Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 3

The MiG-1 was the first Soviet fighter of World War 11 and the first to bear the "signature" of Artem lvanovich Mikoyan and Mikhail Lossipovich Gurevich, two designers who were to become world famous. Even today, despite the death of Mikoyan in 1970, and that of Gurevich in 1976, the designation MiG continues to be us- ed to identify the most advanced Soviet combat aircraft, in remembrance of the partnership between the two great technicians, which originated in 1938, immediately prior to the outbreak of war.

In that year, Mikoyan and Gurevich began their long association with the intention of building a single-seater interceptor developed around the large and powerful Mikulin AM-35, a 12-cylinder Vee engine capable of generating 1,200 hp at 19,735 ft (6000 m) and 1,350 hp at takeoff. Two projects were completed, although only work on the second went ahead designated MiG-1, it was a small, slim low-wing monoplane, with retractable landing gear. Its airframe and covering were composite, wood and metal. In practice, it was the smallest and most compact airframe that could be created around the heavy engine, one of the most powerful in its category in the world at the time.

The prototype, redesignated 1-200, was completed in only four months, and it made its maiden flight on April 5, 1940. During initial flight testing the aircraft proved to have an excellent performance as far as speed was concerned, touching 403 mph (648.5 km/h) at 22,640 ft (6,900 m) on May 24. Mass production was launched immediately, although the fighter was not without faults. The principal ones were its lack of manoeuvrability, its negative characteristics in flight (due to the excessive weight of the wings), its limited range, and a lack of protection and armament.

These problems caused production to be limited to 100 aircraft and led the designers to develop a new version. This was designated MiG-3 and began to reach the units at the beginning of 1941, proving to be greatly superior to the previous aircraft. In particular, its overall aerodynamic characteristics had been improved, larger fuel tanks were installed, in the cockpit the pilot's seat and the canopy were modified, the engine was rendered more powerful, due also to the installation of a new propeller.

In combat the MiG-3 displayed its potential to the full, proving capable of giving the best of its performance at altitudes over 16,450 ft (5,000 m), where it was able to compete on equal terms with the best adversaries. However, at lower altitudes there was a noticeable decrease in the fighter's overall performance and in its manoeuvrability that placed it in inferior conditions. The aircraft's armament constituted another weak point. The two 7.62 mm machine guns and the single 12.7 mm machine gun and the 440 lbs (200 kg) of bombs were clearly not enough. Various experiments were attempted to remedy this, but the use of heavier weapons seriously penalized the aircraft's qualities.

However, the MiG-3 always remained a transitional aircraft, while the Soviets were awaiting more modern and effective products (like the Yakovlev and Lavochkin fighters) with which they finally succeeded in gaining overall superiority compared to the Luftwaffe. Production of the MiG-3 was suspended in the spring of 1942, when building of the AM-35A engine ceased after it had made way for the more powerful AM-38, destined for the llyushin 11-2. A total of 3,322 were built, in addition to the 100 MiG-1s. However, Mikoyan and Gurevich's fighter remained in front-line service until the final months of 1943, and it was subsequently relegated to secondary roles.iG-3

The MiG-1 had a number of short-comings with the result that only about 100 examples were built. The worst of these faults being stability, short range and vulnerability to combat damage, which resulted in modifications that produced the MiG-3. They included aerodynamic refinements, the outer wing panels having increased dihedral, greater fuel capacity, increased armament and armour protection.-200/MiG-3-82

The MiG-3 was no match for German fighters at low levels (below 16,405 ft or 5000 m), as a result an attempt was made to improve performance by incorporating the Shvetsov M-82 (later ASh-82) radial engine.I-211

Same as above but with minor refinements.G-3U

Reverted back to the Mikulin AM35A engine but with minor refinements to the airframe and wings. Never entered production.

Specifications (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3)

Type: Single Seat Interceptor

Design: Artem lvanovich Mikoyan and Mikhail Lossipovich Gurevich

Manufacturer: State Industries

Powerplant: One 1,350 hp (1007 kw) Mikulin AM-35A Vee 12-cylinder piston engine.

Performance: Maximum speed 398 mph (640 km/h) at 25,590 ft (7800 m); service ceiling 39,370 ft (12000 m).

Range: 743 miles (1195 km) on internal fuel.

Weight: Empty 5,721 lbs (2595 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 7,385 lbs (3350 kg).

Dimensions: Span 33 ft 5 1/2 in (10.20 m); length 27 ft 1 in (8.26 m); height 11 ft 6 in (3.50 m); wing area 187.73 sq ft (17.44 sq m).

Armament: One 12.7 mm (0.50 in) BS Machine gun and two 7.62 mm (0.303 in) ShKAS machine guns in the nose. This was later supplemented by a field modification of the installation of underwing pods for two more unsynchronised 12.7 mm (0.50 in) BS machine guns. Underwing rails for the use of six RS-82 rockets or two 220 lbs (100 kg) bombs each or two chemical containers.

Variants: MiG-3 (production), I-210/MiG-3-82 (Radial engine), I-211 (improved version), MiG-3U (improved airframe but reverted back to original engine - never saw production).

Operators: Soviet Union.