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Soviet Union's FlagSoviet Union's aircraft marking

Soviet Union's Polikarpov I-15 fighter, Chaika (seagull)

Photos

Polikarpov I-15 fighter:
Soviet Union' Polikarpov I-15 fighter
Russian Aviation Museum
Polikarpov I-15 fighter:
Soviet Union' Polikarpov I-15 fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Polikarpov I-15 fighter:
Soviet Union' Polikarpov I-15 fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Design

The I-15 was designed by Polikarpov.

Wings

The Polikarpov I-15 got its nickname, "Chaika" from the gull wings. Some pilots disliked them as they didn't proved a very good view.

Fuselage

The I-15s fuselage was made from KhMA gas welded tubes with light alloy skin panels that could be removed. Behind the windscreen the I-15 was covered in fabric.

Engine

Early models used the original American engines, but the rest were Soviet licensed built Wright Cyclone M-25.

Undercarriage

The legs slid up and down into the upper portion through an internal slot.

Prototype

Was first flown in 1933.

Production

The I-53 started production in 1934.

Variants

  • I-15:
  • I-15??: Had pressurized cockpit. Only one built.

Usage

The I-15 could turn 360° in eight seconds.

Spanish Civil War

The I-15 was the principal Spanish Republican fighter. 550 were supplied by the Soviets.

They were nicknamed "Chato" (flat nose) by the Spanish Nationalists.

Miguel Zamudio was a Spanish ace that flew the I-15.

Sino-Japanese War

The Chinese Nationalists used the I-15s against the Japanese.

Finland

Finland captured fourteen I-15s and replaced the machine guns with Browning MGs. They also installed German radios.

Specifications

  Polikarpov I-15
Type Fighter, Ground attack
Crew 1
Engine (Type) M-25 (Wright Cyclone)
Wright Cyclone F-3 piston
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
HP 708, 750
Propeller blades 2
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 32'
9.75 m
Length 20' 1"
6.1 m
Height 7' 2"
2.19 m
Wing area 253 ft2
23.55 m2
Weight  
Empty 2,491 lb
1,130 kg
Loaded 3,064 lb
1,390 kg
Performance  
Speed 225 mph
Speed @ 9,840' /
3,000 m
228 mph
367 kph
Climb 2,953'/minute
900 m/minute
Service ceiling 32,150'
9,800 m
Range 342 miles, 465 miles
550 km
Armament 4: MG
Nose 4: 7.62 mm PV-1 MG
3,000 rounds
Under wings 4: 44 lb bombs
4: 20 kg bombs
OR 6: I-153 rockets

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site