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.
During the Axis invasion, only six IK-3 fighters were in operational condition and these few models were put to the test. In practice, the aircraft attributed themselves quite well considering the circumstances. The IK-3 was noted for its agility, handling, flight characteristics and appropriate firepower. Reliability and the inherent power of the engine proved sound even when pitted against the might of the German Luftwaffe. As many as 11 enemies are said to have been downed in the fighting, a testament to the Yugoslavian design as well as pilot prowess. Despite the valiant attempts to defend their homeland, the Yugoslavian Air Force proved no match for Axis numbers, experience and tactics. The invasion ended on April 17th, 1941 with the surrender of the Yugoslavian Army - effectively bringing an end to Yugoslavia as a nation itself. Croatia took its place and other territories making up the former country were divided and occupied by the victors until Soviet "liberation" in 1944.
Only two IK-3 fighters managed to survive the invasion by the end of the fighting. However, Yugoslavian personnel saw to their destruction rather than leave the technology in enemy hands. The remaining 25 IK-3 aircraft on order were only half-completed at the time of the fall of Yugoslavia, bringing an end to the short-lived operational service life of the Rogozarski IK-3. Yugoslavian engineers were also considering evermore powerful engines should the Axis invasion never have disrupted development. The post-war Ikarus S-49 was developed from the pre-war IK-3 of which 158 were produced, becoming the first Yugoslavian fighter development of the post-war world.
27.49 ft (8.38 m)
33.89 ft (10.33 m)
10.60 ft (3.23 m)
4,131 lb (1,874 kg)
5,291 lb (2,400 kg)
327 mph (526 kph; 284 kts)
26,247 feet (8,000 m; 4.97 miles)
311 miles (500 km; 270 nm)
1 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS-404 cannon in propeller hub.
2 x 7.92mm FN-Browning machine guns in upper forward fuselage.
IK-3 - Base Series Designation