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Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3

From PlaneSpottingWorld, for aviation fans everywhere
Soviet Air Force MiG-3's in winter camouflage. The slogan on the nearest aircraft reads "Za Rodinu" – "For the Motherland"
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Mikoyan-Gurevich
Status Withdrawn
Primary user Soviet Air Force

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 (Template:Lang-ru) was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development of the MiG-1 by the OKO (opytno-konstrooktorskiy otdel - Experimental Design Department) of zavod (factory) No.1 to fix the issues that had been encountered seen over its development and deployment cycle.


Mikoyan and Gurevich made a large number of modifications to the MiG-1 design following both field use and research in the T-1 wind tunnel belonging to the Central Aero and Hydrodynamtics Institute (TsAGI). These changes were mostly done piecemeal on the assembly line.

These changes included:

  • Moving the engine forward 4 inches (100mm) which improved stability.
  • Increase the outer wingpanel dihedral by one degree which also increased stability.
  • Introduction of a new water radiator (OP-310), which allows for an additional 55 imp. gallon (250L) fuel tank.
  • Adding an additional oil tank under the engine.
  • Venting and piping exhaust gas into the fuel tanks to reduce fire in case of enemy fire.
  • Adding 8mm armor behind the pilot (increased to 9mm in later models).
  • Streamlining supercharger intakes.
  • Strengthening the main landing gear.
  • Increasing the size of the main wheels to 25.5"x 7.87" (650mm x 200mm).
  • Improved canopy, which improved views to the rear and allowed for the installation of a shelf behind the pilot for an RSI-1 radio (later upgraded to an RSI-4).
  • Redesign of the instrument panel.
  • Upgrade of the PBP-1 gunsight to the PBP-1A gunsight.
  • Increase in ammo load for the ShKAS guns to 750 rounds per gun.
  • Additional underwing hardpoints added to carry up to 485lbs of bombs (220 kg), spray containers or 8 RS-82 unguided rockets.

The first aircraft to see all of these changes applied to them was I-200 No.04, which was the fourth prototype of the I-200, which later became the MiG-1. It first flew in late October of 1940. Following its successful first flight it was then passed to VVS (Voyenno-voz-dooshnyye seely - Military Air Forces) for State trials.

During this testing, NKAP (Narodnyy komissariat aviatsionnoy promyshlennosti - People's Ministry of the Aircraft Industry) announced that the three zavods building the MiG-3 at the time would be required to build a total of 3600 in 1941.

Operational history

The first production MiG-3 rolled off the assembly line on December 20 1940. 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 MiG-3's had been delivered.

During initial testing of production aircraft was found to be inferior to the MiG-1 due to its weight increase, and fuel consumption was well over what Mikoyan and Gurevich were promised by the manufacturer (zavod No.24), but the fuel consumption was actually found to be an issue with the testing of the aircraft and the failure to take into account altitude correction. Mikoyan and Gurevich went as far as arranging for two more flights between Leningrad and Moscow to prove the MiG-3 could fly 1000 km.

However that was not the end of the issues that the MiG-3 encountered during its deployment. Several MiG-3s produced were found to have unacceptable performance at altitude due to oil and fuel pressure. It was also found that pilots attempted to fly the MiG-3 as if it were an earlier aircraft (especially the forgiving Polikarpov I-15, I-153 and I-16's) and which led to several other problems. Soon new oil and fuel pumps were introduced as well as attempts at better pilot training to familiarize them with the MiG-3.

Over the next two years the MiG-3 several new changes made it into production, including up-gunning to UBS machine guns and ShVAK cannons.

Due to the conditions of battle with the German forces, the MiG-3 was forced into a low altitude and even a ground-attack role, but it was quickly found to be inferior, and 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. It was eventually used as a reconnaissance plane-its high service ceiling of 40,000 ft and fast high altitude speed made well suited for such a role.

Even with the MiG-3's limitations, Alexander 'Sasha' Pokryshkin, the second leading Soviet ace of the war with 59 official victories, recorded most of those victories while flying a MiG-3.


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, which led to a series of ever-larger and more powerful prototypes, serially designated from the I-220 to the I-225[1]. (Some sources mistakenly assign the MiG-7 designation to one of these aircraft.) 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.

There were several attempts to re-engine the aircraft with the engine it was originally designed for, the AM-37. This was designated the MiG-7, but with production of this engine ceasing as well, the project stalled. From Spring 1942 onwards, the MiG-3's were moved from the front line to air defence squadrons, some of which flew them for the rest of the war. One final attempt made 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 the result 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. Some MiG-9 airframes were even tested with the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-63 engine.

Two final prototypes, the I-230 and I-231[2], attempted to make the most of the original MiG-3 and its engine by considerably lightening the aircraft, but with the type relegated to secondary units, the Soviet air force was simply not interested.

  • MiG-3 : Single-seat interceptor figther aircraft, powered by a 1,350-hp (1007-kW) Mikulin AM-35A piston engine.
  • I-210 : MiG-3 prototype powered by a Shvetsov ASh-82 radial piston engine. Also known as the MiG-3-82.
  • I-211 : MiG-3 prototype powered by a Shvetsov radial piston engine.
  • MiG-3U : This was another MiG-3 prototype, powered by a 1,350-hp (1007-kW) Mikulin AM-35A piston engine.


In May 2007, a restored MiG-3 flew at Novosibirsk, Siberia. As of July 2007, the aircraft had completed twelve flights.[3] In August 2007, the restored plane (number white 17 painted in green-brown camouflage) flew a six-minute aerobatics routine on the third day of MAKS 2007 airshow.


Soviet Air Force
captured aircraft only
Template:Country data Germany
captured aircraft only, for tests.

Specifications (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3)

Template:Aircraft specification



  1. Green and Swanborough 1977, p.59-60.
  2. Green and Swanborough 1977, p.61.
  3. Flypast Magazine, August 2007, Key Publishing Ltd


  • Gordon, Yefim. Mikoyan's Piston-Engined Fighters (Red Star Volume 13). Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 20038. ISBN 1-85780-160-1.
  • Gordon, Yefim and Khazanov, Dmitri. Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War, Volume one: Single-Engined Fighters. Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 1998. ISBN 1-85780-083-4.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Three: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co.(Publishers) Ltd., 1961. ISBN 0-356-01447-9.
  • Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. WW2 Aircraft Fact Files: Soviet Air Force Fighters, Part 1. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1977. ISBN 0-354-01026-3.
  • Morgan, Hugh. Soviet Aces of World War 2. London: Reed International Books Ltd., 1997. ISBN 1-85532-632-9.
  • Stapfer, Hans-Heiri. Early MiG Fighters in Action (Aircraft number 204). Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 2006. ISBN 0-89747-507-0.
  • Tessitori, Massimo. Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-1/MiG-3. Sandomierz, Poland/Redbourn, UK: Mushroom Model Publications, 2006. ISBN 83-8945-026-7.

External links

See also

Related development
MiG-1 - MiG-7 - I-211 - I-225 - I-231 Comparable aircraft
Heinkel He 100 - Curtiss XP-37 Designation sequence
MiG-1MiG-3 - MiG-5 (DIS) - MiG-7 - MiG-8 - MiG-9 (I-210)/MiG-9 (I-301) Related lists
List of military aircraft of the Soviet Union and the CIS - List of fighter aircraft Template:Mikoyan aircraft

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3".