The Yakovlev Yak-3 (Як-3) was a World War II Russian fighter. Robust and easy to maintain it was much liked by pilots and crew alike. It was one of the smallest and lightest mainstream combat fighters used during the war. With a high power to weight ratio it had excellent performance and was a formidable dogfighter. Marcel Albert the top scoring WW II French ace who flew the Yak 3 in the USSR with the Normandie Niemen group considered it a superior aircraft to both the P51 Mustang and the Supermarine Spitfire.
The Yak-3 represented the culmination of Alexandr Sergeevich Yakovlev’s development of lightweight fighter types during the Second World War. As such, it was designed as a short range, agile interceptor to gain control of local airspace during the great Soviet offensive operations of the last two years of the war. The Yak-3 entered service in 1944 and had such an impressive rate of roll, turn and climb that German pilots were instructed not to engage these fighters below 5000 m. Overall, 4848 Yak-3s were produced.