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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.1

Wings

The Polikarpov I-15 got its nickname, "Chaika" from the gull wings.1 Some pilots disliked them as they didn't proved a very good view.1

Fuselage

The I-15s fuselage was made from KhMA gas welded tubes with light alloy skin panels that could be removed.1 Behind the windscreen the I-15 was covered in fabric.1

Engine

Early models used the original American engines, but the rest were Soviet licensed built Wright Cyclone M-25.1

Undercarriage

The legs slid up and down into the upper portion through an internal slot.1

Prototype

Was first flown in 1933.1

Production

The I-53 started production in 1934.1

Variants

  • I-15:
  • I-15??: Had pressurized cockpit.1 Only one built.1

Usage

The I-15 could turn 360° in eight seconds.1

Spanish Civil War

The I-15 was the principal Spanish Republican fighter.1,2 550 were supplied by the Soviets.1

They were nicknamed "Chato" (flat nose) by the Spanish Nationalists.1

Miguel Zamudio was a Spanish ace that flew the I-15.1

Sino-Japanese War

The Chinese Nationalists used the I-15s against the Japanese.1

Finland

Finland captured fourteen I-15s and replaced the machine guns with Browning MGs.1 They also installed German radios.1

Specifications

  Polikarpov I-15
Type Fighter1,2, Ground attack1
Crew 11
Engine (Type) M-25 (Wright Cyclone)2
Wright Cyclone F-3 piston1
Cylinders Radial1,2
Cooling  
HP 7081, 7502
Propeller blades 21
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 32'1
9.75 m1
Length 20' 1"1
6.1 m1
Height 7' 2"1
2.19 m1
Wing area 253 ft2 1
23.55 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 2,491 lb1
1,130 kg1
Loaded 3,064 lb1
1,390 kg1
Performance  
Speed 225 mph2
Speed @ 9,840' /
3,000 m
228 mph1
367 kph1
Climb 2,953'/minute1
900 m/minute1
Service ceiling 32,150'1
9,800 m1
Range 342 miles1, 465 miles2
550 km1
Armament 4: MG2
Nose 4: 7.62 mm PV-1 MG1
3,000 rounds1
Under wings 4: 44 lb bombs1
4: 20 kg bombs1
OR 6: I-153 rockets1

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