Gaining a reputation as a 'hot ship' in the early years, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 was plagued by difficult handling and very poor armament, and although among the fastest of Soviet fighters of that period, it proved no match for the German Bf 109G or Fw 190. Flown in prototype form as the 1-61 in the spring of 1940, the initial design included the 895-kW (1,200-hp) Mikulin AM-35 V-12 engine, and this was retained in the production MiG-1, which started appearing in September 1940. Handicapped by the overall length of the engine, which resulted in poor pitch and directional stability, and armed with only three machineguns, the MiG-1 suffered heavily in the opening months of Operation 'Barbarossa', and the MiG-3, delivered during the second half of 1941, proved little better with a 1007-kW (1,350-hp) AM35A engine, which gave the fighter a top speed of 640 km/h (398 mph); introduced at the same time was a constantspeed propeller, increased wing dihedral and sliding cockpit canopy.
Handling was only marginally improved, so the MiG-3 was transferred to attack bomber escort and close support duties; in 1942 two 12.7-mm (0.5in) machine guns were added in underwing fairings by operational units, but gradually the aircraft was replaced by radial-engine fighters such as the La-5. Total production was 3,422, of which 100 were the earlier MiG-1.
Specification Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3
Type: single-seat fighter
Powerplant: one 1007-kW (1,350-hp) Mikulin AM-35 A V-12 piston engine
Performance: maximum speed 640 km/h (398 mph) at 7000 m (22,965 ft); initial climb rate 1200 m (3,935 ft) per minute; service ceiling 12000 m (39,370 ft); range 1250 km (777 miles)
Weights: empty 2595 kg (5,721 lb); maximum take-off 3350 kg (7,385 lb)
Dimensions: span 10.30 m (33 ft 9.5 in); length 8.15 m (26 ft 9 in); height 2.67 m (8 ft 9 in); wing area 17.44 mr (187.7 sqft)
Armament: one 12.7-mm (0.5-m) Beresin BS and two 7.62-mm (0.3-in) ShKAS nose-mounted machine-guns (later increased by two 12.7-mm/0.5-in underwing guns), plus provision for six 8.2-cm (3.23-in) underwing rockets or two 100-kg (220-lb) bombs