MiG-3, Mikoyan-Gurevich


Development of the MiG-1 with only minor differences, mostly palliative measures to cure the least desirable characteristics of the MiG-1 (like poor spin performance). The plane is reported to be at least the equal of the German craft which it met in combat. The aircraft was in service almost until the end of the war - thanks to exceptional easy maintenance, repairability and part compatibility. Generally from 2-3 unrepairable machines one flying could be assembled in the field conditions.

The wings are low, with straight leading edge and tapered trailing edge to broad rounded tips. The aircraft was powered with a single in-line, liquid cooled, engine producing 1350hp. 3422 MiG-1's and MiG-3's were built. The designation MiG-3U was used for the I-230.

Type: MiG-3
Country: Soviet Union / Russia
Function: fighter
Year: 1941
Crew: 1
Engines: 1 * 1350hp Mikulin AM-35A, liquid-cooled V-12
Wing Span: 10.20 m
Length: 8.26 m
Height: 3.50 m
Wing Area: 17.44 m2
Wing loading: 191 kg/m²
Empty Weight: 2595 kg
Max.Weight: 3350 kg
Speed: 640 km/h
Ceiling: 12000 m
Rate of climb: 14.7 m/s
Range: 1250 km
Armament: 2 * mg 7.62 mm and 1 * mg 12.7 mm, 2 * mg 12.7 mm under-wing optional.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development of the MiG-1 in an attempt to curb some of that aircraft's handling problems. Although the problems were never completely worked out, the aircraft was considered a success.

Mikoyan and Gurevich made a large number of modifications to the MiG-1 design after field testing revealed a number of dangerous characteristics of the type. The most significant of these was doubling the dihedral of the outer wings in an attempt to create more stability, and lengthening the nose of the aircraft to move the engine and therefore centre of gravity further forward. These changes were quickly implemented on the MiG-1 production line, and by March 1941, 10 of these aircraft were coming off the production line every day. It was not long before the type would see combat, claiming a pair of German Junkers Ju 86 reconnaissance aircraft even before the start of hostilities between Germany and the Soviet Union. By the time of Operation Barbarossa, over 1,200 had been delivered.

The MiG-1 had originally been designed as a high-altitude interceptor, and this is where the MiG-3 excelled as well. The full circle turn time improved from 26.5 seconds to 23 seconds. However, most of the combat against the German invasion took place at very low altitudes, where the aircraft did not stand out at all. Some attempt was made to put it to use as a ground-attack aircraft, but it was quickly withdrawn from this role. The death knell for the MiG-3 was the discontinuation of its AM-35 engine so that Mikulin could concentrate on AM-38 production for the Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik. There was an attempt to re-engine the aircraft with the engine it was originally designed for, the AM-37. This was designated the MiG-7, but with this engine out of production as well, the project stalled. From Spring 1942 onwards, the MiG-3s were moved from the front line to air-defence squadrons, some of which flew them for the rest of the war.

One final attempt to save the aircraft was to re-engine it with a Shvetsov ASh-82 radial engine, the same engine that had been used to create the Lavochkin La-5 from the LaGG-3. The prototypes were designated I-210 and I-211, and was successful enough that production was considered under the designation MiG-9 (not to be confused with the later jet). However, the La-5 was already in production and the I-211 did not offer the air force anything that it did not already have in that aircraft.

Throughout the rest of the war, Mikoyan and Gurevich continued to develop the MiG-3 along the high-altitude interceptor lines that it had originally been designed for, leading to a series of ever-larger and more powerful prototypes, the I-220 to I-225. While promising enough, the air war over Germany was demonstrating that the heyday of the piston engined fighter was over, and no production order followed. Some sources confuse the MiG-7 designation with one of these aircraft.

Two final prototypes, the I-230 and I-231 attempted to make the most of the original MiG-3 and its engine by considerable lightening of the aircraft, but with the type relegated to secondary units, the air force was simply not interested.

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