In the early summer of 1940, with the I-26) established in production in the GAZ 115, Aleksandr Yakovlev‘s OKB initiated the redesign of the ﬁghter for all-metal construction as the I-30 (Ya-30), and the ﬁrst of two prototypes entered ﬂight test in the spring of 1941 as the Yak-3. Powered by a Klimov M-105P 12-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee-type engine rated at 1,100 hp for take-off and ﬁtted with a Ye-100 mechanically-driven supercharger developed by V A Dollezhal, the Yak-3 had a three-piece wing with dihedral on the outer panels only and possessed an exceptionally heavy armament by contemporary standards. The single engine-mounted 20-mm ShVAK cannon and twin synchronised 7,62-mm ShKAS machine guns of the Yak-1 were augmented by two wingmounted ShVAK cannon.
The initial ﬂight test programme suffered constant difficulties with the supercharger, the engine being replaced three times in seven weeks with the result that the Dollezhal super-charger was discarded from the second prototype Yak-3 (I-30-II) which was ﬂown in the summer of 1941 with a standard M-105P engine. The second prototype differed in having the radiator bath moved farther aft, the oil cooler air intake transferred from beneath the nose of the wing root leading edge and an additional pair of synchronised ShKAS machine guns mounted above the engine. With such exceptionally heavy armament and the increased fuel resulting from the larger-capacity tanks rendered possible by the metal wing, the Yak-3 was underpowered by the M-105P. In addition, the prevailing shortage of dural militated against continued development at that stage in the conflict with Germany, the Yak-3 programme being discontinued in the late autumn of 1941, with the designation subsequently being reassigned to an unrelated design.(See Yakovlev Yak-3 (II)
The following data relate to the first prototype.
- Max speed: 304 mph (490 km/I1) at sea level, 363 mph (584 km/h) at 15,585 ft (4 750 1n).
- Max range: 559 miles (900 km).
- Empty Weight: 5,622lb (2 550 kg).
- Loaded weight: 6,900 lb (3130kg).
- Span: 31 ft 11 1/2 in (9, 74 m).
- Length: 27ft 10 2/3 in (8,50 m).
- Height (tail up): 9ft 10in (3,00 m).
- Wing area: 184.6 sq ft (17,15 mg).