The Soviet aircraft of WWII are fascinating for where they differ and where they match other nations aircraft.
The Russians were not much interested in strategic bombers, but were real leaders in tactical and attack aircraft. Their fighters were dangerously late to reach parity with the Germans, but did so despite being handicapped by a lack of strategic materials.
The Soviets learnt a number of lessons from the Spanish Civil War, where they supplied the Republicans with most of their aircraft, but Stalin’s purges slowed the implementation of those lessons - it takes longer to design an aircraft while you are in prison!
Let me develop my points.
Tactical and Attack aircraft.
Able to carry huge loads and very well armoured. For reasons that have never been clear, Illyushin was not able to use a radial, air-cooled engine - by far and away the better choice for a ground attack aircraft. So, he put the radiator behind the engine! Hence that huge air scoop on top of the cowling.
More Illyushins were built than any other plane in history!
High speed twin-engined dive bomber. Petylyakov's “get out of jail free card”. A candidate for the best dive bomber of WWII.
And then fighters
Yaks - lots of them! 43,000 in all! Starting with the Yak 1.
Stalin was so impressed Yakolev got the Орден Ленина, Orden Lenina - the highestbestowed by the - a 100,000 rouble prize plus Zis car
Moving on to the Yak 3 - more manouverable than the Spitfire according to some!
Luftwaffe pilots were told to avoid dogfighting low down with Yaks that had an oil cooler below the engine.
And ending up with the Yak 9
And then you have the Laggs
Amazing what you can do with pressure bonded plywood! The Lagg 3 was nothing special - and Soviet pilots nicknamed the plane Lakirovanny Garantirovanny Grob, or "guaranteed varnished coffin"
But Lavochkin worked hard to improve his design (prison is a good incentive?). He fitted a radial engine to get the Lavochkin La-5 ( Vladimir Gorbunov had given up so his name was dropped off the aircraft designation!)
The La-5 was a superb dogfighter low down and later Lavochkins were even better.
Migs are similar - an iffy start
But achieving greatness eventually
OK, late for WWII but came as a real surprise in the Korean War! So, we still do not know as much about Soviet aircraft as we might like, but what we do know is very impressive..."