neither catch the bait, nor escape your ally – an easy kill. Be also sure to target any enemies that are flying low, if the La-9 has an altitude advantage use BnZ tactics, if the plane is on the same low altitude as the enemy, perform high speed fly-bys.

 

Enemies

 

Germany

 

The most common German fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. Late Bf-109’s – A deadly opponent above 4000m, up high it is capable of out maneuvering the La-9 due to the soviet fighter’s absence of WEP at high altitudes. It also has a climb-rate advantage, leaving only two options – either act as a bait or dive down. At lower altitudes the La-9 regains a fighting chance, but it is usually a tense battle where the deciding factor will be the pilot’s individual skill. Don’t forget to use combat flaps.
  2. Fw-190D series/Ta-152 – similar to the Bf-109, these German aircraft possess a climb and also a speed advantage above 4000m, however they will be out-turned by the La-9 in the horizontal, although it may take a while. At lower altitudes these planes are easy targets as they hold no significant advantages, except for roll rate and considerable firepower. Don’t forget to avoid head-on attacks.

Great Britain

 

The most common British fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. Late Spitfires – The most important thing to remember when battling these planes is – never ever turn-fight them. The La-9 is considerably faster than the Spitfire so make use of it. A preferred tactic against these British fighters is BnZ or high speed fly-bys.
  2. Tempest Mk II – La-9’s most deadly adversary, if there is an opportunity to attack one from an advantageous position – use it immediately. Unlike the rest of piston engine planes, the Tempest is among those few planes that can rival the La-9 in terms of top-speed at lower altitudes. Climb rate and turn rates are similar, but the British fighter has the edge. To defeat one – very skillful defensive flying is required. However the best course of action is to set the Tempest up for an attack of a teammate.

USA

 

The most common American fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. F8F-1B – a difficult opponent as it outperforms the La-9 in every way by a large margin, the only exception being top speed. Use a similar approach as with Spitfires – BnZ, if there is an altitude advantage, or execute high speed fly-bys, if both planes are low. Do not engage alone at high altitude. The best way to effectively defeat a Bearcat is by either using yourself or a teammate as bait in order to set up a kill. Escaping the F8F-1B isn’t particularly hard, bringing it down is.
  2. P-51’s – One of the easiest opponents, the only circumstances where the Mustang holds the advantage is if it is both high and fast, but even then the American fighter is capable of out-turning the La-9 only for a few high-speed turns, after which the initiative is lost and the Soviet fighter gains the upper hand. Down low the P-51 is nothing more than a target, being worse in all aspects.

Japan

 

The most common Japanese fighters the La-9 encounters are:

  1. Ki-84’s – a tricky enemy, unfortunately as with many other planes the only true advantage the La-9 holds is its superior speed at lower altitude. Do not turn fight or energy fight this Japanese plane as it is considerably better than the Lavochkin in these aspects. Stick to BnZ and high speed attacks
  2. N1K’s – an easier opponent, the max speed difference between the La-9 and the N1K is quite noticeable, while also having the advantage in climb rate at altitudes where WEP is available, making setting up BnZ attacks easy down low. High speed passes work great as well, just keep in mind not to turn fight it as well as not engaging above 5000m.

USSR

 

The most common Soviet fighters the La-9 encounters (AB only) are:

  1. Yak-9P/UT – In arcade it is possible for the La-9 to meet Soviet planes as well. In the case of Yak-9P/UT the Lavochkin has better climb, speed and energy retention and, as long as not turn fighting, not a big threat. This however is only valid for fully upgraded planes. A stock La-9 will actually be slower at low altitude than fully upgraded Yaks – don’t forget that. The best ways to deal with them are BnZ or energy fighting (for example the vertical spiral).
  2. La-7 – The predecessor of the La-9. It is slightly slower, climbs slightly worse but is more nimble, for these reasons don’t fight in the horizontal, but instead use the vertical. However keep in mind that even the slightest mistake can end tragically, so if there is an option to set the enemy up for an ally – do it. Another thing to remember is that while in stock condition the La-9 is considerably slower than a fully upgraded La-7. Just like with the Tempest, if there is an opportunity to attack from a superior position – don’t waste it.
  3. La-9 – Should it so happen, that two La-9’s at an equal energy state clash with each other – may the best pilot win.

Bombers

 

Thanks to amazing armament of the La-9 bombers drop like flies and pose a prime target. However don’t get overconfident – some of them, like the Tu-2S or the Do-217E have forward facing cannons, don’t head-on those, unless feeling confident and lucky enough.

 

B-17, B-24, B-29 and G8N1 must also be noted, as they should always be killed with a guns-blazing approach. The last thing one would need is a lucky hit from an AI gunner. Thankfully all bombers go down easily.

 

Jets

 

Yes, the La-9 is eligible of encountering jets. And yes, planes such as the Ho-229, Mig-9, Ki-200 and F-80C can prove to be a major pain. The only real chance one has is fighting them in the horizontal, if they are foolish enough, if not, stay aware and dodge – jets are significantly worse at turning than the Lavochkin and will have a hard time at BnZ, if situational awareness is present. If above one and flying at a high speed, it is possible to catch most jets in a dive and meet their speed for a short time, potentially securing a kill, as all jets are rather fragile.

 

Tactics

 

Offensive maneuvers

 

Boom and Zoom – The offensive tactic that is most effective while flying the La-9 is, without a doubt, the Boom and Zoom (BnZ). The basic concept of BnZ is simple – the attacker dives at the target from a superior altitude position, opens fire and, whether successful or not, climbs back to regain the altitude advantage. An important thing to note is the Soviet fighter’s behavior in a dive – while the control surfaces are responsive at all times they are far from the point where the plane could be called agile. Because of this reason take extra care when lining up before the attack, also, when in need to correct the aim, do it through a roll as the ailerons and elevator are a lot more responsive then the rudder in a dive. Should the target break off hard – don’t follow – climb and set up a new attack instead.

 

There are two other variations of the classical BnZ that are very useful to know:

  1. The tailing BnZ – After the initial attack the attacker instead of climbing back up stays on the tail of its target for 3-5 seconds before disengaging. This variation of the classical attack is very useful against fast targets and especially jets, since the target is moving fast as well, the attacker isn’t likely to overshoot as well as having extended time on target. The downside is that it won’t be possible to regain all of the initial altitude afterwards.
  2. Boom and Extend (BnE) – This variation is distinguished by the absence of climbing after the attack – instead, the attacker uses the speed to quickly gain separation from enemies in level flight. Due to the La-9’s superb low altitude speed this is an incredibly effective tactic. It is best utilized in situations when climbing after the Boom phase would be too dangerous (for example control over high altitude has been lost or freshly spawned enemies are approaching the engagement zone rapidly).

Hammerhead – A great finisher in situations when an enemy decides to climb towards the La-9. Instead of diving on the enemy and throwing away all the altitude advantage for a 50/50 chance, point the nose upwards and climb so that the fighter is directly above the enemy. The most crucial part of the attack is timing – keep an eye on the enemy with the Left Alt key and, once his nose starts dropping, cut throttle and apply either left or right rudder hard to bring guns on the now helpless target.

 

High Speed Passes (Fly-bys) - This tactic requires the fighter to fly at a much higher speed than its target to be successful. It is the best option if there is no time or opportunity to climb and set up a proper BnZ attack. The target and the attacker are at roughly the same altitude. When executing, try to aim for enemies that are exposing their sides/rear or are already engaged in a fight. If offered a head-on, best evade it, although the La-9 is very much capable of winning such duels, it’s still an unnecessary risk. The tactic works great as an extension of the BnE move.  And last but not least – always fly in the general direction of allies.

 

 

Defensive maneuvers

 

Running away – Probably the oldest defensive move known to man makes a spectacular return in the form of the La-9. The fighter is capable of easily outrunning almost all piston engine aircraft at low altitude. The only exceptions are the La-7 and the Tempest Mk.II which can both stick around long enough to deal some serious damage before they fall back far enough.

 

If the enemy is already in guns range, to throw off his aim use the Q and E keys to apply rudder in short successions, then move the mouse slightly up and down, then use rudder again, etc. until the pursuer is lost( keep in mind to perform these evasive actions mildly to avoid losing too much speed). Best defensive move if there is at least 1000m to convert into speed by diving away.

 

Split S – Performed in the direction underneath the attacker it is the perfect defense from a BnZ attack, if one has some altitude to spare (minimum 300m) and not enough speed to escape in a dive. It leads either to the attacker disengaging or him following (effectively preventing a safe escape) in which case extend combat flaps starting an upwards loop to get on the tail of the enemy. If failed to get on the tail of the enemy (can happen against Spitfires and F8F-1B) accelerate towards allies. The faster the enemy the more effective this move gets, as excessive speed causes the loops to be wide and longer to perform.

 

4i1HlkSm.png

 

Flat Scissors – Sometimes the La-9 will be down low and not fast enough to escape (probably after a dogfight). The enemy fighter dives with full speed targeting the Lavochkin, a split-S that low will just end up in a crash. Instead pull a hard turn and enter the flat scissors maneuver. Two things can happen – first, the attacker follows and overshoots allowing to bring it down or at least to switch roles, second he starts pulling up, should the distance between both planes be at around 300-400m, when coming out of the turn, follow him by pushing the nose up and opening fire – while extremely risky it gives one last chance to turn the tables, the sole fact that he decided to pull up is a sign that the enemy knows what he is doing. Keep track of the selected enemy via Left Alt key by default.

 

WSHdrU6l.gif

 

Barrel Roll – In a situation where engaged by an enemy that is flying considerably faster at the same altitude as the La-9, a great maneuver to force an overshoot is a barrel roll as it slows down the planes forward movement without losing much energy as well as making the plane a difficult target.

 

oJQRpygl.png

 

Vertical Spiral (Ascending Spiral, Climbing Spiral, Vertical Corkscrew) – The best choice if attacked from below. The maneuver itself is pretty self-explanatory, keep the nose up, turn with the help of the rudder and adjust with ailerons as it becomes necessary. Drain the enemy’s energy and once he is close to stalling, either loop around on his tail or perform a hammerhead.

 

A great video by long5hot showing how to correctly perform the maneuver (at 3:04): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqTjap5ptMI&feature=iv&src_vid=sqTjap5ptMI&annotation_id=annotation_4217459715#t=3m4.3s

 

Firing the guns – While it sounds crazy, the guns on the La-9 can be used not only to defeat enemies, but also as an improvised air-brake. Cut throttle to 0%, extend flaps and open fire to drop speed at a tremendous rate. Possible uses include situations when control surfaces are too damaged to perform other evasive actions, but it is necessary to force an overshoot.

 

Defeating the La-9

 

The best way to fight the La-9 is by exploiting its weaknesses – poor maneuverability in dogfights and poor high altitude performance. If flying a more maneuverable plane (F8F-1B, Spitfires, Ki-84, N1K2 or Yak-9UT) try to engage it in a turn-fight. If the La-9 commits to it, an easy kill is at hand, if not climb and use the same approach as the less maneuverable fighters.

 

A less nimble plane (Fw-190, Bf-109K, F7F etc.) should, once above 4000m hold on to that altitude and get in position for BnZ runs. The only way to catch the La-9, if it is going at full speed at low altitude, is by diving on one, so an altitude advantage is the key to success.

 

 

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Pros and cons of the plane

 

Pros

  • Excelent performance at low altitudes(<3400m)
  • Amazing top speed at low altitudes
  • Great energy retention
  • Powerful nose mounted weaponry
  • Responsive control surfaces
  • Sturdy Damage Model
  • Very good acceleration (especially with WEP enabled)
  • High rate of fire

Cons

  • Maneuverability not good enough for dog fights with most opponents
  • Poor performance at higher altitudes (>4000m)
  • Low ammo capacity
  • Powerful recoil
  • Bad overall ballistics of the NS-23 guns

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Armament

 

The La-9 main armament consists of four synchronized Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 23mm cannons located in the upper part of the nose with a total burst mass of 7,90 kg per second(with default belts). The total ammo capacity is only 300 rounds (75 rounds per gun), so make sure the hits count, if flying in RB or SB. The muzzle velocity of the shells lies at 690 ±10 m/s[3].

 

An important feature of the Soviet fighters armament is its ability to either fire the upper pair of cannons or the lower pair of cannons. This becomes particularly useful when in need of conserving ammo in RB and SB, because 2 cannons is still enough to easily kill any fighter. When firing all 4 guns at once be mindful of the powerful recoil as it tends to lift the nose slightly upwards as well as slowing the plane down (this becomes especially noticeable when the throttle is cut down to 0%).

 

The NS-23 gun possesses a high rate of fire of 10 rounds per second. With 4 guns those are 40 rounds per second. While the rate of fire is 20% slower then that of Shvak cannons the higher weight of rounds more than makes up for it in terms of damage output. Combined with low ammo capacity per gun it is crucial to maintain trigger discipline and fire in short bursts.

 

The ballistics of the cannons can be considered bad and usually require a lot of time getting used to before becoming proficient with them. The drop and spread of the shells is particularly noticeable when firing at large distances.

 

Currently the La-9 cannot carry any bomb load in-game.

 

Ammunition

 

The NS-23 gun features only two types of rounds:

  • Fragmentation incendiary tracer shell (FI-T) – The most devastating shell available. Don’t be fooled by the absence of HE rounds, the FI-T shell contains 11g of A-IX-2 explosive filler (total mass of shell – 196g).[3] For comparison a 20mm Shvak HEF shell contains only 6,7g of explosives (total mass of shell – 91g).[4] The high weight of the shell also allows for twice as heavy shrapnel than that from 20mm rounds, which is very important when damaging wing and control surfaces.
  • Armor-piercing incendiary shell (AP-I) – Only useful for knocking out enemy pilots and damaging control surfaces. In comparison to the FI-T shell it is much less effective. The round weighs 199g and contains 6g of incendiary substance located at the tip of the shell. Fired at 0° from a distance of 200m it is capable of penetrating 25mm of armor. [3]

Four different ammunition belts are available:

  • Default (FI-T | AP-I) – the default belt, second best choice.
  • Armored targets (FI-T | AP-I | AP-I | AP-I) – only useful in cases where there is a need to take down a light pillbox fast.
  • Air targets (FI-T | FI-T | FI-T | AP-I) – the best choice for air to air combat due to the highest amount of FI-T shells
  • Stealth  (AP-I) – not recommended, against air targets the damage is insufficient to kill in one pass most times. The awful ballistics also make it unsuited for attacking light pillboxes making it very easy to miss the slit without tracers.

Ground attack

 

The only ground targets the La-9 can destroy with its AP-I rounds are:

  • Soft targets such as AAA, Artillery, Armored cars, Vehicles and Landing crafts.
  • Light pillboxes – if aimed precisely at the slit of the pillbox(a bit tricky and requires good aim)
  • Light tanks – only when targeting the roof of the tank at an angle of 0° from very close distance (<200m) and requires a prolonged burst. Usually ends up in crashing the plane without destroying the tank – best not even attempt this in a battle.

All other ground targets (Medium tanks, Heavy tanks, Pillboxes etc.) are impossible to destroy with the NS-23 cannons.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Modules and improvements

 

The two most important modules that should be unlocked as soon as possible are the Offensive 23 mm belts and Engine injection. The first gives access to the devastating air target ammo belt while the second one gives a huge boost to the fighters flight characteristics. Difference between a completely stock and a fully upgraded plane is huge (see screenshots in post below), and the first 50 or so battles will be very challenging.

 

Best research the modules in this order:

  1. Offensive 23 mm belts
  2. Radiator
  3. Compressor
  4. Engine
  5. Wings repair
  6. Engine Injection
  7. Everything else, based on personal preferences

The total amount of Research points(RP) necessary to unlock all modules on the La-9 lies at 167000 RP and makes it the most expensive plane in terms of RP to upgrade in all of Soviet tier IV. Curiously enough only 120000 RP are needed to research the plane itself.

 

List of modules:

 

Tier I     | Fuselage repair | Radiator | Offensive 23 mm belts| each costs 11000 RP

Tier II    | Compressor | Airframe | each costs 19000 RP

Tier III  | Wings repair | Engine | New 23 mm cannons (requires Off. 23mm belts) | each costs 14000 RP

Tier IV  | Engine injection | Cover | each costs 27000 RP

 

One other camouflage besides the default one is currently available – Unicolor Grey Camouflage, which requires 350 player kills in the La-9 to be unlocked.

 

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History of creation and combat usage

 

The first real predecessor of the La-9 was the prototype «130». The fighter was first designed with the new ASh-83 engine in mind, a slightly more powerful version of the ASh-82FN. It was expected for the plane to reach a max speed of 725 km/h at an altitude of 7500 m, range – 1450 km, and max altitude -10 500 m. The engine however had a very short life-span, and often malfunctioned which lead to the decision to use the combat proven ASh-82FN engine instead, which was already successfully used on a large number of aircraft (La-5FN, La-7, Tu-2S).

 

The first fighter «130» was built in January 1946 at the Factory No. 21 in Gorky. Next month the prototype was relocated to Factory No. 301 in Himki, near Moscow, where at the time the Lavochkin Construction Bureau headquarters were located. Factory trials, which consisted of 30 fly-outs, ended in May 1946.

 

After successful factory trials, the La-9 was launched into serial production in August 1946 in the Factory No.21, despite the fact that the state trials were not yet completed. For this reason the first four planes built in August were rejected by the military. At the start of production the La-9 had a large number of issues which caused the state trials to be completed successfully only in October. After bringing the already built fighters up-to-date and making preparations for future mass production, the military started receiving the planes on December 20th.

 

The total number of aircraft produced in 1946 was 15, La-9 entered full-scale production in 1947. In 1948 the fighter saw a high number of minor improvements, for example the automated gear shift of the supercharger. Production continued until the end of 1949. A total 1882 planes, including both the combat and the two-seat training variants, were produced.

 

La-9 saw active service in the Soviet Air Force from 1947 to 1951, but already during 1952 was exempted from service due to the transition to the new MiG-15 jet fighters.

 

The La-9 was used not only by the Soviet Union, but also by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) where the plane also saw combat service.

Under the agreement between the Soviet Union and PRC that was made on September 1949 it was planned to deliver 60 combat and training La-9 aircraft. However the deliveries only began in 1950. Since the production of the La-9 had already ceased at the time, the fighters were delivered from regular Soviet Air Force units.

 

The La-9 was used in China as escorts for the Tu-2 bombers and transport aircraft in the fight against the Kuomintang. They stayed in service in China until 1960.

 

In March 1951 in North Korea the United Air Army was founded, which at the time had only 6 La-9 fighters, located in Xinzhou (China), where the training of North Korean pilots was conducted. As the Korean War went on, further unknown numbers of La-9 fighters were delivered to North Korea.

 

The first actual combat of the North Korean La-9’s apparently took place on the 20th of June, when a pair of La-9’s was attacked by approximately ten Sabres. In the ensuing air combat the North Korean pilot Pak Ki Raku, subsequently Hero of the Republic, claimed to having shot down two enemy jets as well as an enemy piston engine fighter. The same day the Americans intercepted another pair of La-9’s. However North Korean reports on this as well as the previous encounter are rather questionable since the La-9 was only able to fight jets in the horizontal, a form of air-combat which is considered defensive. A La-9 pilot could win such an engagement only under very good circumstances.

 

Because of this reason the North Koreans began using the La-9 in the role of a night bomber by mounting two 50 kg bombs under the wings. In 1953 they participated in attacks on the island Cho-do and the capital of South Korea Seoul. According to American reports a total of 3 La-9 fighters were shot down in July by F4U night fighters.

 

After the end of the Korean War the La-9 remained in service of the DPRK until the late 1950’s.[2][5]

 

 

Today only one La-9 remains in airworthy condition, 828/N415ML, restored by Pioneer Aero Restorations in New Zealand between 2001 and 2003, and sold to Jerry Yagen's Military Aviation Museum (Virginia Beach, USA) in 2010, where it is displayed today.[6][7]

 

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Screenshots, fan art and photos

 

Nice screenshots, fan art and most importantly custom skins can all be found at WarThunder Live:

http://live.warthunder.com/?q=%23la9

 

Due to limitations in maximum pictures per post see the Screenshots and photos in the post below!

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References

 

[1] http://www.sovplane.ru/readarticle.php?article_id=144

[2] Николай Якубович „Ла-7, Ла-9, Ла-11. Последние поршневые истребители СССР”

[3] http://saperka.ru/23-mm-boepripasy-k-pushkam-ns-23-i-nr-23

[4] http://www.russianammo.org/Russian_Ammunition_Page_25mm.html#5

[5] http://www.airpages.ru/ru/la9.shtml

[6] http://www.pioneeraero.co.nz/project/lavochkin-la-9

[7] http://www.militaryaviationmuseum.org/ww2-aircraft.html

 

 

 

Changelog:

  • Changed references [4] and [6] to the original sources (instead of wikipedia articles)
  • Improved the data tables (added measurement unit for altitude) as well as fixing the formatting for the climb time table
  • Added info on the critical temperatures in 2.3.4 Realistic and Simulator Battles
  • Added info about the SL costs of the aircraft as well as costs of the training and qualifying the crew in 2.1 Overview and performance.
  • A couple of small typos
  • Fixed "The head of the pilot is protected by a 66mm steel plate from behind" to  "The head of the pilot is protected by a 66mm thick armored glass from behind".
Edited by racer999
  • Upvote 1
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