I-15 file photo [14658]

I-15

CountryRussia
ManufacturerPolikarpov Design Bureau
Primary RoleBiplane Fighter

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe TsKB-3 prototype biplane fighter design was completed by Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov in 1933. After the maiden flight by test pilot V. P. Chkalov in Oct 1933, the design was placed in production in 1934 under the designation I-15 "Chaika" ("Seagull", due to the gulled upper wing). 284 I-15 fighters were built in the Soviet Union between 1934 and 1937.

ww2dbaseIn Europe, I-15 fighters were one of the standard fighters in the inventory of the Republican air force in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The first 25 of them, accompanied by 15 Soviet pilots, arrived in Cartagena, Spain on 28 Oct 1936, followed by another 15 aircraft and 10 pilots a few days later at Bilbao, Spain. I-15 fighters first saw action in Spain on 4 Nov 1936, with pilots flying these aircraft shooting down two Ju 52 and two CR.32 aircraft over Madrid, Spain without any losses. In Dec 1936 and Jan 1937, 60 more I-15 fighters arrived in Spain; in May 1937, another 31 arrived. The total number of Soviet-built I-15 fighters sent to the Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War was 116. Spain would license-build 287 additional examples.

ww2dbaseIn 1937, the variant design I-15bis superceded the original design, which replaced the gulled upper wings with flat and wider wings; 2,408 I-15bis aircraft were built between 1937 and 1940.

ww2dbaseIn the fall of 1937, the Soviet Union transferred 255 I-15 fighters to China, accompanied by 250 volunteer pilots. By 1939, the total number of I-15 and I-15bis fighters in the invetory of the Chinese Air Force had swelled to 347. This was part of a move to help the Soviet Union keep Japanese aggression in Asia in check. Soviet Air Force I-15 fighters also saw action against the Japanese during the short war between the two countries in 1939, with several of them seeing action in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol on the border of Mongolia and China. During the battle, 40 I-15 fighters were transferred to Mongolia in Jul 1939.

ww2dbaseWhen the production ceased in 1940, 2,408 I-15bis aircraft were built. Combined with the original I-15 design built earlier in the Soviet Union and in Spain, the total number of production models built reached 2,979.

ww2dbaseWhen Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, more than 1,000 of them were still in service. Obsolete by this time, they were largely relegated to duties in the rear by the following year. A small number of captured I-15 and I-15bis fighters were put in service by Finland and Germany.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

I-15 Timeline

21 Nov 1935 Russian test pilot V. Kokkinaki flying a specially modified TsKB-3 raised the world altitude record to 47,818 feet.
28 Oct 1936 The first 25 I-15 fighters, accompanied by 15 Soviet pilots, arrived in Cartagena, Spain.
4 Nov 1936 I-15 fighters first saw action in Spain, with pilots flying these aircraft shooting down two Ju 52 and two CR.32 aircraft over Madrid, Spain without any losses.
16 Nov 1936 Soviet pilot Pavel Rychagov was shot down in Spain in an I-15 fighter; he survived the crash.
18 Jul 1937 30 Soviet-built I-15 fighters were delivered to the Chinese Air Force at Lanzhou, Gansu, China.
23 May 1939 The Soviet Air Force transferred 35 I-15bis fighters from the 22nd Fighter Aviation Regiment (IAP) to airfields close to the border with the Mongolia region of China.

SPECIFICATIONS

I-15
MachineryOne M-22 radial engine rated at 473hp
Armament4x7.62mm PV-1 machine guns or 2x12.7mm PV-1 machine guns, 100kg of bombs or 6x RS-82 rockets
Crew1
Span9.75 m
Length6.10 m
Height2.20 m
Wing Area23.55 m
Weight, Empty1,012 kg
Weight, Loaded1,415 kg
Speed, Maximum350 km/h
Rate of Climb7.60 m/s
Service Ceiling7,250 m
Range, Normal500 km

I-15bis
MachineryOne M-25V radial engine rated at 700hp
Armament4x7.62mm PV-1 machine guns or 2x12.7mm PV-1 machine guns, 100kg of bombs or 6x RS-82 rockets
Crew1
Span9.75 m
Length6.10 m
Height2.20 m
Wing Area23.55 m
Weight, Empty1,012 kg
Weight, Loaded1,415 kg
Speed, Maximum350 km/h
Rate of Climb7.60 m/s
Service Ceiling7,250 m
Range, Normal500 km

Photographs

I-15 fighter at rest, date unknownPort rear quarter view of I-15 fighter, date unknownChinese Air Force I-15bis fighter in flight, date unknownI-15 in flight, date unknown
See all 6 photographs of I-15 Biplane Fighter



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I-15 Biplane Fighter Photo Gallery
I-15 fighter at rest, date unknown
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