|Role||Prototype single-seat fighter|
|National origin||Soviet Union|
|First flight||1956 (I-3U)|
|Number built||1 × I-3, 1 × I-3P, 1 × I-3U (rebuild from I-3)|
The Mikoyan-Gurevich I-3 was the first of three interrelated fighter prototype programs developed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau in the Soviet Union in the mid/late 1950s - starting with the I-3, continuing with the I-7 and finally evolving into the I-75. On several occasions airframes were re-built and/or re-used both within a program or in a succeeding program. All the aircraft in the I-3 program were affected by delays in the development of the Klimov VK-3 afterburning bypass turbojet engine, its cancellation and replacement by the Lyulka AL-7F turbojet engine.
Design and development
Both the I-3 and I-3P were ordered by the Council of Ministers on June 3, 1953 – the I-3 as a front-line fighter and the I-3P as an all-weather interceptor. They were developed in parallel with the I-1/2 program but with nothing in common except for a similar wing. On the other hand, the I-3’s visual appearance was so similar to the Sukhoi S-1 (the Su-7 prototype) that a common design specification and fundamental research source seems likely. Compared to the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 the I-3U was slightly larger and heavier, but aerodynamically very similar.
The I-3 had a longer forward fuselage compared to the I-1 and the cockpit was positioned further ahead of the 60 degree swept wing. Armament consisted of three 30 mm Nudelman-Richter NR-30 cannons each with 65 rounds – one in left wing root and two on the right side. The Klimov VK-3 turbojet was never provisioned or fitted to the airframe. In 1956 the I-3 was converted into the I-3U.
Developed in parallel with the I-3 but equipped with the same Almaz search radar as the I-1. Armament consisted of two 30 mm Nudelman-Richter NR-30 cannons. In addition two ORO-57K rocket launchers each with 16 55 mm ARS-57 (S-5) unguided rockets or two 190 mm TRS-190 unguided rockets or two 212 mm ARS-212 unguided rockets or two 250 kg bombs could be carried on pylons under the wing. Development was halted in late 1954.
The I-3U was modified from the unfinished I-3; the fuselage was stretched 93 cm (from 12.27 m to 13.20 m), the nose redesigned to accommodate the Uragan-1 fire control system (hence the U in the designation) above the inlet and an Almaz search radar with a search/track range of 17 km was fitted in the cone centered in the inlet. Armament consisted of two 30 mm Nudelman-Richter NR-30 cannons with symmetrical auto ranging connected to the radar. In addition to the fire control system Mikoyan-Gurevich also used, for the first time, titanium alloys in the rear fuselage where high temperatures were expected. The conversion from I-3 to I-3U was completed in 1956.
Flight testing took place on an irregular basis in 1956-1958 due to engine flaws and frequent modifications. A total of 34 test flights were carried out, with design bureau test pilot Georgiy Mossolov reaching a speed of 1960 km/h at attitude on one flight. The program was cancelled on June 17, 1958.
- Length: 15.78 m (51 ft 9 in)
- Wingspan: 8.98 m (29 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 30 m2 (320 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 6,447 kg (14,213 lb)
- Gross weight: 8,600 kg (18,960 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 10,028 kg (22,108 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Klimov VK-3 afterburning bypass turbojet, 82.37586 kN (18,518.83 lbf) thrust
- Maximum speed: 1,960 km/h (1,218 mph; 1,058 kn)
- Range: 1,290 km (802 mi; 697 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 18,800 m (61,680 ft)
- Guns: 2x 30 mm Nudelman-Richter NR-30
The sources generally agree on which airframes from the I-3 program that was rebuilt (I-3 into I-3U). But one of the external links says it was I-3P that was rebuilt into I-3U. The sources all agree on that the I-3 is the same as the I-380 (using the old design bureau designation series), but they all disagree on the (old) designations for the I-3P and the I-3U. One says that the I-3U was the I-400 while another uses I-410 for the I-3U and also puts the label I-5 on it. One source even uses the I-420 designation for the later I-7U. The online source and the external links all use I-410 for the I-3P and I-420 for the I-3U.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Sukhoi S-1
- Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopaedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London, Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-405-9
- Nemecek, Vaclav. The History of Soviet Aircraft from 1918. London, Willow Books, 1986. ISBN 0-00-218033-2.
- Butowski, Piotr with Miller, Jay. OKB MIG. Leicester, Midland, 1991. ISBN 0-904597-80-6
- http://ruslet.webnode.cz/technika/ruska-technika/letecka-technika/a-i-mikojan-a-m-i-gurjevic/i-3-i-380-/ (retrieved on 2011-04-05)
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