- Crew – 1 person
- Engine – M-25V
- Power – 750 hp
- Upper wingspan – 9.75 m
- Lower wingspan-7.5 m
- The wing area is 21.9 sq. m
- Empty aircraft weight-1310 kg
- Maximum take-off weight-1730 kg
- Full load weight-420 kg
- Maximum speed at altitude/near the ground – 379/327 km / h
- Practical ceiling – 9300 m
- Maximum range – 520 km
- Armament: 4×7. 62 mm SHKAS machine guns
- The maximum bomb load is 150 kg.
I-15bis Fighter Aircraft Details
In January 1933, after the separation from TsAGI, the Central Design Bureau was established at the Moscow Red Banner Aviation Plant No. 39 named after V. R. Menzhinsky. One of the first tasks received by the design team No. 2, headed by N. N. Polikarpov, was the design of a new I-15 fighter aircraft (TSKB-3). According to its scheme and design, it was a development of the previous I-5 biplane fighter, but with improved aerodynamics, differing from it by the upper wing-made according to the “chaika” scheme (hence the name of the aircraft).
The I-15 single-seat maneuverable fighter was a single-post bracing one-and-a-half chaika-type upper wing glider of mixed design, with an open cockpit and a non-retractable landing gear with free-bearing struts. The introduction of the curved chaika wing into the biplane scheme reduced the drag of the upper wing and its interference with the fuselage, as well as improved forward and upward visibility, which was of great importance in air combat. The design of the wings is made of wood.
To improve flight performance compared to the I-5, the I-15 was initially equipped with an American air-cooled Wright Cyclone SGR-1820 F-3 engine with a capacity of 712 hp. Small arms initially consisted of two 7.62 mm PV-1 aircraft machine guns and 40 kg 40 kg aerial bombs. The speed at an altitude of 3000 m reached 368 km / h, and the turn time was 8-8.5 seconds, a record low for a fighter. The design of the I-15 aircraft was ready by May 1933. The first flight on the prototype I-15 was made on October 23 of the same year by test pilot V. P. Chkalov. Passed state tests revealed its high flight characteristics, so after the release of 49 of these fighters of the first batch, plant No. 39 decided to launch the I-15 aircraft in a large series at another Moscow State Aviation Plant No. 1 named after I. V. Stalin. However, since by this time there was still no serial M-25 engine, the I-15 aircraft had to put a weaker one-the M-22 (with a capacity of 480 hp). In the same year, the first I-15 fighters began to arrive combat units of the Red Army Air Force.
The I-15 fighter was very maneuverable, stable in all flight modes, easy to fly and had good take-off and landing qualities, which earned it a well-deserved fame among pilots. The I-15 also had good repair properties and survivability. On a specially modified I-15, test pilot V. K. Kokkinaki set a world record for lifting to a height without a load on November 21, 1935-14,675 m. A total of 384 I-15 aircraft were produced. The first combat test of the I-15 fighter took place in the fall of 1936 in Spain, where it proved itself from the best side. The USSR supplied the Spanish Republic with 155 I-15 fighters with the M-22 engine, armed with two 7.62 mm SHKAS machine guns. The Spaniards called I-15 – “chato” (snub-nosed) – because of its characteristic “upturned” appearance. In addition, in Spain in 1937-1938, another 237 I-15 aircraft were built under Soviet license. In 1937, he also took part in the fighting against the Japanese in China.
Using the positive experience of fighting in the skies of Spain and China, N. N. Polikarpov developed a new modification of the I-15bis fighter. In this aircraft, we again returned to the center section, similar to the I-5 fighter – it received an upper straight wing – without the Chaika, but with a slightly larger span. In 1937, the I-15bis (I-152) aircraft went into large-scale production at factory No. 1 with a more powerful M-25V engine and reinforced armament (four 7.62 mm PV-1 or SHKAS machine guns and 150 kg of bombs). The weight of an empty plane has increased by 350 kg. Flight performance, despite the more powerful engine, turned out to be slightly lower than that of the I-15, especially the rate of climb and ceiling. During the period from 1937 to 1939, the Red Army Air Force received 2408 vehicles of this modification. Two modifications of the serial I-15bis (I-152) and one two – seat training version of the DIT aircraft were produced.
I-15/I-15bis fighters took part in combat operations in the area of Lake Khasan in August 1938. The enemy had no aircraft, so the I-15s were used to attack Japanese ground forces. In combat operations in 1939 in the Khalkhin Gol area, all modifications of the I-15/I-15bis and I-153 had to fight with the main fighter of the Imperial Kwantung Army – Ki-27.
A regiment of I-15bis fighters intercepted Japanese bombers. On June 22, 1939, in an air battle, 95 I-15bis and I-16 fighters were opposed by 120 Japanese fighters, as a result of losses on our part amounted to 14 cars, and the Japanese lost 34 cars. However, after the first serious losses, the I-152 was transferred to the role of attack aircraft, with which they coped well.
During the Soviet-Finnish war in November 1939-March 1940, the main task of the I-15 and I-15bis aircraft was to carry out assault attacks on enemy ground forces. In addition, they were involved in delivering cargo to their encircled units. Cargo was transported in soft containers that were suspended under the lower wing of the aircraft.
By June 22, 1941, there were still quite a lot of I-15 and I-15bis aircraft in the Red Army Air Force. Significantly inferior to the German fighters, they were mainly used as attack vehicles, mainly as attack aircraft, but also as night bombers. Soviet pilots used these vehicles in the initial period of the Great Patriotic War, when there were still not enough new types of aircraft, successfully conducted air battles, stormed enemy convoys and airfields. So, already on June 22, I-15bis and I-16 aircraft from the 97 squadron of the Danube Flotilla, while repelling a Romanian air raid on Izmail, shot down 5 out of 9 enemy aircraft. Junior Lieutenant V. S. Adonkin of the 72nd Mixed Aviation Regiment, 6th Fighter Aviation Division of the Northern Fleet Air Force, on July 13, 1941, while repelling a raid on his airfield on I-153, rammed an enemy bomber and landed his plane safely. Commander of the 87th Separate Air Squadron of the Azov Flotilla, Captain G. I. Agafonov, while repelling German air raids on Mariupol on October 7 of the same year, shot down two German Messerschmitt Bf Me 110 fighters and two Junkers Ju 88 bombers during two sorties. Senior Lieutenant A. G. Mironenko of the Baltic Fleet Air Force had the greatest number of victories on the I-15bis aircraft, with 9 enemy aircraft shot down. The I-15bis and I-153 fighter planes were used on the fronts until mid-1943, and in the air defense system (especially in the Far East) they were also used in 1944, in addition, they were also widely used for training pilots.
The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War exhibits a model of the I-15bis fighter aircraft (tail number 14), which was part of the 71st Fighter Aviation Regiment of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet Air Force, based in 1941 on the island of Lavensari in the Gulf of Finland. The mock-up of the aircraft was built by Tushinsky Machine-Building Plant together with Avion LLP in 1995.