War Thunder – Overview of the Russian Air Fighter Tech Tree

A overall guide that talks about most major fighters in the Russian tech tree and how to fly it, jets are not included.

Other War Thunder Guides:


This plane is the first bi-plane you’ll get when you start the game. Its just a bi-plane and there are not any special advantages compared to other bi-planes. Well… there is one. The 4 x 7.92MM machine guns on it have an extreme rate of fire, making your bias-plane the harbinger of death itself. It can pump out so much lead that it burns through ammo like an American eats through the McDonalds menu. Other than that, nothing really to write home about and its performance is comparable to other bi-planes. The older brother of the I-15, the I-153 is essentially an improved I-15. It has retractable landing gear, racks for bombs and rockets and a slightly more powerful engine. It also gets a BR increase, overall not really worth researching unless you want some dank bias.


The Yak-1 is one great plane for 2.3. Armed with 1 20mm shVAK bais cannon and 2 x 7.62mm shKAS machine guns. It has a good turn, good roll, great acceleration, good top speed, good climb, its kinda tanky and can carry bombs. It’s the beginning of the “jack of all trades master of none” role, It does everything pretty well but there is always something better than it in one or more regards. For example, a Yak-1 might be able to out run a F3F, but will get caught by Germany’s He-100 D-1 in level flight.

One thing you have to get used to with most Russian planes is that their engines usually lose lots of power at higher alts (13,000 feet or around 4,000 meters) more than other aircraft making your bias machine a sack of potatoes up there where the other nations will push your ♥♥♥ in faster than you can say “Gulag”. Although its not as bad in higher teirs and certainly isn’t a death sentence in mid-low tiers, you will have a much harder time fighting them and without team help you have a high chance of dying unless the opponent has no brain and tries to do something his plane sucks at.

The guns don’t spark very much but your 20mm ammo should be conserved whenever possible (low ammo count) especially if you have Parkinson’s and can’t aim. So stick to low alts and try baiting the enemy into doing things that their plane is bad at and you’ll rack up the kills in no time.

The later Yaks start to trade guns and ammo for performance. The Yak-7b is a upgraded Yak-1 with rockets and bombs but has slightly worse performance and a higher BR. The Yak-1b on the other hand has one less gun (1x 12.7mm and 1x 20mm) but has better performance and a cooler canopy for better visibility. The Yak-9s perform better than the Yak-1/7 but once again have a higher br and a slighly lackluster armament for it’s br. I would get the Yak-1b and grind to the Yak-9T later down the tech tree.


The LaGG-3s can be considered in my book to be second to the Yak’s. Although the first LaGG-3 has a lower br and slightly better armament, it’s worse than the Yak in almost every regard. it has a slightly better damage model so it can take some hits and is less prone to set on fire. 1 x 12.7mm and 1 x 20mm cannon really isn’t an upgrade or improvement so I recommend you skip the LaGGs till you reach the La-5 at 3.0 unless you really enjoy them… somehow.

The other LaGGs are more or less the same and either have a slightly better engine installed or one more 12.7mm gun added with br increase. Really would recommend skipping them. I would be a little more conservative while flying them and let the Yaks take the blunt of the enemy forces while cleaning up some injured fighters, attackers, or some low ground pounding bomber. Another good tactic would be to go head-on with people as you are stronger then the Yaks and have a slightly better armament. Although your armament compared to other fighters of your br is sad, take the head-on with slightly more confidence than your enemy. In an up teir flying this plane can be hell and I would just ground pound and then die because most mono wing fighters will out perform you even in your own br of 2.0.

In conclusion Yak-1 > LaGG-3-8.


The I-16 described in a few words; A bi-plane on steroids. It has a more powerful engine, and its no longer a biplane. When you get the first 2 versions of the I-16 you will feel almost like a intoxicated kitten. It rolls really well, turns just like a bi-plane, has a mediocre armament, good climb rate, and its small af.

This plane is a pure bred turn fighter. Someone dives on you? Turn. Someone tries to dogfight you? Turn. If you do run into a bi-plane just run away from it and attempt to make diving passes on it and avoid staying near it as it can turn way better than you and the top speed advantage you have over them is minimal. The plane itself very small and when you couple that with your absurd roll rate, you can make almost any pilot overshoot and miss all his shots. When in doubt roll like crazy, it makes you very difficult to hit.

There are some weaknesses that you need to be aware of. 1.) Its very slow when compared to other mono wing planes ( Or just any plane at a higher br than you.) 2.) Your frontal armament is very weak in the early models so I would avoid going head on or attacking bombers or armored attackers. 3.) The engine is a massive fire hazard and dies after 1 or 2 shots. If your engine gets hit, kiss your ♥♥♥ goodbye as you are going to burn to death or stall out and crash. Actually scratch that, your whole plane is pretty much made of paper so avoid getting shot at all. Remember: NEVER GO HEAD-ON WITH ANYONE. Overall still a great and fun plane to fly.

Later on after the MiG you’ll get the I-16 type 27 which is a improved I-16 with 2 x 20mm cannons and 2 x 7.62mm machine guns which make this plane a huge meme and seal clubber. at the br of 2.7 you can out turn about everything and going head on isn’t such a bad thing now even though i still recommend against it. Another excellent I-16.


Geez, where to start with this…. thing. Before I start, take this part of the review with a grain of salt as I hate this plane with a passion. It has airspawn which would have given you a good advantage if your climb rate was actually good. It has a mediocre turn, meh roll, decent top speed in a dive, good level top speed at alt (I’ll get to that later), horrible armament. I really dislike this aircraft for many reasons. It’s pretty sluggish in turns and tends to be out climbed by almost everything, the armament is enough to kill a bi-plane, good thing you don’t see any of those. The armament gets improved in later models but it comes at the price of a br increase further showing its problems.

The engine is quite cool because its one of the few engines that perform really well over 15000 feet or 4500 meters. You can out run 109s and spitfires at those alts and above making it a force to be reckoned with at those alts. Sadly it has a bad climb rate and will get pounced on by 109s and spits all day. The armament gets improved with the BK and 3-34 but it faces stiffer competition. Over all just BNZ and energy fight using your good energy retention (Doesn’t lose speed in turns as much as other planes at its br) with the plane and if I were you just skip them till you get to the way better I-16 Type 27 after the MiG-3-34.


Wow, I really love this plane. It’s new radial engine allow the mediocre LaGGs to become really excellent. It has good turn for it’s br, good top speed, good climb, great armament, and it utilizes leading edge slats which give better low speed control. It holds up in a dive better than Yaks, and the plane just gets better with its other 2 models, the La-5F and FN.

It has imo much better energy retention than other planes so that allows you to pull some cool stalling maneuvers that most planes cant keep up with. It also has WEP and that allows you to climb better than the Yaks above 13000 feet or 4000 meters. It doesn’t have much of the engine issues as the Yaks do and it can hold its own until around 20000 feet or 6000 meters. It overheats very little and can take a punch or 2, a trait of its predecessor. the 2 x 20mm cannons really are great at 3.0 but get a little lackluster in the later models. Overall a great alternative to the Yaks and at some points I prefer the Lavochkins over the Yaks.

Yak-9T / Yak-3

This is where the fun part of the Yak line ends. The Yak-9T is on the cover of the sekrit documents folder and it is a ton of fun to fly. It has good climb, good turn, good roll, good energy retention, amazing armament. It flies very similar to the other Yaks, but it has a massive 37 mm cannon. It’s very accurate when upgraded, has a high rate of fire and does not overheat easily. You can delete pretty much any plane in one shot and the shells are also guided by the hand of Stalin. It’s very fun to fly with friends and has to be one of my favorite Yaks for the memes. Do as you would with any other yak but with a massive fridge launching cannon strapped to it. 

The Yak-3 on the other hand is a very different aircraft. Its at the same br but has some minor difrences from the 9T. It has smaller wings, radiator was moved into the wing roots, front armored glass removed, more powerful engine, and it has 2 x 12.7mm machine guns and 1 x 20mm cannon. This thing is probably the best yak for it’s br period. It climbs like a rocket, rolls much better than previous Yaks, turns slightly better, amazing energy retention and overall is my favorite plane to fly for Russia 100%. I adore this plane and I climb and dog fight anything that isn’t Japanese.

After the Yak-3, things go downhill. The br of the later Yaks get really high and there is no considerable performance increases and changes to the FM. Overall I would say skip all the Yaks after the Yak-3/Yak-3p. The last Yak, the Yak-3u has a radial engine which greatly increases performance but its at 6.3 which is jet territory and you’ll get stomped by high teir american props or jets. Stick with the Yak-3 for now.


The I-185 is a revision of a revision of a revision of the I-16. It plays very similar to the I-16 in many regards but loses some advantages. First off, the incredible turn rate of the I-16 type 27 is now gone. It still has the I-16’s excellent roll rate. Armed with a new M-82 radial engine and a complete air frame redesign, 3 x 20mm cannons give this plane quite the punch. The first one climbs like a rocket for its br and it surprisingly performs the best at 15000 feet or 4500 meters. It’s a great energy fighter and fits in the BNZ role too.

The other model is powered by a more powerful M-72 engine and takes the br from 3.7 to 5.7, imo its way over teired for what it is and it gets out climbed by most of what it faces. both carry bombs and rockets so it could be a good ground pounder when used in such way (although its much better to be useful to your team and kill fighters) The plane overall handles much like the MiG but does everything better. It’s also very small and thus, very hard to hit. If you liked the I-16s and the La-5s you’ll be right at home.


The La-7 is a streamlined La-5FN and it’s a great plane to fly. It performs similarly to the La-5FN, while getting a good boost in speed and acceleration, it also gets a much higher br than the FN and has a pretty high repair cost for a teir 4 fighter. It tends to be outclassed like most high teir Russian planes but it still is competitive. It also climbs almost as well as the Yak-3 while having a higher rip speed making it a good energy fighter or BNZ aircraft.

The La-9 is the pinicle of the Lavochkin line. It has a air frame redesign and better aerodynamics. The La-9 has an insane frontal armament of 4 x 23mm NS-23 cannons. These cannons are so powerful that the recoil pitches the plane up while shooting it. It does massive amounts of damage and can take down bombers with ease. The power comes at a price though, as it only has 75 rounds per gun. Choose your shots wisely and you can get upwards of 5 kills easily.

It has slightly better performance than the La-7 and has a higher br of 6.0. It’s very fast at sea level and can out run most fighters at low alt. Both are good planes to fly but the La-9 has a small learning curve.


Yeah, it’s over teired. Like every other high teir Russian prop, Great climb, great high alt performance, mediocre roll, sparky guns, meh turn, bad lock up at high speeds. Even though this plane has a few boxes checked for a great BNZ plane its ruined by the bad lock up at high speeds, and the sparky guns. It also faces jets, which completely out class you in almost every aspect. The plane has amazing high alt performance, sadly it sucks below 20000 feet or 6000 meters. Overall most planes will out turn you and most will out run you at low alts and a few will out run you at high alts too.

It has the Jack of all trades master of none thing that Russian planes cant get rid of. Quite annoying especially since the good Russian planes are at a lower BR making the grind to jets very slow, this plane does little to fix that problem. If you want a good jet grinder, go for the Tu-2S and slap a talisman on it. I would avoid unless you really like the plane. Honestly I would say to fly any plane you like flying and if you can get lots of kills in it, be my guest and put a talisman on it. This is just my recommendation as I know some people who really love this plane and get triggered when people call it bad.

The high alt performance makes this plane a specialist at high alt fighting and that is where it excels. Focus on killing bombers because your team can’t do ♥♥♥ if that annoying B-29 climbs to space.

Written by Caboose


  1. Note: The LaGG’s will teach you the basics of air combat, because they can’t continue a turning engagement. You will have to attack from above and then decide to turn or zoom away. You basically learn when you can and should turn. It does have decent guns however, so that will remove some frustration of learning it.

    In short, I like the LaGG-3’s and I think you can learn some good lessons for some of the boom and zoomers in the game, especially if you’re on the Americans. Although you could try the P-40’s, they basically fly the same.

  2. Hmm, I just rushed for the Yak’s and do well in them, now, as I try to fly everything else, I struggle badly, they Yak’s are the best aircraft in the tree for me, besides the MiG-15’s and stuff late tier.

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