General Information
Type I-30/Yak-3
Function Fighter prototype Fighter for V.Stalin
Year 1941 1941 1942
Crew 1 1 1
Type M-105PD M-105P M-105PF
Power at 0m (hp) 1020 1020 1210
1st boundary 1160 1100 1260
2nd boundary 1050 1000 1180
Size (m)
Length 8.48
Height 3.00
Wingspan 9.74
Wing area 17.36m2
Weights (kg) and Loads
Empty 2550 ?
Loaded 3130 2725
Wing Load (kg/m2) 180 155
Power load (kg/hp) 2.68 2.98 2.31
Speed (km/h)
0m 490 476 500
4900m 584 571 585
Stall ? 125 ?
Landing ? 142 ?
Turn at 1000m ?sec 19...20 sec ?sec
Turn at 8000m ?sec 35...45 sec ?sec
Takeoff/Landing roll (m)
Landing ? 525 ?
Takeoff ? 303 ?
Range (km)
Maximum ? 97< ?
Ceiling (m)
Practical ? 9000 ?
Climb (min)
5000m ? 7.0 6.0
Fuel (kg) 383 383 270
Gun Type (Position)Ammo
20mm ShVAK (engine) 120 160
20mm ShVAK (wings) 2*120 none
7.62mm ShKAS (engine) 2*750 none
Salvo (kg/sec) 4.28 1.2

I-26U, I-30, Yak-3, A.S.Yakovlev

41k I-30-1 from "Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War" by Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov, Vol.1
courtesy of Thomas Heinz

In Spring 1941 new fighter of the Yak-1 family rolled out. It appears in documents under designations I-30, Yak-3 (1941) and I-26U (Uluchshenyj, Improved). Two aircraft (Yak-3-1 and Yak-3-2 'Dubler') were built, originally identical, both powered with M-105PD turbocharged engines.

Impressive change was made in armament - it was increased to three 20mm ShVAK with 120 rounds each and pair of ShKAS (total 1500 rounds). Aircraft salvo was 4.28kg/sec, leaving far behind most of the contemporary fighters:

I-30 Yak-1 LaGG-3 MiG-3 Me-109P
4.28 1.73 2.00 1.24 1.46
Yak-3-1 drawing from 'Modelist-Constructor' 1/1983

Such a firepower made the I-30 an effective strike aircraft, which will remain combat-capable even in case of failure of one-two guns. Weapons installation was a technical success of itself. All guns remained in place even during the engine replacement, and did not require any 'tuning' after the procedure.

Yak-3-2 'Dubler' was more advanced in some details. Its cockpit layout was accepted as an standard for VVS fighters, as well as wing-mounted cannon installation. Yak-3-2 was equipped with radio receiver/transmitter. Pressure from the aluminum shortages forced designers to step back and install all-wooden wing without leading edge slats.

In May 1941 Yak-3-2 was transferred to LII, where it served as a testbed for M-105PD until was crashed.

100k I-30-2 'Dubler' from "Soviet Combat Aircraft" by Gordon and Khazanov, Vol.1, courtesy of Thomas Heinz

P.Ya.Fedrovi performed 23 of 25 Yak-3-1 factory trial flights with turbocharged M-105PD (starting April 12 1941). When it became clear that numerous problem of the engine can not be cured swiftly, it was replaced with series M-105P. At the same time the wing was replaced by all-metal one with the slats. Two more flights (June 13, 1941) - and was presented for State Acceptance trials.

State trial flights lasted from June 23 to July 3 1941 - after German invasion of the USSR already started. Test-pilots S.P.Suprun, P.M.Stefanovskij, K.A.Gruzdev and P.Ya.Fedrovi noted very good handling of the I-30 - it was suitable even for pilots with skills below average demanded at war time. Fighter was recomended it for series production.

Yak-3-2 'Dubler' drawing from 'Modelist-Constructor' 1/1983

Preparation to mass production started eve prior to factory trials, and at the war outbreak some number of airframes were pre-assembled. Total plan for 1941 was 250 machines On 9 December 1941 1100 I-300 were ordered for 1942. This decision was annulled in March 1942, when production of Yak-1 and Yak-7 at evacuated factories was already established. Advantage of I-30 in handling turned to be not so dramatic, firepower was obtained on expense of flight performance (speed, climb, turn time). Not least important, aluminum shortages pressed for mixed construction wing against all-metal.

Yak-3-1 drawing from 'Modelist-Constructor' 1/1983

In 1942 I-30-1 was redesigned as personal fighter of colonel V.I.Stalin (commander of 434IAP, son of 'Uncle Joe'). Aircraft received new engine, armament and fuel capacity were reduced. Weight saving resulted in better performance, but aircraft was never delivered. In December 1942 during one of test-flights takeoffs test-pilot P.Ya.Fedrovi retracted landing gear too early (this was his 'style') and scratched concrete of runway with water cooler. Despite damage was minor, aircraft was abandoned.

Except of being of all-metal construction, I-30-1 included several technical novelties:

  • frameless engine cowling;
  • easy to remove propeller spinner;
  • automatic slats;
  • new all-metal inverted-gull wing;
  • jet action engine exhaust;
  • airdynamic fairings on the exhaust outlets;
  • control stick with fire controls;
  • new seat belts system;
  • Many shortcomings revealed during trials and service of the Yak-1 were cured:

  • center of gravity moved forward;
  • softer shock absorbers;
  • larger wheels (650x200mm main, 300x125mm tail) for better match with aircraft weight;
  • improved access to vital control systems;
  • new strong 3D engine cradle;
  • high pressure air system modified to provide 10 gear lowering/retraction circles;
  • trimmers installed on the rudder, tailplane and ailerons;
  • fuel system revised;
  • fuel/oil capacity increased;
  • 'low gas' indicator;
  • engine intake protected by metal mesh;
  • Cockpit was equipped primarily for daytime operation. Radio station provided 2-way communication with ground station within 200km (from 4000m altitude).

    I-30 painting Color painting from 'Cannons airborne!' article published at 'Modelist-Konstructor' 01/1983;

    I-28, Yak-5

  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.2 p.196;
  • 'Cannons airborne!' at 'Modelist-Konstructor' 01/1983
  • I-30 drawings
  • I-30, Yakovlev
  • Created January 25, 1996
    Modified August 11, 1999
    and Thomas Heinz
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