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Soviet Polikarpov I-16 Rata fighter

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Polikarpov I-16 fighter2:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16 fighter
Polikarpov I-16 fighter:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16 fighter
Polikarpov I-16 fighter:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16 fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Polikarpov I-16 fighter:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16 fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Polikarpov I-16C Super Rata fighter:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16C Super Rata fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Polikarpov I-16C Super Rata fighter:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16C Super Rata fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Polikarpov I-16 fighter:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16 fighter
Polikarpov I-16 fighter:
Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-16 fighter

Design

Nikolai Polikarpov started to design the successor to the I-15 while in a labor camp.1,3 The Polikarpov I-16 was a rival to the ANT-31.1

When the I-16 first was produced it was the first low wing cantilever monoplane with a retractable undercarriage used by any military in the world.1,2,3

The I-16 was nicknamed the Rata (rat) by the Spanish Nationalists.2,3

Construction

Wood and metal made up the construction of the I-16.2,3

Cockpit

The cockpit was very narrow and open.1

Engines

The early Polikarpov I-16s had Wright Cyclone radial engines that were imported and license built.1 These drove a two pitch Hamilton propellar.1

After the I-16 Type 6 the engines were the M-25A.1

Late I-16s had M-62 or M-63 engines with superchargers.1

Undercarriage

The undercarriage required 44 hand cranks to raise them.1 As each crank went it got harder to rotate the handle.1 Sometimes the gear jammed half way when lowered.1

In winter the wheels would be replaced by skis that could retract flat against the wings.1

Prototype

The TsKB-12 prototype first flew on December 31, 1933.2,3 The prototype had a Soviet M-22 engine.1,2 The second prototype had an imported Wright Cyclone engine installed.2

Production

Deliveries of the I-16 began in early 1935.2 Production originally ended in 1940 but was restarted in 1941.2

  • Polikarpov I-16 single seat: 7,0052
    • Polikarpov I-16 Type 27 and Polikarpov I-16 Type 29: ~4502
  • Polikarpov I-16UTI: 1,6392
  • Total: >8,0001, 8,6442, ~20,0003
    • Manufacturer: State Industries3

Variants

  • Polikarpov TsKB-12: Prototype.2 Had Bristol Jupiter engine (450 HP).3
  • Polikarpov I-16:
  • Polikarpov I-16 Type 5 SPB: Was used as a dive bomber that had special dive brakes.1
  • Polikarpov I-16 Type 6: M-25A engines.1
  • Polikarpov I-16 Type 17: Two ShKAS machine guns and two ShVAK cannons.1 First version to fire RS-82 rockets.1 Saw combat against the Japanese in August 1939.1
  • Polikarpov I-16 Type 18: Produced starting in 1938.2 Had M-62 engine with two speed supercharger.2
  • Polikarpov I-16 Type 24: Had M-63 direct geared engine.2
  • Polikarpov I-16 Type 27: Produced during second production run from 1941 to 1942.2
  • Polikarpov I-16 Type 29: Produced during second production run from 1941 to 1942.2
  • Polikarpov I-16P: One was built with four powerful cannons.1
  • Polikarpov I-16UTI: Tandem two seat trainer.2

Usage

China, Finland, Spain, and the Soviet Union used the Polikarpov I-16.2,3

Debut

The debut of the I-16 was at the May Day parade in Moscow in 1935.3

Spanish Civil War

278 I-16s were used by the Spanish Republican forces.1,2 The I-16/6 was the first model to be used in combat in November 1936.3 Hispano-Suiza also license built I-16s.1

Was known as Mukha (fly) in Spain.1

Against Japan

In 1939 the I-16 fought against the Japanese on the Manchurian border.1,2,3

Soviet ace, Grigori Ravchenko shot down three Japanese aircraft in China and led an I-16 unit in Mongolia.1

Finland

Finland used captured I-16s.1

Invasion of Soviet Union

When the Germans invaded in June 1941 the I-16 was the most numerous fighter in the Soviet arsenal.1 Approximately 2/3 of the fighter force were I-16s.2

Some I-16s remained in service until the summer of 1943 when it was finally withdrawn due to its obsolesence.1,2,3

Specifications

  Polikarpov I-16
Type Fighter1,2,4
Crew 11,2
Engine (Type) 1: Shvetsov M-251
1: M.25 (Wright Cyclone)4
Cylinders Radial1,4
Cooling Air1
HP 6004, 7751
Propeller blades 21,2
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 29'4, 30'1
9.14 m1
Length 19'1, 20' 3"4
5.79 m1
Height 8'1
2.44 m1
Wing area 156 ft2 1
14.49 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 2,970 lb1
1,347 kg1
Loaded 3,773 lb1
1,711 kg1
Performance  
Speed 280 mph4, 304 mph1
489 kph1
Service ceiling 27,125'1
8,268 m1
Range 500 miles4
Armament 4: MG4
2: 20 mm4
Nose 4: 7.62 mm Shpital'ny-Komaritsky ShKAS MG1
Under wings 2: 20 mm ShVAK cannon1
  6: 82 mm rockets2
6: RS-82 rockets1
OR 6: Der-31 bomb containers1
OR 441 lb bombs2
2: 220 lb bombs1
200 kg bombs2
2: 100 kg bombs1
  Polikarpov I-16 Type 1
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.62 mm MG2
2: 7.62 mm ShKas MG3
  Polikarpov I-16 Type 4
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Shvetsov M-25A (Wright R-1820 Cyclone)2
Cylinders Radial 92
Cooling  
HP 7252
Propeller blades 22
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.62 mm MG2
  Polikarpov I-16 Type 5
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Shvetsov M-25B/V2
Cylinders Radial 92
Cooling  
HP 750 - 7752
Propeller blades 22
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.62 mm MG2
  Polikarpov I-16 Type 10, Polikarpov I-16/10
Type Fighter2,3
Crew 12,3
Engine (Type) M.25B3, Shvetsov M-25B/V2
Cylinders Radial 92,3
Cooling Air3
HP 750 - 7752, 7753
Propeller blades 22
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 29' 6"3
Length 19' 11"3
Height 8' 1"3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 3,704 lb3
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 9,850' 288 mph3
Climb  
Service ceiling 29,500'3
Range 497 miles3
Armament 4: MG3
Nose 2: 7.62 mm MG2
Wings 2: 7.62 mm MG2
  Polikarpov I-16C
Type Fighter4
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP 1,1004
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 29'4
Length 20' 3"4
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed 300 mph4
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm4
Wings 6: .60 cal MG4
  Polikarpov I-16 Type 17
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Shvetsov M-25B/V2
Cylinders Radial 92
Cooling  
HP 750 - 7752
Propeller blades 22
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.62 mm MG2
Wings 2: 20 mm2
  Polikarpov I-16 Type 18
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Shvetsov M-622
OR Shvetsov M-632
Cylinders Radial 92
Cooling  
HP M-62: 1,0002
M-63: 1,1002
Propeller blades 22
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.62 mm MG2
Wings 2: 20 mm2
  Polikarpov I-16 Type 24
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Shvetsov M-622
OR Shvetsov M-632
Cylinders Radial 92
Cooling  
HP M-62: 1,0002
M-63: 1,1002
Propeller blades 22
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 29' 1.5"2
8.88 m2
Length 20' 1.5"2
6.13 m2
Height 7' 10.75"2
2.41 m2
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 3,252 lb2
1,475 kg2
Loaded 4,542 lb2
2,060 kg2
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 15,750' /
4,800 m
304 mph2
489 kph2
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
5.8 minutes2
Service ceiling 31,070'2
9,470 m2
Range 373 miles2
600 km2
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.62 mm MG2
Wings 2: 20 mm2

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
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