Military Wiki
Role Protoype single-seat fighter
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Mikoyan-Gurevich
First flight 1956 (I-3U)
Number built 1x I-3, 1x I-3P, 1x I-3U (rebuild from I-3)

The Mikoyan-Gurevich I-3 was the first of three closely related 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 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.[1] 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.[2] Compared to the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 the I-3U was slightly larger and heavier, but aerodynamically very similar.[3]


I-3 (I-380)

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.[2] 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.[1] The Klimov VK-3 turbojet was never provisioned or fitted to the airframe. In 1956 the I-3 was converted into the I-3U.[2]


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.[4] Development was halted in late 1954.[1]

I-3U (I-5)

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.[1] Armament consisted of two 30 mm Nudelman-Richter NR-30 cannons with symmetrical auto ranging connected to the radar.[1] 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.[3] The conversion from I-3 to I-3U was completed in 1956.[1] 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,[4] with design bureau test pilot Georgiy Mossolov reaching a speed of 1960 km/h at attitude on one flight.[3] The program was cancelled on June 17, 1958.[4]

Specifications (I-3U)

General characteristics

  • 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 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

Source criticism

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[3] says that the I-3U was the I-400 while another[1] uses I-410 for the I-3U and also puts the label I-5 on it. One source[3] even uses the I-420 designation for the later I-7U. The online source[4] and the external links all use I-410 for the I-3P and I-420 for the I-3U.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopaedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London, Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-405-9
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Nemecek, Vaclav. The History of Soviet Aircraft from 1918. London, Willow Books, 1986. ISBN 0-00-218033-2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Butowski, Piotr with Miller, Jay. OKB MIG. Leicester, Midland, 1991. ISBN 0-904597-80-6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 (retrieved on 2011-04-05)

External links

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