- Crew – 1 person
- Engine – M-25V
- Power – 750 hp
- Wingspan-9.0 m
- The wing area is 14.54 sq. m
- Empty aircraft weight-1382 kg
- Maximum take-off weight-1715 kg
- Full load weight-500 kg
- Maximum speed at altitude / near the ground – 440/389 km / h
- Practical ceiling – 8270 m
- Maximum range-800 km
- Armament: 4×7. 62 mm SHKAS machine guns; 6 NURS RS-82
- The maximum bomb load is 200 kg.
I-16 Fighter Plane Details
In parallel with the development of the I-15 fighter, the design team No. 2 under the leadership of N. N. Polikarpov initiated the design of another I-16 aircraft, one of the most famous Soviet fighters, unlike other aircraft and not an imitation of any of them. By the end of 1932, its preliminary draft design was ready. In the spring of 1933, in connection with the identified shortcomings of the Sukhoi I-14 fighter and its long refinement, the Air Force leadership issued N. N. Polikarpov was assigned to design an alternative high-speed fighter-the I-16 monoplane. By June of the same year, the development of the preliminary design of the fighter, which received the factory designation TSKB-12, was completed. To ensure high flight performance for the new fighter, it was necessary to reduce the drag of the entire aircraft, and-above all-to remove the star-shaped engine in a well-slicked hood, as well as reduce the load-bearing surfaces. Therefore, the new aircraft had a low flight weight; the minimum dimensions (the wingspan was only 9 m, and its total length was 6 m); star-shaped engine and short barrel-shaped thick fuselage. The aircraft was supposed to be equipped with a Wright Cyclone SGR-1820 F-3 engine, which the Soviet Union had not yet received a license for at that time. Therefore, another version of the I-16 aircraft was designed, with the M-22 engine, less powerful, but quite reliable. By August, the second draft was ready.
The flight characteristics of the I-16 were so promising that already in November, i.e. even before the construction of the first copy was completed, the issue of its mass production was discussed. Construction of the first car was completed on December 28, 1933. The I-16 single-seat fighter monoplane of mixed design was a free-bearing low-wing aircraft with an open cockpit and a retractable landing gear. The front part of the wing had a metal skin, the rear – canvas. The fuselage is a wooden monocoque with a birch veneer covering with a variable thickness from 4 mm-in the front part to 2.5 mm – in the tail. For manufacturability, the monocoque was made of two halves (right and left), docked in the plane of symmetry of the aircraft. The pyramid-shaped chassis was manually removed by cable drive. The armament consisted of two 7.62 mm PV-1 machine guns located outside the propeller disk.
The first flight of the TSKB-12 fighter aircraft operated by test pilot V. P. Chkalov took place on December 30, 1933. Flight tests revealed that Soviet aircraft designers created an excellent fighter that surpassed in its characteristics all domestic and foreign vehicles of this class. At that time, it was a truly outstanding aircraft, the world’s first mass-produced monoplane fighter, which marked the beginning of the spread of such a scheme.
In 1934, the I-16 fighter was adopted by the Red Army Air Force. The I-16 aircraft was produced for seven years and had more than 10 modifications, characterized by a steady increase in mass with the same overall dimensions, an increase in engine power and improved weapons. The I-16 was designed as a high-speed fighter, which simultaneously pursued the goal of achieving maximum maneuverability for conducting air combat. Small, “like a fly”,
I-16 embodied the idea of a high-speed aircraft, which also performed aerobatics very effectively, and differed favorably from any biplanes.
Different versions of the I-16 aircraft had some differences in flight performance, which, although they varied depending on engine power, loads, weapons and suspensions, but their speed did not exceed 440 km / h-at the ground and 489 km / h – at an altitude of 5000 m. When using the M-63 engine of 1,100 hp for horizontal flight, the estimated maximum speed of the I-16 was supposed to be 525 km/h, but in practice it could not be achieved. The increased weight and large forehead of the aircraft did not make it possible to significantly increase the flight speed.
The I-16 fighter aircraft was produced in the main serial versions:
– Type 4 – with a Wright Cyclone SGR-1820 F-3 or M-25 engine, with a closed cockpit and armed with their 2×7. 62 mm PV-1 machine guns;
– type 5 – with a new engine hood, individual exhaust pipes and a closed cockpit;
– type 6-with M-25A engine, reinforced airframe and closed cockpit;
– type 10-with an M-25V engine, with an open cockpit and a retractable ski landing gear, as well as armed with 4×7. 62 mm SHKAS machine guns, of which 2 synchronous ones were located above the engine (650 rounds each).
Taking into account the operational experience, the aircraft of this type in 1937 was reinforced, which, together with the new engine and reinforced armament, increased the flight weight to 1,700 kg, while at the same time the speed remained unchanged, and the rate of climb and ceiling decreased. For the first time, the I-16 Type 10 aircraft received instead of the standard landing gear – skis that were removed in flight and pressed close to the center section, almost flush with its surface. The weight of the ski slightly exceeded the weight of the wheel, and the flight qualities of the aircraft with the skis removed were almost the same as those of the aircraft on wheels, but with the skis released, the speed decreased by 60-80 km / h;
– type 12-variant of Type 10 with armament of 2 20 mm SHVAK guns and 2 7.62 mm SHKAS machine guns;
– type 18-with an M-62 engine, variable pitch propeller, tail wheel instead of a crutch and armament, which was the 4th 7.62 mm SHKAS machine gun;
– type 27-type 18 variant armed with 2 20 mm SHVAK cannons and 2 7.62 mm SHKAS machine guns;
– type 24-with M-63 engine, reinforced wing, outboard gas tanks and armament of 4 7.62 mm SHKAS machine guns;
– type 29-variant of Type 24 with armament of 2 7.62 mm SHKAS machine guns and
1 12.7 mm BS machine gun.
The I-16 aircraft has gone through all the possible evolution for it. So, these cars produced in 1939, equipped with the M-62 engine, developed a maximum speed of up to 490 km / h and had a fairly powerful armament of two cannons and two machine guns. With the same wing area of 14.54 sq. m. m its flight weight increased from 1311 kg to 2000 kg, and further development of the aircraft became possible, but only in a different type and with different parameters, which was soon implemented in subsequent fighter aircraft designed by N. N. Polikarpov-I-180 and I-185.
For the first time, the I-16 Type 5 and Type 10 fighters, which received the Spanish nickname “mosca” (fly), were widely baptized in 1936 in Spain. By the end of 1936, the Spanish Republican Air Force had 62 I-16 Type 5 fighters. Initially, only Soviet pilots flew them, successfully operating against Francoist aircraft. The I-16 was widely used during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), surpassing the speed of the best fighters in the world.
One of our aces, S. I. Gritsevets, who flew the I-16 during this war, only according to official data, won 30 personal victories and 7 victories in the group. In February 1939, he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. However, the practice of combat operations in Spain showed that the turn time (15 seconds) of this aircraft is long and the I-16 could not hit less high-speed enemy aircraft in battle on horizontal lines, at a time when maneuverability was the decisive factor. In 1937, Soviet I-16 Type 5 and Type 6 fighters began arriving in China, where they actively participated in air battles with Japanese aircraft as part of the 4th Fighter Group. Subsequently, I-16 aircraft were used in large numbers in the battles in the area of the Khalkhin Gol River in 1939, during the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940, as well as on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War.
Many glorious pages in the history of Soviet aviation are connected with the I-16 fighter. So, during the battles near the Khalkhin Gol river in July 1939, Hero of the Soviet Union V. F. Skobarikhin performed the first aerial ram on an I-16 aircraft, and in August, for the first time in the history of aviation, RS-82 rockets were used on I-16 aircraft, which destroyed several Japanese aircraft.
Despite the fact that by 1941 the I-16 was already outdated, it was he, the most massive fighter of the Soviet Air Force (which made up almost half of the total fighter composition of the Red Army aviation), who had to bear the brunt of the air battles of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War. It was actively used on all fronts in the first years of the war. So, on the first day of the war, pilot I. A. Avekov shot down two German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters on his I-16, and on August 28 of the same year, near the city of Konotop, he shot down two Heinkel He 111 bombers. Already in December 1941, the 1st Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment was the first to receive this glorious title, fighting on I-16 Type 24 aircraft.
In July 1941, pilots P. T. Kharitonov, M. P. Zhukov and S. P. Zdorovtsev, who fought on I-16 aircraft, were the first in the Great Patriotic War to receive the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Hero of the Soviet Union V. V. Talalikhin in August of the same year made the world’s first night ram on an I-16 aircraft. Two Heroes of the Soviet Union-G. P. Kravchenko, S. I. Gritsevets, A.V. Vorozheikin, B. F. Safonov and others-also fought air battles with the German – fascist invaders on I-16 fighters. These vehicles were used on the Soviet-German front until 1943, and in aviation units stationed in the Far East, they were in service until the summer of 1945.
The I-16 was mass-produced from mid-1934 to 1942, inclusive, by the V. R. Menzhinsky Plant No. 39 (Moscow); S. Ordzhonikidze Plant No. 21 (Gorky); V. P. Chkalov Plant No. 153 (Novosibirsk) and No. 458 (Rostov-on-Don, and since 1942 – in Baku). A total of 10,292 I-16 aircraft were manufactured (together with the UTI-4 training variants).
On the open area of weapons and military equipment of the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, a mock-up of the I-16 Type 10 fighter aircraft (tail number 91), which was part of the Kalinin Front air defense forces in 1941 (Budovo airfield), is on display. The mock-up of the aircraft was built by Tushinsky Machine-Building Plant together with Avion LLP in 1995.