In March 1946, Yosif Stalin assigned the task of developing advanced single-seat fighters around the newly-acquired Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet to the design bureaux of Semyon A Lavochkin, Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, and Aleksandr Yakovlev on a competitive basis. The Lavochkin contender, the La-168, featured a shoulder-mounted wing sweptback 37° 20' at the leading edge and fitted with Fowler flaps. An armament of two 23mm NS-23KM cannon and one 37mm N-37 cannon was fitted and power was provided by a 5000-lb / 2268kg Nene R.N.2 turbojet.
The engine was located toward the tail, where it exhausted through a short jetpipe, and was aspirated from a circular nose inlet via bifurcated ducting round the pressurized cockpit. A T-tail was used to allow the location of the tailplane farther to the rear than would otherwise have been possible, improving longitudinal control.
The La-168 was first flown on 22 April 1948, subsequently attaining 1084km/h at 2750m, representing Mach=0.914. During the test programme, the cockpit canopy collapsed when all three guns were fired simultaneously at 15000m, but the pilot succeeded in landing the aircraft.
The La-168 test programme continued until 19 February 1949, but the Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau's competitive I-310 (Type S) had meanwhile been selected for large-scale production as the MiG-15.
Max take-off weight: 4412 kg / 9727 lb
Empty weight: 2973 kg / 6554 lb
Wingspan: 9.50 m / 31 ft 2 in
Length: 10.56 m / 34 ft 8 in
Wing area: 18.08 sq.m / 194.61 sq ft
Max. speed: 1084 km/h / 674 mph
Range: 1275 km / 792 miles