|An La-11 mounted on a memorial in Zaporizhia, Ukraine.|
|National origin||Soviet Union|
|First flight||May 1947|
|Primary users||Soviet Air Force|
People's Liberation Army Air Force
|Developed from||Lavochkin La-130|
One of the recommendations from the government testing of Lavochkin La-130 (Lavochkin La-9 prototype) was to further develop it into a long-range escort fighter. The resultant La-134 prototype (also sometimes referred to as La-9M) featured increased fuel and oil capacity. Armament was reduced to three cannons. The prototype flew in May 1947. The second prototype, La-134D had fuel capacity increased by an additional 275 l (73 US gal) with wing and external fuel tanks. The aircraft was fitted with larger tires to accommodate the increased weight and amenities for long flights such as increased padding in the seat, armrests, and a urinal. In addition, a full radio navigation suite was installed. Not surprisingly, combat performance with a full fuel load suffered. However, as the fuel load approached that of La-9, so did the performance. The aircraft was found to be poorly suited for combat above 7,000 m (23,000 ft). The new fighter, designated La-11 (OKB designation La-140) entered production in 1947. By the end of production in 1951, a total of 1,182 aircraft were built.
The first documented combat use of La-11 took place on April 8, 1950, when four Soviet pilots shot down a United States Navy Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer over the Baltic Sea, with all 10 of the Privateer's crew lost. Later the same year, two La-11 pilots shot down a USN Lockheed P2V Neptune over the Sea of Japan near Vladivostok; one USN crew member was killed.
From February 1950, the Soviet 106th Fighter Aviation Division moved to Shanghai to defend it against bombing by the ROCAF. The division included the 351st Fighter Regiment, equipped with the La-11. On March 7, the regiment claimed a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber, shot down near Nanjing. On March 14, 1950, a Martin B-26 Marauder bomber was claimed in Xuzhou. On March 20, 1950, five La-11 pilots encountered a group of North American P-51 Mustangs north-west of Shanghai, although the P-51 pilots immediately retreated. On April 2, 1950, two P-51s were claimed by La-11 pilots over Shanghai. After that, MiG-15s of the Soviet 29th Fighter Regiment took over the air defence role. The ROCAF stopped bombing Shanghai that June and the Soviet units left in October 1950.
On November 30, 1951, 16 La-11 fighter pilots of the 4th Fighter Aviation Regiment, Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) were escorting 9 Tu-2 PVA bombers to bomb the South Korean island of Taehwa-do (대화도/大和島), in the Pansong archipelago. They were attacked by more than 30 F-86 fighters of the United States Air Force: four Tu-2 bombers and three La-11s were shot down.
The main target of La-11 pilots during the Korean War was the Douglas A-26 Invader night bomber, although numerous skirmishes with P-51s also took place. Attempts to intercept Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers proved fruitless. An La-11 required 26 minutes to reach the B-29's cruising altitude, and, once there, had a speed advantage of only 20 km/h (12 mph).
On July 23, 1954, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster military transport aircraft, registration VR-HEU, operated by Cathay Pacific Airways on a civilian passenger flight en route from Bangkok to Hong Kong, was shot down by two La-11 fighters of the 85th Fighter Regiment, People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) off the coast of Hainan Island, killing 10 people in an incident that has become known as the 1954 Cathay Pacific Douglas DC-4 shootdown.
Although the four-engined propeller-driven Douglas (registered VR-HEU) was a C-54 Skymaster, the incident is known as "the DC-4 shootdown" because the C-54 is the military version of the Douglas DC-4, and the aircraft was flying a commercial passenger run.
Data from
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lavochkin La-11.|
The initial version of this article was based on material from aviation.ru. It has been released under the GFDL by the copyright holder.