In January 1948 a requirement was formulated for a two-seat twin-engined all-weather interceptor.
The La-200 was powered by two examples of an engine derived from the RD-45, the 5004-lb (2270-kg) thrust Klimov VK-1. These were located in a tandem arrangement, with the forward engine exhausting from the bottom of the central fuselage via an S-shaped jetpipe and the aft engine trough a nozzle at the tail, and were aspirated via an annular nose inlet round the centre body that accommodated the antenna of the search radar. The flying surfaces were swept at 40 degrees, and the crew of two was accommodated side-by-side under a large canopy.
Two were built, each powered by two 2700kg Klimov VK-1 turbojets mounted in tandem with the exhaust of the foremost engine ducted beneath the fuselage. The side-by-side seating for the two crew members was retained, and the centre and aft fuselage were comparatively unchanged, but the forward fuselage was entirely redesigned. The prototypes differed one from the other primarily in the location of the Torii (Thorium) AI radar, the first prototype having a conical intake centrebody and the second prototype having a radome underslung on the upper intake lip. Armament consisted of three 37mm N-37 cannon, one to port and two to starboard. The wing, sweptback 40 degrees at the leading edge, was largely occupied by integral tankage and two large underwing slipper-type auxiliary tanks could boost maximum range from 1165 to 2000km.
The first of two prototypes was flown on 9 September 1949, and the first and second flight test phases were completed by February and October 1950 respectively, Mach 0.946 being attained in level flight and Mach1.01 in a dive.
The range was 1243 miles (2000 km), but in November 1950 a range of 2175 miles (3500 km) was demanded, together with longer-range radar. The design was recast as the La-200B with greater fuel capacity and a larger antenna for the more powerful radar. This led to a redesign of the nose. The extreme nose was formed by a large dielectric radome of more than 1.0m diameter. The early single-antenna Torii-A radar was replaced by a large RP-6 Sokol (Falcon) radar with three different scan modes, and twin ventral strakes supplanted the single strake of the second La-200. The additional fuel required to achieve the specified endurance was provided by increasing the capacity of each underwing tank from 1120 l to 2650 l. Two 3100kg Klimov VK-1 turbojets were installed, the forward engine's air being supplied through a chin intake and that for the aft engine being provided by "elephant ear" type intakes on the sides of the extended nose. Armament remained three 37mm cannon.
The La-200B first flew on 3 July 1952, and while range was improved considerably, overall performance was reduced. A mock-up of the Sokol radar initially being fitted, tests with the radar installed commencing on 10 September.
The second prototype joined the flight programme early 1951, the repositioned radar being of the improved Torii-A type, ammunition capacity being increased, a ventral keel being introduced and normal loaded weight rising to 10580kg. With the final NII VVS test phase completed in April 1952, a recommendation was made that series production of the La-200 should be initiated.
An extensive test programme was conducted, but, in the event, the competitive Yak-120 was selected to fulfil the requirement. The La-200B was beaten to a production order by the Yak-25.
La-200 (1st prototype)
Max take-off weight: 10375 kg / 22873 lb
Empty weight: 7090 kg / 15631 lb
Wingspan: 12.92 m / 42 ft 5 in
Length: 16.59 m / 54 ft 5 in
Wing area: 40.18 sq.m / 432.49 sq ft
Max. speed: 1090 km/h / 677 mph
Range: 1165 km / 724 miles
Max take-off weight: 12700 kg / 27999 lb
Empty weight: 8810 kg / 19423 lb
Wing area: 40.00 sq.m / 430.56 sq ft
Max. speed: 1030 km/h / 640 mph
Range: 2800 km / 1740 miles