Rogozarski IK-3 Fighter
Production of the promising Rogozarski IK-3 series was cut short by the German invasion of Yugoslavia during World War 2.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
When covering the range of topics concerning aviation in World War 2, it becomes accepted practice to overlook the developments of lesser-known militaries such as that of the nation of Yugoslavia. During the years stemming from World War 1, the biplane was "king of the skies" until the arrival of the metal monoplane in the years following. Gone were the days of the open-air cockpit, fixed-position spatted landing gear legs and strut-supported high-mounted wings. In its place came the sleek designs that would go on to dominate the air war of World War 2 - chief among these early contributors being the British Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire and the German Messerschmitt Bf 109. For the Yugoslavian aviation industry, the global technological changes in aviation did not go unnoticed for development work eventually began on comparable and capable fighting aircraft.
Design on a new "modern" fighter began as early as 1933. Indigenous endeavors had already produced the first all-Yugoslavian fighter in the "IK-1" series prior - a high-wing, fixed undercarriage monoplane fighter - and thought was given to a much improved attempt in the upcoming "IK-3". Finalization occurred in 1936 to which the military took stock in the program. The military review undoubtedly led to costly delays in the modern fighter design attempt for opponents were reluctant to pursue a radical departure from the accepted norms. Regardless, a prototype was ordered in 1937 and an assembly line was rigged at the Rogozarski plant of Belgrade. As such, the aircraft was designated as the "Rogozarski IK-3" though the design was the work of two engineers - Ljubomir Ilic and Kosta Sivcev, they being originators of the earlier IK-1 mark.
Outwardly, the IK-3 was a modern instrument for its time - the fuselage was sleek with clean lines throughout. The engine - an Avia (Hispano-Suiza) 12 Ycrs 12-cylinder engine of of 910 horsepower - was situated at the front of the fuselage and powered a variable pitch three-bladed propeller assembly in a conventional fashion. The cockpit was set amidships behind the engine compartment and the empennage was traditional in its shape, capped by a small rounded vertical tail surface and a pair of mid-mounted horizontal tailplanes. The main wings were low-mounted affairs fitted ahead of center and featured rounded tips. The undercarriage was completely retractable and made up of two single-wheeled main landing gear legs and a tail wheel. The pilot sat under a framed cockpit with decent vision overall though viewing over the long-running engine compartment was detrimental when taxiing on the ground. Of note is that the cockpit was also given a bulletproof windscreen, an accepted practice in most every World War 2 fighter to come. The rear view was blocked by the raised fuselage spine. Armament was a single 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS-404 cannon mounted in the engine block and firing through the propeller hub as well as a pair of 7.92 FN-Browning machine guns fitted in the engine cowling. The armament was entirely situated in the nose of the aircraft which opened up valuable internal volume in the wings for fuel and reduced wing loads. Overall construction was of an internal steel tube structure with wood, covered over in canvas and metal skin. Power from the single engine installation included a top speed of 327 miles per hour with a range out to 310 miles. The aircraft's service ceiling was approximately 26,250 feet.