The Yak-3 was a Soviet single-engine fighter of the WWII era. It was the first combat aircraft designed by Alexander Yakovlev's construction bureau. The Yak-3 was a further modification of the Yak-1, produced in 1944 and 1945, with a total of 4,848 built, and considered one of the best fighters of the war. In February 1943 a new Yak-1M variant was completed. It was a further development of the Yak-1, differing from it mainly in lower weight and smaller wing span.
By September 1943 yet another improved variant was ready, designated Yak-1M Dubler, on which the canvas skin on the tail section was replaced with 2mm plywood, and oil and water radiators were improved. The Dubler also had a new mastless antenna, a ring sight instead of a reflector sight, improved armour and a new propeller. Test pilots were impressed by the new prototype. Their report stated in part: "Yak-1M possessed excellent horizontal, and especially vertical, maneuvrability. Top speed greatly improved compared to earlier serial-production Yaks. Despite improved performance, the aircraft remains easy to fly and does not require extensive pilot training." Therefore, the new modification went into production, receiving a new designation, Yak-3.
One of the most memorable air battles for the Yak-3 took place on 16th July 1944, when the plane showed it could confidently engage superior enemy forces. On that day, 10 Yak-3s met 8 Bf-109s and 4 FW-190s, with the battle eventually growing to 18 Soviet and 24 German planes. In the end, 15 German planes were shot down, for the loss of a single Yak-3.