Yak-25RV, A.S.Yakovlev 'Mandrake'

At the Monino AF Museum near Moscow; Photo (35k) by Paul Nann

igh altitude reconnaissance (so 'RV' for Razvedchick Vysotnyj) version of the Yak-25. Project of this unarmed aircraft started in 1957. Yak-25RV got a new straight wing, having a span of 23.4m (more than twice compared to the predecessor) and area 55m2. As a result, the wing load turned less than for piston-engined Yak-3 fighter.
Test-flights at Flight-Research Institute (LII) (leading test-pilot V.P.Smirnov and test-pilot A.A.Scherbakov) were performed between March 1 and May 29 1959. Performance was quite good (see table), but at altitudes above 19600m sustained flight was not achieved due to engines spontaneous cut-off. Serious critics was addressed to pressurized suite SI-3M. V.P.Smirnov faced another high altitude peculiarity: it was very difficult to get back down due to very high airdynamic quality of the 'glider'. In one of flights pilot had to lower landing gear to force Yak-25RV to return home.
Another problem of aircraft was extremely narrow 'speed corridor' at stratospheric altitudes: difference between maximum (vibrations) and minimal (lost longitudinal stability) was only 10km/h. It imposed very heavy workload on pilots. But VVS Command had no other options, and production started. Yak-25RV and its modifications were in service for 15 years, replaced by high-speed MiG-25 reconnaissance derivatives.
75k photo at 'Russian Power'

Record flights were performed under designation 'RV':
  • July 13, 1959 (V.P.Smirnov): 20,456m with 1000kg load;
  • July 29, 1959 (V.P.Smirnov): 20,174m with 2000kg load;
  • April 10, 1961 (B.V.Polovnikov): 5h30min;
  • August 11, 1965 (M.L.Popovich): speed 753.048km/h on 2000km closed circuit;
  • September 18, 1967 (M.L.Popovich): 2497km closed circuit;
    155 were built, including 81 unmanned Yak-25RV-II.



  • 'Aviatsia i vremia' 6/1997
  • "Russian aircraft since 1940" by Jean Alexander, p.477-482;
  • Yak-25RV 'Mandrake'
  • Technical data
    Type Yak-25RV
    Function Reconnaissater
    Year 1959
    Crew 1
    Engines 2*3250/3900kg R-11B-300
    Length 15.93m
    Height ?m
    Wingspan 23.4m
    Wing area 55m2
    Empty weight 6175kg
    Loaded weight 9800kg
    Wing load 178kg/m2
    Trust-to-Weight 1,51
    Speed at ?m 850km/h
    Speed at 21000m M=0.82
    Range 3500km
    Flight Endurance 5h30min
    Ceiling 20500m
    Created January 25, 1996
    Modified June 22, 1999
    by Alexandre Savine;
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